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Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Every mother's nightmare.

I have a story to tell, it isn't my story but it's a gripping one, a sad one a terrifying and breath taking tale. The most terrifying part of the story is that it is true and it is happening right now.
I have a friend and because I love her I will not use her name but she needs help, as much help as we can muster between us and so here's her story.
My friend is a single mother of 6 boys, she has raised her sons alone for many years, since they were all quite little. 3 of them are now adults, the other 3 are still young enough to be at home with their mum, where they have always been happy and loved.
The problem now is that they aren't at home. They have been split up and spread out, sent to a foster family and family friends where they are beautifully looked after but they are not free.
They cannot see their mother unless they have a chaperon, one of the boys cannot see his mother at all unless a social worker is present, the social worker is always busy, never has time to take this wonderful young boy to see his mum. He has had health problems since he was a baby, he had trouble thriving and after being fed with a nasal tube, where his mum loved him and nurtured him, where she asked to be taught how to care for him so she wouldn't have to keep taking him back to the hospital every time he pulled his tube out. He grew and he learned and he did thrive and he grew to be a polite, friendly, happy teenager who then developed hydrocephalus, water on the brain as it used to be called.
He has had surgery and shunts put in his brain and as often happens sometimes he gets infections and complications, his mum is always there, always helping him and loving him, always putting him and his brothers before herself.
We spend a lot of time with this family because those boys are amazing, they are so polite and gentle, they are fabulous with my young boys are attentive and kind. We love being with them because in this unkind world they are an example to our boys, they show them how they can have fun without swearing and behaving badly.
I have never heard this mother raise her voice to her boys, I am sure she does, she has 6 boys, who could have 6 boys and not yell sometimes? I have never heard her though.
We go on picnics and have BBQs and her boys show mine how to cook, how to inflate the dinghy, they take them on the water and watch over them.
When this mum has to go to the hospital with the young man who has his shunts and surgeries, she can leave the younger boys in the care of the older ones and they are a credit to her. They go to church and that alone amazes me because usually. give a teenage boy the chance to skip church and they will grab it and run! These boys though, they go to church and they look after themselves and she doesn't have to worry if they are trashing the house, if they are going to school, if they are living the way she has taught them. She doesn't worry because she has taught them well, these are not regular boys, they are extraordinary boys.
In the summer, mother and son had to go to hospital for tests again, the tests showed that more tests were needed and a probe was inserted in his head to measure the pressure inside his brain. He was poorly and got an infection, he was really unwell and his mum stayed right with him, the way she always does. We, her friends, would text her and ask after her and her boy and she would reply, as she always does "Oh, he's doing OK, I am fine, no we don't need anything" she doesn't like a fuss, she doesn't believe she is worthy of fuss, she doesn't see that she is a great mum and that we love her and WANT to help her, she just goes on, day to day and does what a mother needs to do.
She is accused often of being too soft, her 2 eldest boys have left home and live in a flat and she buys them food when they need it and she will give them petrol money when they run out. Some say she should let them figure it out and that gong without won't hurt them but she is a good mother and so she will go without so they don't have to.
So she was at the hospital with her poorly boy and she slept in a chair for a week , then another week and she watched her boy in pain and have tests and more tests and she posted a few pictures of him with his probe in his head and told us all that he was doing OK and that he was being looked after and no, she didn't need anything, thank you.
On his birthday he seemed better and so she asked if she could take him to the local KFC for a treat, the Drs said that was fine and off they went, when they got there he said he didn't feel good and he started to look really sick so this mother took him straight back to the hospital, by the time they got there he was really sick, another infection, more surgery, more drugs, more praying. Thankfully he recovered and although weak he was still delightful, happy, polite, looking after the little kids in the hospital, enjoying visits from his friends and while he enjoyed the visits, mum sat in the background and enjoyed watching him have a good time with friends who cared enough to drive for 3 hours to see him.
For the whole of  the summer holidays she stayed in the hospital while her boy got better, the nurses knew her and trusted her to help with his care, he is not a baby he is a teenager, a smart, cheerful, intelligent teenager who clearly has been raised well.  She kept his hair shaved around the dressing and would put a new dressing on top of the old, never removing the old because that would have risked the probe/ shunt coming out. He had a drain in to drain fluid from his head to relive the pressure, fluid drained OUT of this tube, that was what it was supposed to do.
One day, after he had had the dressing tidied up and a new piece of dressing film added, he noticed when he was in the playroom that it was leaking and so he tod his mum, who immediately showed the nurse, it was fixed and cleaned up and that was that. Except it wasn't.
Someone, who knows who, some faceless person who undoubtedly had not spent anytime with this mother and son, perhaps someone who had been in and out and looked at the medical problem and not the person, decided that the infections and the fevers, the leaking and the sickness were not usual and that someone was making this awful stuff happen.
This faceless person decided it must be the mother.
