In the news

Welcome to another week.

These are the latest child welfare items that should be right on your radar:

Ombudsman’s latest child welfare complaints

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has published the latest round of complaints submitted to the body and its decisions about those complaints. They touch on children’s social care, local authority handling of child protection cases and the provision of education and educational support.

Researching Reform has added the Ombudsman newsletter as we received it, rather than pulling out cases we think may be of interest. We have put phrases in bold for featured child protection and child contact complaints.

Children and Education

Please note: decisions are published six weeks after they are issued to councils, care providers and the person who has made the complaint. The cases below reflect the caselaw and guidance available at the time of issue and the individual circumstances of each case.

Hampshire County Council (21 002 583)

Summary: The Council failed to properly monitor Ms X’s son’s, Z’s, alternative education package while he was educated outside of school. This caused frustration, uncertainty and time and trouble. The Council has agreed to our recommendations for a financial remedy and service improvements. The Council was not at fault for the length of time it took to find Z a new school place.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (21 007 207)

Summary: Ms X complains the Council failed to review her son’s Education, Health and Care plan for three years, failed to put provision in place and failed to consult schools when requested. There was some delay and administrative fault by the Council but this did not affect Ms X’s son’s education. Ms X and the Council disagreed about the type of education to be provided which was a matter for the SEND Tribunal to resolve. An apology and modest remedy payment were recommended but declined by Ms X.

Leicestershire County Council (21 009 579)

Summary: Ms X complained the Council failed to put in place education, health and care provision for Y, as set out in his plan. She also complained the Council failed to provide suitable education for Y was he was not attending school. This meant Y missed out on educational provision. We found fault with the Council. The Council agreed actions to remedy the injustice to Y.

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (21 011 321)

Summary: Ms X complained the Council delayed issuing her daughter’s final Education Health Care Plan following an annual review. Ms X has appealed to Tribunal. We have discontinued our investigation. It is not possible to determine the level of injustice caused by the Council’s alleged fault until the Tribunal has reached a decision

Cheshire East Council (21 012 628)

Summary: The Council failed to provide the IT equipment and software listed in Ms X’s child’s Education, Health and Care Plan. This has negatively affected her son’s education. The Council has agreed to apologise, provide the items needed and make a symbolic financial payment to Ms X. It has also agreed to put in place appropriate training for staff to prevent this happening in future.

Blackburn with Darwen Council (21 018 147)

Summary: A parent complained about the school admission appeal panel’s decision to turn down her appeal concerning a school place for her son. But we will not investigate this matter as there is not enough evidence of fault by the panel.

Dorset Council (20 003 763)

Summary: Dorset Council had already accepted it was at fault when it wrongly provided the complainant’s partner with confidential information about her. The Council will now formally apologise and increase the payment it offered her to acknowledge the impact of this.

North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council (21 003 189)

Summary: Mr X complained the Council failed to properly advise him about the care options or financial support available when it placed his nephew with him. Mr X complained he did not receive the correct allowances or fostering fees which caused him financial difficulties. The Council’s failure to provide Mr X with sufficient information to enable him to make an informed decision regarding the SGO and the support he would receive amounts to fault. This fault has caused Mr X a significant injustice.

Milton Keynes Council (21 003 690)

Summary: We will not investigate Mrs C’s complaint about the Council’s failure to provide adequate support for her adopted son. This is because the Council has agreed to carry out an investigation under the statutory complaints procedure for children’s services.

Cornwall Council (21 016 682)

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint the Council is failing to protect his children and has refused to deal with his complaint. The Council has agreed it will accept Mr X’s complaint and reply to it. Mr X will need to complain to it again following the conclusion of the current family court case.

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (21 017 384)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s decision to put her daughter up for adoption. This is because we cannot investigate complaints about court action or what happened in court. The Council has accepted there were delays in arranging to provide Miss X with updates about her child following adoption. The Council has agreed to pay Miss X £300 to acknowledge the distress this caused her.

Lancashire County Council (21 018 011)

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about the actions of a social worker because they relate to matters considered in private law proceedings.

