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The Latvian case – the judgment is up

 

 

This is a follow-up from Monday’s piece, about the latest Christopher Booker outrage.

https://suesspiciousminds.com/2015/11/30/police-ignore-judges-order-to-help-latvian-family-escape-social-workers/

 

 

You may remember that from Mr Booker’s account, the child had a small mark on his neck and another small mark, which led to social workers trying to snatch all of the children, and the parents instead fled with the help of Forced Adoption to another country.

 

You may also remember how incandescent Mr Booker was that the Local Authority couldn’t be named because of a gagging order.

Eleven days ago, the second oldest child of Russian-Latvian parents working in a town I cannot name for legal reasons was seen by a teacher to have a small mark on his neck. When the school reported this to social services, an examination revealed another slight mark on his leg. The family found itself plunged into an inexplicable nightmare

In this latest case of the family that got away (but which Judge Duggan does not allow us to name), the conduct of the Irish and Latvian police seems yet further evidence of just how little confidence foreign authorities now have in the fairness and legality of Britain’s increasingly notorious system of “child protection”.

 

The judgment is now up.  Is it an “inexplicable nightmare”?   Does child protection in Booker’s sub-headline need his air-quotes around it to show that it was no such thing?

 

 

 

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Flight to Latvia 2015

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/OJ/2015/B189.html

 

The eagle-eyed reader may spot that the name of the Local Authority is in the name of the case, rather than being prevented from being known because of a gagging order. There is no gagging order. The usual restrictions on naming the children apply.  [“Ah,” Booker defenders are saying already, “that’s only because Booker called them out on it, so they had to back down.”]

 

  1. The written evidence available to me indicates that on 12th November 2015 D was seen at school with a burn mark on his neck and another mark on his thigh. The appearance suggested injury with a rope. He said his father was responsible for the neck, an injury inflicted, he said, with a belt. He said his mother was responsible for the injury to the thigh. N was examined and was found to have bruising to the cheek for which he does not appear to have provided an explanation.
  2. The parents have been seen. The father says that the injury to the neck was caused by him in unclear accidental circumstances which I am afraid need more explanation. The mother said that the injury to N’s cheek arose from an incident in school but on investigation the only relevant incident at school concerned the oldest child. The parents agreed with Police and local authority that while investigations took place, the children’s safety would be ensured by their temporary residence with the grandparents. This was implemented but on 19th November 2015 the children did not turn up for school and enquiries revealed that the parents had removed the children from the grandparents the previous evening and left the district. It is a concern that the grandparents, who have been entrusted with responsibility for the safety of the children, did not see fit to draw this development to the attention of the local authority.

 

 

Now, let me be clear. We have here marks to a child’s neck. The child says that the father hit him with a belt. The father says there was some sort of accident, the mother says it happened at school. Three competing accounts. The parents did not attend Court to give their accounts, or ask their lawyers (who would have not have cost them a penny) to cross-examine witnesses and to refute the claims. It might well be that if all of the evidence had been tested, that the Court would have decided that there was no deliberate injury to the child.  So this judgment is not PROOF that the father hit the child with a belt – but it does meet the test to be considered by the law – were there reasonable grounds to believe that the father had hit the child?   Given that father and mother chose not to come to Court to tell the Court the truth, the Court would be left with little choice but to consider there were reasonable grounds to believe that the child had been harmed.

 

The social workers had not believed the parents accounts and had believed the child. They had made arrangements to keep the children safe within the family whilst investigations took place. Those arrangements were breached. The social workers went to the Court, to say “We think the children aren’t safe and we would like an order to protect them”.

The parents were able to come to Court with free lawyers to give their account and to say that the children would be safe, and an independent Judge would hear both sides of the case and make a decision – that decision being on the principles that :-

 

(a) It is for the Local Authority to prove harm, not for the parents to prove their innocence

(b) Even if the child had been harmed, the Court would still look at what measures short of removal could keep the child safe

(c) An order for removal would only be made if it was necessary to keep the child safe, and would only be whilst assessments were carried out over a period of time to see if the parents could make changes.

 

I would like to ask Mr Booker what actions he thinks social workers ought to take instead of this if they are told by a child that his father hit him round the neck with a belt?  Because it seems to me that the alternative is to do what Mr Booker did, and assume that the parents did not do it.  And I’m fairly sure that if they got that wrong and the child suffered further injuries, the Daily Telegraph would not be leaping to their defence.  I’m fairly sure that the Daily Telegraph wouldn’t be putting air quotes around child protection then – they’d be saying, and rightly so, “This child told you that his dad hit him round the neck with a belt and you did NOTHING to keep him safe. Your job was to protect that child, and you didn’t do it”

 

If a social worker thinks that a child has been deliberately injured and can’t keep the child safe whilst investigations take place, putting the matter before the Court is the safe and fair thing to do. It is not an ‘inexplicable nightmare’

The alternative is that people just take a guess as to what happened to the child. Maybe the child made it up, in which case the family are safe and happy in Latvia. Maybe the child really was hit by his father, in which case it isn’t great that the parents were helped to leave the country with the children.

 

Which is it?

I don’t know. And you don’t know. And Ian from Forced Adoption doesn’t know. And Christopher Booker doesn’t know.

I’d suggest that perhaps given that none of us know, and that the risk of guessing and getting it wrong is big either way, that the best way to make that decision is for an independent Judge to do it, having heard evidence from both sides, not just one.

 

Do Judges get it right all the time? No, sadly.  I write about these cases all the time. And social workers don’t get it right all the time either. And nor do doctors, or teachers, or anyone.  It might well be that this child made it up and is quite safe with mum and dad. We just don’t KNOW.

 

But you see the difference between a Judge deciding, and Christopher Booker deciding what happened, is that (a) The Judge hears BOTH sides (b) The Judge hasn’t made their mind up who to believe before you even start and (c) If the Judge gets it wrong, the decision can be appealed and put right.  What’s the appeal process for Christopher Booker deciding that this child is safe with mum and dad?   And if we have Christopher Booker deciding what’s going to happen in these cases, what stops Katie Hopkins doing it?

 

 

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

238 responses

  1. ‘The written evidence available to me indicates that on 12th November 2015 D was seen at school with a burn mark on his neck..’ – so not hit with a belt?

    ‘The child says that the father hit him with a belt.’- so not a burn?

    The parents were terrified – that much is clear, and that terror came from the confirmed impression that they would NOT get a fair hearing, but would lose their children. This may or may not be true, but it is possible that they had those fears exacerbated, as opposed to allayed, by the behaviour of the Social Care staff and police when the children were removed.

    I don’t have much time for Mr. Booker either, but if I may at least partly answer your question to him: I would say Social Services should have a Russian interpreter present when they interview the children, and they should interview them following the rules and procedures of ABE. If this had happened, then the parents might have felt that they at least stood a chance of being able to get the point of view of the family across.

    Did it happen? Do you know that?

    • I would agree that parents should have an interpreter if they can’t speak or understand English – they would have had that at a Court hearing. These parents HAD been here since 2011, and were able to communicate their story to an English journalist and to Ian perfectly clearly. Perhaps Ian and Chris were speaking to them in Russian, I don’t know.

    • Social Services are bereft of experts in language and you raise an excellent point.

      • Children’s services commission all kinds of services to support those they are working with, interpreters, advocates for those who’s capacity may be limited, etc. It would not be ABE if a social worker when anywhere near interpreting for their own purposes or police interview etc.

    • ashamedtobebritish

      I have to say I popped back to reply, but no need as you and I sing off the same hymn sheet (we usually do)
      You said exactly, word for word, what I was going to say

    • Jai, you’ve said most of what I was drafting out! One additional point is that these parents are Latvian citizens and would have undoubtedly have been aware of CB (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 888, which involved a Latvian mother, and which many commentators have regarded as an egregious miscarriage of justice (Having been involved in the case myself, and having been present in court at both appeal hearings, I can only agree). If this alone was not enough to convince them of the unlikelihood of getting a fair trial, the subsequent antics of Duggan HHJ (including, as the original post suggests, a presumption of their guilt in absence of a trial) would probably be enough to seal the deal!

    • I don’t know this case but usual actions would have been a CP medical and police interview (all under ABE) & an interpreter would be provided for both.

  2. As jaipatch says above I also don’t have much time for Mr Brooker.

    On the other hand, I do have experience of working with and knowing quite a few Russians in this country and also other people from eastern European countries such as Latvia and Lithuania.

    Personally, it has been my experience that there is quite a high level of distrust of courts and, more particularly, a lack of knowledge about what happens in English courts.

    I don’t think that this is so much not understanding the language as not understanding the system. There is nothing in the judgment at any point to suggest that the parents had legal representation at any time. I would suggest that it was quite likely that they were not aware of their right to legal aid in this situation.

    Normally, I totally agree with the comments you make about cases on your blog, but this is an exception. I note the following:-

    ”The parents did not attend Court to give their accounts, or ask their lawyers (who would have not have cost them a penny)”

    ”The parents were able to come to Court with free lawyers to give their account”

    These comments assume that they were both made aware of their rights and also had sufficient knowledge of a – for them – foreign legal system in order to be able to access legal aid.

    Frankly, my experience of people from this sort of background is that they generally have no idea at all about where to turn to for help.

    I totally agree with you that, in the circumstances, the LA and the judge had no other alternative. However, I would suggest that your comments that they wilfully avoided the court knowing that they could have free legal representation is likely to be very far from the actual situation of these people and their understanding of their position.

    Also, don’t forget that even you felt it necessary to inform people – many of whom will have lived in the UK their whole lives – what to do in equally similar and stressful circumstances:-

    https://suesspiciousminds.com/2012/08/16/what-should-you-do-if-social-services-steal-your-children/

    • But they had been here since 2011? One set of grandparents were here? How long do you get to play the card that they were poor frightened monoglots?

      • I know plenty of families that have been here for over ten years that would have no idea about who to approach for help in this sort of situation and would not have any idea that they were eligible for legal aid.

        So the fact that this family have been here since 2011 is really of no consequence. I have worked as an expat before for many years and, frankly, I can understand the reaction of the parents that they wanted to return to their home country to a legal system that they understood more than a foreign legal system that they had no knowledge of.

        You mention that one set of grandparents were here as well. Let me just ask you how likely it is that the grandparents would have some sort of indepth knowledge about the English legal system?

        ”How long do you get to play the card that they were poor frightened monoglots?”

        That really is quite a disgusting, bigoted comment that really shows your lack of knowledge about people from eastern Europe. All the people I know from Latvia and Lithuania speak three languages as a minimum – some even speak four or five. Can you say that? I certainly can’t – I can only speak two.

        As I said in my post, it is not a case of not being able to speak the language – I suggest that they would probably put you to shame, as well as me – but that these people are not aware of their legal rights in this country and, in these circumstances, to be able to access legal aid.

      • In which case it probably doesn’t help if they’re getting bad advice from unqualified people who, nevertheless, think they know better than everyone else (see the comments under the SM’s previous post on this).

        The irony is that the Council were happy for the children to stay with the Grandparents, and probably would have been happy for them to stay there for the long term, had it come to that, foster care being expensive (and local authority budgets having been decimated) and school aged Latvian children not being hugely in demand for adoption.

        The consequence of these parents’ “advisors” is that, as the judge says:

        “The covert disappearance from a placement agreed with the local authority gives me serious cause to believe that the children’s circumstances with the parents are far from ideal and of course it is in those sort of pressured circumstances that extremities of behaviour are most likely to occur. It is necessary and proportionate for the children to be found and placed safely.

        The grandparents, I am afraid, appear on the evidence available to me to be unreliable so foster care is necessary for the moment. Supplementary orders requiring the provision of information by family associates are justified in the circumstances. “

  3. This is what the Judge said
    “The written evidence available to me indicates that on 12th November 2015 D was seen at school with a burn mark on his neck and another mark on his thigh. The appearance suggested injury with a rope. He said his father was responsible for the neck, an injury inflicted, he said, with a belt. He said his mother was responsible for the injury to the thigh. N was examined and was found to have bruising to the cheek for which he does not appear to have provided an explanation.”

    It would be perfectly possible to have a belt made of rope or something similar that would leave a rope burn mark on the neck.

    But all this speculation is a bit irrelevant. None of us KNOW what happened to that child. All we KNOW is that his school were worried enough to refer the injury and the parents couldn’t offer an explanation. Injuries to neck/face are NOT just ‘one of those things’. Children do not get injuries to their face/neck in the ordinary course of the day.

    Whatever axe anyone has to grind against social workers, I imagine that it is rather more terrifying to see children’s safety decided by those with such a firm and rigid agenda that they cannot possibly accept that a child may have been injured by a parent.

    • I have no difficulty whatsoever in accepting that parents harm their children. However, I also have no difficulty in accepting that well-intentioned SS intervention can also be harmful to children.

      My first reaction to this case is “massive, defensively-based, harmful over-reaction”.

