John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
  Times Articles and Southall Victim
The first article looks again at MSbP and FII. I asked a question about FII relatively recently and the government (Civil Servants) came out with the usual drivel.

The second article
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,200-2436306,00.html
Looks at the use of Medical Opinion as Evidence.

It is important to remember the impact of the false allegations on the children of the parents who were alleged against. There is a speech from last week's conference at
http://www.fassit.co.uk/opening_up_family_courts.htm
This is from someone who was adopted as a result of false allegations and was recently reunited with her mother. This raises perhaps the hardest aspect of this whole saga. There is clearly an impact on the adopting family when it turns out that the forced adoption occurred on the basis of false allegations. I don't really have an answer to this save that we should stop forced adoptions on the basis of "balance of probabilities" immediately.

The following statement will be going to the GMC on Monday.
STATEMENT BY LAWRENCE ALEXANDER to GMC Fitness to Practise Directorate:

Dr DAVID PATRICK SOUTHALL

In 1987 I was made a Ward of Court based on medical evidence invented by Dr. Southall. Despite the wardship case having been dismissed thanks to a determined legal fight by my parents in 1987, the false Munchausen by Proxy (MSbP) label stuck and was spread throughout neighbourhoods, schools, my own social circles and their workplaces.

My parents’ ruined careers left us very poor and on benefits, so many clothes and toys came from car boot sales. My aunt Nina was one of the few in the family who offered love and support to me throughout my childhood giving generous birthday and Christmas presents. I recently gained an uncle, but I was abandoned by all others, and have no grandparents.

I feel Mum and Dad's parenting is pretty close to perfect looking back on it now as a 20-year old. They are caring, loving, open-minded and intelligent people. The idea of them being accused of child abuse is laughable. They never even smacked me. They gave me a good education, and just the right balance of freedom, discipline and care that I needed. Amazingly they also managed to keep up a front of being happy and carefree in the face of the chaos wrought by Dr. Southall.

During much of my childhood I was largely oblivious to it all, but despite Mum and Dad’s efforts to shield me, I secretly lived with the terror of being taken away from them and into care. If the worst had happened, I had designed elaborate escape plans, although naively based on Tintin adventures – one of my favourite reads when young.

I became more aware of the MSbP label in my late childhood and early teens. After being fit and full of energy for every activity through my early years, I suddenly became extremely ill, losing two stone in two months. My parents had been able to avoid any contact with GPs but we were now forced to consult a user name not allowed, who treated me with absolute contempt and derision. No help or treatment was offered. Mum and Dad had to pay privately for an ME user name not allowed the last five years, and I am still assessed as 80% disabled, and the worst case of cell damage in thousands of known patients. What exactly has caused all this damage?

The slur of child abuse also mysteriously found its way to my school. I was so happy there, when suddenly I was being bullied and ostracized, apart from two loyal friends. Classmates were barred from previously planned visits to sleep over, or even visit. The final humiliation came when Mum and Dad were banned from the school premises. Shortly after this, despite brilliant class and behaviour reports, I was told to leave the school, leaving me heartbroken and inconsolable. Mum and Dad educated me at home and did a great job, but I was desperately lonely without my friends.

We are told that in so-called child protection cases confidentiality is paramount. In my case this has been a joke. Despite my parents’ clear and proven innocence, we have been punished for two decades. To what purpose? There have never been any explanations or apologies.

During this my twentieth year, even more things have fitted into place. I have read my own Special Case file (kept secretly by Dr. Southall at a hospital I never attended) and have searched through pages of material in search of answers. I have learned of hundreds of babies being abused in horrifying and needless medical research by Dr. Southall during and after my time at the Royal Brompton Hospital. He didn't even seek parental consent, and I now read some of the tests involved giving babies "noxious" gases, including Carbon Monoxide. What implications does this have for my health now and in the future, I wonder?

It is impossible to imagine how my life would have been without Dr. Southall’s intervention. The phrases ‘best interests of the child’ and ‘child protection’ are used all the time. All Dr. Southall’s two decades of ‘care and protection’ have done for me is bring us grief, poverty, danger, isolation and now ill-health. I am not a bitter person but on behalf of myself, all the other children and their families, I implore the Fitness to Practise Panel to investigate thoroughly in this hearing the exact purpose and full extent of the secret files and the invasive experiments behind them.

I have been secretly monitored with my family throughout my childhood. Please at least help me to clear all records so I can restore my privacy and dignity as I face my uncertain future.

6th November 2006 Lawrence Alexander
 
Comments:
Helping children in need of a family

http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/news/story....3A45%3A25%3A400

If you follow this link it shows it seems that more emphasis is going on the adoption process and not on the children and their birth families.

The end result is control, the local authority seem to work this out and stay incontrol, whereby natural parents have their own level of control over their own lives and how they raise their children up for the future, something that the ss should respect is a legal right to parents.
 
Helping children in need of a family

MARK NICHOLLS

03 November 2006 08:30

They were a diverse group - people of all ages, shapes and backgrounds. But they had one thing in common: a desire to adopt a child in Norfolk. For virtually everyone present, it was the first occasion they had come into contact with the Adoption and Family Finding Unit (AFFU) in Norfolk.

All would already have thought long and hard about the responsibilities of adoption and the impact on their lives, but this was the first time the true realities, challenges - and joys - of adoption would have been laid bare before them.

