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to fear that opting out of the child health surveillance system will lead to me being referred back to social services?

83 replies

WinstonDuncanSmith · 11/05/2011 13:52

I posted yesterday about how my (as yet still unborn, but due in 3 weeks) DC2 already has on his/her records details of allegations made against me with regard to DC1 - in the section asking for siblings on the child protection register - even though DC1 was never on the CP register and even though the allegations relating to DC1 were proven as unfounded.

Having spoken to the health visitor and the PCT in question, it seems as though hell will freeze over before they agree either to amend the records to reflect the facts of what took place, or to reorganise the records to clarify that DC1 has never been on the CP register. My only recourse is the Information Commissioner, and that's not going to get me anywhere before DC2 is born.

So it feels as though my only option is simply to opt out of the entire system and refuse to see the HV, simply to let DC2's records gather dust in a forgotten archive. I know that I'm entitled to do so, but I've also heard anecdotally that many women who try end up being referred to SS and investigated as potential child abusers.

Realistically, how likely would this be to happen?

All experiences welcome.

OP posts:

teachermummy2011 · 11/05/2011 14:03

I'm sure someone will come on here with contradicting advice, but my strong advice would be to not take yourself out of the system. This will be viewed as you having something to hide and you will draw attention to yourself by doing so.

The CP paper trail should evidence what you are saying and your new midwife has probably already been in contact with your previous HV/PCT regarding this. I'm guessing that the HV/PCT is different, otherwise they would know there was no CP registration. You still have DC1 with you I'm assuming?

The HV will want to check that you and the new baby are doing well and are healthy. She will only be concerned if you jeopardise this, e.g. by opting out.

Why is this an issue for you at this stage?


chicletteeth · 11/05/2011 14:03

If they've been proven as unfounded and you aren't a danger to your children, then what are you afraid of?
Could you not tell the HV this and tell them that you are attempting to get the records amended to reflect the truth rather than unfounded allegations.

I think it looks worse if you don't see the HV, it's as if you've something to hide.


sleepingsowell · 11/05/2011 14:08

I can understand your concern about inaccurate records, but you could drive yourself mad trying to 'avoid' the system when it's absolutely impossible to do when you have a baby whose welfare you need to put first.

Personally, I would write a letter to any HV putting down in writing the facts of how the allegations were proven incorrect and stating that you are doing this out of concern that their records may be in error. That way you have got it there in black and white while still retaining the links that you may well need for your baby.


WinstonDuncanSmith · 11/05/2011 14:41

Why is this an issue and what am I afraid of?

I had wanted DC2's birth to be a fresh start. When the child protection system started messing things up with DC1, I spent several of the first precious months of his life just utterly lost in terror that I was going to lose him. And whereas I will never get those months back, I want to have them with DC2. I want him/her to grown up as his/her own person, untarnished by what happened to DC1. If we stay registered with the HV, records of what happened to DC1 will now follow both of them to school (unless I choose to HE simply to avoid that, which I agree to be a bit OTT) and both DCs will be subject to extra monitoring and developmental checks until the age of 18. I can't face it.

OP posts:

squeakytoy · 11/05/2011 14:50

The more you do to avoid this, the more it looks like you are trying to hide something. :(


sleepingsowell · 11/05/2011 14:50

but I'm afraid that NOT being registered with the HV won't get you what you want either. It will probably just increase the amount of monitoring etc because not having a HV would probably be seen as the potential for you not putting your baby's welfare first.

Rock and hard place I know Sad

How is it now with your DC1 - no on-going involvement with SS?


VajazzHands · 11/05/2011 15:03

Can you speak to your local MP or someone high up about having these records erased if they were unfounded? It seems really unfair to have that over you


Rebecca41 · 11/05/2011 15:14

I'm a GP. If you try and "opt out" of the system this will be noticed and acted upon. You will end up looking guilty, your own records will be flagged, you will draw massive attention to yourself.

Just go along with the routine checks, show that you are a perfectly good parent, and no-one will bother you.


slavewife · 11/05/2011 15:19

you can get the record erased, however you need a solicitor to do this, the information commissioner, will pass the record to you're solicitor, however this will be costly, if you dont receive legal aid.

The HV thing is up to you, however just because you dont have a HV doesn't mean you wont be paper trailed, you will be though you're GP.


WinstonDuncanSmith · 11/05/2011 15:19

That's exactly what I'm afraid of.

None at all, no - and that's why I can't see why it even apears on DC2's records. The allegations were proven wrong, and that was the end of it. And that's why I'm angry about the misleadingness of what's written on DC2's records.

I tried at the time and got absolutely nowhere. Certainly, I could keep trying, but more than anything - as I said before - I just want to be free from all of this to concentrate on enjoying the early months with DC2. Fighting battles with MPs seems just more of the same distraction and worry.
OP posts:

WinstonDuncanSmith · 11/05/2011 15:26

Ooops crosspossted with more replies ---

Yes. As I've said already, I just don't think I have sufficient energy. With all the current cuts and given that I have a reasonable job, I doubt too that I'd be entitled to legal aid.

