John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
  Parental rows result in adoption proposal
The link is to The Times story today which essentially starts with a row between parents resulting in a proposal for a child to be adopted. This is the case where mum then went on the run with her son (age 8).

Reading the article does anyone see in this sufficient cause for a child to be forcibly placed permanently with another family?

Here is the judgment

I don't think the reporting of the article skews the judgment. The question that has to be asked is where the actions of the state in this case have managed to benefit the child "S" or anyone else.

It is entirely valid to ensure that a child's right of contact with both parents continue, but there is a serious question as to what extent the state should punish and maniuplate the child through the use of care proceedings.

There are obviously other aspects to this case that are not in the judgment (and in this instance I am aware of other factors).

Daniel Finkelstein's article (relevant to the comments section)
 
Comments:
The reporting in the Times is so biased, it fails to mention so many other factors in the case.
But the issue for me is so much bigger than this case, here the Times were given the opportunity to show how they were able to report, with care and an unbiased approach, the cases they so desperately want access to. They've failed miserably and in my mind have evidenced the case for protecting the most vulnerable section of society from the most untrustworthy!
 
I would challenge you given the judgment (that I have linked to) to specify in what way The Times's report is biased.

I accept that there are things not in the judgment. However, the Times have only the judgment to report on.
 
I fail to see the Times report on the extent of the emotional abuse the mother has inflicted. The paper clearly depicts an insecure attachment (as detailed by psychologists, not social workers), a mother who can only see the needs of her child in terms of her own, demonstrated by the mother causing problems for S in her foster placements a placement S was happy and secure in, the mother's refusal to commit and change behaviour which was clearly harming S. There is far more in that report, but the Time have failed to report it fully as it wouldn't be so sensationalised and a balanced story doesn't sell papers!

Here's a case where a parent significantly harms a child, repeatedly. She is given a time frame in which to enact change, the resources and the support to do so but she refused. Instead she wastes energy on continuing the harm by sabotaging foster placements, manipulating the child and failing to recognise the effects of her behaviour on S.

The Time pieces completely fails to detail just how extensive this emotional abuse was - in all of this arguing over opening up the courts, no one has mention the significant abuse this child experienced and the serious need to protect him from more.

Even the title of your post "parental rows result in adoption proposal" - that's hardly accurate is it? "child abuse results in adoption" - but it's not as sensational is it? Hardly paints the picture you're so desperate to depict.
 
This actually comes to quite a useful debate. It is entirely reasonable from your perspective for the state to abuse children because they love one or more of their parents too much.

Look at the consequences. There are many people badly damaged by the experiences of being taken into care.

Just because some tame psychologist talks the psychobabble that he or she is paid to talk by the LA does not mean that there is a real problem.

What you ignore is how many children run away from "care" to be with their parents. They are "voting with their feet". The only real research by Southampton on children leaving care shows that 70% return to their parents.

I am careful to quote source materials. That does not mean I accept the premises in those materials.
 
What's your evidence that in this case it was a tame psychologist? Do you know the one in question? Their experience? Do you know how the system works when choosing a psychologist and how the cost is shared?

You can't write off an entire profession because you don't like the outcomes! Are you completely writing off the psychological damage children experience?

I fail to see how this case has anything to do with one child loving a parent too much?

Your very valid argument about the state of country's care system is a different argument altogether. Surely, if your recent vocal concerns about the family courts are about the protection of children then surely you should be arguing and lobbying for better care facilities? There's an argument that if children were removed quicker then they stand a higher chance of a more stable and settled period in care.

As for how many children return to parents after care, that figure is less of an indicator of poor practice of the courts, and more to do with psychology. Many children return to their parents after foster care, children who had been physically and sexually abused.

There is a woman who used to be in foster care who guest lectures telling her story; her mother dealt drugs out of the family home, she was abused and assaulted regularly by her mother's clients. When she left foster care she returned to live with her mother. That doesn't show that the courts were wrong in removing her. From talking to her she states she felt the need to get to know her mother and hopefully help her turn her life around. A job she was protected from doing as a child, but as an adult her choice!

Or do you propose that the state sits idly by when children are being abused?
 
Does anyone believe that this child would not be "abused" or “emotionally harmed” by adoption? If not, then maybe the state could open a facility where disadvantaged families can drop their children off so that they can be placed with more affluent people if they so choose.

Obviously adoption causes harm, especially to children that are older as this child was, however would this "abuse" or “emotional damage” that adoption causes be greater than what the child is purportedly experienced?

Never seeing your family again? Getting used to being “looked after” by complete strangers? It may all sound rather nice on the face of it; (oh there’s danger quick make him “safe”) but this involves lives, feelings & strong bonds.