The police were called and the mother was arrested.
She was locked in a cell and her boys were taken away from her.
The faceless people had decided and they had made a decision and here is where hell begins for this family.
No formal charges have been made, no results of any testing have been issued, no proof has been found and the police, it seems can take as long as they like to gather evidence. If there IS no evidence, oh well, they'll wait until someone somewhere finds some. Or not.
Social services do not, we are told need proof, if the police drop all charges, it won't matter because Social services do not need to prove those kids are in danger, they can keep these boys away from their mother and their mother away from them. They can insist that this boy can not speak to his mother unless a social worker is present. They kept him away from his brothers because they want him to open up and tell his foster family how his mother has been harming him all this time. They do not have to prove that the boys are or have ever been in danger, they are allowed to do whatever they think fit just because they believe there may be a tiny possibility that at some stage she has harmed him.
Do you know what is most terrifying? the fact that NOBODY, not the police, the social services or the faceless do gooder who started all this have ONCE spoken to any of these boys, they say the adult children don't count because they are adults and they don't care if these adults tell them they have been cared for and loved by their mother all their lives. They don't want to hear what the younger boys have to say because...WHY? Why don't they ASK these intelligent, polite, articulate young men what THEY think? Why don't they ask this splendid young 15 year old boy if his mother has ever, in any way done anything to hurt him?
These boys are not meek, feeble, anxious boys, they are not children with anger issues who have been problematic at school, these boys are ALL known for their good manners, for their great sense of humour, their kindness, they are open, well adjusted, funny boys. They are not shy, not aggressive, not attention seeking, trouble makers or in any way victims. Why will the powers that be, who have decided they must 'save' these boys not taken the time to speak to them? They are refused EVERY time they ask to speak. The are told it doesn't matter what they say.
Why is it OK to keep this family apart, why is it legal to do nothing? For social services to say they haven't the time or funding to arrange visits with their mother? Two of the boys are with friends, social services go to this home, a humble 2 bedroom bungalow that already has 2 adults and another teen boy in it and insist that the boys have to have their own rooms that the front room has to be a bedroom and that no-one can sit in in.They visit and they lay down rules and say what HAS to be...but they have yet to pay this family for caring for the boys. Oh red tape and hold ups and it's all someone else's fault and soon they will get around to it but for now, RULES!! Abide by the RULES!!
This week, the police were supposed to make a decision and either charge or drop all charges, it was thought that if charges were dropped ( and because there is ZERO evidence, we, the optimistic and naive believed that charges would be dropped) the boys could go home. The police, who, by the way, came into the home and tool everything away, computers, phones, every paracetamol tablet, foot cream, ( !?!?) the boys prescribed inhalers, diaries, every manner of personal items and left, without an inventory of what they have taken. Well, the police decided that they haven't had enough time and they tagged another 6-8 weeks on to the time they gave and so no charges were dropped. More waiting for this family.
Christmas is coming. Where will these boys be? Not at home with their mum, that's for sure. Unless social service relax their ridiculous chaperoning rules, they will not even see their mother on Christmas day, the boys are now allowed to meet each other and so she, this mother who has been accused of hurting her children has said that she would rather the boys all get together so they can enjoy each other's company rather than have them split up. If she were to go anywhere and bump into this one special boy, she will be in such serious trouble we can't even stand to imagine it. So she doesn't go to church, where she is so loved and so welcomed, she doesn't go to any of the social events that she used to take her boys to because she wants them to still be able to and have fun.
If she is there then a social worker has to be there too, she can spend time with the 2 boys who are staying with friends as long as the friends are there too, but if the young man who has been poorly is there, she has to leave, she leaves so her boys can be together, she doesn't think of how sad SHE is to not be able to see her children together, she wants THEM to be happy together.
This is a terrible injustice, it would have been marginally more acceptable if the faceless accuser had made his/her accusation, it had been investigated and then dealt with but this isn't what has happened.
They made these dreadful accusations without any evidence to prove what they were saying, they caused this family enormous pain and would YOU feel if someone suddenly said you were hurting your child and then have ALL of them taken away, to be treated with disgust, and then to be shoved in a corner and ignored?
What can we do?
I am writing this because I am hoping that someone who reads this will have some advice, where can we go? Who can we see? How can we get these boys an advocate? Who will be their voice and refuse to be pushed down and ignored?
This is a family, a great family. A happy family. A loving and kind family and they are being hurt, THEY are being abused by the very people who say that the children are the most important people here, yet they are not listening or caring for the children. There has be someone who can help this family, the solicitor assigned, from what I can gather is helpless, does nothing but relay messages saying "nothing can be done." That's because until charges have been made, if they are made, she isn't allowed to see ANY of the documents or paperwork about the case.
If anyone has any idea, if there is anyone who can spread this story and get this family help, please contact me and I will send your information to the places it will be best used.  Thank you.


