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Reactive Attachment Disorder and the Care System

I am currently highlighting the question as to whether the psychological damage caused to children who have been taken into care at a young age is caused by the care system or by their treatment prior to entering care.

The research that is relevant to this is summarised here and basically says that reactive attachment disorder can be avoided if a stable attachment is achieved from between 4 and 6 months. Previously I have seen an argument that the key period is 6-18 months and that not having a stable attachment established in that period causes lifelong problems.

Some information is difficult to find, but some information is not so difficult to find. It is possible to find out the ages of children taken into compulsory care. In the year 1st April 2014-31st March 2015 (the last period for which the detailed information is available).
1,190 children were taken into care in the first week of their lives
1,576 children were taken into care in the first month of their lives
2,000 were taken into care in the first 4 months.
270 were taken into care in months 4-7 
and 2,740 babies of 1 or under were taken into care.
2,800 children aged 1-4 were taken into care
2,680 children aged 5-9 were taken into care
2,360 children aged 10-15 were taken into care.
220 children aged 16 and over were taken into care.
It is not unreasonable to say that 2,180 children were taken into care by the age of 6 months. Hence any RAD suffered by those children occurs as a result of their treatment after being taken into care. It is not a difficult logical concept.

It is, however, a simple conclusion that many children are damaged by being taken into care. Exactly how the damage occurs is a separate question, but the logic is unavoidable.


Cornelius said…
You have touched on the right question.

The issue is not "what is the harm suffered by the child"; the question is "what is the therapeutic intervention for that type of harm.

If the harm claimed by social workers really exists medically, then there must be some medical remedy for that harm. Thus the issue is the remedy for the child that the parents are incapable of administering that the local authority must administer.

These is how the the public law thresholds are drafted, the harm must be "attributable to the care it would be reasonable to expect a parent a give". That is, the parents are incapable of administering a necessary medical remedy.

Jasmine Hoyland said…
Dear John hemming,
I would like to start by introducing myself , I do not come from Birmingham but I have done some quite extensive research on trying to reach out to someone who will listen and maybe make a different in mine and many overs lives. I am a mum who unfortunately has experienced the terrible mess of the family court system. I have a son who was subject to forced adoption in April this year after appealing the application which took nearlly a year. My son is nearly 3 and was breast fed and had attachment to myself till he was nearlly 1. Then he was taken and given to potential adopters. I have history of Mental health and a domestic relationship which finished when I was pregnant with my son. I got the help and I worked very hard to get well and focus of repairing my illness and focus on getting my son returned. I overcome so much and even to proffesionals social services the guardian and the independent physiotherapist acknowledged in court had made a significant change and positive turn around and that I should be proud of myself. It still was not enough to return my son. I had several assessments including safe guarding risk assessments and parenting assessments which were positive but the argument was that 7months with potential adopters that to break that primary attachment was too much of a risk for Joseph to be returned to me. Even though I had the primary attachment until he was nearlly one.
I am now happily married and have a 10week old son which myself and my husband had to undergo a pre birth assessment which again was positive and no pottential risks or actions were taken. My question is do you know why it is OK for me to parent and love and look after my ten week old son and give him the best life I can but yet my older son is in the hands of adopters yet it was proven I had made sufficient changes to be able to parent and care for my children. Isn't there a higher risk of my son having more issues with attachment and possible behaviour and mental health issues because he has been taken away from me yet I am aloud to parent my new son in my happy marriage well away from were I used to live. Surely even now at nearlly 3 a bond can be established and rebuilt he is my blood and I have never neglected or abused my children. This is one of a rare case. You probably have women all the time complaining of the forced adoption in this country and the failings of social care but I am not one of many who do not see there mistakes and cannot see social workers are not to blame. I took responsibility for my poor decisions and lack of insite but I was young and did not have the help with the struggling background of Mental health or the support. I hope you read this email and I would love to speak with you and if you have any answers or suggestions. I went to a private school and studied very hard I am a passionate driven women and I think of my son everyday but once a year all I get is a letter and it griefs me to think I hold my baby in my arms and wonder were my boy is. It feels as if iv been punished.

Mrs hoyland
John Hemming said…
It is best to email me about this.

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

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