      On the basis of 2 minor, suspected non-accidental injuries, it is apparently deemed necessary to remove the child from his/her parents whilst an investigation is carried out. Let’s not kid ourselves that the parents consented in any meaningful way to their child being placed with the grandparents – we all know the choice with which they would have been presented (which also deals neatly with the persistent refrain of SS apologists that SS never remove children because only the police and the courts have that power)

      Surely, any rational risk/benefit analysis would identify that temporary removal of the child from the care of his/her parents would cause immediate and lasting emotional harm to everyone in the family. Conversely, leaving the child with the parents during the investigation risks interference with the course of the investigation, and further, and possibly more severe, injury but in reality, the fact that the parents know that they are now under scrutiny can reasonably be expected to preclude that possibility. Removal of the child is clearly, therefore, a precautionary strategy based on the best interests of SS, rather than the child. It ignores the real harm caused by removal and instead concentrates on the “what-if” un-materialised, and unlikely, harm to justify removal.

  4. The Latvians will not relinquish these children, they are angry,very angry I know this having spoken to the Ambassador on a number of occasions. If they exited the jurisdiction before Duggan HHJ made the order then I am not sure that the court was seized upon the matter as they had already left.

    • I thought the judgment was clear – because these children have lived in England since 2011, without doubt their habitual residence is here and the English court has jurisdiction. So whether the order was made before they left or not, does not matter.

      It may have practical implications if the Latvian authorities won’t co-operate, but I don’t think it has any legal implications re jurisdiction.

      • ashamedtobebritish

        It makes all the difference, if the UK court was first to seize the matter, they have the right to continue the case, if not, then they don’t.
        They’ve gone, so let the Latvians deal with it their way, which won’t result in forced adoption for sure

      • Apologies yes Sarah. I’ve since read Arts 8 and Arts 16 of Council Regulation (EC) 2201/2003.

  5. I don’t know much about this individual case save that I am in frequent contact with the Hague Convention central authority of Latvia and they are aware of the family. This is, in the end, a question of forum shopping. Do they rely on the English (and Welsh) system which accepts without challenge biased expert evidence (employees of the Local Authority and expert witnesses who are on retainers to the local authority, but jointly appointed by the court)?

    On another latvian case where the LA has failed to get Latvia to assess Latvian carers (contrary to BIIR) the court get the assessments done not the prosecutory apparatus. (the local authorities – under pressure to get more adoptions)

    More info on Re CB is on my blog.

    • Experts are not on retainers to the LA and jointly appointed means objections can be raised to suggested appointments. Also LAs are not under pressure “to get more adoptions” they are under pressure to recommend adoption once a case has reached the point where alternative families are being sought for children.

      • John Hemming is referring to a case from Watford where the LA expert was paid a retainer of £82,000 and was “jointly” instructed by the parties to assess mum. We took it to appeal, apparently it’s ok for retainers to be paid to jointly instructed experts. We argued the “reasonable man test” to no avail.

      • Thanks Penny, perhaps jointly appointed on a retainer should have meant the expert was jointly funded?

      • The “expert” in question was indeed jointly funded by all parties, but unbeknownst to the parents, she was also director of a limited company which was contracted to provide the services of the same expert to perform similar assessments for the same local authority, in exchange for an annual payment of some £86 000. One wonders if she was effectively paid twice for the same work. Mother’s objection was that she had been previously negatively assessed by this expert with regard to an earlier child. In addition to this, the LA misrepresented the MSc qualification of this expert, puffing her up to be a ‘doctor’ in order to match the qualifications of the truly independent expert put forward by Mother. The story progresses… This phoney ‘doctor’ completely forgot (by her own explicit admission) that she had been tasked with this assessment and was subsequently unable to give the court a date by which the assessment would be completed. Mother put forward the name she favoured again, but the LA insisted that their “expert” was the only person appropriate for the assessment and the court concurred, despite mother’s expert being ready to do the assessment and offering a completion date. It goes without saying that the assessment was once again negative.

      • & sometimes I think it would be better to just go with the expert (assuming they are appropriately qualified etc.) parents suggest because then if the assessment is negative, at least they feel it isn’t biased. My view of the “phoney” doctor is that they would not have been biased because even the LA doesn’t want a biased expert or appearance of collusion, but sometimes appearance is all.

  6. The judge said “the written evidence available to me” .He made a ridiculous emergency protection order long after the family had left uk based entirely on bits of paper ! (hearsay)
    Andrew often asks what should be done if a child is injured (or words to that effect) The obvious answer is to call the police and never to leave it to amateur sleuths( excited by the power they have over parents) to make vital décisions affecting their children after extracting the information they desire from innocent children in ways that would have made professional interrogators proud ! When UK social workers give up impersonating police officers and leave crime to those who are trained to deal with it the better a lot of frightened parents will feel.

    • I think you need to own your part in whatever happened to you. You are in the meantime projecting all kinds of spurious stuff onto social workers who have no desire to be a police officer, medic or lawyer for that matter. Just in helping parents to keep their children safe and doing something about it when they can’t.

      • Social workers were formed around 1948 to support families but any mother (especially one who was pregnant) hearing that a social worker wanted to see her would not be happy, she would be terrified since as judge Hedley has said “social workers have nearly all passed from family support to child protection” (meaning taking children).
        In the case of the Latvian children Sarah has not said why she distrusts the Latvian authorities so much that she would even contemplate supporting the pursuit of the case in Latvia under the Hague convention to retrieve the children and put them in fostercare (grandparents being unreliable) in UK at taxpayers expense.”Don’t let the kids escape our system ” seems to be her vengeful watchword.
        Andrew, I can only repeat that if a child is injured in suspicious circumstances it is a matter for the police not social workers who should do no more than report the matter to police not take matters into their own hands.
        Nothing has ever happened like that to me or my family Helen, nor to Christopher Booker but that does not mean we should ignore families in distress when social workers acting like police remove children from families and take them to family courts where 99% of the time a judge will rubberstamp their recommendations for fostercare or forced adoption;(only one in 400 requests for a care order are refused! and that is confirmed by,judicial statistics)I am happy to have been able to help this family to find safety first with civilised Irish authorities and then with equally civilised Latvian authorities neither of whom had the slightest concerns about the bits of paper examined by and given credence by the UK family court judge.

      • Social work had been around for a long time prior to 1948 and worked its way through the poor laws and philanthropy before finding its way into a profession.

        I think it is really important to recognize that all along social workers have been agents of the state. They are operating within a legislative framework and political system. Most social workers would themselves be with Mark Hedley on the vagaries of family life and often point this out to other concerned professionals.

        Hedley is wrong about social workers passing from support to protection, there are still services to support within LAs, the main difference now is that the social workers themselves are the service because other services have been cut to shreds. This is going to get worse and I would suggest that those who want more support for families vote for a different party. They won’t but will continue to blame individual social workers, call children’s services the SS with a deliberate Nazi reference, and insist on a criminal burden of proof before children are removed from parents they are not safe with.

        It is though absolutely critical that child protection is not equated with removing children. It is not. Managing risks in the home is as much a part of any child protection social worker’s case as anything else, if not more.

        In the case of injury, that is of course a matter for the police. The police investigate and social workers take the lead on keeping children safe on the basis of information usually from the police and medics. Obviously it is social workers who initiate care proceedings, but courts make decisions based on pretty much that evidence too. If you think all parties collude I wish I could expose you to the reality of multidisciplinary conflicts.

        Social workers are aware of the anxiety their presence can cause families. We can see tense shoulders ease when people realize we can help them and then go away. I would moot that the anxiety of families is heightened by those who protest non consensual adoption in such an alarmist fashion. Adoption is rarely used compared to the number of children in care (5000 children adopted, 2500 consensually, as opposed to 68000 children in care).

        I would still stay that removing a child from their family of origin is draconian, other permanency options should be better, and support for families should be better. I would include the FDAC being nationwide and support for parents who have had multiple children removed such as the PAUSE project. Both have been effective and are far kinder ways of dealing with parents who can’t parent safely. The non consensual adoption debate is far more nuanced than most suggest. Adoption is a last resort.

        I don’t think Sarah has said she distrusts the Latvian authorities, if she has I missed it. I suspect both of us are more concerned that a case where nobody can be sure those children are safe has involved funding the family to flee. I don’t want to hear that child has been harmed, I do though fear that this child will grow up up experiencing the impact of trauma and abuse. That is a huge cost both to them and society.

        Lastly, please be really clear about social workers acting like the police and removing children. They have no power to do so. The police have powers of removal and the courts grant orders. Few care orders are refused because applications are not made unless the case is robust, nothing to do with rubber stamping much as you would like to think this.

        I don’t think family distress justifies not protecting children. I have huge compassion for those not parenting their children, but I also see children transformed by inhabiting nurturing families where they are not scared, have food, and know what to expect.

      • I agree, owning your own part is what I tell parents I am helping, but SWs need to as well and not put false information in to docs. They need to own their part too. We had “25 pages of bull shit “written about us 10 years ago. The SW lied and the team manager was a real harridan I never allowed the SW in our house. One court hearing and the council lost We were described as eccentrics which we were happy with. Our five kids all great academically (First Class Hons for child 1 ex Head Chorister at Worcester Cathedral Child 2 reading History and ex Head Chorister at Worcester Cathedral, Child 3 educated for five years at top boarding schools and Deputy Head Chorister at Lichfield Cathedral, Child 4 Chorister at Worcester, Child 5 we wait and see! Kids have been to the Palace to sing, USA tour singing, St Georges Chapel to sing, copious radio, and TV tours). They do get it wrong, we see it. We thought of moving after the case and Tim told the judge this.

    • The linked judgement says that the police were involved but that still leaves the knotty question of what to do with the children while the investigation takes place. I would imagine that the problems posed by leaving the alleged victim plus potential witnesses in the care of the alleged perpetrators should be obvious. The authorities in this case dealt with that by placing the children with the Grandparents. I’m struggling to see where it is you think they went wrong.

  7. Shirley Buckley

    If you believe that a legal aid lawyer will act for the parents in such a case you are wrong. He will be subservient to the Court. Read on Bailii Mr Justice Charles judgment Surrey v. Martin Buckley and Shirley Buckley Sept Oct 2007Case No 11525163

    • I disagree with you, I work with legal aid lawyers who always act for the parents and who are very tough to be up against, this is not a criticism.

    • Some legal aid lawyers are ‘professional losers’, scared of being dumped from the list of solicitors shoved into the hands of hapless parents by the local authority when they arrive, unprepared and unrepresented, for their first hearing. The LA list of solicitors is often a handy guide to who to avoid when choosing a solicitor for your case! Others are quite strongly anti-SS and fight the parents’ corner well. At JFF, we have a short list of solicitors that we work with, and who fall into the latter category. The head of a firm of solicitors, very well known in family law and taking many legal aid cases, once said to me, “You’ve got to treat them as the enemy, but mustn’t let them know that you’re treating them as the enemy”.

      • I think the nature of law is that it is adversarial and that is indeed the way that lawyers can behave. Luckily it doesn’t mean social workers are treating families as the enemy. Regardless of the way parents behave, they are never considered the enemy by social workers, the only time it would get close is in those rare cases where you are talking psyco/sociopaths.

        Everyone deserves the best defence, the best case is always made when bot parties are well represented. There is also an argument for taking the adversarial out of family proceedings and making it investigative.
        Local authorities have their own legal teams, they can’t be commissioned by anyone else, so not sure what you mean by a list of LA solicitors. Barristers are of course another matter and I am sure some specialise.

        I’d love everyone to stop using the term SS, it is so obviously a reference to the Nazis and everyone has been using children’s services for eons. I know it is deliberate but I wonder if I used any such term to describe families how that would sit with everyone. I wouldn’t but I wonder.

      • I agree that parents aren’t treated as ‘the enemy’ by social workers: an ‘enemy’ necessarily presents a threat, and parents only present a threat to social workers when their behaviour extends into the criminal. No, by and large, parents are simply treated as a nuisance by social workers, and a barrier between them and their prey.

        I am sure you WOULD like to see everyone stop using the term ‘SS’. Interesting how the term has stuck about since the red-faced shift of nomenclature to ‘Children’s Services’, isn’t it? I wonder why? If the jackboot fits…

      • I think the locus of power is incorrectly located. Social workers are agents of the state, they work within a legislative and political framework. If you want better support and services, vote for a different party. Most social workers would. As it is, without services they are the service so families generally get that slightly better than you seem to or outdated remarks about the agency. Meanwhile you have funded a family to go elsewhere without knowing how scared those children are tonight. or if that family could be helped, just because the parents were distressed. I know you are proud of that. Meanwhile I worry about families running away from social work intervention because I know how vulnerable they are and how much they need help to effect change. Parents are not a nuisance nor are their children prey, so please stop scaring people so they run away from help. Most families social workers work with effect sufficient change to have nothing to do with them after 6 months. Try looking at actual stats and not anecdote, oh but that would spoil whatever kind of rescue mission you are on won’t it.

        Anyway, as I say Tim, I wouldn’t dream of being insulting to families, neither would I be as dismissive or as vile as you have just been – “if the jackboot fits”?! I am Jewish and I choose not to engage with anyone who uses that terminology. Children and Family Services reflects what the agency does, it says it on the tin, social services was a tad amorphous at best.You obviously won’t care about that because you don’t really want the discussion anyway.

      • As someone who works with JFF am I wrong in thinking you support families who wish to escape the jurisdiction of LAs in this country? It is perfectly possible that I have mixed something up whilst being on 3 different posts on this blog. This is obviously not intentional and if I have I apologise. Please don’t extrapolate this into social work practice.