Hampshire County Council (21 004 269)

Summary: The complainant alleged that the Council delayed in issuing his granddaughter’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and has failed to provide suitable education. The Council has accepted fault and has accepted the recommended ways to remedy the resulting injustice. We are therefore closing the complaint.

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (21 005 739)

Summary: Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council was at fault in relation to Ms B’s complaints about the provision of handwriting support and that its handling of part of Ms B’s complaint to the Council was avoidably delayed. It will apologise to Ms B.

Surrey County Council (21 008 922)

Summary: Mrs X complained the Council delayed making changes to her son’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) causing distress, putting her to time and trouble and resulting in her son missing the start of school. We found the Council at fault in its review of Y’s EHCP. We recommended it provided Mrs X with an apology, payment for distress, payment for time and trouble and act to prevent recurrence.

Liverpool City Council (21 017 554)

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint about the Council’s special education needs team’s actions. We will not get involved with the Tribunal’s actions and it is unlikely we would find fault in the Council’s decision to consult the child’s mother.

Lincolnshire County Council (21 011 518)

Summary: We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint that the Council failed to take action following safeguarding referrals.

London Borough of Croydon (21 011 703)

Summary: Ms X complained to the Council about disability discrimination in dealing with her over an assessment of her daughter’s social care needs. She complained to the Ombudsman that the Council refused to progress her complaint to the second stage of the complaints process but instead told her to make a legal claim. The Council has now decided to investigate the complaint at stage 2 of the children’s social care complaints procedure. We have therefore decided to stop investigating the complaint as it would not achieve any more for Ms X at this stage. Once she has completed the complaints process she may make another complaint to the Ombudsman if she is not happy with the outcome.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (21 018 023)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s actions regarding Miss X and her child. This is because parts of the complaint are late and there are good reasons to consider them now. Other parts of the complaint relate to matters which were subject to court action.

London Borough of Brent (21 018 157)

Summary: The Council is at fault for delaying consideration of this complaint under the children’s statutory complaints procedure. The Council has agreed to issue its stage two response and make a payment to the complainant for the time and trouble its delay has caused.

Staffordshire County Council (21 001 380)

Summary: Mrs B complained the Council failed to secure the provision in her daughter’s Education, Health and Care plan since April 2020. Mrs B says her daughter lost provision and this affected her daughter’s health. The Council was at fault for failing to secure provision and this caused Mrs B and her daughter injustice. The Council will make a financial payment to Mrs B to remedy this injustice.

Hampshire County Council (21 003 673)

Summary: Mrs Y complained the Council failed to complete the review of her son’s Education, Health and Care Plan within the statutory timescale, failed to arrange special educational provision and delayed a personal budget payment. We have found fault by the Council in failing to meet the statutory timescale for the review, and delay with the personal budget payment. The Council has agreed to remedy these faults by apologising, making a payment to reflect Mrs Y’s time and trouble and a service improvement.

London Borough of Bromley (21 005 410)

Summary: Mrs J complains the Council delayed issuing a final EHC Plan for her grandson and has failed to provide him with a full-time education or with a personal budget for education out of school. We have found fault causing injustice. The Council has agreed to make a payment to Mrs J and review its procedures.

Kent County Council (21 006 802)

Summary: Mrs K complains about a lack of suitable education being provided to her son (Child X) who has special educational needs. Mrs K also complains the Council failed to identify a suitable school placement for Child X and has not updated his Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP). We found the Council used reasonable endeavours to find an alternative school placement for Child X. However, for some of the period Child X was out of school, the Council failed to provide him with suitable education, as required by law. For other periods, we have no jurisdiction to investigate because Mrs K could have reasonably appealed the issue of Child X’s school placement to a Tribunal. We do consider both Mrs K and Child X have suffered an injustice by reason of the Council’s failings and the Council has agreed to remedy this.

Surrey County Council (21 011 049)

Summary: There was delay in an EHC needs assessment which delayed the issue of a final EHC plan. This in turn delayed when a child could receive the special educational provision they required. The Council will apologise and make a financial payment to acknowledge the impact of the delay.