Ultimately this case did go from a pretty standard “parental row” into an “adoption proposal”.

Fortunately the mother refused to let the state dispose of her son to complete strangers & kept her child within a true family setting, a setting which many children being “looked after” long for.
 
>What's your evidence that in this case it was a tame psychologist?
You should be aware that it would be contempt of court for me to reveal factors I know about the case.

>Do you know the one in question? Their experience?
No

>Do you know how the system works when choosing a psychologist and how the cost is shared?
Yes. I have been spoken to whistleblowers from the system who explain how (from time to time) the parents' legal advisor collude with the social workers to ensure that tame experts are appointed whose income depends upon the local authority's approval (and part payment) and, therefore, can be relied upon to give the right opinion.

>You can't write off an entire profession because you don't like the outcomes!
Of course not. That is not my argument.

>Are you completely writing off the psychological damage children experience?
No. I the psychological damage of being taken into care is very obvious. In this case we need to consider the child first. How has the child benefited from everything.

>I fail to see how this case has anything to do with one child loving a parent too much?
Read the judgment.

>Surely, if your recent vocal concerns about the family courts are about the protection of children then surely you should be arguing and lobbying for better care facilities?
True I am lobbying for England to follow the continental model which is cooperative rather than confrontational.

>There's an argument that if children were removed quicker then they stand a higher chance of a more stable and settled period in care.
This argument, however, only would apply in an adversarial system of care. If care was a more co-operative venture the difficulties would be lesser. Any argument such as this needs to be properly researched and evidenced. I really don't think sending the police around to drag out an 11 year old because his autism is thought by some "expert" to be caused by his mother.

>As for how many children return to parents after care, that figure is less of an indicator of poor practice of the courts, and more to do with psychology. Many children return to their parents after foster care, children who had been physically and sexually abused.
I accept that there is an issue that at times children need to be protected from things that they want. However, that does not give carte blanche to ignore the children.

>Or do you propose that the state sits idly by when children are being abused?
No, but I argue that the state should "do no harm".
 
In this case the child was happy and secure in their foster placement - the only way the system failed was to protect him from his mother damaging that placement!

I have to leave the discussion here as it's obviously not getting anywhere (you're plucking "facts" out of thin air!) but it has been a useful interaction. I do think that for as long as you fail to form coherent arguments based on facts rather than your personal agenda people will simply disregard your agenda.
You have valid points about the care system and about local authorities however poor sweeping arguments such as the one about all psychologists are laughable and detract from what good you are saying.

This case has clear issues, it is not about a child who loved a parent more and your failure to acknowledge the abuse S suffered because it doesn't do anything for your cause simply reinforces the need to keep these cases safe from people, like you, who wish to twist and change facts to fit their own agendas.

I suggest if you are serious about being the face and voice arguing for change you take a step back and look at the way you argue. You've come across incompetent and incapable of recognising facts, from a more sinister perspective your arguments looks like you care so little for the children involved in these cases that you are able to over look abuse as it doesn't support your personal agenda.
 
>In this case the child was happy and secure in their foster placement - the only way the system failed was to protect him from his mother damaging that placement!
Why did he run away at 4am then?


>I have to leave the discussion here as it's obviously not getting anywhere (you're plucking "facts" out of thin air!)
Cite an example.

>You have valid points about the care system and about local authorities however poor sweeping arguments such as the one about all psychologists are laughable and detract from what good you are saying.
You sound like a Family Court Barrister raising a straw man. What have I said about "all psychologists"?

>This case has clear issues, it is not about a child who loved a parent more and your failure to acknowledge the abuse S suffered because it doesn't do anything for your cause simply reinforces the need to keep these cases safe from people, like you, who wish to twist and change facts to fit their own agendas.
This comes to the nub of a situation in which Daniel Finkelsteins article about Cognitive Dissonance is useful. In this case the state has done considerable harm (as it often does). You are unable to recognise this.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/daniel_finkelstein/article4296359.ece

>You've come across incompetent and incapable of recognising facts, from a more sinister perspective your arguments looks like you care so little for the children involved in these cases that you are able to over look abuse as it doesn't support your personal agenda.
Another straw man. A wider perpsective needs to be taken about these cases. Furthermore I do not think shouting at children is sufficient cause to raise the "abuse" flag. The issue about where the S31 threshold should be engaged is an argument I am interested in.

I believe with some evidence that my views as to what is and what is not abuse are those more commonly shared by society as a whole. The secrecy of the system develops a culture where people jump at phantoms screaming "abuse" and then take actions that are clearly damaging to children.

Your unwillingness to cite examples and properly engage with the argument demonstrates the weakness of your case.

