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Clarence-mum who smothered 3 children - not preventable

(30 Posts)
Obs2015 Tue 24-Nov-15 07:27:30

This was in the news yesterday again.
It has been decided, presumably post investigation, that this was 'non preventable'.
Really? That sounds like a bit of a cop out.
Judge concluded that lessons could be learnt. That putting in an inexperienced SW'er was not appropriate, that the 60-80 Health professionals the couple needed to deal with, was not ideal.

But no real lessons learnt, it would seem. No accountability. Non preventable. I know none of us know all the details or facts, but that just seems a bit weak and dismissive to me.

howtorebuild Tue 24-Nov-15 07:39:15

What a sad case.

There was another, where a Judge did nothing other than name professionals who did a Peter Andre, fabrication in a family court case.

MissFitt68 Tue 24-Nov-15 07:51:32

Have to agree, a cop out

LIZS Tue 24-Nov-15 07:58:58

The father seems very defensive. The burden clearly fell more on his wife. They seemed to want support on their own terms, to pick and choose who was involved and which treatment and a dedicated individual to liaise on their behalf. That that may be the way the system, presumably private , works in SA but is not the way the NHS/SS does. So many people don't receive even the most basic social care support I find it difficult to understand those who opt out of such offers.

ottothedog Tue 24-Nov-15 08:03:46

Something wrong with being able to consent to treatment you say LIZS? Is "shut up and do what you're told" the nhs way now?

DurhamDurham Tue 24-Nov-15 08:09:46

So sad but I doubt it could be prevented. If the husband was happy to take their daughter away leaving his wife at home he must not have had any worries that something was seriously wrong with his wife at that time and he was living there. I'm not sure how the professionals involved could have known just how bad things were for the mum.
I think improvements need to be made regarding the sheer amount of people involved in these cases but I don't think any one was to blame for their failures.

Butteredparsnips Tue 24-Nov-15 08:10:16

Otto I don't think that's what LIZS meant?

FWIW I suspect the relationship between the couples is a part of the background here. But it is unlikely we will ever know.

NicoleWatterson Tue 24-Nov-15 08:10:37

I caught some of sky news sorry! yesterday, there was apparently a concern and police were due to be involved in child protection but the families class and standing in society prevented / delayed it.

LIZS Tue 24-Nov-15 08:14:30

No not necessarily, but they came across on the radio report I heard as being particularly rigid in their expectations. I can't begin to imagine the anguish of having 3 children with life limiting conditions, managing that and an older child day to day. But this is a family who did have ongoing help and I'm not clear what more could have been offered to assist them.

Obs2015 Tue 24-Nov-15 08:18:29

I'm not surprised he was defensive.
She felt unsupported, ill children, never getting a good night sleep. And she was criticised continually. Told what to do, criticised and undermined.
Yet husband says she was devoted and put the children first, always.

And if it is true as suggested that SS didn't instigate CP because of the couple status, affluence etc, then tgst was a mistake.

But was removing the children, in their best interests? Surely looking at the struggling mum, who did love them and was trying her best in very difficult circumstances, should have Been the first point to examine.

Obs2015 Tue 24-Nov-15 08:23:33

They did have help. But you can't see what more could have been given to them?

I know many people with SN - ASD children and the constant battle is so incredibly draining. Imagine having 4 kids, the 3 youngest with not just ASD but this, even more serious medical condition.

I fear people are missing this point. This, as one of the main core problems here. We need to look more at the incredible pressure this places on someone.

howtorebuild Tue 24-Nov-15 08:24:58

What help as in was it practical or people coming in wasting time box ticking, doing bugger all.

Moohoomeltdown Tue 24-Nov-15 08:25:54

Do you have a link please?

PhilPhilConnors Tue 24-Nov-15 08:31:52

A friend of mine has one child with the same condition as these children.
From things she's said, it's a minefield of conflicting advice, HCPs who know very little about the condition but believe they know everything on the back of reading a short description of it, yet are willing to undermine other parties involved.
For years her life was not her own, as every day was taken up with various appointments with said HCPs. Most of her care had to be led and instigated by my friend, who also had to regularly disagree and fight for better treatment, and had to know the condition inside out, more than even the consultant at the head of her care. For a large part, her days were spent trying to engage these professionals and try to get all working together efficiently, rather than care stopping and starting and being changed regularly on the whim of yet another ignorant HCP.
Add that to the huge stress of living with a child with this condition, and the daily physio, not having a full nights sleep because the child has to be turned regularly to help prevent chest infections, the early years were truly dreadful.
I can't imagine anyone coping with three children like this.
Having been involved in a small way with HCPs and child "experts", I am now very wary of them and their lies, twisting scenarios etc.
I think this family has been badly let down.

ThatIsNachoCheese Tue 24-Nov-15 08:31:36

Being on a child protection plan isn't about removing the children, it's about making sure that appropriate assessments are completed and that help is given to the family. It is overseen by an independent reviewing officer so would have been helpful in this situation.
However, I agree that the sheer amount of professionals involved was excessive. I think the unrelenting task of caring for one child with high medical needs, let alone three, must be so incredibly hard.
There is a new campaign - 'I'm not a nurse but' about parents who also have to learn how to do medical procedures for their children.
Parents who do this have my utmost respect.

