The Child Protection System in England
Written evidence submitted by Florence Bellone
Step by step I was admitted inside family groups and could collect parents witnessing, see their evidence and court paperwork. Their psychiatric expertises picking up every little neurosis, life traumatism and element of personality to call them "mental health troubles" ; their social workers reports with incoherent series of allegations, fake evidence and lies ; the repressive and arbitrary style of every piece of paper deemed "confidential"; the denunciations, the anonymity of denunciators and experts as well, all this looked as a repetition of Vichy France, Nazi Germany, Stalin Russia or any totalitarian regime catalogue of repression tools. The amount of suffering and humiliation inflicted on innocent families "In the Best Interest of the Child" made me think of women tortured in Middle East "in the name of Allah".
In January 2010, ironically, the leaders of the three big political parties produced in Parliament public apologies for the 70 years of Migrant Children programme. Only one thing changed from the end of that programme : the children are staying in the UK. They are adopted, in foster care or in children home.
To get a more complete insight into the system, I learnt how to be a basic McKenzie Friend. I say a basic one because this denomination includes from the profane knowing the law and asking right for audience to the supporter whispering advice to the parents in court and not able to challenge illegalities by the book. When legal aid is not available anymore for them, many parents become litigants in person but they are not enough experienced MKFs available for all of them. Hearings with parents allowed me to see how judges dealt with them. Also I could attend hours of assessments and pre-birth assessments of parents by social workers and other professionals involved in the process.
1° HOW SOCIAL SERVICES GET INVOLVED WITH A FAMILY ?
a) DENUNCIATIONS. Social services call them referrals. For example, you call them to report noisy neighbours and say that they have a messy house and dirty kids. Quickly social workers would ring the bell of the designated home and after a few visits during which they open cupboards and tick cases on a stapled load of paper, the children would disappear (often a Friday afternoon) but nobody will know why and on which base the mess in the house became such a huge crime. If the social workers come just before the weekly shopping and open an almost empty refrigerator, they have a point and write that the family is starving the children. Schools in some area are like family police stations with a named teacher in charge of denunciating.
b) ASKING SOCIAL SERVICES FOR HELP. This is the major trap in which the humblest families are regularly falling. Families used to live in dependency of the state are literally social workers preys. They would call social services for solving some education or material problem. Its is often by the social workers appreciation that normal people have been deemed disabled and finally convinced of being disabled or of having mental health issues keeping them of working. The best example is "learning difficulties", a major pretext for having neither work nor the right of keeping children. These parents could do any job which is not requiring intellectual skills and none of them switch on the gas cooker to get water. Most of the time they only lack education. And uneducated people are perfectly able to raise their kids and are often more concentrated on them than wealthy professionals.
c) ASKING HELP BECAUSE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. Many moms lost their children after leaving a violent partner. They are told that even if they separated, there is a doubt on the emotional link which could push them to come back to the abuser. By precaution the children for who they asked help are also removed from her.
d) ACCIDENT OR ILLNESS. I believe that the baby illnesses or children accidents are the reason for which more and more middle-class and educated people fall in social services nets. A baby with brittle bones disease, for example, can happen in any social environment. By bringing your baby or child to A&E, you take the risk of being deemed a criminal. Creating a climate of fear related to the hospital will not solve cases of criminality toward children. It is just pushing the real criminals to hide their game better. No society can be healthy in these conditions. The number of parents who lost a baby to social services because of this means that because we don’t understand fully some illnesses, we make the families the new witches. Also children are accidents makers, only hypocrites would deny it. Parents know that they will be concerned for many years about a possible accident costing injuries or death to their children. But they can’t also worry about being accused of hurting them if that happens. If you want every parent to sign for a zero tolerance regarding their children accidents and health problems, let stop having children. Children cannot be a police tool to control citizens ! One thing is showing how dishonest the referral system to social services by doctors and hospitals is : most of the parents accused will not be prosecuted as police doesn’t prosecute without evidence. However social services will remove the children on the base of unproved allegations. The punishment happens for "in case you would be a criminal". As the removal of babies at birth happens because "you might not be able to be a good mother". The family courts are a tribunal of speculation, not facts.
e) HAVING BEING REMOVED FROM YOUR OWN PARENTS, ADOPTED OR RAISED INTO CARE. It is as having a tattoo indicating "property of the state". When you get pregnant, you are treated as a recidivist. The files get you from birth. Very often, the reason to take your baby is imputed to the trauma of living into care or having being abused as a child ! Very often the abuse happened into care or didn’t happen at all but the birth parents files say "abusers".