      • “Am I wrong in thinking you support families who wish to escape the jurisdiction of LAs in this country?” Actually, that’s not really what JFF is about. Largely we work in the Court of Appeal, bringing problems with the system to the attention of the Lord and Lady Justices, and attempting to create positive case law.

        To be honest, personally, I spend a lot more time advising people NOT to leave the country unless they have financial resources to support themselves and a secure destination ready and waiting for them, and that unplanned ferry dashes are definitely not a good idea. I also advise people not to leave the country when they have other children in the care system in the UK, as I have seen this result in concurrent proceedings in two different countries; a nightmare for all concerned.

        You said, “Meanwhile you have funded a family to go elsewhere without knowing how scared those children are tonight,” which sounds to me like an allegation of negligence.

        The simple truth is that the first that anyone at JFF heard about this case was when it was reported in the press, and we had nothing whatsoever to do with this family leaving the country.

  8. It is noticeable that the children’s services in other European countries take a role of facilitator to the families as opposed to imposer of rules. We must try to follow their lead and not be so authoritarian. We have a judgment from Bush HHJ who told a council not to treat the mother as a nuisance and to work with her. That appeal is before McFarlane LJ on Thursday.

    • It is noticeable that you are drawing a generalisation from very little evidence. I’m sure we would would all hold that sometimes things go wrong in whatever sphere of society, I always read criticism from judges with interest and it does inform social work practice for the better. ]

      There are two key aspects to social work, all social work is about risk assessment being an agent of change. In childcare there are usually at least 2 teams, at different tiers, who work with vulnerable families. In an age of austerity and cuts, services have been cut to shreds and the social worker is the service. They are facilitating not imposing. That is until they reach the point where legal thresholds are met. At that point the rules are legislative so I am guessing the judge isn’t criticising an LA which has reached that point.

      On the other hand, services have gone, frontline social work is under incredible pressure at a time when families are very vulnerable for all the socio economic reasons we all know about. Vote for someone else if you want to make a difference and help families more!

      • The evidence I have comes from a database of over 3000 clients. (Yes we are registered for data protection.) Our organisation has an unparalleled view of the family law scene, owing to the large number of clients that come our way. Shall I tell you something else? 100% (yes, that’s ONE HUNDRED PERCENT) of our clients tell us that social workers told lies about them! Maybe that figure isn’t completely representative of social workers nationally, but even if ten percent of the clients have got it right, it does seem to indicate a dire problem.

        You say that SS are “facilitating rather than imposing”. Again that runs contrary to my experience. Thresholds are fabricated and tortologous, and the naive parent is told to agree it by their shonky, LA loving solicitor, or it is even agreed by the solicitor / barrister without the parent’s consent. Of course then they have no chance of winning and no chance of appealing. Yes, I could introduce you to parents who have had this happen to them.

        I find it interesting that you state that I have funded a family to flee the country. I haven’t EVER funded anyone to go anywhere. I can’t resist but comment that this is exactly the sort of misrepresentation that I would expect from a social worker, and conforms precisely with what I see in SS reports every day.

        You’re Jewish? So what? I have Romany ancestry, so it’s my holocaust too.

      • Is it better to have said you have aided families to flee? If you would like to extrapolate that into misrepresentation go for it. I may have misinterpreted one of your comments here.

        I have no doubt that all of those who come to you say social workers lie. Those who know they didn’t wouldn’t come to you, they are too busy thinking about what can change so they can keep their children.

        Thresholds are legal and written down for all. Not confusing or tautologies.
        No crystal ball is needed, future harm is an analysis of risk. We disagree about where the threshold for risk.

        You notice I don’t insult you or the families I work with. I would not. You would get further if you stopped slagging off lawyers and social workers who won’t fight back.

      • “You’re Jewish? So what? I have Romany ancestry, so it’s my holocaust too.” exactly, so I probably wouldn’t call you a Nazi.

      • Helen – Your allegation that I have ‘Helped families to flee’ is a bare faced lie. You make this allegation without foundation and with no evidence to back it up. This is what I am used to from social workers; it is their stock-in-trade. When my family was attacked by SS, they said, “The house was cold and dark”. Sadly, this was true, but you would think that the fact that there was a power cut along the entire street at the time would have merited mention. And then they said, “As a child, Mr Haines was sent to a residential unit” – this was because I went to a boarding school – entirely of my own volition I should add. We shook the bastards off quite quickly, as it happens. Julie has already posted of the successes of our children, so I needn’t repeat.

      • And where, exactly, did I call you a Nazi? More distortion of the truth by a social worker.

      • Be civil, or don’t post, please.

      • I take if the jackboot fits personally and its obvious implication.

        “I am sure you WOULD like to see everyone stop using the term ‘SS’. Interesting how the term has stuck about since the red-faced shift of nomenclature to ‘Children’s Services’, isn’t it? I wonder why? If the jackboot fits…”

      • “More distortion of the truth by a social worker.” I just thought I would point out that a lot of families I work with lie, not all of them, and those who do don’t lie all the time. The generalisations I read her are unfortunate. I would never say “another family who lie” or “another family who distort the truth”, they are all individuals. Some will just have a different perspective to me. Some don’t, they lie because they want to cover up something they know is harmful to their child/ren. I could easily say a family is lying because they are minimising a risk, I wouldn’t do that because that is their perspective. I would always work with people to help them understand why the risks that have been assessed are risks and what need to change to ensure their children are safe. One day I might be as rude to the forced adoption lobby as they are to social workers, or I might just disengage. I am not sure you want the debate or discussion. I am sure you want to continue to convince parents that the only reason social workers engage with them is to steal their children. This is sadly scary for them and for their children. I really hope nothing terrible happens to the children who fled to Latvia.

  9. Well said Tim I agree and not just from personal experience … perjury is brushed under the carpet by judges … even when they are caught lying by the judge meeting the child to find out what she really said to the lying social worker … all that happened is we got a new social worker, hardly justice oh and perjury lying about a ‘lost’ criminal record on the ‘suspect’ that was evidently not ‘lost’ my punishment for bringing this to the courts attention was to lose my child.

    • Lost records can be retrieved. I suggest you check this.

    • Helen “Thresholds are legal” where did you get that idea? Bald assertions that are not pleaded by the LA, just stated, and not connected to the actions of parents are not legal. Re:A 2015 Munby P made that clear. Shoddy workmanship by SWs are not acceptable. We had one case where there were 9 items, three were the same thing just stated in a different way! Other’s were not relevant and the professional losers did not challenge it. That’s cheating because it makes it look much worse that it is. Of those 9 items, we boiled it down to just 3.

      “Written down for all” why do you say that? They aren’t “written down for all” maybe half a dozen people at most. The ordinary person on the street never gets to see them and would be flabbergasted by the meaningless drivel peddled by a huge slice of the social working profession. Shame on the LA lawyers that couldn’t construct a threshold properly!!

      That is why people leave the jurisdiction because the SW reality does not match the reality of ordinary person on the street and the child protection in this jurisdiction has such a bad reputation abroad no-one trusts it. Where trust is lost, the system will never work.

      Tim and I addressed the fact finding delegation of the Petitions Committee from the European Parliament in a Commons committee room. They spoke to Munby P, SWs barristers, Psychologists (etc) on day one and then us on day two, They had so many questions for us which emanated from the day before because they couldn’t believe what they were being told.

      • By engaging here I seem to have been read as someone who wholeheartedly defends social work practice. As I have said elsewhere, poor social work practice is criticised in court, and this is right. Good social work practice is praised. This is also right.

        Social workers have no power to remove children. They do not wish to remove children, they wish to work with families support them to safeguard children, until it becomes clear that intervention is not effective. They then take legal advice on thresholds to go to court, care proceedings are not entered into without a lawyer, I am sure you are fully aware of the PLO. There is nothing vague about the evidence needed to meet thresholds.

        I am glad all voices are heard, that people are interested in what you have to say, and that Mundy is listening. I know you mean to insult but personally I find it difficult to engage with someone who is quite so rude and calls people “professional losers”. Do you think that can change? Or does it just not matter if I engage or not.

      • Munby made it clear that in the case before him the threshold wasn’t acceptable. I agree that there has been historic poor practice. From that you make a frankly hysterical condemnation of an entire system.

        the vast majority of cases I deal with the thresholds are sadly very clear and properly pleaded. My reaction is usually ‘why did this LA wait so long to do anything’.

        You and Tim Haines work closely with John Hemming. That says it all for me. By supporting him, you offer tacit support to all the other dangerous people that he encourages.

        I do hope that the fact finding delegation of the Petitions Committee spoke to a wide range of people. I am quite sure that you told them many unbelievable things.

  10. If a solicitor can leave a threshold as it is written by the LA when it is plainly defient, then yes they have given up, and they are paid to give up. They often advise parents to concede the threshold and in cases where it is badly constructed, that is plainly wrong. They put parents in a position of admitting the threshold and do not tell them and make them understand that the likely result is that they will lose their children.

    Social working with families should never be a nasty experience for either side. There should be mutual respect and co-operation and access to none services in a none judgmental way. Of course there are kids that need to be removed.

    The Latvians do not understand why the State attacks parents as it does. Nothing will make them give up this family and maybe it takes foreign jurisdictions to make us sit up and sort ourselves out.

    • Hopefully experience of this is limited, it shouldn’t happen, and the families I work with don’t find it a nasty experience. It is often difficult and challenging but not nasty. I think this case is one where I am worried that the evidence hasn’t been heard.

  11. Only 1 in 400 care orders are refused.Lawyers in the family courts certainly believe they are professional and as they nearly always lose it is quite reasonable to call them professional losers

    • It is not. Most applications for care orders are robust and evidence based.

      • I agree with forcedadoption. How many applications for care orders, nationally, do you get to see, exactly?

      • There isn’t much point in me answering that question but information is in the public domain about court orders granted if you wish to take a nationwide overview. I know you agree with forced adoption, I am of the view that you just all think we are are in cahoots, which unfortunately makes discussion pointless.

      • The information in the public domain tells us nothing about whether “applications for care orders are robust and evidence based”. Very few people outside of the legal profession get to see many of them. I just wondered what evidence you had used to form that opinion.

      • Unfortunately that is not information I can share with you. So do feel free to dismiss it.

      • This is an evidence based Final Care Order in the name of a child that has never existed, split case joined, no further appeal
        http:www.bailli.org/ew/cases/EWCA/civ/1997/2190.html
        1 Question Where did the Full Care Order bearing the Childs Birth Certified name
        come from? for adoption Case?

      • That link doesn’t work. I think I said elsewhere in quite some detail about aliases being used on occasion, usually high risk.

  12. http://www.bailli.org/ew/cases/EWCA/civ/1997/2190.html
    You are making up your own rules, If you possibly had any idea of Court Rules you would not state such rubbish on a public forum, stating rubbish is not a GET OUT

    • your link still doesn’t work.

      • The link has always worked before, Possibly something to do with the case being back in OPEN court, and the shame of what was allowed to be entered (False Injuries not just FALSE but completely unsurvivable without medical intervention, not to mention the child was allowed home after 48hrs, called back 4days later still no medical intervention, Miracle Child, if anybody is guillable enough to believe, the signed 8man SIGNED doctors report is also mentioned another document that has never existed

      • Link is malformed. Check number of i’s in Bailii! http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/1997/2190.html works

      • I see from your last post you finally found the judgement and have understood nothing, I have the Original QC Fockes copy of the SUPPOSED 8 man agreed doctors report sent to QC Focke by Sally Cahill by Fax, Hotel Room etc etc
        The REPORT STATES CHILDS NAME RB WITHOUT THE M ADDED ON
        IT IS SIGNED BY 2 DOCTORS, SAN LAZARO, DR KLING CHONG
        INDEPENDANT????? I HAVE A LETTER ASKING FOR PAYMENT TO LA FROM ONE OF THESE 2 INDEPENDANT DOCTORS, GIVEN TO ME BY A MR IL KENNERLY INDEPENDANT BARISTER

      • Someone else posted a link that works, yours still doesn’t.

        It might surprise you to know that I don’t post here because I want a fight so when you are rude and shout (you do know capitals are shouting don’t you?) I can’t really be bothered to engage but there goes…

        It isn’t that I don’t understand but that you posted a link to a judgement which is crystal clear, given you posted (or at least tried to post) a link, I’ve assumed that was something you wanted to read to support your point.

        The eight doctors mentioned met, excepting for one who agreed with their conclusions that the injuries were non accidental in absentia. Your appeal was unsuccessful because it didn’t matter that Dr Chong wasn’t there at the meeting. There is no mention of a letter just an account of the meeting.

        Doctors are usually employed by an NHS trust but it is possible for the finances to be processed via a payments system that looked like it was an LA. LAs don’t actually employ doctors.

        RB or RBM would easily be considered the same person by the court. You are right, I don’t know court rules, but it isn’t unusual for different names to occur in cases for a whole variety of reasons. As long as we all know who we are talking about, that works.

        Great that you have a barrister and QC involved, let us know how you get on.

  13. You might want to check the spelling of BAILII. I don’t know your case, and I have no idea about court rules, only that high risk court cases I have worked on have involved name changes. It is rare but there is nothing illegal about using a different name as long as it isn’t for fraudulent purposes, Neither would this prevent a professional accessing the original records. I would like to read the judgement if you can find the link.