You will be aware that I moderate comments on this and as such I have allowed through every one of your posts.
 
What is interesting is Fat bird says there is more to the case than is reported.She also blames the Times for biased reporting when the law only allows the Times to report the judgment!!

If Fat Bird has been involved in this case then I wouldnt consider it professional to comment like this.She obviously has or wouldnt know all of the details.

As I understand it.This woman did move away from her first husband and SS offered voluntary care while she sorted herself out. How is this abusive to the child then? Making positive changes.

Again it shows dirty tactics that is frequently used by SS and their shady lawyers. Promise to help the mother by offering some respite then when child is in care refuse to allow the child back. This happens frequently and is underhanded.
Fat Bird
I was nearly set up with one of these psychs who would haven given me a bad report. I had her previously and she got everything wrong and wrote a negative biased report
and SS desperately tried to get her again.
It was only through the Guardian that I managed to get a different one who lambasted SS for the treatment of my family.You obviously are not a parent who has been through care proceedings so its easy for you to say everything is above board.
We need to open these courts to prove otherwise. That is what John is campaigning for.So we can have proper debates in the media about what is happening.

This lady has a new husband and a new life so why does the British SS have to keep persecuting them and persecuting the boy.Child protection more like child persecution.
 
Hi Moira,

I just wanted to assure you that I have been in no way involved with the case of child S. The information the Times failed to report was readily available in the original document. It's a lengthy report but worth reading, sadly I think perhaps it could have done with some explanations of more technical terms as to the seriousness of the abuse S suffered as it has been ignored, I'm sure that this is merely a case of ignorance rather than condoning it. Terms such as "insecure attachment" can on the surface seem so wooly but once the original concept is understood (Bowlby's Attachment Theory) it paints it in a different light.

Moira - I know nothing about whether S was first in voluntarily put in care.

I do agree that there are huge changes needed within our care system but my argument has been that the twisting of the facts in this case to suit John's argument has done his campaign damage. He belittled the experience of S as being simply shouted at when the report clearly shows it's a lot more serious than that. The more sensible approach would have been to acknowledge that the local authority had due cause in this case to be concerned, how many other cases which we don't have access to that didn't have as much evidence!
 
>He belittled the experience of S as being simply shouted at when the report clearly shows it's a lot more serious than that.
This is another misrepresentation. In referring to "being shouted at" I was actually referring to a conversation I had with parents in Handsworth on Tuesday last. Where they reported that their children's teachers have asked the children to report to them if they have been shouted at so that action can be taken.

Unsurprisingly they were not happy about this.

As far as S is concerned the question to be answered is that of how the state has made his life any better.

I am not saying his life has at all stages been ideal. I am saying that the actions of the state have made things worse.
 
I read that the mother agreed to her child being placed in care so that she could sort out her life and change her circumstances.Then she was supposed to have child back afterwards.

The mother got rid of the abusive husband,although the judgment said she exaggerated the husband's abuse of her.She then remarried to a much more stable and supportive husband.

What more could she do then this?This is totally changing her circumstances. The child said it was nice being with his mother.

Fat Bird
You have to understand that parents are only human and sometimes they make mistakes and are misguided. I think removing a child from a mother he likes being with,and placing him with strangers,is still a form of emotional abuse that in itself causes major emotional problems.It would further cause bonding problems.

She has made a new life for herself and has ceased contact with first husband so that should be the end of the states involvement.

why go on punishing and persecuting this family to prove a point!! Further abuse by the state
 
"The more sensible approach would have been to acknowledge that the local authority had due cause in this case to be concerned"

Every single time the local authority has "due cause to be concerned" can you find one source that says the local authority were involved without “due cause” even after courts tell them so? A source from the local authority that is?

All judgements are “right” & “factual”, do judges issue judgements that are not? The popular belief is “of course not”, however numerous times higher courts have found there is no abuse of the child(ren) etc & quashed the care orders, the question then is; Were the lower courts that justified taking the children “right” in their findings? “no”.

Your whole argument Fat Bird revolves around accepting things as they “are” without using your brain, often accepting things are they are gives everyone a warm feeling in the belly, as opposed to using your thought process to assess the true reality of the situation.

The boy obviously would not have escaped from foster care to go off with his mother who is hurting him in anyway.
 
I've read the judgement and I've read the Times article. I remain to be convinced that this is a case of a miscarriage of justice (while being ready to believe that such cases do happen).
I would like to make one small point. The fact that S went with his mother at 4 am from the foster placement does not "prove" that he is genuinely better off being with his mother. To suggest so does your argument no good at all, Mr Hemming. He is, after all, 8 years old and is not, in our society, expected to exercise impeccable or infallible judgement as to how best to meet his own needs.
 
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