2° BABIES REMOVED AT BIRTH AND PRE-BIRTH ASSESMENTS.
This is an atrocity. No other European country does this. It is a crime against humanity and despite being a quite strong and privileged person, it caused me more bad nights that the thought of poverty and famine. Keeping a baby of the health benefits of being breastfed is also a crime. I have seen in a maternity a mom feeding and cuddling her son before a complete stranger would snatch him from his cot. But in some maternities the new moms are locked in an isolated room sometimes guarded by a policeman. In some hospitals the social workers trawl for babies as vultures and take several in the same week. During pre-birth assessments, social workers who don’t like the father would blackmail the mother to separate. They would also blackmail the grand-parents trying to get the residency of the baby to keep him or her from vanishing through the adoption market. Then they put as a condition for residency that they will cut the ties with the parents, so their own children. The choice is "your grand-child or your children". Social workers have a special taste for destroying couples and families.
Women prohibited of being mothers are said to pose a "risk of future emotional harm" to their children, and often deemed "emotionally unstable". As far as I am concerned emotional stability happens only after brain death. And for exposing a child to emotional harm, this is the only way of keeping him or her alive. Life is bringing emotional harm and if it was only through the family, it won’t be much harm. Cafcass and social workers think that they are better than nature and that the harm caused by their brutal control will do a better adult than the birth parents emotions. But if later the child becomes a 18 years old pregnant lady, still half-child and already half-adult, she will be treated as an adult and will have her baby removed. This has triggered many suicides of young ladies. Remember the "British Fritzl" daughters who endured years of abuse rather than reporting him, because the social workers would remove their children. Even born from incest and abuse those children had at least loving mothers.
3° USE OF PSYCHIATRY.
This is the oldest technique of repression in modern world and the only one allowing the elimination of individuals who did nothing to be jailed. I met parents who have been sectioned and honestly, if we follow the standard of mental health used by social services, we should section the totality of Latin countries where many of the syndromes used to catalogue parents are even not recognised. The Muchausen by Proxy syndrome is among the funniest. It is when you bring your child to the doctor to attract attention on yourself. It is one of the major causes of children removal. In my view the experts making this diagnosis are dangerous psychopaths. Psychiatry is not an exact science but it is still supposed to be from the medical sector, not the police one.
Every aspect of the personality can become a "personality disorder" when it comes to remove a child. But which personality disorder leads people to work in such a disgusting business as framing families, violating human rights and manipulating children life ? I would quote an amazing letter of referral to social services received by one family : the grand-mother got angry in the hospital because of poor care given to her grand-son. The letter said that her grand-daughter was also present and because she saw her grand-mother angry, social services had serious concerns about her emotional future ! I understand the importance that the Anglo-Saxon society sees in being self-controlled and I understand that some other countries are famous for showing rudeness. But obviously self-control is used for making the people behave like sheep, not for making them balanced and happy. I have seen parents deemed "rebel" as a negative point and social services would always ask the parents "to work" with the "professionals" ! A mother fled to France to give birth. The police had known that she was not a missing person and so closed the case. The social workers were so pissed-off to have missed her baby that they sent a threatening letter through their solicitor to her family. It is written that she had being verbally abusive in the social services office and hit a window so strongly that she broke it. I show the letter to a French social worker who is helping her starting a new life, so that she would understand that I was not exaggerating anything. She said : " I would have blown up their office if they would want to take my baby."
4° FORCED ADOPTION AND GAGGING ORDER.