Kent County Council (21 012 499)

Summary: Miss X complained the Council delayed finalising her son’s Education, Health and Care Plan causing distress and financial loss. We found the Council at fault. We recommended the Council provide Miss X with an apology and payment for distress, and act to prevent recurrence.

West Northamptonshire Council (21 018 840)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s handling of a Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal process. The matters complained of are not separable from the conduct of the process.

East Sussex County Council (21 004 678)

Summary: Mr W complains about the way the Council managed a child protection matter relating to his two children. Primarily, Mr W says his views were not taken seriously and that he was not kept properly informed about the Council’s involvement with him and his family. He also says the Council’s lead social worker was unsupportive of him and, at times, unprofessional. We have not identified any fault by the Council with respect to its involvement with Mr W’s family. Further, we also have no jurisdiction to investigate some of the issues raised by Mr W. The complaint is not upheld.

Surrey County Council (21 006 640)

Summary: Ms X complained the Council failed to arrange suitable contact with her children or update her on their progress while they lived with foster carers. The Council was at fault for failing to send Ms X some of the records of her contact sessions with the children. The missed contact records caused Ms X undue distress. We recommend the Council apologise and send her the records. The Council was also at fault for failing to properly facilitate arrangements for a family holiday. It had already taken appropriate steps to remedy that fault. The Council was not at fault in the other matters Ms X complained about.

Cambridgeshire County Council (21 018 058)

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about child protection action in 2018. The matters complained of are not separable from those that those that were subject to court action. The complaint is also late, and there would be no good reason to exercise discretion to investigate it even if there had been no court action.

Worcestershire County Council (20 012 753)

Summary: Mrs X complained the Council failed to provide her daughter with alternative educational provision while she was out of school and delayed the Education, Health and Care plan procedure. The Council accepts it failed to provide educational provision and offered an apology and a payment toward childcare costs. We find the Council acted with fault and the remedy offered did not reflect the injustice caused. The Council has agreed to our further recommendations to reflect the injustice caused by fault.

London Borough of Newham (21 002 639)

Summary: Mr C complained that the Council took too long to prepare an education, health and care plan for his son, X. The Council has accepted it was at fault. The fault caused Mr C injustice in the form of distress and frustration. However, it did not adversely affect X’s education. As the Council is already working with the Department for Education to improve its special educational needs systems, we have made no recommendations for systems improvements. The Council has agreed to apologise and pay Mr C a sum in recognition of the distress the family has been caused.

Wiltshire Council (21 006 054)

Summary: Mr E complained the Council failed to consult him when it assessed if his son should have an Education, Health and Care Plan and took too long to correct statements in that plan which were inaccurate or distressing to him. He also complained it had not done enough to monitor education his son has received at home, being provided by the child’s mother. We upheld the first part of the complaint but considered the Council had provided a satisfactory remedy for any injustice caused to Mr E.

London Borough of Enfield (21 007 518)

Summary: Miss X complains the Council failed to properly consider her medical conditions and disabilities before it decided not to award her child school transport assistance. The Council was at fault because the panel failed to follow the appeal process in line with statutory guidance. This has caused Miss X distress, uncertainty and frustration. The Council will take action to remedy the injustice caused.

London Borough of Wandsworth (21 007 959)

Summary: the Council planned practical support to build G’s confidence and ensure her journey to a new school was safe and manageable for her. However, G went to a different school and the Council paid for taxis instead. The Council appears to have stopped paying for taxis without carrying out a review. Ms M wants the Council to provide long-term school transport, but the Council has not considered her request. The Council has agreed to carry out the review and consider Ms M’s request.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (21 009 815)

Summary: Mrs Y complains about the conduct of the Council’s presenting officer before a school admission appeal hearing. She complains the Council failed to respond to her complaint. We have upheld Mrs Y’s complaint that the Council has failed to respond to her complaint. This caused Mrs Y uncertainty. To remedy this, the Council has agreed to apologise to Mrs Y, make her a payment and put her complaint through its complaints process.

London Borough of Sutton (21 009 765)

Summary: the Council is at fault for failing to involve Mr F in a children and family assessment. As a result, the assessment is one-sided and fails to represent his views. The Council has apologised, added Mr F’s comments to his children’s files, changed its practices and made a symbolic payment to acknowledge the distress caused. This is a suitable remedy.