    • As I have already explained it was changed to cover up the hospital evidence of Cerebral Atrophy, R was placed with family members that supported my family from R’s birth, from leaving the hospital we were never allowed to mention CA secretly I had to approach a Charity (Child rescue Foundation NOW Cerebra) they sent us a baby massage tape and the offer of help which we were to afraid to accept due to the threats from Guardian and Solicitor
      Between 3 of us we set about the massaging recommended 24/7, contrary to R’s mothers wishes we gave him a dummy and exercised his sucking ability 24/7, the difference it made was incredible, all under a written threat Guardians solicitor against myself for contempt of court

      • Ok, so you think that the change of name is part of a cover up. It isn’t that they never happen so have you contacted your MP?

      • It is indeed a very clear judgement regarding serious injuries to a child. The appeal couldn’t be allowed because the medical decision was unanimous. The hospital reviewed the original evidence before they came to that conclusion, which is as it should be, and CA was not in the picture following that scrutiny.

      • By the way, if the injury is NAI, and not CA, the treatment you applied would have been damaging hence the written agreement. Personally, I wouldn’t have taken that risk on a baby I loved. It really reinforces a view of adults who are fighting to be innocent at all cost, rather than what baby would need, which is what the Guardian had in mind.

  14. It is sad that most of these comments are more about using someone else’s peg to hang your coat on. This situation is desperately sad for these children and yes, this current situation has made a mountain out of what could be a mole hill but that is the point. With a little bit more understanding and patience it could be that the children could be back with their mum and dad, at home, going to school and seeing their friends.

    I manage a child protection team and I come across these sort of injuries and situations several times a week. Nearly all of them, while massively anxiety provoking at the start, end up with us walking away and the children safe. Even if a parent has lost control and lashed out, chances are that this child loves their parent and wouldn’t want to go somewhere else and that this parent probably feels awful about it. I know that most social workers will work their socks off to keep children with their families. Sometimes, we need an interim safety plan and in this case it was the grandparents. This gives everyone the space to take a step back and think about what is going on for the children and trying to work out a) if it has happened and b) what can be done to make sure it doesn’t again.

    Do any of you who have made comments about social workers actually think it would have been reasonable to leave a child with their parents when the child has talked about (from their own disclosure) being hurt by their dad? The decision to have the children stay with grandparents would have been done alongside the police who would have been involved in the investigation. It reads to me that from the point an allegation was made to the family fleeing was a very narrow window of about 24 hours.

    What happened next, the family fleeing, is tragic but had they stayed put, chances are everything would have probably worked out. It does with most of the families we work with. So those of you advocating that families should leg it the moment social workers come knocking are probably harming the families more than the social workers you seem to dislike so much.

    • I’d agree with all of that and it does really worry me that any fear families may have is fuelled rather than ameliorated, which in my experience is done by a period of work, short or long term to make sure everyone is safe.

      • Families also need protecting from those who are paid to protect, we were sent to the court of appeal, wrongly instructed by the Local authority, to appeal against the false name ONLY if the appeal had been granted the Childs name would have been changed on the FULL CARE ORDER into his birth certified name, then we would have lost, luckily the wise old owls at the High Court London realised the injustice we were applying to bring on ourselves and stopped us in our tracks, False name stays, cannot be changed, so who changed the name on the FULL CARE ORDER?????????

    • Thank you. I’d agree with all of that, and I appreciate that it isn’t easy to come on to the internet and to give this perspective. The vast majority of social workers that I have worked with genuinely do see separation and removal as an absolute last resort and one to be avoided (frankly, the usual reaction when I read a detailed chronology is not “jumping the gun” but “this ought to have been in Court a year ago”)

      When I first started in this area of work, not long after Cleveland, it wasn’t that unusual to hear social workers say things like “children never lie” and it has been a long long time since I heard anything like that, and I have worked all over the country in the last 20 years- the profession is much more aware that not every allegation is true and that each of them has to be evaluated against both all of the evidence and what your common sense and experience tells you.

      • Frankly, I’m flabbergasted that you all think that removal of the four child from their parents, however fleeting or temporary, was a proportionate and appropriate first response to the two “marks” found on D’s neck and thigh, and the unexplained bruised found on N’s cheek.

      • Staying with a relative whilst things were sorted out was hardly harsh, it wouldn’t have taken long, and most children like a sleepover with people they know well. I just really hope the children are ok and those who did support them to flee are able to hold themselves accountable if not. Scaremongering doesn’t help anyone.

      • You’re rather missing the point, Helen. If the grandparents hadn’t been available, suitable or willing to stand in loco parentis, then the children would have been put into foster care with non-Latvian-speaking strangers. Presumably you’d characterise that as an exciting adventure for them?

      • Slightly beside the point since grandparents were available but I’ll go with it and I’d say it was keeping them safe for a short period of time whilst all could be investigated. Children are more at risk if they disclose and are returned to abusive parent who has little to lose. You’d have to be stupid not to take those injuries seriously. Minimising the risk is prioritising the needs of the parents.

      • No-one has suggested that the marks should not have been taken seriously; what is in issue is the degree of intervention required. If you truly think that the children and their parents should, or ought to, have regarded the removal as a “sleep-over” then I would suggest that you have a rather case-hardened perspective. If SS treat every incident as a potential Baby P and intervene accordingly, then it shouldn’t surprise anyone if parents flee. These parents didn’t run because Ian Joseph, Tim Haines, or anyone else advised them to, they ran because they were scared by SS’s heavy-handed and ill-judged actions.

      • I have said elsewhere on this page that SS is a deliberately alluding to Nazis, for most of the both & 21st centuries, everyone else has been referring to children services or children social care. The inference is deliberate and is an insult in way I would not dream of referring to anyone else. I decided not to respond to anyone else that uses it. It probably won’t matter, you don’t really want to engage in discussion with a social worker anyway, parodying us is easier.

      • Excuse typos, was on the phone at the same time helping someone (because that is what social workers spend most of their time doing) I have said elsewhere on this page that SS is a term deliberately alluding to Nazis, for most of the both 20th & 21st centuries, everyone else has been referring to children services or children social care. The inference is deliberate and is an insult in way I would not dream of referring to anyone else. I decided not to respond to anyone else that uses it. It probably won’t matter, you don’t really want to engage in discussion with a social worker anyway, parodying us is easier.

    • had they stayed put, chances are??????everything would have probably worked out???
      Having as a family been there, Trusted the system, only ever told the whole truth nothing but the truth, on the insignificant questions asked, gagged and threatened by legal not to reveal the truth, well they got what they did NOT want, a Full Care Order that stands to date in the name of a child that has never existed, Split Case joined.
      What do they do?????????? Obviously split the case, change the childs name back on Full Care Order to Birth registered name, for illegal adoption Case, obviously not done by Social Service workers, but the LEGAL DEPARTMENTS, the Guardian ad Litem in cahoots, Sorrow maybe not the Guardian, she did apologise in a court, and stated she had nothing to do with the adoption Case, so makes everything alright

      • They were serious injuries & in your case the legal decision could not be anything other than it was “We, the undersigned, are fully agreed on a strong balance of probability that R had suffered shaking head trauma and impact head trauma and that much of this trauma has been non-accidental.” & the problem with family members then insisting that the injury was non accidental becomes that their capacity to protect is a risk that needs to be assessed.

      • If Helen Sparkles Had possibly read all my comments she would not just rely on the court of Appeal Judgement without the false name of Child? there are two parts to this the second part was never published and this is how people come to their wrongful conclusion and persecution of innocent families, exactly what we are back in the High Court for, with a case against the Guardian Ad Litem, she was their to protect my family against anything like this happening ,the whole case had no legal basis, my grandson suffered brain damage at birth and this is how the family courts cover it up

      • You posed a link to that judgement and it is very clear, I hardly commented on that to be fair, it is clear. if it is a cover up that is one thing and you should pursue that. we can never say these things don’t happen and you are right that having access to both judgements would be more useful. What are you in the high court for if it is not an appeal? It is a civil case against the Guardian?

        I am definitely not getting the name change thing and splitting/reuniting the case making this an issue. Courts track children through cases whether their name changes or not, in one case (I am too tired to look for now) mum changed her and her child’s name about 4 times. Court worked on the basis that the different names applied to the same people with no trouble. Medical evidence would have been followed up by the Guardian on behalf of the child, again regardless of name. No idea why you think the Guardian was supposed to be protecting you and your family, they represent the interests of children in court.

        If this was a non accidental injury (let’s say for a second that it was) nobody could consider that child staying with anyone who said that wasn’t. I obviously don’t know this case but I have been involved in a case where baby was devastatingly injured by a dad whose mum denied he was capable. Dad went to prison (in case that helps) having been convicted. We couldn’t place with his mum because she just continued to think her son was innocent.

    • “Families also need protecting from those who are paid to protect.” You had a lawyer? That is your representation in court. Adults are presumed to have capacity to protect themselves (assuming they are not the vulnerable adult but that would be a different case) or access their social network. I have assumed from all you said that you were not LiP.

      “we were sent to the court of appeal, wrongly instructed by the Local authority” LAs don’t instruct or advise on legal stuff unless you are being advised by their solicitor, which you weren’t.

      “to appeal against the false name ONLY if the appeal had been granted the Childs name would have been changed on the FULL CARE ORDER into his birth certified name, then we would have lost,” If the full care order was about to be made in the correct name, a care order was about to be made, name change or not, this child was about to be subject to a court order?

      “luckily the wise old owls at the High Court London realised the injustice we were applying to bring on ourselves and stopped us in our tracks, False name stays, cannot be changed, so who changed the name on the FULL CARE ORDER?????????” Was the name change on the care order the right or wrong name & was it the name the case had been conducted under in both judgments or in which one?

      So I guess the next court hearing is to grant or not the care order in respect of the right name and the right child.

      I do however assume the evidence is the same, or is there different evidence in the other judgement?

  15. Why do you think South Cleveland hospital were not party to this case, none of the scans or any medical evidence was allowed they were not PARTY, I have a letter confirming this, this includes the NON ACCIDENT admission report withheld in their hospital, my grandson was
    taken BY MYSELF and both parents on his GPs orders, due to head jerking spasms getting more severe, it was My Grandsons GP that arranged for a Neurosurgeon Mr Straton to meet us in the A&E and do emergency investigation

    • So why I think that is that they did not need to be because medical evidence had moved on beyond that point. I would assume that was included in the SW and Guardian statements. The judge in that appeal was clear that he had consulted widely and was satisfied. The South Cleveland evidence was no longer relevant and they didn’t need to be part of the proceedings, this is because they incorrectly diagnosed and this was reflected up, subject to scrutiny and revised.

  16. Possibilities do not over-rule evidence, putting down a different name for a child will never hide the truth, covering up birth damage will never stay hidden.

    • Covering up anything should stay hidden. I remain unclear about how the name thing could possibly be an issue if everyone knows they are talking about the same child, but you are right I am not a lawyer and if its an issue it is. I have just never encountered it as one and certainly not as a barrier to information sharing or retrieving records.

      I have obviously only read the one judgment and I don’t ever presume to predict the outcome of any court. The judgment I read makes it quite clear that the medical evidence was conclusive. If that is the case and you continue to say that is wrong, you are not a safe person for that baby to be with and you should understand that?

      Baby was sent home and then the medics decided the original decision was wrong and recalled baby. If I was you, I would have been a lot less angry and a lot more suspicious about who in my family could have harmed that baby, as well as wanting organic conditions explored. That way innocent family members lie, those who can consider the worst of the parents whilst still hoping for the best. Not those who are bound up in conspiracy theories, but maybe the high court will say different, I can only comment on what you have shared (and I find the lack of full stops etc. make it difficult to read your posts btw).

  17. This began as a discussion of the “Latvian case” where the judgement is now up. The judgement shows that the judge relied entirely on bits of paper (hearsay).The crusade was then launched to pursue parents and children throughout Europe if necessary even though they were not wanted by the police and had not been charged with any crime.
    The real question in such cases is “Why don’t the UK social services leave their colleagues in other countries to deal with the situation?” Why the vendetta? What can they gain by chasing after foreign parents in foreign countries determined to bring back a baby at vast public expense to give it for adoption by complete strangers?
    The only answer that makes sense is that they cannot afford to lose babies in case it encourages other parents to flee to safety and get away with it .Hence the merciless hunting down of parents who love their children so much that they are willing to sacrifice everything and leave all their belongings behind just to escape the pack of social workers making their living out of snatching children…………….

    • Because the judge decisions on jurisdiction.

      Social workers will be liaising with the Latvian social workers to ensure the children are safe, any pursuing following the judges direction will likely be by the police anyway. The injury will need to be investigated, parents may be charged, but there is not yet any indication that these children will not be able to remain with their family, Anything you say about that is scaremongering at this moment.

