Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lock Up Your Daughters...or social services will have them!

They used to say 'lock up your daughters' when there was a silver tongued, handsome youth around but now it is the social services that want your children and they won't want to give them back.
Dear Minister,
Thank you very much for your letter in regard to animal sentience.
The concern I am raising today is the removal of children from their parents. It would gladden many hearts this Christmas if these cases were to be reviewed and the children returned. Unfortunately it has become big business for social services to place children with fosterers. There is even an advert up in Abingdon and probably elsewhere saying ‘Have you got what it takes to foster a child?’ and promoting the whole process along with some sort of tough love.
Of the three friends I have reconnected with in Oxfordshire this autumn, an unbelievable two of them have lost their children in to care. That is an extremely high percentage. Neither mother has any addiction problem, excessive financial or housing problems, nor have they abused or neglected their children. In fact they are the most dedicated, warm and pro-active people you could meet. Any attempt to keep in touch with their children is met with threats to reduce their access time or to move the child again. They are not allowed to write letters or cards and support their child or maintain their relationship that way either.
In the Oxford Times this week, I see that Oxfordshire County Council have voted unanimously to ask the government to give them greater powers and funding to access children who are home-schooled, even if there is no reason to suspect neglect or abuse. The fifteen or so children I know who were home schooled are confident, well adjusted, able to participate conscientiously and effectively in 3rd level education and work environments, with very little mental illness or low self esteem issues that many children are dealing with.
Next it will be people who raise their children on a different diet or who do not want to enter a blanket vaccination programme. It has been suggested by some who understand politics that the government plan to have all children in the care of the State eventually. At very least, you will see the risk of abuse of power and random discrimination by social services. A decision to take a child into care is followed swiftly by justification of their actions. It is clearly this that keeps situations entrenched (as in children still in foster care 3 and 5 years later) as inspectors won’t back down and or take the responsibility of saying that the situation is now safe and children can be returned.
The reason you do not hear directly from the parents affected is that if they question anyone in authority, they will literally never see their children again. Can you imagine that happening to someone in your family? What the parents are doing instead is attempting to take their cases to court outside Oxfordshire. No doubt, during that process, they will face the whole defensive legal weight of the state that will tell their lawyers that they must not, at any cost, be found to be wrong. They will not want a parent to win their child back and have to pay court fees, possibly damages and have to review all the cases that will then arise.
Therefore the costs will be carried by the parents. If they were just about financially secure enough to care for a child before such a case, they certainly won’t be afterwards.
The only thing that will help is a directive from government, saying that all cases of children in care can be reviewed independently, on request or annually. Also certain criteria should be decided, upon the fulfilling of which, children can go home. At the moment, the fosterers have a say – one mother’s access to her child was instantly cut in half, on the request of the foster family. Also opinions of relations and social workers are all being taken into consideration but the parents and the children are not being heard.
Please make sure the extra powers and funding are not given to county councils and that the good parents that want their children back and have sorted out their difficulties, can get them back.

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