Anonymous Amber said...

Also this link may be of help:

9:14 am  
Anonymous Steph Lever said...

Hi, I'm so very sorry for your friend, I have read this with tears pouring down my face. I wish I could offer some real help but I wouldn't know where to begin so I will share this message as much as I can if this is okay.
I will pray for your friend, that she receives the help she clearly deserves and is reunited with her family as soon as possible.

9:35 am  
Blogger @Annieqpr said...

OMG this is terrible, I cannot imagine the pain this family are going through! Can you not get This Morning involved, I know they have had a similar tragic story on the show before?
I pray for them all!
Annie x

9:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such a tragic & terrible story & I am sure any mother reading it couldn't fail to be moved.
In practical terms I would suggest seeking maximum publicity through local newspaper, or as another commentor suggested This Morning or similar programme. Also try contacting local law firms they may be able to help - either with some free initial advice, or the boys may be entitled to legal aid (on the basis their right to a peaceful family life is being infringed under the Human Rights Act which is directly enforceable against government bodies like police, social services & NHS) or the firm may take it pro bono (without charge).
Just to put the other side too - imagine you are a social worker/policeman, a serious accusation is made against a family you know nothing about - they have to investigate thoroughly & that takes time - we are all quick to comment on cases like Baby P when they fail; you Know this mother & You know she is not like that - the police etc need to prove it & cannot afford to make a mistake, frustrating as that may be

9:53 am  
Blogger The other me said...

Thank you for your replies, we are going to try and spread this message in the hpe that somone with legal knowledge will know how far we can take it, when social services are involved it makes it more difficult to use the media as there are automatic blocks etc. I understand caution and how to err on it's side is always wise BUT this is not a baby we are talking about, it is a clever, sensible teenager who can speak for himself, he WANTS to speak for himself and his brothers are longing to answer questions, tell anyone and everyone about their lives and their love for their mum.

10:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A terrible story but sadly not an uncommon one.

Do the children have anyone advocating for them? If not this organisation may be able to help and make sure that their views are properly taken into account

You might also try contacting Justice for Families which is run by John Hemming MP. They may be able to allocate an advisor to your friend. Their website is here

I am sorry your friend is going through such an appalling experience and i hope this information is of help

11:13 am  
Blogger Cat said...

My heart goes out to this family. We've got a similar case near where I live and it's draining. Try to support the mother as best you could. I'll keep you in my prayers and hope that everything will be well again soon.

12:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would say your local MP. I know it sounds odd but I had a problem last year and soneone said go to your MP. I was shocked as he helped me and sorted out my problem. He said that is what he is there for. I would now not hesitate in going to my local MP for anything. It is worth a go. They are there to represent their community.

1:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very sad story for all parties. I hope it gets resolved soon.
If the 'faceless do-gooder' you talk about in such scathing tones had done nothing when they had grounds for suspicion then they would be failing in their duty. I am quite sure they would have done a lot of soul searching before making their report. It's not something you do lightly.
And if the boy *was* being harmed by his parents and the 'faceless do-gooder' had failed to act I'm sure there'd be outcry then too. Public servants can't do right in the eyes of Daily Mail Disgusteds of Tunbridge Wells.

4:14 pm  
Anonymous Love In The Nest said...

:( What a sad story, I hope it gets resolved soon. It's such a difficult situation

4:37 pm  
Blogger Dippyness. said...

Tragic story. Sadly I am NOT surprised.
The plods HATE being called in & not finding anything...Therefore they will drag things out.
Social services are a joke.
They go after the easy targets, as your friend appears to be, but don't bother to investigate those who cause them problems.
First I would head for the local MP.
Next I would write to the head of social services & the Chief Constable of your area.
In other words, kick up hell.
Get a local journalist etc.
I hope this gets resolved. Don't allow the "job worths' of this Country get to you.
Best wishes....

4:56 pm  
Anonymous Musings from a Mum said...

The Times newspaper used to run a campaign about opening up the Family Court system precisely because of these type of cases. I think Camilla Cavendish was the journalist who spearheaded the whole thing. I think she even won a journalist prize for it. You could try contacting? Her email used to be

Good luck with it all.

5:20 pm  
Blogger Karen Jones said...

Sadly this story does not surprise me, this country has gone mad in recent years. Where has common sense gone. My heart breaks for these children, the family is lucky to have such a wonderful supportive friend. I don't know how I can help you but I will try xx Karen xx

5:37 pm  
Blogger The other me said...

Thanks for your commensta nd advise, I Am passing everything along to the mother of these boys. We ar enot complaining that a questin was raised, again we are pointing out that this is a 15 yr old boy, a clever, well adhusted teenager who WANTS to speak to the police, social workers, judges, yet not one person ash ever asked him anything, he is told they are not interested in what he may say! THIS is the outrage.

6:06 pm  
Blogger jontybabe said...

Arghhhh I had written a whole big comment and its disappeared! I'm gonna scream!

6:07 pm  
Blogger jontybabe said...

I am a child protection social worker who has the responsibility of removing children from their parents care if there are concerns about their safety. I don't know this family's circumstances so won't comment on whether its right or wrong but will simply state a few facts -
1. Children cannot be removed without a court order. To get this court order, the social worker, after conferring with various line managers and her own legal team has to prove that the 'threshold for harm' has been met. Its extremely difficult to get a court order.
2. With regards to contact arrangments between a parent and their child - this is also court directed and if a social worker is not facilitating contact for whatever reason it has to be cleared with the court, otherwise the social worker is answerable to the court and will get such a bollocking in court.
3. If the case is before the court, the solicitor can ask for 'disclosure' of all documentation in relation to the case to be produced.
4. If the Local authority is applying for a care order / adoption etc a Guardian Ad Litem is brought on board to advocate for the child and to ensure that social services are acting appropriately.

This is how we work in Northern Ireland.
Not sure if any of this is of any help but hopefully clears up a few misconceptions that social services can just go in and do whatever they want. We can't. However, we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. I really hope the situation gets sorted for all concerned and if your friend has any concerns about the practice of the social worker etc then she should put in a formal complaint. This will not go against her at all. Good luck. x

6:12 pm  
Anonymous Musings from a mum said...

Thanks for your note. Hope she is able to help.

Keeping fingers crossed this is resolved quickly.

6:57 am  
Anonymous Indigo Jo said...

When is the boy's 16th birthday? He can sign himself out of care at that point and return to his family. That doesn't help his younger siblings, of course.

9:55 pm  

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