Anyone had experience of Children's Social Services.....(47 Posts)
...and brave enough to talk about it?
Its probably the worst nightmare of any parent to be wrongfully accused of being unfit to parent your child...and maybe you think that is not something that happens to mumsnetter types. It does.....and the worst thing about it is it is so isolating... you cannot not tell anyone and then what happens if you do?
Usually strangers are kinder than our closest friends....so to any strangers out has this happened to you?
I know, the thread is a bit old but the topic is still quite actual and to be honest, I am shocked when I read myself through the postings.
I thought, my husband overreacts a bit too much but now?
It makes the thought of packing up the entire family and fleeing the country even stronger... But then I know, although not being born British I would not want to live anywhere else anymore.
I am originally from Germany but British Resident for 3 years now. Still, my first year I spend 6 days a week in our shop and 1 day at home. Outside those two places I came only when it was for banking or groceries. 2012 my son was born and ever since I am most of the time at home as I have neither family nor friends here. So I never really got in touch with the British Clockwork of Authorities besides with Credits or Benefits maybe.
However, my husband, being a Social Worker himself for many years (before we started our business) never gave me even a hint on what NOT to say if you deal with Health Visitor or other authorities in this country. So 3 weeks ago we had the 2-years-check-up. As the day before my son has been very sick but seemed to be fine again next day it didn't cancel it and went happily ever after...
She asked me about my concerns and me, being naive enough not to see any harm in it, told her that I am having trouble for more than a year now to get the little one fully off breast feeding. I explained to her that I have tried any teats and any milk powder available in the UK, even goats milk I've tried but he refuses everything. He is eating solid food well, but I am his soother and night time anchor as I am somehow convinced he has a problem with the darkness being alone. Never in daytime we have sleeping problems or that he would want my milk besides if he is sick, but three, four times a night he tries to get hold of me and doesn't want to sleep alone although we have a night light.
However. When talking about all of this I explained that I have tried it for a week and gave up after 4 days as he was making a fuss all night and nobody could really sleep and that I am worried about my husbands rest which he desperately needs.
I assume, this was my first mistake to use the word "worry" or in connection with husband.
She asked why it worries me and I explained to her, that he hasn't had one day off in the past 3 years of having our business as he is constantly trying to enhance it to provide the family and come off benefits one day. But because his brain never really rests he is most of the time very exhausted in the evening when he's coming home and our son and even our daughter at times can be really, really noisy - sometimes out of happiness, sometimes because they fight. He cannot take this noise as patiently as I can take it.
That was certainly my bigger mistake in my naive honesty.
She asked if he slabs the boy or both or me...
I denied everything as it is the truth but obviously haven't been clever enough to be wary of where it could lead to, I explained that he is just shouting or telling me to take the boy away before he feels like slabbing him.
At this appointment he had the healing mark of an unfortunate collision with our desk in our shop (that's at least what I assume has happened as it has its edges right next to the steps to the rear room where I have been in when he started crying). She asked me about it and I told her that he must have hit the desk in our shop but as I haven't been with him in reach at this time and my husband said he had turned his back to him as he was talking to our employee, it is only a guess. Now I am very much sure she took this as well as a sign of "child at risk"...
As Sultan still wasn't 100% he didn't show any interest of interacting for his check-up and she told me she will send out another appointment in a few months time and I left.
Next day she came with a "colleague" to our house when I was just about to pick up my daughter from nursery. Oh, she said, she had to do in my neighborhood and thought she give it a try if we are in and see, if little young man is willing to interact and complete the session today, if that's okay. So I sent my eldest daughter to pick up her sister. The other lady was introduced as a colleague. That she made notes didn't seem strange to me as of course they wanted to see Sultan.
Again they asked me all sorts of question and as Sultan still didn't feel like interacting with them they left after about 15mins.
Next day the health visitor called me asking for the 8years old daughter I had mentioned the other day and I corrected her and said, it is 18 and the one she has met. Oh, she said, she must have mixed this up with something else.
Later I thought it was only an excuse to call as again she asked how am I, how are the kids, everything all right...
Then I didn't hear anything till yesterday.
Again without giving notice the health visitor showed up with a lady she introduced as a SW and again I was asked all these questions again and being told that because of WHAT I have said the health visitor has reported it to the SW and she must write her assessment on it now and therefore she MUST see and talk to my husband as well.
That's the point when my life seemed came to an end.
I explained to her again that it is totally a waste of time as nobody in this house was, is or will ever be at risk but she said, now that it was reported she just has to do her job.
My husband has very, very bad experience with SW in his previous marriage where the wife kept calling the police and SW whenever she didn't want him at home and I believe it as she did sent the police to my home in the very beginning, too, telling them that I am illegal in this country and my daughter is at risk... It ended with two very, very inconvenient feeling cops, giving me their apologies but of course they had to go and check but they said, this women has done it not the first time, she is well known there and this time will get a warning for wasting authorities time.