OP posts:

teachermummy2011 · 11/05/2011 15:27

It sounds to me like you should just try to ignore what has happened in the past and concentrate on being a good mum (which includes attending appts with the HV etc).

Don't give them any reason to look at you and they won't. SWs have large enough caseloads as it is, they will have no interest in persuing you without good reason. Smile

Why will your DCs be subjected to extra developmental checks and monitoring? Is that because of previous SS involvement or is it unrelated?


tigercametotea · 11/05/2011 15:32

I've heard differing advice/opinions about this one. Some people involved in healthcare (including HVs) say on MN and other forums that its perfectly fine to opt out of HV. You just have to put it in writing addressed to your clinic or make an appointment with your GP and tell him this is what you want. But I've also seen a few people say that this is not advisable as it will only make you look like you've got something to hide. I can feel your frustration. HVs can be such a pain if you get the crap ones especially. Also if SS were involved that could really complicate things. Its really up to you though.


WinstonDuncanSmith · 11/05/2011 15:33

I mean because of previous SS involvement.

But I've also been told by one HV that all my DCs will be subject to 'enhanced developmental checks' throughout life because all their half-siblings and first cousins have always been on the 2nd centile or below. To me, this merely illustrates a family with some very little chromasomes (there have never been any health problems, developmental delays or disabilities associated with the littleness), so I'm not sure whether this is a true (another HV told me it wasn't) or just a smokescreen to justify continual 'surveillance' of me.
OP posts:

WinstonDuncanSmith · 11/05/2011 15:35

tiger Thanks. Also heard the differing opinions. Hard to know what to believe, really.

OP posts:

xstitch · 11/05/2011 15:38

Don't opt out they will use it against you. I know it is difficult to enjoy time with your DC when you are living in constant fear but tbh the only way to keep them is to jump through every hoop they put in your path. Believe me I have some very ridiculous hoops in my way but you have no choice.


Isntitironic · 11/05/2011 15:43

If information held about you is wrong, then you have a legal right to have it corrected. It's either data protection or freedom of information legislation that covers this, I forget which. Under data protection laws you're entitled to see what information is held about you, and I think that's when you can require it to be amended if it's incorrect. I always thought you could do that yourself, without a lawyer. HTH


sleepingsowell · 11/05/2011 15:49

If you have no on-going involvement and the allegations were proven unfounded you have nothing to worry about, so don't go along that road - as you say, you want to enjoy your new baby and at this point in time there is nothing, so far as I can see, to mar that unless you allow your own (understandable) worries and anxiety to.

I think you are on a hiding to nothing in wanting these records 'erased' - it simply won't happen. An allegation WAS made, investigations DID take place - these are facts and can't simply be edited out of history.

There are obviously no concerns otherwise you'd have on going involvement so don't let the fact that these records exist drive you mad. The records CANNOT show that any concerns exist, otherwise you'd have involvement - so just try to live with the fact they exist.


sleepingsowell · 11/05/2011 15:52

oh and please don't think that the records somehow need to be 're-organised' to clarify that your DC1 hasn't ever been on the CP register; one mouse-click on the system would show any social worker that imo.


Bloodymary · 11/05/2011 15:57

sleepingsowell has put it very well.
I had to put up with an 'enhanced' service from my HV when I took over the raising of my DGD.
It was a pain in the arse but I had grimace grin and bare it.
I know its a pain that somewhere there is a file on your DC, (I feel the same), but in your situation I would not opt out. Good luck.


bluepaws · 11/05/2011 15:57

I missed one HV appointment when DSD was suddenly admitted to hospital. Within an hour I had missed calls from both the GP and the HV, and was told by both that if I did not attend the surgery at 10.15 the following morning with DC1, the HV would 'use all means' to 'establish my whereabouts'. Scary.

sorry but there must be more to it that you arent telling us.


PenguinArmy · 11/05/2011 16:00

You're HV system sounds barmy, sorry.


xstitch · 11/05/2011 16:04

You can't always assume that bluepaws I cannot pretend to know anything about the OP but I have been on the receiving end of malicious allegations and get frustrated when people say that proves there is something wrong. It is definitive proof of nothing.


teachermummy2011 · 11/05/2011 16:06

I agree, bluepaws

I've missed the occasional HV appts and vaccination appts due to illness/forgetfullness (as I'm sure many mums have) and have had nothing more than a postal reminder a few weeks later or a phone call from the HV just to check that everything is ok. Something else is going on here.

Besides, if a child isn't CP registered the LA doesn't monitor the child until it reaches 18 (without reason) because it isn't part of any process.

winston With regards to the issue of other children in the family being below the 2nd centile, this would seem to be less of a reason to monitor because any smallness would seem to be explained by genetics. Do they have concerns of your DC(s) failing to thrive?


PenguinArmy · 11/05/2011 16:12

Within the same city me and my NCT had very different experiences regarding HV's. Some were rung up for having missed appointments, other were given serious talking to when their DC only put on just under half a pound for a week.

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