  18. The fact is that UK social workers detest it when parents flee. There are dozens of cases where I have been involved personally where supreme efforts have been made to retrieve babies from foreign countries and bring them back for forced adoption by strangers in the UK ;Usually but not always ending in expensive failure.
    I can only repeat :-The real question in such cases is “Why don’t the UK social services leave their colleagues in other countries to deal with the situation?” Why the vendetta? What can they gain by chasing after foreign parents in foreign countries determined to bring back a baby at vast public expense to give it for adoption by complete strangers?
    The only answer that makes sense is that they cannot afford to lose babies in case it encourages other parents to flee to safety and get away with it .Hence the merciless hunting down of parents who love their children so much that they are willing to sacrifice everything and leave all their belongings behind just to escape the pack of social workers making their living out of snatching children…………….

    • & I can only repeat that social workers act as directed by THE LAW, you credit them with more power than they have or wish to have! Now that this family have fled, the injuries will be old and far harder to investigate, the children are likely to have been coached if they were deliberate, and if they were we are leaving children in a family where they have been harmed. Not fleeing would have meant that the medics could check injuries, police investigate, and hopefully everyone can stay together. Dozens of cases is miniscule and you are therefore extrapolating from anecdotal evidence.

      • I think that there is a genuine issue over the Children Act 1989 which was constructed in a time when people usually stayed in their own country and worked there and raised their family there, with those who chose to move to another country being very exceptional, now being used in a political and cultural climate where freedom of movement across the EU (and wider) is the norm. I would have no problem with a system that ruled solely on physical presence of the children and where the children moved countries, the case was simply transferred to those authorities to deal with. A lot of the time, in reality, that’s exactly what happens. But we do see enough cases where the parents wish to return to their home country with their children to need some sort of better workable system for the case being transferred over to that country’s social services and that country’s courts. That’s a political call, it is well beyond the capability of even one Government to achieve it. Brussels II gives a legal framework, but it really only works where the other country WANTS to take the case on and there are no teeth to make the other country take the case on if they are dragging their feet.

        For my mind, once children are in Latvia (or wherever), I’m quite happy to let Latvia get on with it. If they have a different view about thresholds for intervention, that’s their business. If we got a Court of Appeal or Supreme Court decision that said “Social workers are just to pass the information on to the authorities in that country and close the case, no obligations, no duties after that”, I’d be bloody delighted.

  19. There is no law that obliges social workers to pursue pregnant mothers trying to escape forced adoption in foreign countries by going to court there and asking for the babies born abroad to be taken to UK to be later adopted by strangers . They could perfectly well leave the situation to be dealt with by the authorities in the countries where the baby was born not spend vast sums of taxpayer’s money trying to recover babies to give them to strangers !
    This is not anecdotal as you know perfectly well the social worker’s reaction to flight by pregnant mothers is “pursue and retrieve the baby” .Pregnant mothers are all entitled to flee to avoid the horrors of forced adoption which have as yet never been inflicted abroad on any fleeing pregnant mother.
    In the case above there is no evidence of any injuries from any live person .Only bits of paper.
    Obviously flight =safety for these kids .Why would the family give up everything in the UK to lead a without doubt tougher life in Latvia if they did not love their children and care for them?
    But love is a forbidden word to social workers who only talk of bonding.Something that happens to footballers in teams like Manchester United who often bond together but rarely love each other !

    • If it is directed by a judge, that is the legal framework. I too would have no issue with other countries dealing with cases of their nationals. Your view of social workers is just wrong. The only time we are seeking to remove is when children are at risk to the extent that it really isn’t possible for them to be at home. Loving and fighting for children is undertaken by the most violent people I encounter, it doesn’t mean children are safe with them. Why they fight and hurt their children is beyond me but am sure you have an answer for that. I used love in a case conference just the other day, it isn’t a banned word, but we do also know that children’s attachment (or bond as you call it) is intact but distorted by parents who harm them.

      • If you have no idea why parents fight or harm their children then one is left to wonder what insight you’re able to bring to a Child Protection Conference?

      • That was clumsy phrasing. I was thinking about the violent people I have worked with, who have harmed their children, but also fight for them. I suppose I could say that they still don’t want to lose their children, but to use them as a battering ram or what? Obviously not all cases are like that.

  20. Mr Forced Adoption – I just want to challenge your perception of social workers as somehow being hell bent on ruining lives, almost as though we thrive in removing children and somehow go home happy when a child has been removed and we all give each other hugs and high fives when it is done. If this was the case I wonder why it is that of all the public sector jobs, the highest rate of sickness due to stress is in Local Authority social work with children.

    No matter how much I have believed that a child should be permanently removed from a parent and how hard I have fought for that, once the final hearing is over, I go home depressed and upset because it means that as a society this child and these parents have been failed and proceedings is symbolic of that. If any social worker feels anything other than sadness (I have never met a social worker who doesn’t) then they are in the wrong job and should leave.

    Mr Forced Adoption, I am sure that all the points you make are valid for you. You probably only see the extreme end of the spectrum. In my team we have 60 referrals per day about children. We open up about 5 for assessment. For every 5 we assess, 3 are closed down within 3 months. For the 2 that are moved on to longer term teams, 0.8 are done under child protection plans. A tiny amount of the total number of children open to us end with proceedings. Your view, while valid to you, is a distorted and unfair one.

    • Mr or m/s Social worker. I never said you were hellbent on ruining lives.You do however earn a living taking children from parents and you do have scorecards to show how many forced adoptions you have achieved.
      You do (unlike some) sound a sincere and well meaning social worker and perhaps you do more good than harm;
      My position however remains resolutely opposed to the criminal forced adoption of newborn babies removed from loving mothers for “risk of emotional abuse” (the most quoted reason).The most frequent excuses for this are that the mother had a violent partner (even though he is long departed or safely in jail) ,or that she was raped or had an abusive childhood, and is so upset she is punished twice by losing her baby,or that she was in care herself and therefore not fit to be a parent! (doesn’t say much for the care system!),or that she does not cooperate with professionals (who say they may take her baby),or even that she has a mysterious borderline personality disorder (does not like social workers?) that makes her dangerous even though she has never harmed anyone in all her life.
      All these occur almost daily in different parts of the country .The sooner forced adoption follows the route of capital punishment and is abolished the more civilized we all will be !

  21. Suespicious we can actually agree on being “bloody delighted” if social workers in UK just passed on the info to the equivalent authorities in foreign countries to which mothers had fled .If they let foreign social workers get on with it instead of UK social services taking court proceedings over there to try and drag babies and young kids back to UK for care or forced adoption !
    I believe every pregnant mother has a right to flee the UK to avoid forced adoption as I believe that in time it will be denounced as a crime against humanity
    ;Adoption without consent does occur elsewhere in the EU almost exclusively for babies who have been abandoned by parents or parents who are dead or who cannot be found. That is not forced adoption.
    Crowded UK family courts up and down the land struggle to maintain the flow of forced adoptions on a scale that is massive compared with anything that happens with our European neighbours.
    In 30 or 40 years time I feel sure that some hapless Gordon Brown type Prime Minister will be apologising for what UK social services do right now………..

    • So perhaps you could just lobby the judiciary for us?

      • Judges only act when social workers decide to initiate care proceedings.They only order forced adoptions when social workers apply to them to make these orders;
        If social workers stopped applying for forced adoptions and followed the route set by France for example in finding other solutions we would all be more civilized as a result

      • I don’t know that we can hold France up as some perfect Utopia where adoption doesn’t exist – that just isnt bourne out by the facts. Not that the facts are tending to trouble people all that much in these discussions…

      • But that is exactly what forced adoption is ,”a fertility service” at best “or “a paedophile service” at worst”.Yes State intervention does cost £ s but those who live off the State and hive kids off to the adoption industry make millions of £s and damn the cost to the taxpayer !

      • France may have adoptionwithout parental consent if a baby is abandoned or parents simply cannot be found;They do not have forced adoption where parents in the UK plead in vain to stop their babies being handed over to complete strangers for forced adoption !

      • I have agreed here and elsewhere that there is a discussion to be had about the way non consensual adoption is used. This was not a case where anyone was talking adoption.

      • Absolutely right, Ian.

        Helen, if Children’s Services stopped following Nazi policies such as the current eugenics-based/social engineering child re-allocation programme, and took responsibility for their terrible actions against children and families instead of attempting to hide behind the Nuremburg Defence of “I’m only following orders” and “it’s those judges, not me” then the SS appellation might be less apposite.

      • Have already warned in this discussion that the comment rules apply, and specifically that calling people Nazi’s for having a different perspective is not accepted here. Am very happy to host different points of view here, but that is not acceptable. Don’t do it again, please.

      • “Helen, if Children’s Services stopped following Nazi policies such as the current eugenics-based/social engineering child re-allocation programme, and took responsibility for their terrible actions against children and families instead of attempting to hide behind the Nuremburg Defence of “I’m only following orders” and “it’s those judges, not me” then the SS appellation might be less apposite.”

        Your comment is totally unacceptable and a reason for disengagement on my part, not that it will bother you. I would like to say something in response that would match your hostility, but I am a grown up, so shall manage myself.

      • “So perhaps you could just lobby the judiciary for us?” P.S. This was sarcasm, just sick of social workers being blamed. Get your heads out of the sand and understand if you can the legislative and political framework for child protection in the UK. Politicians frame law (& you vote for them so not a bad idea to lobby them if you want things to change) and judges enforce it. Social workers work with the law as it is, take cases to court as they need to on that basis, and judges decide. I could say people could stop harming their children and putting them at risk, then I’d look for a new job.

      • I repeat that social workers apply to courts for forced adoptions and if they stopped doing this they would never happen.Therefore until they do stop applying they are to blame and not the judges who so often just rubberstamp their demands.
        In the case of the Latvians there were threats to sign a sort of confession of guilt otherwise the kids would be removed immediately ! The parents asked my advice so I said sign it to keep your kids with you, then leave the country at once before they can use your so called admissions against you.I am sure the Latvian authorities will deal with the situation in a much better way than the UK lot !

      • Suesspiciousminds, I realise it’s your ball and I’m not trying to be disengenuous but in my defence, I haven’t actually called anyone a N***. The references to N*** policies were relevant, rather than hyperbole, so Godwin’s Rule doesn’t seem to bite. Nevertheless, I’m happy to state for the record that I do not consider any of my fellow contributors to be adherents of National Socialism.

      • Given that we live in a neoliberal democracy nothing could really be further from any kind of national socialism or other regimes oft mentioned.

    • & I repeat social workers work within a legal framework including stat guidance. This didn’t come out of nowhere but emerged out of numerous cases where children have been harmed.

      The children were removed to a place of safety for investigations to be undertaken (grandparents). I hope the children are safe and nobody has reason to regret supporting them to flee.

      I would be happy for the Latvians to deal with it however they wish to, this was not however the decision of the court.

      • The statutory guidance from the government is entirely neutral.

        https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419595/Working_Together_to_Safeguard_Children.pdf

        It could have been used to good or bad effect equally. In the Latvian case it was used incorrectly and ultimately, the harm caused to the children in terms of whole-life outcomes can reasonably be assumed to be greater than the initial alleged physical harm being investigated. Gnats and camels, anyone?

        I also note in passing that the time limit for a s.47 investigation is 45 days so definitely not much like a sleep-over!

      • I think you will find that guidance has nothing to do with where a family are ordinarily resident.

        40 days is the maximum time for a S47 Assessment but most are completed within 48 hours and either children returned home or an interim safety plan put in place until a CP conference can be held, time limit for that is 15 days.

      • The judge said “There is reasonable cause to believe that two of these children have suffered inflicted injuries in their parents’ care and it is important that they be protected from repetition. The covert disappearance from a placement agreed with the local authority gives me serious cause to believe that the children’s circumstances with the parents are far from ideal and of course it is in those sort of pressured circumstances that extremities of behaviour are most likely to occur. It is necessary and proportionate for the children to be found and placed safely.” nothing about supporting this family to flee is ok.

      • Perhaps I was unclear – the Guidance was posted in relation to my contention that the initial actions by SS were ill-judged and heavy-handed and, in fact, created the “pressured circumstances” referred to by HHJ Duggan. As you rightly state, the Guidance has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of country of habitual residence.

        What authority do you have to support your assertion that the time-limit for a s.47 assessment is 40 days? The Guidance clearly states 45 days (p.37-38).

      • Local Safeguarding Guidance recommends 40 days as good practice, the intent is to avoid delay. 6. Section 47 Enquiries Assessment

        See the Assessment Protocol.

        The Section 47 Enquiry should begin by focusing primarily on the information identified during the Common Assessment, Referral and any other assessments.

        The maximum timeframe for the assessment to conclude, such that it is possible to reach a decision on next steps, should be no longer than 40 working days from the point of referral. If, in discussion with a child and their family and other professionals, an assessment may exceeds 40 working days the social worker and their manager must seek senior management approval outlining the reasons the assessment may exceed the time limit.

        http://llrscb.proceduresonline.com/chapters/p_sec_47_cor_ass.html I have picked one as an example but you can google others.

      • Mike Cox, flight is far more damaging for the children than staying with grandparents for a short period of time to ensure all is safe. Far more low key and all voluntary so that no orders or location of the children is necessary. If these children have been harmed by their parents, they have just been placed at further risk, with the clear message that they can’t tell anyone about it.

      • Helen – Thank you for the link – Leicester Local Safeguarding Children Board have decided to improve on the national guidance.

      • Most LSCB guidance says the same Mike. Most S47 enquiries take a lot less time in practice, I work to going to conference or not within 15 days. In reality that is usually a lot quicker too, we just take the time to do proper agency checks and working with the family. It means we may go to CP Conference with a recommendation for child in need rather than CP which offers services and support only.