And because of this previous experience it came as it had to come. Although he says he is not angry with me as I just didn't know, he still kept asking me why I had to go this way and if I wanted him out there is an easier way without involving the SW... And in this thinking he is so stuck.
I said, that because he knows the whole system behind for he is a SW himself it shouldn't be a problem to turn around and mess up their brains instead so they are getting back on the right track and bother those families who really need help or protection. But he is furious, telling me, that if you go there and tell them: "I am insane, I need help!" it take them up to 6 months to send out a SW but in extreme cases the pop up within 24 hours so I must have said something that they could purposely misunderstand and so on and so forth and now we will have not even the peace of using a tissue the way we want as because he is a Pakistani and dark complexioned on top, to them he already is nothing but a 3rd class citizen.
Unfortunately, my husband seems to prefer the "lonesome trip" and not standing by my side as a strong couple I always thought we are, so I need to get advise from you all HOW to deal with them in future, HOW to TALK to them in future, what to say, what not even to mention and so on. Any experience and hint is very much appreciated may it be tiny-weeny or big. For now I am even afraid if the boy has his next accident with a toy or piece of furniture as he has no fear of getting hurt, they might take it as child abuse.
Thank you very, very much for any help !!!
Yes, just in the past few years, I have only seen them 3 times.
Once was them telling me to remove DH from house or move DC out, I was on my way to Solicitor to do so so was quite irate with them tbh. He was holding me back if anything.
Second time was a visit to tell me not to let DH see DC and ask about his contact with DC.
Third time was a few weeks back, when my ex said my DC were dirty, neglected, lived in shithole, I am a heroin user and an alcoholic who drives my Dc around a lot when drunk and crashes, the one that annoyed most was poor dental hygiene We ALL got the all clear and well done for 6 months in November.
Thankfully Social work didn't believe a word he said and re-affirmed, 'the only reason their is not a child protection in order is because you keep DC from him'. Kinda shot himself in the foot again the arse!
They have always been very nice to me, apart from the first annoying man but I was a tad stressed that day.
I am going through hell with lies with ss and am trying help the person running this site below who had nightmares as well. We are trying to collate lists of 'good solicitors- legal aid' who are not corrupt. If any of you know of any please pm so I can get a list going for the site. Any other ideas please let me know. This is going to be m mission in life to help anyone I can....
Here Took me ages to write, about 4 hours.. n a lot of tears.
Hope its the kind of thing you meant ..
I am going to park my arse on this thread and tell you my story when i feel emotionally able to. Bit wiped out to do it right now.
They are horrid and can and will systematically destroy your faith in your parenting ability and can and do make false and misleading accusations and reports.
The 'experts' are disgusting slugs and should be disbarred or whatever it is from practising.
I have spoken to Ian Josephs and also to John Hemming and although what he did was lower than a snakes belly he has at least helped to bring this problem to the fore.
Interesting thread and i can see it opening a few eyes
nearly a year ago, I took my little girl on a holiday to florida and we had an amazing time, when I got back we where both understandably shattered, we must have been a pair of zombies that just ate and slept for the day we got back and half the day after. I hadnt noticed bruises of various ages on the bottom of her back and a giant one on her chest, I took her to nursery and went to work as usual. I recieved a call on my mobile from social services wanting to ask me questions about the bruising and how it had happened, her nursery had reported me and when I got there they asked me if I would have her examined. we where at the hospital for 5 hours and during that time I racked my brain for an explaination apparently I dont know we did so much stuff when in florida wasnt enough for them and they grilled me. they decided that night that I was a risk to my child and had my friends mum not have been with me they would have gotten the police to take her, I had to sign a child protection agreement I wasnt allowed unsupervised contact with my own child from that point onwards.
they arranged a child protection hearing and I knew there was no chance in hell I was going to get my daughter back without a fight, she was subjected to a blood test (6 attempts to get blood and she was traumatised and covered in bruises from being held down) she was subjected to a full skeletal survey to check if she was a victim of abuse before this meeting and I was cautioned by the police before the hearing under the child protection act she was placed on the at risk register and a plan was put in place and that wasnt the worst of it 12-14 strangers in most cases decided my parenting wasnt good enough, they judged me and said I had limited interation and we showed now attachment as mother and daughter... she was 17/18 months old at the time and I was devastated by it all... I kept saying I didnt know and they kept saying it couldnt have been the seat belt on the plane .. i suggested it to give them an option not a difinitive answer.
they had me arrested and charged with harming my daughter and I was interviewed at a custody suite my entire rights taken away my dna, my finger prints and my photo I am now as an innocent woman on a police data base even though I had done nothing wrong. I was interviewed for hours and hours and I was asked horrific questions any mothers heart would break at and lucky for me was bailed and faced the prospect of christmas living in the same house as my daughter but not being able to be alone with her for even a cuddle. I was constantly being watched and I was found innocent by the police and my bail dropped before christmas and as such the child protection plan of no unsupervised access was cancelled... the plan however remained.