It was where they were left in no doubt that as they progressed through the adoption process, the deepest recesses of their lives and backgrounds would be examined with intimate and probing questions asked, ex-wives and husbands contacted and references sought, as social workers assessed their suitability to adopt a child.

Reassuringly, from the 10 or so meetings of this nature held in Norfolk each year, around 50pc of people go ahead with the adoption process, though it can take up to two years.

The aim is to give people an early opportunity to decide whether they want to go forward as adoptive parents, and seek answers to an array of questions from AFFU representatives.

Those who do go ahead receive an initial visit from social workers, are prepared and trained for adoption, have a searching home study report and then go forward to an adoption panel for approval. Success there sees potential adopters - who can be married, unmarried, single, same-sex couples, divorced, widowed, in work, unemployed, from all ethnic communities and those with children already - matched with a child leading to the adoption order being made by a court. However, the adoption service stresses that it does not consider people for adoption who are undergoing fertility treatment.

Adoption can be a long and complex process. Matching children, often who have experienced a difficult start in life, with the right family is an onerous task, one where there is no room for error.

The recent situation of pop star Madonna adopting a boy from Malawi, may have raised the profile of adoption but equally clouded the reality of the process for someone in a county such as Norfolk.

National Adoption Week, which starts on Monday, sees 38 children looking for a family. They include toddlers, young children, including some with disabilities and medical problems, and brothers and sisters who want to stay together.

Last year, a record 62 children were adopted in Norfolk but AFFU continues to seek more people to offer children homes.

The emphasis during the awareness week this year is the level of support that is offered to adoptive parents, before, during and after they adopt.

Marianne Halliday, team manager for the council's Adoption Support Team, explained that the Adoption and Children's Act 2002 offers adoptive families the right to request support.

Norfolk has set up support services that include a "buddy" for adoptive parents to talk to other adopters, workshops, training respite care, advanced parenting strategy courses, therapeutic services, medical consultation and education support. Currently 80 families receive that support.

Ms Halliday said: "Our view is that when you are asking people to adopt children with quite complex needs, they should not have to do it on their own. It is a lifelong commitment for adoptive parents and it should be for us too."

A number of parents who have successfully adopted children in Norfolk often continue to offer support and help to other adoptive parents by meeting informally or through a "buddy" support system that has been established.

Sue and George live in West Norfolk and adopted two boys more than 15 years ago but they now offer support to other adoptive parents.

"You get unique problems with adopted kids," explained Sue. "Sometimes you will come across all sorts of difficulties you were not prepared for. You can get challenging behaviour and it is good to be able to talk that over with someone else who has been through it. That can be quite a relief."

The couple have birth children but also adopted boys when they were toddlers and say that they would have appreciated the type of support then, that is available now.

George said: "With adoptive children from day one, you always have issues with their lives. Because most children come via the care system they often have a lot of baggage with them.

"It can often be easier for someone to talk an issue through informally with us than a social worker. The bottom line is that we do not want to see an adoption break down, or a marriage. There is support and the buddying system is just one piece in that jigsaw."

The support they offer - through the adoption service - also includes child-minding and respite care where they may take a child for a weekend.

Lucy and Paul, who live in Norwich, adopted two young sisters a few years ago and, as well as helping with the buddy scheme, offer support to prospective adoptive parents.

"They meet our children and they talk to us and we are asked to tell it to them warts and all. We often end up encouraging them to go ahead with what is a long and difficult process."

They stress that there are many issues adoptive parents need to be aware of.

She added: "Your children come with a history, they are not a blank sheet for you to write on and they already have issues from what has been a difficult start in life. But we do get training from social services, there is constant support and the adoption unit is always there for you."

She said there are issues that arise at certain vulnerable ages and at Christmas, birthdays or holidays.

"Holidays can be difficult because these are children who have left homes and not returned to them and when they go on holiday they may think they are not coming back," added Lucy.

Paul said: "The problem most children have is insecurity and you have to do all you can to make them feel as secure as possible."

Within the modern adoption process, contact with birth families in a variety of forms is regarded as important, either through occasional letters - via social services - or visits.

Among those waiting to be adopted in Norfolk are a group of three siblings all aged under five, three pairs of brothers and sisters aged 0-6, six boys and girls aged 3-7, five children of dual heritage and four children likely to have specific special needs in the future.

Lisa Christensen, the council's director of children's services, said: "Every year more people come forward and more children are adopted. But the sad reality is there are still children who cannot stay with their birth family and need a loving new family to go home with.

"They are children who usually have not had a happy start to life, may have been neglected, or have disabilities, and that's why it's so important to find the right families for them."

Sally Stoker, adoption team manager, said: "We particularly need parents for older children, babies with a disability or who have been affected by their birth parent's drug or alcohol misuse.

"Unfortunately, we sometimes have to separate brothers and sisters, because we just don't have enough suitable people coming forward who want them."

Despite the undeniable challenges of the adoption process, it should never be forgotten that there are amazing rewards too.

For Norwich couple Lucy and Paul it is seeing their daughters develop and become part of a large family with aunts, uncles and cousins.

"It is also about seeing them achieve," said Lucy, "building confidence for them to do better at school, appear in the Christmas play and all the other things parents can be proud of."



Here it is as link does not seem to work.
 
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