  22. I am quite surprised to read Mr Forced Adoption that you actively encouraged this vulnerable family to flee the UK. They came to you at a moment of great vulnerability and should further families come to you I really would encourage you to read my next paragraph and actually reflect on it.

    In my experience the majority of children who do come to physical harm from their parents do so because the parent simply lost it. Most of the time we do some work with the family and we then go away. What that work looks like and the length of it is can vary. Often, yes, we ask family members to care for the children to give us time to help us understand what is going on if that option is there. If there had been no family I doubt foster care would have been offered and other safety planning measures could have been put in place. That the grandparents were there was an opportunity and it was used.

    That the children were asked to go to the grandparents for a night or two seems sensible and reasonable. That the parents subsequently fled the country reads like a total over reaction based on fear. The fear is normal and I can understand it. I would also feel that fear. But it is the job of those who are not emotionally involved and who do not have ulterior motives to offer rational and considered advice. As it stands, the couple came to you and your time with them perpetuated the fear and increased it beyond what it needed to be. They were vulnerable and the children’s life course and subsequent court action is because of your advice. As I have previously said, more likely than not those children would be back home, back at school if it were not for this advice.

    Mr Social Worker

    • This is exactly what I was thinking about on my way home, because that is what social workers do, we reflect. We continually think about how we could do things better and how we can best work with families to ensure they do stay together safely.

      The solution could have been quite straightforward instead Force Adoption, you have frightened them beyond any social work intervention because you have given them an entirely erroneous view of the possible outcomes.

      I am deeply saddened by the upheaval of flight for the children who have been taught by this action that any time something bad happens to them they can’t tell anyone. They will be frightened children who learn that adults aren’t safe to trust.

      There is nothing about this which is good for the children in this family. I wish you would take responsibility for that and for the harm you have possibly placed these children at risk of.

      As Mr Social Worker so clearly says, parents have often just lost it, are under stress etc. and we work with families in crisis so that they are no longer. Usually, everything works out better for everyone and they thank us.

      I hope that the police can track you because those who supported this family to flee are entirely responsible for an EPO being granted, a drastic measure that would never have been taken otherwise,

      • Once those horrible UK social workers threaten to take your children into care or snatch your new born baby flight is obviously the best decision;Once they actually get their greedy hands on your precious children it’s adios in most cases so get out when you can! I don’t see why this family would be more vulnerable in Ireland,Latvia,or France but perhaps someone could enlighten me;

    • Mr Social Worker & Helen – It would probably assist the dialogue no end if you would both ease up on the patronising tone and self-aggrandising comments. I think we can take it as read that we’re all intelligent and reflect on what we read. We also want the best for our children and those of others. Do you both honestly believe that not one scintilla of responsibility for the Latvian debacle rests with Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council’s handling of the matter?

      • There is no patronising in my tone or self aggrandisement, whatever you choose to read by being challenged. Tone is always difficult in the written word but I can promise you there is none of those features in mine were you to hear my voice. I suppose we could be as rude and vile about you as most comments about social workers are on this blog. That we chose not to be is because we choose to respect you and your views whilst engaging with you.

        Children staying with their grandparents whilst injuries are checked out and the police investigate should have been ok. If these parents had deliberately harmed their children, it is possible they would stay with them longer, but if they didn’t the children would have been home after a couple of days instead of being frightened and fleeing.

      • There is a vanishingly slim possibility that the parents left the UK because they knew that the cat was out of the bag and the police were about to uncover another Norwich-type CSA case. Oh dear, Ian Joseph.

        However, in the real world, the reality is that this was probably, at worst, a case of inappropriate physical chastisement which, as you say, could have been resolved by way of a short period of work with the parents and/or family. Such a matter would not have warranted removal of the children.The reason that things did not proceed to that resolution is because the immediate , and unnecessary, removal of the four children (or ejection of the parents overnight, which is what seems to have happened) caused the parents, not unnaturally, to immediately lose all confidence in Social Services and made them more receptive to advice to flee. I hear what you say about the need to protect children but such action has to be predicated on a realistic appreciation of the actual risk.

        I assume you drive a car – 1,775 people died last year in RTAs but you still drive a car. We could prevent almost every death if cars were limited to 20mph but we don’t because the cost/benefit analysis means that it’s not viable.

        Social services can try to prevent all child deaths by removing all children during the investigation process (and AGAIN it wasn’t for 24 hours, it was 7 days in this case, 12-19 Nov) but then they will be causing far more harm than they will be preventing.

      • I do understand what you are saying about risk and risk adversity. I can’t really comment on this case but I would hazard there was a real risk this injury was either deliberate or non accidental, otherwise it wouldn’t have necessitated the removal of the children (or equivalent). It is absolutely possible as (all the social workers here have said) that nothing was particularly amiss and over chastisement would just have been a piece of work. On the other hand, this could have been one of many injuries and old fractures could be discovered etc. As for risks generally, not all can be mitigated but risk assessment and being an agent of change is at the core of social work.

        Whilst there is criticism of S20, asking for this to be an overnight with family members keeps everyone out of court when they don’t need to be there, and for relatively informal arrangements to be made. I have no idea what kind of relationship grandparents have but social workers generally ask who the children would be happier overnight with. The injuries were serious enough for an EPO, which means taking children to an immediate place of safety, therefore the assessment that an interim safety plan should be put in place was appropriate. Social workers are probably more realistic than most about family life. Some of the homes we don’t remove children from would horrify the Daily Mail!

    • You really don’t understand loving parents do you Mr Social worker ? They love their kids and want to keep them.They know once the moneygrubbing adoption and fostering agencies get their hands on attractive well mannered children they never let go.
      I shall continue to help parents flee the horrible UK social workers and help them go to Ireland,Latvia ,or anywhere more civilised than the UK;
      Police in both Ireland and Latvia commented on what a happy family they were with friendly but well mannered children.
      Thank goodness the social workers in France,Ireland,Spain ,and N.Cyprus are friendly gentle,understanding,folk as opposed to the cruel unfeeling bullies found all over the UK

      • If social workers in this country had had the time before the family fled, they may well have said the same, but you are not able to consider that those coached and over compliant if they had been hurt by their parents.

      • Social workers forced the parents (under the threat of immediate removal of their children) to sign an

      • P.S. I can’t engage on the money grabbing adoption think again, it is old, tired and untrue. It doesn’t matter what form of permeance is decided upon for children, state intervention costs £££££ & adoption is not an infertility service.

      • That doesn’t mean any of my comments are negated. The social workers would have been asking the family to sign a written agreement, a safety plan.

      • Helen do you assume that parents have faith in the system? They absolutely don’t.

        I ratted in the RCJ today on a midland council about the SW conducting a whispering campaign against a parent who did voluntary work (her kids are in care), the parent got the sack.

        The same parent was told by the council that they wouldn’t work with her unless she withdraws her appeal. I have a letter from them.

        The judge told them (like the judge in the lower court) that they have to get on with her.

        She is not allowed to attend school to see the children’s work, go to the Nativity, see medical records, go to the LACs she is completely dis- engaged from them.

        The council treats her children as the poor relations. They are grubby and unkempt in contact (when they are allowed to go) badly fed. We presented evidence.

        The judge said we need to go back and discharge again, the LA need to sort themselves out.

        The LA were criticised for not not complying with any directions despite proudly announcing today that they had! The judge pointed out that they hadn’t and they conceded that point.

        The judge extracted a promise that when she applies to discharge again they won’t apply for a 91(14) against her.

        These people are not trusted.

      • No I don’t think people trust the system or the social workers, that does make may job harder.

        Ratted suggests the LADO might have been involved? That isn’t a whispering campaign, but the reason people have children in care can prevent them doing certain jobs, depending on why their children were in care.

        I have always said poor practice should be challenged, outside or inside the court is fine by me.Poor care should also be examined.

        I understand why social workers aren’t trusted, but give me a minute here to think about failures in other systems. We’ve heard a lot on the news today about health failures but that doesn’t mean I don’t trust my doctor or the hospital if I presented at A&E. There are miscarriages of justice but I don’t distrust all lawyer, judges or even juries for that matter. There is police brutality but I don’t distrust all police officers.

        Why is wholesale distrust of a profession acceptable for social workers (who I might just add spend most of their time HELPING people)? I know you could say we remove people’s children but putting them in prison removes them from their children for huge amounts of time (for example) as does not being treated appropriately in hospital which could be catastrophic, or family breakdown after any of those things.

      • There is huge criticism in other areas, however social workers aided and abetted the systemic abuse of children in care in the 60s, 70s. 80s and beyond, therefore no trust, we are the “sick man of Europe” in terms of how we conduct our family justice system, no trust. Trust is all gone long ago. These children, were the children of mothers and fathers and we allow that to their kids? Then we take the babies off the care leavers just for good measure because they were brought up in the care system.

        The representation for parents challenges very little.
        Thresholds are poorly written, judgments are shoddy. Experts are in the pay of the LA (look at the “Over £500” docs for the councils).
        The Police are the lap Dogs of social workers, they don’t use their discretion in using their powers, they do what the SW wants done, because the SW has no power being a council worker.
        S20’s are not honoured by councils, parents are told they will be arrested if they take their kids out of care.
        Contacts are stopped without a s34(4) order.

        The list is endless and I have missed lots out. Maybe the Latvians thought they would they would get a fair hearing in Latvia. Maybe their system isn’t broken like ours.

      • “There is huge criticism in other areas, however social workers aided and abetted the systemic abuse of children in care in the 60s, 70s. 80s and beyond, therefore no trust, we are the “sick man of Europe” in terms of how we conduct our family justice system, no trust. Trust is all gone long ago. These children, were the children of mothers and fathers and we allow that to their kids?”

        I have always said that adoption may change, it needs political will, it is nothing at all to do with social workers. We are well aware that other countries manage children living outside their family of origin differently, it is global profession. Children who are in care now are only accommodated on child protection grounds.

        “Then we take the babies off the care leavers just for good measure because they were brought up in the care system.”

        Care leavers are no different to other parents. They are more vulnerable and they don’t have a blue print for parenting necessarily, as well as experiencing the impact of trauma and abuse, work with a social worker and baby stays in my experience. Unfortunately some factors can make this impossible. It isn’t because they are care leavers.

        “The representation for parents challenges very little.
        Thresholds are poorly written, judgments are shoddy. Experts are in the pay of the LA (look at the “Over £500” docs for the councils).
        The Police are the lap Dogs of social workers, they don’t use their discretion in using their powers, they do what the SW wants done, because the SW has no power being a council worker.
        S20’s are not honoured by councils, parents are told they will be arrested if they take their kids out of care.
        Contacts are stopped without a s34(4) order.”

        Oh goodness, conspiracy again – I wish the police were lapdogs, I wish the lawyers were in my pocket – & in case you take that seriously I don’t. You write off everything wholesale again, I can’t engage with that. it might be what you see but it is anecdotal evidence in a minuscule amount of cases.

        “The list is endless and I have missed lots out. Maybe the Latvians thought they would they would get a fair hearing in Latvia. Maybe their system isn’t broken like ours.”

        The system isn’t broken, it does need some adjustments, but honestly writing it all off as you do – it won’t be you that helps makes those changes will it. Too busy ranting about what is wrong to think of solutions. Join the rest of us that are trying to make it work for everyone?

        & you didn’t answer my question – there was a question mark I believe, did you miss it?

      • Guess I was right about the LADO? Since you didn’t respond.

    • The children are vulnerable wherever they are now if they have been harmed by their family and I have been quite explicit about why that is.

  23. Social workers forced the parents to sign an admission of guilt for the bruises on their oldest son,, after threatening them that their kids would be removed immediately if they did not sign;They rang me for advice, so I said that the threats were probably idle but nevertheless sign and get back home to Latvia via Ireland at once.Blackmailers are best avoided ! Legal kidnappers of foreign children even more so.
    They saw police and in both Ireland and Latvia who were more than satisfied with a loving family and healthy well behaved children !

    • I wish these children no harm but I wonder what would make you stop and think that you might be putting children at further risk. If they ended up hurt or dead in Latvia would you take responsibility? You know absolutely nothing about this case apart from what the people who could have caused the harm told you. This is the significant difference between you and social workers who talk to all the people in that family’s life to work out if the children are safe or need protecting, needs protecting hardly ever means adoption. Your actions are called reverting the course of justice, the UK police needed to investigate. You could have aided and abetted criminals for all you know, on their own account of events, with no corroboration. Glad you are happy to take that risk because UK social workers are so “horrible”.

      • I believe these children are a lot less liable to end up hurt or dead in Latvia than they would in care in the UK; Nearly half children in care in UK end up in prison or as sex workers on the streets ! Surely good parents do not want that for their kids,? In Rochdale young teenagers in care groomed and pimped out by Pakistani taxi drivers and their friends asked social workers for help to get out of that situation and were told “it’s your career choice!”;
        Ant good parent would be glad to escape to civilisation with their families once social workers began to make threats.

      • & again you extrapolate, no idea what CSE has to do with this case. I have always said poor practice should be identified.