Lincolnshire County Council (21 010 646)

Summary: Mrs X complained the Council failed to provide her son with appropriate social care support from March 2021, and failed to complete appropriate assessments of his needs. The Council was at fault as it failed to investigate Mrs X’s complaint under the statutory children’s complaints procedure. The Council will arrange and start a stage 2 investigation under these procedures within one month of this decision. It will also make a symbolic payment for the uncertainty and time and trouble this caused Mrs X.

Wiltshire Council (21 011 497)

Summary: Mr X is not satisfied with the Council’s investigation and response to his complaint about its children’s services department. He does not consider the Council properly addressed his complaint. The Ombudsman has discontinued his investigation. That is because there is not enough evidence of fault, and it is unlikely we could add to the Council’s investigation.

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council (21 015 515)

Summary: We will not investigate Ms X’s complaint about children services actions. This is because it is unlikely that we would find fault on the decision to suspend the statutory complaints’ procedure. We are unlikely to achieve more on her child protection conference complaint. We cannot investigate those parts of her complaint which are covered by Court proceedings.

Kent County Council (21 016 422)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about how the Council responded to concerns Mrs X raised about her ex-husband. That is because there is insufficient evidence of fault in how the Council considered the complaint and it was reasonable for Mrs X to have raised her concerns in Court.

Hertfordshire County Council (21 017 543)

Summary: We will not investigate Mrs X’s complaint that the Council has failed to assess the potential for significant harm to her children by having contact with their father and has refused to deal with her complaints. The Council has agreed to accept a complaint from Mrs X on conclusion of the family court case. It is for the court to decide if the Council needs to assess or provide a report on the current position.

Plymouth City Council (21 017 896)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council’s response to the complainant’s concerns about his children’s welfare. This is because there is no evidence of fault on the Council’s part.

London Borough of Enfield (21 017 900)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about safeguarding. Miss X is not a suitable person to represent the children concerned in her complaint.

Kent County Council (20 010 067)

Summary: Mrs X complains about the Council’s decision not to fund all four legs of her journeys to take her child to and from school. She also complains about the way the Council calculated the distance between home and school for Personal Transport Budgets (PTB). The Council was at fault because it did not offer free arranged school transport to Mrs X’s child before she chose to use a PTB. The Council has agreed to apologise, reimburse additional travel costs and make a payment to Mrs X for her time and trouble. The Council will also amend its PTB policy to clarify the voluntary nature of the scheme and highlight this to current PTB users.

London Borough of Brent (21 003 637)

Summary: There was no fault by the Council in a complaint that alleged the complainant’s son missed education due to a lack of risk assessments by the Council’s special needs transport service.

Worcestershire County Council (21 017 700)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the permanent exclusion from school of Miss X’s child. We cannot investigate the actions of a school. Miss X was offered a right of appeal to an independent review panel organised by the Council. There is not enough evidence of fault by the Council to warrant investigation.

Lancashire County Council (21 009 888)

Summary: The Council is at fault for delaying consideration of this complaint under the children’s statutory complaints procedure. The Council has agreed to arrange a stage three panel and increase the payment offered to the complainant for the time and trouble its delay has caused her.

London Borough of Hackney (21 016 635)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the care the Council gave a looked after child between 2009 and 2014. This is because we could not carry out a fair and meaningful investigation so long after the events complained about.

Devon County Council (21 017 736)

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about the Council’s actions in deciding about the care of a child. The matters complained of are not separable from matters decided by a court.

Norfolk County Council (21 018 009)

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about what the Council included in a court bundle. This matter is not separable from court action.

Surrey County Council (21 004 460)

Summary: There was fault by the Council in complaint handling for which it has already apologised. We do not uphold a complaint about the Council changing the EHC plan in a way not intended by the Tribunal’s order.