Obs2015 Tue 24-Nov-15 09:29:40

I know what a CP plan is. I know it is set up to assess the situation, the beds and support.

But one of the newspaper articles mentioned the CP not being set up/instigated and yet at the same time a written note re suggestions of the possible need to remove the children.

Obs2015 Tue 24-Nov-15 09:32:27

Agree with Phil entirely.
The description Phil has given - the system and SW'ers can't appreciate that this is what it feels like, from the inside.

I can't imagine how awful it is. Was. That poor woman.

PhilPhilConnors Tue 24-Nov-15 12:20:32

I've been thinking about this all morning.
I do believe that any family who has a child with SN, whether physical or neurological, is more likely to have involvement with HCPs who have little understanding of the conditions they deal with in RL terms. Every expert I have had dealings with has given the impression that they are on some sort of "I know best" power trip.
I've lost count of the number of families who are criticised and accused of poor parenting, my family included.
How on earth do you move on from this?
I can't see that there will be a change, as the people who have the knowledge to fight this (the parents) have enough on their plates already without trying to change the system.
I don't personally know anyone who has found the various agencies involved (when you have a child with SN) to be helpful and efficient and get support for a child.
I can't get this poor family out of my mind, their lives must have been so difficult.

Tram10 Wed 25-Nov-15 04:38:00

I just do not understand how this can be determined to be 'non-preventable', the Mum was clearly struggling and very depressed. She had previously attempted to interfere with her dd's medical equipment in hospital, she had been assessed as being emotionally abusive to her daughter, how can that not be a massive red flag !

It is a tragic outcome for everyone, especially those 3 little innocent babies, I find it hard to see how this was non-preventable and it is just a whitewash of a report.

Obs2015 Wed 25-Nov-15 10:20:30


someone asked for a link earlier, sorry couldn't link form phone.

Tram, that Telegraph article says at the bottom :
Richard Egan, the Clarences' solicitor, said .....that the allegations that Mrs Clarence had tampered with hospital equipment were "unfair and inaccurate".

This is not the first case of this kind.
And all these cases are going on in Surrey. I tell ya, Surrey SW'ers have been really blasted recently.

There was a thread last month. Also in Surrey.

This couple took their child to hospital for bleeding. Were accused of abuse. Child was removed an adopted. Then it turned out child had a rare medical condition. But the child has now been adopted and this can not be reversed. The couple will never get their child back.

I tell you, these families are being failed. Badly. The system is failing them.

And it fails many other families, with medical conditions or SN, on a smaller scale, every day.

But no one wants to talk about it. Elephant in the room.

cestlavielife Wed 25-Nov-15 13:05:06

some things could have been done differently but it is hard to predict and prevent suicide/infanticide due to MH. signs may be there but SS cant go in and remove children on a hunch. says

"Tania Clarence, a woman who had suffered depressive episodes throughout her life and had a family history of suicide"...

but if the family were rejecting help or unable to express the darkest thoughts how could people really help? you cant predict..she waited till husband etc were not there to do this. there is no indication she told the husband (or any professional) what she had in mind.

it is draining hard etc. (I ahve ds with severe LD/ASD - was v challenging few years ago) but it's the mental health of the parent which may or may not be diagnosed/being treated that kills - unpredictably.

my exp was being treated for depression, had expressed his difficulties with our ds (SLD/ASD etc) but I had no idea he was going to attack DS until he did so - he picked him up by his neck and threw him across the room, fortunately ds was ok. n

one of the psychiatrists psychologists who had assessed exp had said to me oh you better watch out he might attack ds... you cannot leap from "depressed mother" to "mother will kill".

you cannot leap from parent of child with disabilities = possibility of murder.

nor do we want every parent with depression to be on murder watch... whatever the disabilities of their dc. that's not realistic or desirable is it?. how do you grade the possibility? level of disability? level of past depression?

I can see how even with depression/ expressions of being unable to cope etcetc you just cannot predict how that will pan out in a moment.
even with the best engagement with professionals (and here it seems to have been difficult on both sides, including some failings on professional side) unless someone says "i plan to kill my children today" then how will you know?

the judge with all the evidence decided she was mentally unwell. you can do everything but sometimes you just cant predict or prevent.

cestlavielife Wed 25-Nov-15 13:05:45

none of the psychs... sorry the n got left behind - no one said it was a possibility that exp would attack ds.

DeoGratias Wed 25-Nov-15 18:17:38

Keep well away from the authorities at all costs. It never ends well.

BishopBrennansArse Sat 28-Nov-15 12:19:57

I have three children who all have SEND.

Amongst the education/health professionals there is a split between my being perceived to be an excellent parent, constantly advocating in the best interests of my children and the other side which is that I am over anxious and a neurotic parent.

One of those groups has a close working relationship with my family, the other has a close eye on their budget and how much it has been cut.

Can you guess which is which?

The strain this places on us as a family is almost too much, yet my kids don't have anywhere near the level of complex needs that this family did. The thing is though if you don't fight your kids won't get appropriate care or education.

Draylon Sun 29-Nov-15 11:09:38

cestlavie- an interesting and though provoking post, thank you; written from someone on 'the inside' of coping with SN.

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