        The outcomes for children in care are predicated on the trauma and abuse experienced at home, not just on being in care. I would accept entirely that the state doesn’t make the best parent, the care system has flaws etc. but so does leaving children at home with parents who abuse them.

        You haven’t really answered my question. Would you take responsibility for these children experiencing further harm, if they have in fact been harmed by their parents?

      • No because they are more likely to avoid harm in another more civilized country than in UK
        I would not hold you responsible if like so many they got sexually abused in care and would not feel responsible myself that I had put them at risk by advising a speedy change of venue for a law abiding family on the strength of a few bruises on a boy reported for the very first time

      • That really wasn’t my question and your answer was more of the same repetitious narrative about the UK and social workers. You have an incredibly biased view based on a statistically insignificant amount of evidence.

        Parents tell you about social work involvement and you help them flee. If they have harmed their child and harm them more seriously next time, are you not responsible for those children not being safe?

        You have exerted power without any accountability and in case Blackburn with Darwen are unaware of your actions, shall I let them know? The police may wish to discuss with you.

      • There is no secret so by all means tell the police I give advice by telephone to any distressed parent that asks for it.Any sensible law abiding parent should flee if social workers are on their case;
        If they have not been arrested or charged with a crime it makes perfect sense. Social workers usurp the functions of the police without the evidence police would need to proceed.How can blackmailing threats to the Latvians make you proud to be a social worker? I would have thought the police might be more interested in those social workers threatening behaviour rather than me.
        All boys have bruises and as I ascertained the allegations of the social worker made before the family fled it was obvious that even if I believed every one of them that still did not justify their threats ,blackmail and high handed actions.It did justify a quick return home to civilization and safety.

      • Since nothing had been investigated how could you possibly know if a crime has been committed or not or even if they were to be charged? They fled before any of that was possible.

        No idea what you mean by blackmailing threats to the Latvians, do you mean agreeing a plan to keep the children safe whilst the police and medics look at the injuries? I think you would find the police were fully engaged in that process because they would have been party to a strategy discussion. The medical would of course bring to the attention of all any historical injuries because none of us can know if this was the first time without a x ray machine. It was just the first time they came to the attention of the LA.

        You didn’t ascertain anything, you took the word of the family who earlier on this board were said to be confused, and frightened them. I think that is exerting power without responsibility and that is more highhanded than any social work practice I have witnessed. You are dangerously unaccountable. You have absolutely no idea if those children are ok or not. Let’s all hope that they are.

        .

      • I don’t understand why you keep badgering Ian Joseph to take responsibility for the parents’ flight. Ian gave advice, the reason that advice was accepted was entirely due to the heavy-handed conduct of Blackburn & Darwen Social Services which lost them the confidence of the parents and children. It must be beyond dispute that the parents would have been less receptive to Ian’s advice if the children had not been removed from their parents’ care for 7 days.

      • You may not understand but I have explained and I fear any further explanation would simply come across as patronising. Useful to know that is Ian Joseph, I thought it was Tim Haines.

    • Sorry to disappoint – no aliases here. I’ve not been able to keep up with all the posts on the thread, but had noted the comment above and was just going to say that our client today told McFarlane LJ that not only did SS tell her that if she didn’t agree to a S20 that they would take her children into care, but also that she would not be allowed to see them! Despite her agreeing to the S20 they went for a court order months later, and it turns out that for once they were telling the truth, and she largely *hasn’t* been allowed to see them, despite a contact schedule and a court order telling SS that they have to work with mother whether they like it or not.

  24. I just advise parents that if social workers in UK are threatening them ,then they and their children will get better and fairer treatment in France or other more civilized countries and above all avoid forced adoption.
    Where is the harm in that since it is so obviously true??

    • Don’t minimise what you do. There is no “just” about it. My version would be more like you scare vulnerable families with an inaccurate account of what they can expect instead of providing support. They then uproot themselves and their families when you have no idea what they have and haven’t done to their children apart from an account given by someone who (if they have harmed their children) are a perpetrator of abuse.

      What you do is highly dangerous and I suspect it will take a child dying for you to have to take any responsibility. I leave you to your world which is so far away from reality that your insistence on living in it is delusional.

      • Numbers of children with special needs are taken from parents into care where they are neglected and die. UK social workers such as yourself should take responsibility for that.
        Teenagers in care are allowed to be pimped out by older men to clients willing to pay for sex but social workers shrug their shoulders and say it is their career choice so you should also share responsibility for that.
        I give advice to anyone who thinks my advice will be useful rather like defence lawyers who act for all manner of clients. I do however want to see what is alleged by the UK social services and act on the basis that even if their allegations are true they seldom justify the legal kidnapping of children and giving them away to strangers like Xmas or birthday presents.
        Nobody can justify the cruelty of taking babies at birth from law abiding mothers on the pretext of “risk of future emotional abuse” and I notice that you do not even try to do so.
        I repeat that social workers should stop usurping the role of the police , should leave crime to those trained to deal with it,and should stop persecuting parents who for the most part have never broken the law and probably never will .

      • “Nobody can justify the cruelty of taking babies at birth from law abiding mothers on the pretext of “risk of future emotional abuse” and I notice that you do not even try to do so.” I think I said that I could justify it when I discussed risk assessment. I don’t think I’m going to justify it to you, mainly because I can’t really be bothered with you at the moment. Your comment about giving children away like presents is absolutely disgusting and just evidence that there is no point commenting here on anything you say because you just repeat endlessly the same narrative on a loop with absolutely no wish to engage or absorb anything that might challenge it. Nobody denies the system isn’t perfect but if it was as dreadful as you say, most of us in it wouldn’t be in it. You act outside the law by making case decisions on the information people choose to share with you, no social worker would dream of doing such a thing.

    • Forced Adoption – By looking at your posts it is evident that your advice to any parent whose child is open on a Child Protection basis is to flee England. That’s about 145,000 children a year. Are you serious?

      • Remembering that about 12,000 applications are made to Court each year (let’s say an average of 1.5 children per application – some are just for one child, others for 3 or 4), so about 18,000 children per year come into the Court process. If you’re advising 145,000 to flee the country, that’s a heck of a lot that could have just stayed at home.

        And we know that about 5,000 children got adopted last year, so of 145,000 open child protection cases, I make that 1 in 29 of those parents will have a child adopted. You might well still argue that this is too high and that each one represents a tragedy. But if you are trying to weigh up the risks that warrant someone uprooting their family and running to Europe, having an idea of the odds is quite important. To tell all of those people that they should flee the country or their child will be adopted is not far off telling a visitor to a casino to put all their money on the number 12, first spin, as it is inevitably going to come up. You’ll be right sometimes, but you’ll be wrong a hell of a lot more often.

      • Are you saying that social services are threatening to kidnap 145,000 children every year?
        That makes most of those individuals who abduct children seem small fry indeed !
        As for me,most of the families who contact me about flight have already decided to go but need help and advice as to how and when to do it.
        In the Latvian case they had already planned to escape but when they asked me my advice was to sign the blackmail document admitting guilt so as to prevent the immediate and second removal of the children and then departure to Latvia via Ireland ;That proved successful …….
        I certainly cannot advise mothers to flee if they have no means of support after flight from family or a partner with a good job, and that sadly cuts out the majority.
        Suespicious,I think you are well aware of the holes in your saucy roulette wheel theory.
        I like yourself in your capacity as a lawyer give advice when needed to (in my case ) those who ask free of charge ,and in your case those who can arrange for your fees to be paid;
        You cannot be responsible for all the clients in trouble in the UK and neither can I !
        Also of course parents with older children who cannot be adopted escape to avoid permanent fostercare. And good luck to them.
        Who then should emmigrate? Well parents who can afford to and who have been definitely threatened by social services that they will have their children or new born babies removed if they do not do what they are told or even if they do everything commanded.
        Above all pregnant women who have been told by social workers that their babies will be removed at birth should ALL leave UK if they can afford to do so and thus escape the unique brutality of our UK social services.

      • https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/444788/SFR23-2015.pdf

        https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/367877/SFR43_2014_Main_Text.pdf

        Disrupting 145,000 family relationships, however fleetingly or temporarily, in order to prevent 60 deaths? Are you serious, Mr Social Worker? Can you not see the causal link between this massive over-reaction and lack of confidence in social services? Trust is a two-street, if social workers don’t trust families, then families won’t trust social workers!

        Helen posted earlier that her knowledge of incidences of misbehaviour or negligence on the part of police officers and doctors does not affect her confidence in them in any personal interaction. I would suggest that that is unusual – most parents nowadays will hesitate over a visit to A&E if they are concerned that there might be any ambiguity about the injury or explanation. Any informed parent will research a consultant’s recommended treatment. Anyone who fails to record interactions with authority, where the potential outcome is serious, is foolhardy.

        http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Baby-death-cover-Bristol-health-bosses-admit/story-28308207-detail/story.html

        http://www.itv.com/news/west/2015-12-09/nhs-trust-statement/

        The answer to fleeing families is not to try to silence Ian but rather to re-think practice.

      • I wouldn’t gamble with my children on odds of 1/29! The risk is far too high.

      • Ian helped a paedophile flee the country, I have no confidence in his ability to risk assess a case.

      • As explained above the appeal court agreed with me that France was the best place for Marie to live so blam them if you dare !
        The fact that she got convicted 3 years later to belong to a “ring” of three people (one was only convicted of assault) has nothing to do with anything and no harm was done three years earlier when the appeal court agreed her move to France
        I do not make you responsible for the sexual abuse of children in care at Rochdale by the taxi drivers who pimped them out, or for what happened when they met Cyril Smith, Rolf Harris,and Jimmy Saville.

      • I don’t want to discuss Marie’s case here, but the conviction stands.

      • Missing the point again. By your own logic, you should have waited for the outcome of the police investigation and criminal trial. If you choose to be inconsistent be open about it?

      • She was covicted of a crime more than 3 years after she fled to France .The UK appeal court agree that she should live in France so why blame me?

      • If I help an old lady cross the road and later she puts cyanide in her husband’s tea only someone like Helen would hold me responsible because I helped her !

      • We don’t need a case discussion to know that police investigations take time as do trials and convictions. By your own logic, a conviction 3 years later would mean SW were aware of the risks. You make some random comment about cyanide and old ladies which is not logical. I am not sure you know what logic or risks are.

  25. Forced Adoption – By looking at your posts it is evident that your advice to any parent whose child is open on a Child Protection basis is to flee England. That’s about 145,000 children a year. Are you serious?

  26. Oh Helen anger is clouding your judgement ! You say “if the system was so bad most of us would not be in it !”.Well plenty of people working in countries ruled by dictators work with some terrible systems in place there.Plenty of people joined the Russian N.K.V.D and the German Gestapo ! The Christian brothers and farmers in Australia abused and overworked kids from UK that were sent there by our government mostly without their parents consent;Nuns abused single mums in the laundries You are now part of a horrible and disgusting system that gives huge profits to adoption and fostering agencies and private special schools .Privacy goes out of the window when aghast parents see their kids advertised for adoption like pedigree dogs.Get out Helen while you still can ………..

  27. Wow ! She’s lost it !!

  28. Foreced Adoption – A personal question that if you prefer to ignore, is fair enough. You have very strong negative views about social workers and I am curious where this depth of anger comes from. Do you have personal experience of us?

    I am very passionate about social work and child protection. I am even more passionate about it remaining in Local Authority. I am not blind and there is much that can be improved and I am fortunate that my local authority is very family focused and does everything we can to work with families. We have a stable staff base and well resourced and do very good work. I can honestly say that we save lives and do make a difference. The feedback we get from families makes this quite clear. I know this is not the case for other Local Authorities.

    I wonder what your views are about the inevitable acadamisation of child protection services into hands such as Virgin Health and SERCO? Because if you think it is bad now, I suspect it will be even worse then and your unfounded fear that we are profit driven will actually become reality.

    • I only speak about myself in reply to “Social Worker ”
      Unlike most who fight them,I and my family have NEVER been troubled personally by UK social services even when we lived in Kent .Eventually ,we left UK to live and work in Monaco in 1984.However I always detested the arrogant brutality that UK social services showed to those least able to defend themselves.

      It all began in 1962. I was on Kent County Council and was asked for help by a mother whose son had, she said had been wrongly taken from her by social workers and put in a very expensive private school (owned by a senior Kent Councillor)where he was paid to sleep with teachers !The authorities tried to “hush the matter up” but after a widely publicised court hearing the boy was successfuly returned home and I was asked by other parents to deal with similar problems .I therefore applied in the courts for discharge of care orders against my own council for many such parents and never lost a case.

      Unfortunately I spent so much time on these cases that my language school deteriorated and my first marriage broke up when my first wife departed leaving me with two young children and a fading business to take care of ! I then stopped helping parents and concentrated on my business and my second marriage . Both proved successful ! (Happily married since 1971 with Danielle and 5 children together!)

      It was in 2003 that the Meadows cot death scandals and adoptions without parental consent exploded into the news and I wrote to the Daily Mail saying things seemed worse in 2003 than they were in the 60s when I was helping parents. I got nearly 50 letters from desperate parents.The law had changed so that I could no longer speak for parents in court,there was also forced adoption, court secrecy,and gagging orders, so I set up my site “forced-adoption”,(a phrase I made up to describe the very worst feature of the uk family courts). I now help bereft parents with advice and help in more than 1000 cases per year…………

      Lastly,as to the academisation of child protective services mentioned by Social Worker;
      Well the question for me really is academic as I think those services should be scrapped and replaced by trained police who always used to be responsible before social workers were formed to support families and not to snatch their children.Crimes against children should be detected and prosecuted by professional police not by social workers who pounce on law abiding mothers and snatch their babies for risk of emotional abuse,ie risks that may never happen !