London Borough of Hillingdon (21 011 741)

Summary: Ms X complained about the Council’s decision on her son’s school transport, resulting in distress to her son and inconvenience to her. We find the Council at fault for not following its published process, but this did not affect the Council’s decision making. We recommend the Council apologise to Ms X for not following its published appeals process and make a payment to recognise the uncertainty caused. We also recommend the Council remind staff dealing with transport appeals of the importance of following its published policy.

Bedford Borough Council (21 017 480)

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about alleged breaches of the law by the Council in dealing with Mr X’s son’s special educational needs. Mr X has sought to judicially review the Council’s actions and there is thus an absolute bar against us investigating these matters.

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (20 011 993)

Summary: Miss X complains about the Council’s failure to provide the special educational provisions set out in her son’s Education, Health, and Care plan. She also complains the Council failed to appropriately deal with the safeguarding concerns she raised. We find fault with some of the Council’s actions. We have made recommendations for the Council to remedy the injustice caused.

Hertfordshire County Council (21 003 937)

Summary: The complainants, foster carers, complained that the Council failed to understand their concerns about Covid-19 when insisting that they send the foster children to school prior to the second lockdown in December 2020. The complainants also considered the Council raised unfounded allegations about them as part of its complaint investigation. We find fault in some aspects of the Council’s approach and the Council has agreed a way to remedy the injustice. We are therefore closing the complaint.

Salford City Council (21 017 459)

Summary: Miss X complained the Council intended to withdraw the accommodation it provided to her and her children under the Children Act. There was no fault in how the Council made its decision to withdraw the accommodation it provided to Miss X.

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (21 018 685)

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about Ms X’s grandchild being put up for adoption. This is because the decision was made by the courts and we cannot investigate what happened in court or decisions made by the courts.

Suffolk County Council (21 005 943)

Summary: Mrs Y complained about the way the Council dealt with provision for her son and daughter’s special educational needs. We have found fault by the Council in the delay arranging an assessment for Mrs Y’s son, and in responding to her complaint, causing injustice. The Council has agreed to remedy this by apologising and making a payment to reflect Mrs Y’s upset, time and trouble.

In the news

The latest child welfare items that should be right on your radar:

Image of the month

The featured image for May on Researching Reform is by Paul Brian Tovey, an adult adoptee who was abused by his adoptive parents as a child.

Paul now campaigns for adoptees to have the legal right to revert back to their birth identities.

Paul’s paintings reflect his experiences as an adoptee including the loss of identity he suffered as a result of being forcibly adopted.

The painting is titled, “Meeting Scriffyjannibiter.” Speaking to Researching Reform, Paul said:

“I found a first (birth) cousin who had punk rock hair and we talked a lot on the phone. Really it made me weep afterwards. So I realised I had to do a picture to make the fondness come alive and be cheeky too. The picture was for her (my cousin) to smile at for her having wonderful mad hair.

Her name is Jane Ann and she has a wonderful sister named Lynn. They are my birth father’s twin sister’s daughters, so that’s a wonderful plus for me to find. It hurts to find people who were alive for years when I was so isolated. So it’s a blessing by the Tragic Spirits of Fate, paid for in tears and wisdoms. Silvered grief.

She only had punk rock spiky hair back in the 1980’s now she has gone really sensible like me. Time does not matter to me though. I live in all of it for the sake of collecting up my identity, here and there. In my bucket.”

Paul is our “artist in residence,” and we are very grateful to him for allowing us to share his unique and brilliant work.

In the news

Welcome to another week.

These are the child welfare items that should be right on your radar:

I Took His Hand and Followed – A mother’s plea to social services

Researching Reform is humbled to spotlight creative submissions from child protection experienced parents and children, and it’s our pleasure to share today’s featured poem written by a mother whose child was removed from her care.

The mother, whose name has been withheld in line with reporting restrictions, adapted her submission from an old poem whose author is unknown, called “I Took His Hand and Followed”. The poem describes the deep joy parents feel when they are with their children.

This is what she told us about her version of the poem:

“I hope it may serve to illustrate the snowball effect of social services’ involvement (Isabelle Trowler’s “Conveyor belt to care”), to show how the stress of that involvement causes poor parenting, and also highlight the importance of letterbox contact. I would really like to dedicate this poem in loving memory of Bridgey Rooney, may God rest her soul.”