I was persecuted by social services, they removed her from the register after 3 months, but that isnt the end of it I cant move nurserys because she is in a red list with any nursery she attends, she gets one bruise and its refered straight back to them, I am a nervous wreck and I watch her like a hawk its affected our bond in a way thats horrifying as a mum I am to afraid to allow myself to relax and even play wrestle or allow her to do anything that can cause bruises. I have always been a careful and cautious mum, I cant tell you how clumsy she is and I am, when we where in florida we did all the experiences we could, I had bruises from my anemia and I watch her like a hawk I just couldnt give a specific cause and I couldnt give a definitive answer they where not looking for evidence they where looking to hang a 27 year old, single mum that works and they even told me I was obsessed with my job at one point and understandably I was shocked by that. my daughter always has and always will come first but they dont care about that, they have their back office meetings that you cant even bring a solicitor to, your forced to sit there with your fate hanging in the back ground and things like oh well with baby p we have to do this and that... why has a child that died because of failings with their systems and their staff been allowed to be brought into their current procedures? why are they not learning from that and instead of getting tough and accusing and putting innocent mothers through hell why dont they make the necessary changes in place to ensure that it doesnt happen again.
I cant express the heart break that I feel daily and the pain they put me through, essentially they dont care and the effect that it has can ruin your life if you let it. I used to be a happy and positive person but my heart was broken in the experience that lasted 8 months in all and shattered my belief in the entire system.. should I be grateful my nursery reported me without asking what had happened first? should I be glad that they cared about my daughters well being enough to have our little family put through that? what happened has made me distrustful and negative because I have to live with this long after it is over and done with. when she goes to school it will rear its ugly head and I cant try as I might get my information removed by the police.
whats the answer for me and my little girl? I dont know but I have to get on with things regardless and know that everytime I drop my daughter off at nursery that they are watching and waiting for the chance to start that whole thing off again... sure start nurserys people beware... thats all I am saying
OP - I totally agree with your statement. I believed it could never happen to a family like us and if I had heard about it before our case I would have genuinely believed that there would be no smoke without fire etc etc. It is not something I still feel able to discuss in RL for this reason.
Thesilencethatscreams - i believe that if my DH or I had fitted even one of your categories then we too would have lost our children. Luckily we also had the contacts and money to fight all the lies. I just cannot get over the fact that other families will not be so fortunate.
diabolo - sorry I cannot agree that it is acceptable for 95% of families to be falsely accused if there is no evidence and especially if as in our case total lies are documented and I have proof that this was so in our case.
It is not something that a family can ever fully recover from and it has certainly totally destroyed me. Perhaps there should be a support network to help recovery. I am happy to get involved in something to try to prevent the dreadful miscarriages of justice that can occur.
m a care leaver a domestic violence survivor and im autistic, all 3 of those im a risk they walked out the door with my perfectly adoptable ( sorry sellable) 6 month old HEALTHY daughter who had NEVER been abused and NEVER needed protecting, but when i tried to take her to refuge with me, social services BANNED me from taking her with me THREATENING me with a KIDNAP charge. oh yes im paranoid..social services lie through their teeth and now im spitting feathers. my child is now 6yrs old, i recently survived cancer but she's not allowed to know, she's not allowed to know her mother nearly died! IM not allowed to know if she is dead or alive for 12 more years... by the way im ofstead registered and taking a degree in child protection law. I am a ursery assistant (voluntary) they screwed up my care and removed my daughter because they stuffed up.
i had 48 social workers in 4 years- not one stayed on my case long enough to do ANYTHING. my daughter had 6 SIX social workers from birth to 6 months when she was FORCE adopted AGAINST my will without my PERMISSION which is ILLEGAL in the EU.
you telling me social workers do their job? go find me some proof and i promise you i will find more proof they dont do their job!
"And to the midwife who had "snotty cards" through the door from SW, did you not think it important enough to actually phone them and make an appointment to go into the office and meet them. You basically waited for them to come back and then were upset cos you were in your PJ's."
No I did not, because I had done nothing wrong - it was my exP they should have been contacting. Why would I want to contact social services? I had no need to.
Yes, all the time as a foster carer.
I have no objection to any of the unanounced visits, the tour round my bedroom (more embarassing for my SSW than me) and the endless form filling.
It's to keep kids safe and I'm not defensive. I have no problem with being open and honest - I sometimes get things wrong and they help me identify issues - they are not judgemental.
