King's Evangelical Divinity School

12 April 2010

FITE Update 5: Who's Responsible for This?

Today's Daily Telegraph has the following report:
Social workers' actions befitted 'Stalin's Russia', says judge

Social workers have been accused of behaving like the authorities of "Stalin's Russia or Mao's China" by a judge over moves to permanently remove young children from their mothers.
Lord Justice Wall said the failure of social workers in the London borough of Greenwich to support a mother trying to make changes to her life and get back her two children, who are in care, was ''quite shocking''.

The judge said what occurred would do little to dispel the perception of many that social workers were ''arrogant and enthusiastic removers of children from their parents into an unsatisfactory care system - trampling on the rights of parents and children in the process.''

In a second case, another appeal judge said the actions of Devon County Council in pursuing plans to have a baby adopted without giving the natural mother a last chance to show he was safe with her was likely to be perceived as ''more like Stalin's Russia or Mao's China than the west of England''.
The rest of the story can be found here.

Call me an hysterical reactionary, but this issue has troubled me and I've blogged about it for years. So when you decide how to vote on 6 May, please consider 1) which party holds the greatest responsibility for bringing such a state of affairs about, and 2) which of the political parties is most likely to reverse this injustice. These are real lives we're talking about here, completely destroyed lives, and it is happening all the time across the length and breadth of the land. What a terrible job it must be for decent social workers and Christians who genuinely seek to do what is right, but see so many decisions of this kind reached purely on the basis of ideology or targets.


David Williams said...


In my opinion this issue is far worse than the general public ever get to hear about. I work in the field of homelessness and substance misuse and have regular contact with Social Services and Social Workers. I fully share your unease at this growing type of authoritarianism. Perhaps one example will make my point.

I have a client, whose husband left her for the woman next door 12 months ago. This ‘woman next door’ was my client’s sister and you can imagine the pain that this has caused. My client made a vain attempt at suicide almost immediately via alcohol and sleeping tablets. Social Services became involved and removed the youngest child [aged 7] and placed her with the father and his new ‘partner’ [who in reality is the young girl’s aunty]. An 11 year old daughter and a 15 year old son already live with the woman next door so the new family of 5 share a 2 bedroom house, with the son sleeping on the settee – both children are on the ‘at risk’ register due to the mother’s known friendship with known local paedophiles.

My client was quickly discharged from hospital and with the support of specialist drug and alcohol agencies controls her alcohol intake, and now drinks at less than the govt recommended levels [illegal drugs having never been an issue]. She is a decent woman who cares deeply for her children [she also has a 17 yr old son who lives with her], she has a 3 bedroom house, with a lovely room set out for her daughter yet Social Services have continually prohibited my client from having any access to her daughter due to the attempted overdose. The young girl is now also on the ‘at risk’ register. I attend regular monthly meetings with Social Services with and on my client’s behalf. The lengths Social workers have gone to in order to prohibit my client’s contact with her daughter are astounding and sinister, even to the point of aiding in the breaking of court orders. In 12 months I have totally failed to establish a single rational reason why Social Services have taken the stance they have, and why they seem so dedicated to preventing my client from seeing her daughter. The political correctness, inhumane treatment of my client and ‘jack boot’ formality are utterly astounding. Obviously for professional reasons I can not furnish further specific details, but the point I wish to make is that outside of a few people known to those involved, this case has received absolutely no publicity whatsoever. My impression is that what I have encountered in this case and several others I have worked with is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the authoritarian intervention of Social Services. No Calvin, I would certainly not call you an ‘hysterical reactionary’, far from it in fact.

David Williams

Calvin L. Smith said...

Thanks for this, David. Shocking. Good to hear from someone who has seen it firsthand. I've heard various stories from others in local g't and would like to hear more accounts here.

Update: The Times are now running the story. And guess who opposed the judge's appointment? Jack Straw. Figures.