I Took His Hand and Followed 2022  

Author Unknowable 

My dishes went unwashed today, I didn’t make the bed, 

I took his hand and followed 

Where his eager footsteps led. 

Oh yes, we went adventuring, 

My little son and I… 

Exploring all the great outdoors 

Beneath the summer sky. 

We waded in a crystal stream, 

We wandered through a wood… 

My kitchen wasn’t swept today 

But life was gay and good. 

We found a cool, sun-dappled glade And now my small son knows 

How Mother Bunny hides her nest, Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows. 

We watched a robin feed her young, We climbed a sunlit hill… 

Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky, We plucked a daffodil. 

My dishes went unwashed today,  I didn’t make the bed,  

But at the door, when we got home  A woman stood, who said; 

“I come from the authority, 

Your home I need to see.”  

Cos someone who she would not name  Had called them about me.  

She would not tell me who it was,  Nor detail what the sin,  

But said; “Don’t fear, it’s just routine  You have to let me in.”  

Once in, she asked, “Where have you been?  For it is half past eight.  

Do you not know your little boy  

Should not be up so late?”  

“It’s clear that he is tired,” said she,  “And covered all in mud,  

And on his legs, I think that I  

can see a little blood.”  

I told her of the crystal stream,  

In which my child had waded.  

She sighed as she wrote something down.  Her countenance was jaded.  

Then she asked me; “Where is this stream?  The water could be dirty,  

Besides your little boy should be,  

In bed by seven thirty.”  

“It’s by the woods” chimed in my son,  “Where jackapuply grows”  

“He is not speaking well”, she said,  “I’ll talk to him alone.”  

“At nursery, I’ll visit him,  

I’ll speak to everyone,  

And find out what they all think they know,  About you, and your son.”  

Then she noticed unwashed dishes,  And wrote yet more in her book,   She said; “This mess concerns me  In bedrooms I must look.”  

The unmade bed was the last straw,  It really caused her judgement.  

The worker from that very point  To take my child was hell bent.  

Climbing back down she noticed that,  I had not brushed the stair,  

 Fluff gathered in the corners,  

Did cause her to declare:  

“I’ve seen enough, investigation  

Clearly must be started!  

I will decide, if from this child,  

You really should be parted.”  

She said “You have not made the bed,  You have not brushed the stair,  

I will come back unannounced,  

To check upon your care.”  

“It could be any time”, she said,  

“It could be day or night.  

If you’re not in it will be clear  

That something is not right.”  

Then every day my child asked me,  “Why can’t we go out Mum?  

It’s boring stuck inside the house,  When will that lady come?”  

“We must be in, we can’t go out,  Our house cannot be messy,  

Don’t leave out toys for goodness’ sake.”  What matters is what she sees.    

I did not take his hand today,  

Or follow where he led.  

I left him watching TV  

And cleaned the house instead.  

“You’re always cleaning now Mummy,  You never play with me,  

Why can’t we go adventuring?  

Just like things used to be.”  

No more exploring the outdoors,  Beneath the summer sky,  

I’m too afraid, I’m filled with fear,  If they take him, I’ll die.  

Then she did say, “You’re clearly stressed,  Signs of anxiety,  

You suffer from poor mental health,  That further worries me.”  

“So, tell me, tell me everything,  

All records I will scour,  

I’m busy though, with lots of work,  I’ll only spare an hour.” 

I told her of the dappled glade,  I told her of the wood,  

She only looked at what was past,  And said; “Well that’s not good.”  

“I must consider everything,  

That’s gone on in your life,  

For parenting can be damaged  By any kind of strife.”  

One day she saw my boy alone,  Then he seemed slightly sad,  

“What can be wrong, my love?” I asked  “That lady thinks you’re bad.”  

She wrote reports and watched us,  Never let us be alone,  

But still from foster carers,  

I believed he would come home.    

The person that she wrote about,  I surely would despise,  

But I say still it was not me  

The worker she told lies.  

“The child is neglected, mum  

has never changed his bed,  

The stairs were really filthy, and  the kitchen too.” she said.  