Forced adoption is against Human Rights, nature and common sense, and remind me in its many aspects about slavery and all kind of people "owning" other people. It is prohibited in all Europe and should be abolished without exception because it is virtually impossible to make sure that it won’t be any mistake or derive, as for death penalty. Social workers abuses exist everywhere but with forced adoption outlawed, the miscarriage of justice is not definitive, it can be fought. With no gagging order, the press can expose and the citizens react. You would never believe how many people told me that I was surely wrong when I said that British children could be adopted against the wishes of their parents. Even some of my British friends didn’t believe it. I’m convinced that the purpose of the gagging order is to avoid publicity for something which would disgust the people and to make sure that the international community doesn’t suspect what is going on. It would be possible to advertise : "you will loose your children if you are not conforming to the type of parent we want you to be". Most of the punishments for more most of the crimes are known and the state wants the people to know them, from fines to life sentence. Most families are not aware than social services can destroy family life quicker than any genetic illness before it happen to them. The gagging order is supposed to protect the privacy and anonymity of minors. But children from 11 explained me that they have been prohibited of going to court despite asking for telling the judge that they didn’t wish to be separated from their families. They told me that the gagging order was only made to do this in all impunity. The gagging order also make evidence related to Child Protection a breach of law in itself. Several adults told me how they fled their adoptive parents and found back their birth parents and the truth on what had been done to them. One explained me how the police made him sign declarations against his mother by telling him that he was certifying that he had a meal.
Numerous foreign children have also been removed, mainly from Africa and Eastern Europe, but also from Western Europe. Because there is no warning regarding the removal of children in the UK, foreigners are taken completely by surprise. Parents have even been deported and children kept in the UK.
5° FAMILY COURTS
The family court does expeditionary justice. Particularly in County courts the judge believes the social worker and refuses to consider hard evidence brought by parents. The child is legally represented by a Cafcass guardian who in many occasions, didn’t meet him or her. The parents have no right to bring witnesses but the social workers can bring as many witnesses and experts from their "corporation" that they want. The social workers present a list of solicitors agreed by the Local Authority to the parents. They work against the parents behind their backs, enjoying the lack of legal knowledge of their victims. I have several judgements showing the building of fake evidence at a ridiculous level without even any care for making this fake evidence looking true. It is brutal to say this but social workers perjury, administration cover-up and mock trials are dominating family courts. No wonder why they don’t want the press to see this. In COA I have seen a judge who is now in the House of Lords justifying to a father the removal of his son that way : You show that you could probably be a good father but you will raise your son in the dislike of the professionals (social workers) involved in your life." In a County Court I have seen the solicitor of the LA short of arguments and pleading the Human Right of the adoptive parents who didn’t even know the baby. "They had been shown pictures of him and they would be distraught if told that the birth mother was opposing the adoption." The judge acknowledged possible failures in the adoption process but said that he just wanted the baby adopted quickly for "his best interest". The adoptive parents are also lied to and kept of knowing the truth.
6° PARENTAL UNITS AND PEOPLE INVOVED IN CHILD PROTECTION
The parental unit or residential unit is a mini gulag where parents live under CCTVs even when going to the toilet. They are observed as mice developing illness in Huntingdon laboratory. Couples split under the pressure of the prison style life. As for prisoners and guardians, favouritism is putting some families under more pressure than others. Visits from relatives are restricted and friends visits are prohibited. They can’t go out or not alone. At the issue of this humiliating process, social workers think they know if those parents are OK or not to keep their children. This concept alone is a multiple violation of the Human Right chart.
The same kind of people accepts the same kind of tasks in similar circumstances in any country. Giving people the power of wrecking lives by their own judgement leads to torture spirit and police state. Many social workers and Cafcass guardians show signs of being repressed, frustrated, sadistic and enjoying a high level of voyeurism. Some only show signs of fearing loosing their job. When a social worker is not like this and dares writing a positive report on a family, the parents don’t see him or her again. A mainstream social worker is getting the case. The social workers are ordering the police, not the contrary. Very often, the police don’t like them but can’t afford to not obey them. Hundreds of British families have fled abroad but the British police is never as zealous as the social workers about it, sometimes advising the families to never come back. More policemen had lost children to social services than social workers have been arrested by police.
IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE IDEOLOGY.
The biggest debate running about Forced adoption is : Money or ideology ?
The costs of bringing some help to parents in difficulty would be nothing in comparison with the costs of assessments and proceedings. But many people earn money of this children traffic, from the foster families to the courts. One historian told me that "money was only the lubricant of the ideology". The fight to avoid infanticides didn’t find any answer in the actual Child Protection system.