I am one of two Safeguarding Professional in a school.
We do not make referrals lightly. If a child discloses that last night she saw her father smash her mothers face into a wall, we refer.
If a child tells us that her older brother puts his hand in her knickers when nobody is looking - we refer.
If a child tells us they're unhappy because their mum is suffering from depression, we ring the Mum, ask if there is anything we can do to help and offer to start a CAF to assist, not with any sneaky ulterior motive in mind. Only if we became very concerned about the child (i.e turning up in dirty clothes, unwashed, crying all the time) would that be referred.
I used to think I would loathe Social Workers - all left wing and green woolly tights, so I thought. But they do an amazing and very difficult job for very little pay.
I am sure some SW's out there are over-zealous and can cause an extreme amount of pain when there is no need. My predecessor saw problems with so many families it got to the point where she was making a referral every week (95% unfounded). She was... removed from her post shall we say?
But if the 5% of the time she was correct has potentially saved 1 child from abuse, neglect or death, then it has to be worth it.
Oh I totally agree that rushing off in a panic and hiring a cleaning company would not be helpful, but just wanted to point out that having an untidy/dirty house can result in SS involvment, thats what my problem was. I also agree that a house can be 'too tidy' (not that my SW seemed to agree!)
BAsically me and you actually agree!
Obviously I don't know your personal experience but I know from mine that a spotless house doesn't affect the way you are perceived by ss and actually can have the reverse affect. Whatever you believe you must see that the advice here re having a tidy house is misleading and dangerous but you are welcome to your opinion as I am mine
gingerchick having a clean and tidy house can and does affect SS decisionsy re taking children. Do a search on my name and read my experiences!
Other than that I agree totally with what Raven has said. Other than 1 over zealous SW (who said she would have signed me off, but felt she couldn't because I hadn't made the boys bed, as in straigtned the duvets that day, they had sheets etc on) my experience was nothing but positive. SS what they neeeded to help me get my house, and life sorted!
IMO covering the problems won't help, and could make them worse in the long run if you don't get help for them!
And although our sw was a nob, it's not because he was a sw. . I was just unlucky enough to be allocated with a nob. And this!
Dawn, listen to Raven, she has got it right. Please don't be afraid of the scaremongering. I wish you the best for getting the issues sorted.
And although our sw was a nob, it's not because he was a sw. I met several sws throughout the whole intervention, some of which were absolutely brilliant. I was just unlucky enough to be allocated with a nob.
Dawn, I understand that it is easy to panic but you have to remember that ss are trying to give you access to all the help you can receive. Just be honest and real. Really and truly these people on this thread are scaremongering for their own ends.
I do think some of the advice on here is a bit
I never offered our allocated sw coffee or biscuits. He was a nob and I couldn't stand him. I was polite and did what was asked of me. I didn't need to be nice to him - they don't want nice, they want you to demonstrate your children are being properly cared for.
As for mess in the house, I agree with Cory. I got pulled up cos they felt the house was TOO clean and tidy! They felt it was odd that there wasn't toys everywhere, and that the kids had been taught to tidy up after themselves.
What people really need to do is LISTEN to what ss are saying, be totally honest and work WITH them to sort through the issues. And yes, it can happen to anyone, and it is a very difficult experience.
OK so I have read the DM link and I just don't get this quote:
I am now ineligible for the Criminal Record Bureau check required for working with children or young people,
She has not got a conviction so nothing would show on a CRB check, even an enhanced one.
I am very concerned that a mother who is diagnosed with ante natal depression and has told her doctor that she has been aggressive towards her child is now being advised by OP to pretend that everything is fine and give the SW tea and biscuits.
SW and HV will hopefully be able to put a package of support around this family to ensure that mum gets what she needs to deal with her depression and looking after her DC. In fact, you can turn up at the SS office and ask for services and support - Be proactive in helping yourself and your family.
CHILDREN'S SERVICES DO NOT WANT TO TAKE CHILDREN AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES. UNLESS THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION. IT HAS TO BE VERY SERIOUS AND THE LAST RESORT.
SW want to see parents who acknowledge difficulty and risk and engage with any services that are part of a plan.
By all means take notes, get support from Family Rights Group, have a friend present. But don't panic and try to get the support that you need.
I have had SW intervention and I am a social worker.
And to the midwife who had "snotty cards" through the door from SW, did you not think it important enough to actually phone them and make an appointment to go into the office and meet them. You basically waited for them to come back and then were upset cos you were in your PJ's.
I don't get all this stuff about the cleaning company. All the SS I have ever met- and we have had regular SS involvement- have been quite equal to a bit of ordinary lived-in-ness. The posters on this thread seem to think that the only thing SS do is to investigate and judge you. Whenever we've had SWs around it has been about offering support.
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