“He could be harmed in future,  For long ago you see,  

The mother was a victim,  

And that really worries me.  

And Mum she acts erratically,  

 Showing such emotion,  

On theories of parenting,  

She does not have a notion.”  

And then she made some guesses based,  On things I’d never said,  

Claimed I’d put my boy in danger,  And my heart filled with dread.    

I cried “These things, they are not true,  why is this trial not fair?”  

Mum is confused.” The lawyers said,  Though they were never there.  

A Judge decreed; “The state knows best,”  For just a mum was I,  

“We act in the best interests,  

Professionals never lie.”  

That my house it was neglected,  That I did not brush the stairs,  

Caused my son to be ripped away,  And no one knows or cares.  

 I’ll never see my little boy  

To noble manhood grow,  

I was ‘not good enough’ they said,  So me, he cannot know.  

I asked, “How could you do it,  

Take a mother from a son?”  

But as I screamed, she laughed because  Another case was won. 

She later said “I did my job,  

your kitchen was not swept.”  

She smiled a little, knowingly,  

and watched me as I wept.  

I hope whoever has my boy,  

Loves him as much as I,  

I hope they take him venturing,  Beneath the summer sky.  

I hope they wander through the woods,  And paddle in the streams,  

 With my sweet child, my everything,  Who calls me, in my dreams.  

I wish they’d write, just once a year,  Perhaps it is a chore,  

But news about my loved lost boy  Is all I’m living for.  

Introducing: Parent Café 

A new initiative to offer parents and caregivers a physical space to meet and talk about what is important to them, and to access advice from other parents, is being launched in West Glamorgan, Wales.

The Parent Café has been set up by the Parent Advocacy Network (PAN), which also recently put together a parent support group to amplify the voices of families in child protection cases in Wales.

PAN is holding a launch event for the Parent Café and parents interested in attending are welcome.

The registration form for the launch says:

“Parent Café is an exciting initiative and resource for parents in West Glamorgan. Groups are hosted by parents in the community who are trained and accredited with support from a professional. The launch provides an in-person opportunity to experience the benefits for this way of working where parents and carers talk about what is important to them. The Cafés are designed for anyone in a parenting or caregiving role.”

PAN have also produced a brochure about the launch which offers more information about the Parent Café too. One brochure is written in English and the other is written in Welsh. Both are added below.

If you’d like more information about the event, you can contact Fiona at f.macleod@npt.gov.uk, or email any of the other contacts on the brochure.

The launch is taking place on Thursday 19th May, 2022 at the Waterfront Museum in Swansea, from 10am to 12.30pm and lunch is included.

Parents and carers who would like to attend can register for the launch using PAN’s registration form.

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Save the date: Children and Families Truth Commission meet-up

Britain’s first parent-led Truth Commission looking at children’s social care is holding its monthly Zoom on Sunday 8 May at 5pm. Attendees can get involved with the work of the commission and can ask its members any questions they wish about the commission during these calls. We’d love you to be there.

This month we’re putting together a questionnaire for child welfare and family court experienced families and children. During the event we’ll be asking you for your thoughts on the questionnaire, how we can make it better and hearing your requests about anything else you may want from the commission.

The hour-long event will be introduced and hosted by the CFTC’s lead, Michele Simmons, who is a care experienced mother. She will be joined by commission team members Simon Haworth and ourselves (Researching Reform – Natasha Phillips).

We will:

  • Share updates about the commission’s work
  • Discuss the questionnaire, so we can receive your feedback and incorporate your advice and guidance
  • Answer any questions about the commission you might have
  • Receive any thoughts or suggestions you have and see how we can include them in the commission’s work
  • Invite you to send in testimonials about your experience of the system (all testimonials are published without names or identifying elements)

The call will take place on Sunday 8 May, 2022 from 5pm to 6pm on Zoom.

If you would like to attend the event, please email the team at truthcommissionuk@gmail.com. The team will also give you information about how to access the conference.

Please confirm you would like to attend the event in your message, and let us know if you are a care-experienced child or parent, social care stakeholder, government affiliate, academic, journalist or member of the public.

We look forward to welcoming you.

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