      • But you support parents to flee, as in this case before you have any idea if they would be charged, and in another case where a mother was convicted of child abuse?

      • I support families menaced by social workers to flee to other countries where if they are taken to court they will have a fairer hearing than they would ever get in our UK family courts.In the case of Marie Black the appeal court agreed with me that she should live in France and humiliated social workers had to return her baby to her in France after previously snatching it.Blame the UK appeal court if you think she should not have gone to France.

      • You miss my point, she was convicted of a crime and you supported her to flee prior to knowing that outcome.

    • Marie Black is appealing. I have always been on the fence in that case but I am seriously concerned about aspects by people whop have actually been in and heard proceedings for themselves.

      Ian doesn’t need to risk assess anyone, to do so would be a nonsense. Marie was assessed by the French.

  29. Pingback: The Latvian case - the judgment is up | Childre...

  30. Every law abiding mother deserves a chance to keep her new born baby safe from the social worker baby snatchers; If someone I help and the UK appeal court helps them goes shop lifting 3 years later or even kills 10 people it is absurd to blame me or anyone else who helped that person.
    The real criminals are the babysnatchers who usurp the functions of the police and legally steal babies from law abiding mothers who love them;

    • But the reason social workers are often involved is because they know more than you do about what is happening in that family. You have access to only what that family share with you.

      • And this is how and why Cleveland False sexual abuse claims were allowed to flourish, persecution of parents and family members, children removed what a sorry state of affairs, all perpetrators, covered by anonimity

      • I have said that families are sharing info with ForcedAdoption but that it is only what they wish to. Nothing about secrecy in there or anonymity so not sure what you are talking about?

  31. Marie in France with her partner and baby L were all ok. The criminal issue i accept needed addressing, however it was admitted that Norfolk changed statements. That is not acceptable and her legal team are appealing. As I say I am on the fence. At no time did Ian need to risk assess as he says the Children’s Services in the host jurisdictions are called in.

    Are you saying that foreign jurisdictions are incompetent? The Latvian authorities won’t be insensitive to the British authorities concerns and wil no doubt do their own assessments.

    L meanwhile stays in France with Dad.

    • This is so simple. Vulnerable people are being told they should run away to another country without Ian knowing the full details of their case or being able to risk assess because they only share with him the info they choose to. Not talking about one case, just a general game of Russian Roulette with children’s lives.

      • They are not vulnerable, they can make up their own mind as to what they want to do. They approach him. They trust foreigners rather than their home country or the flee to their own country. We have a big problem and we need to sort it now.

        The courts make adoption orders as they know full well that in 10, 15, 20 plus years that they won’t be about to answer the difficult questions. Adopted kids find their families, I know quite a few now who have done that It is harrowing and so so sad. They want their real mums but don’t want to upset the care taker adults.

      • If you think they are not vulnerable you really don’t understand who social worker work with and that may go some way to explaining your thinking. It is true that adopted children find their families and it is harrowing, often returning to drug addicted violent parents who they have a fantasy about. It is very sad for them.

      • Any pregnant mother desrves to keep her child for at least a trial period. Any criminal is entitled to a defence but I don’t hear Helen complaining when barristers defend possible murderers and paedophiles ! Everyone is entitled to advice and I usually assume the allégations of social workers are true and I give advice on that basis..
        In the case of the Latvians even assuming bruises were found for the very first time on a Latvian boy of lively active character I felt sure they would get a fairer hearing in Latvia (if indeed the authorities thought a hearing was necessary)

        Helen’s trouble is that she does not trust any foreign social workers or foreign courts to act in the interests of children.She really ought to reflect on that…………….

      • “Any pregnant mother desrves to keep her child for at least a trial period. Any criminal is entitled to a defence but I don’t hear Helen complaining when barristers defend possible murderers and paedophiles ! Everyone is entitled to advice and I usually assume the allégations of social workers are true and I give advice on that basis.”

        I don’t really understand this because it is what happens. Parents do keep their children whilst assessments are undertaken to make sure all is safe (unless the risk really is too great) & if the case is in court, everyone is legally represented.

        “In the case of the Latvians even assuming bruises were found for the very first time on a Latvian boy of lively active character I felt sure they would get a fairer hearing in Latvia (if indeed the authorities thought a hearing was necessary)”

        Your assumptions and minimisation are evident here but the only reason this case was in court was because the family were scared into feeing.

        “Helen’s trouble is that she does not trust any foreign social workers or foreign courts to act in the interests of children.She really ought to reflect on that…………….”

        So glad you are able to identify that I have a problem with something I have never actually commented on rather than a problem with your actions Ian. Maybe it is you with the crystal ball type insights?

      • If Helen really trusted the family courts in Latvia and France as she pretends she would have no objection to my advising parents threatened by social workers to take refuge there.
        Alas she and her colleagues scream with anguish every time a parent with a baby or young child escapes their claws to find safety and justice with fair courts and friendly sympathetic social workers.

      • I am so bored with saying the same thing over and over. My problem with your actions is that you support families to flee where (a) there may be an easily resolved issue and S47 enquiry will reveal that so vulnerable families are uprooted etc. (b) they have hurt their children and you don’t know enough to know that before supporting them to flee. I have a problem with your actions and that this case, in which the injuries could have been serious, and with the lack of information you have before you support families to flee. You have supported someone to flee who has been convicted of child abuse, I have no faith in your risk assessment or expertise.

  32. Lets pretend you are right. Lets pretend they are vulnerable. Who made them that way ? The SW did, so the SW takes the child from a vulnerable person?

    The parent who acts and takes life chances is not vulnerable.

    The kids that I am aware of, are returning to normal, but sad people. They leave behind care takers who had images of forever happy families with someone else’s kid. Someone else’s DNA.

    Are you adopted? Even with happy adoptions there is huge emotional fall out for the wives and husbands of the adopted person. The children of the adopted person have confusion as to where they are from. The courts won’t be around to explain this to them all, why can’t you get that? It is wrong on all levels. The adopter will get hurt in the process of reunification. Do SWs ever explain that one?

    • I have posted all over this blog that the use of adoption needs to be debated, mainly between the legislature and the judiciary, and part of that thought is that adoption is complex for all of the children and adults involved. I understand the whole picture of adoption.

      You will know that the families social workers work with are sad rather than bad. They have often have experienced trauma and abuse themselves, it is sadly cyclical, but that doesn’t predetermine their future. Social work is about supporting families to effect change so the way their parenting affected them doesn’t affect the parenting of their children. They are vulnerable and vulnerable people take unadvised risks.

      Removing children is a last resort, not first. That you perpetuate the myth that it isn’t makes it harder to work with families because it scares them. I don’t have a case I am going to court with at the moment because I am working with families to effect change and ameliorate risk.

    • Why would the children want to reunite anyway as Helen has said the vast majority of birth parents are violent drug addicts who will harm the children anyway.

      “It is true that adopted children find their families and it is harrowing, often returning to drug addicted violent parents who they have a fantasy about. It is very sad for them.”

      • I said often, you said the vast majority, there seems to be a trent towards extrapolation in some comments!

      • Often would indicate the majority. Perhaps the word often means something different to you, however to most of the English speaking population it means more likely than not, or another way to phrase it the majority.

        Your stance on your own statements appears as sand always sifting. You would make for an excellent politician.

      • Sorry, it should have said shifting. Vast may be an overstatement. That being said at least 51% or higher of birth parents are violent drug addicts according to your statement. If we take out the violent ones while leaving the plain drug addicts, how much does that percentile climb?

      • Often doesn’t mean the majority either. It just means often. My meaning being that some children who reunite with birth families are very disappointed by the reality because the reason they were adopted remains within that family.

      • So you meant “sometimes” and not “often”. I am somewhat concerned with your misunderstanding of the English language.

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/often

        I hope the link helps.

      • No I meant often, as in frequently, as in a lot of the time. As in the linked definition.

      • I guess that makes nuts like Ian correct when he says SWs often/frequently lie. Not a majority of the time just more often than not. I guess if such things didn’t happen often Sir Munby wouldn’t be required to reiterate good practice. At least I now understand your viewpoint.

      • & it makes complete sense of the comments on this page that one word, used the way the dictionary does, can result in someone saying social workers lie.

        There are no stats of any reliability on reunification. I could make a statement based on anecdotal evidence, as others here seem happy to, and that would indeed say that the majority of reunifications are a disaster because the reasons children were adopted sill exist in that family.

        My point of view on adoption has been clear throughout. I am not a wholesale advocate.

      • I still say that taking babies at birth from sane and law abiding mothers for risk of future emotional abuse is a crime and those involved should go to jail .
        Sorry if that makes me a nut because most people agree with me if asked !

      • If you want to say “should be made a crime” that’s your opinion, and I’ve got no problem with you lobbying and campaigning to change the law to make it so. But it of course isn’t a crime.

      • It is a crime against humanity and will probably be declared as such in years to come and it is also a similar crime to deprive such babie not only of loving mothers but also (in most cases) of breastfeeding.Munby.j (as he then was) said that it was a breach of human rights to deprive such babies of breastfeeding and he was quite right !

  33. A Contested Adoption CANNOT be a last resort when nothing else would do otherwise every country would be forced to use it like the UK and on the same scale; It is not a question of opinion it is a question of fact that there are other solutions therefore it is NOT a last resort.
    QED

    • No need to shout, as ever your logic is illogical. I am only talking about UK law where adoption without consent is aimed at achieving permanency, security and stability for those children who are unable to grow up within their family of origin due to the risks. I wasn’t ever talking international law.

  34. It is a pure statement of fact that forced adoption is never a last resort where nothing else will do as there are always other options available that will actually do.International law does not come into it . I merely mentioned that other countries manage without it therefore so could we by following their leads.Forced adoption is the choice of social workers and judge and other options are always available It is I repeat a choice not a last resort.
    Q.E.D

    • Other countries don’t keep the stats or research we do, so you don’t know what they are doing, or if is better or worse for children.

    • Ian, I think that your argument about other countries is predicated on an accurate belief that they do not use non-consensual or forced adoption as much as the UK (which is absolutely correct), but also in part on an inaccurate belief that this means that the children of those other countries therefore remain with mothers and fathers.

      That is largely true of the Scandanavian countries, who have a philosophy and approach of working and supporting families with a much greater provision of resources than other European countries (in part because their tax rates allow for much higher public spending). But many of the other European countries have very similar levels of children being removed from parents, just that there the children are placed in foster care for 10-18 years, or in orphanages or children’s homes.

      I really do suggest that you read Clare Fenton-Glynn’s excellent report on the approaches across Europe. There’s of course a very legitimate argument as to whether adoption is the right choice, whether even if it is the right choice for some children whether it is too prevalent in the UK, and whether a Scandanavian approach is the right solution (if tax revenues could permit it).

      I just think that it blurs the argument significantly to consider that the low levels of adoption in say Holland (which are demonstrably very low, about 67 a year I think) actually equates to far more children being with their parents, when the reality is that they are just in other forms of State care.

      • I am not making an argument for or against adoption when discussing whether or not it is a last resort nor am I comparing the merits of one country with another.
        I am simply stating as a fact that adoption is not a last resort since others do without it.

      • That’s a perfectly valid construction, Ian.

      • Number of newborn babies taken into care more than doubles in five years

        Research from Lancaster University shows 2,000 newborns taken into care in 2013

        A report by Lancaster University has revealed that there has been a substantial increase in the number of newborn babies taken into care.

        According to BBC News, 2,018 babies were involved in care proceedings at birth or soon afterwards in 2013. In 2008 the figure was 802

        Double,double,toil and trouble…………… ( 3 witches from ,Macbeth)

      • Yep, the number of care proceedings has doubled since 2008, and continues to go up. I don’t think anyone thinks that this is a good thing. Variety of factors – it has been really easy to point the finger at the Baby P effect, but the other major thing that happened in 2008 and continues is the financial crisis in the UK public finances – that’s led to cuts in services which would have helped vulnerable parents and cuts to benefits and a housing crisis don’t help either.

        I think that the number of children who are coming into care proceedings is too high. I don’t have a magic wand answer for how to get it going in the opposite direction.

      • Tell social workers to STOP removing babies and young children from law abiding mothers and to save their energies for dealing with parents who have either been charged with or convicted of a significant crime against children.
        Tell social workers to stop usurping the functions of the police .Tell them to concentrate on helping families stick together and to leave criminal parents to trained police officers.
        There is your (almost) magic wand !

      • The rate of care proceedings is too high, but given rise in SGOs, and kinship placements most children are staying with family of origin. If everyone paid higher taxes, Scandinavian approach might work but the UK populace seem wholly in opposition to that or any measures that might ameliorate the impact of austerity, the recession and cuts. We inhabit a neoliberal capitalist economy. Vote for something different.

    • & there is a debate to be had about the use of non consensual adoption. I have said that before and happy to say it again.

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