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How scary

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by hhhh, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Cannot believe the story about the little boy who bumped his head, and when the parents took him to the doctor, he was taken away from them for the best part of a year, even though there was no evidence of harm. Unlike many of the families we have all worked with, there was no history of abuse, or any reason for this, unlike families like poor Baby Peter's, where there were clear signs of problems and risk.This is just one article about it:

    When Julie Nevin put her only son to bed in late December 2010, he was seven months old.
    The next time she was allowed to perform that simple act, Reilly was a 16-month-old toddler.
    She
    and her husband David lost nine months of their little boy’s life after
    social services took him away over a minor bruise on his forehead.
    They believed Mr and Mrs Nevin may
    have slapped their beloved son, with the couple at one point being
    arrested on suspicion of assault and subjected to the humiliation of
    police taking their DNA, fingerprints and mugshots – despite all the
    initial checks coming back clear.
    The
    couple’s nightmare only ended when a consultant paediatrician belatedly
    conceded that the bruising had most likely been caused by the little
    boy accidentally bumping into the metal legs of the family’s sofa – as
    they had originally suggested.
    A
    judge dismissed the council’s application for a care order, ruling that
    Reilly was already a ‘well-cared for child’, and his parents were
    allowed to take him home.
    Last
    night the Nevins told how their lives had been ‘turned upside down’ by
    the horrific experience, and called for an urgent overhaul of the child
    protection system.
    Mrs
    Nevin, 40, who works for the Red Cross, said: ‘Reilly left us as a baby
    and came back as a toddler. We have had to start all over again. For
    nine months we came back to an empty house, it was very distressing.’




    ‘The whole system is loaded against
    parents. You are guilty until proven innocent. Nobody believed us apart
    from our GP. Our backgrounds and medical history were checked and there
    was nothing.’





    She added: ‘We felt we were stuck in a
    system in which social workers were ticking the right boxes just to
    make them look as if they were working.’
    The
    couple’s ordeal began on Christmas Eve 2010, when Reilly woke up at the
    family’s semi-detached bungalow in the village of Rhos, near Swansea,
    with a minor bruise on his forehead.
    Mrs
    Nevin called her husband, a manager in a dairy company, who advised her
    to take Reilly to their family doctor to be on the safe side. The GP
    concluded he was a ‘well, bright and lively’ child who had probably hurt
    himself rolling around the sitting room floor, and that there was no
    evidence that the injury was deliberate.
    But
    five days later, Mrs Nevin took Reilly for a check-up at a medical
    centre, and staff referred him to the paediatric assessment unit at
    Morriston Hospital in Swansea. There, a consultant paediatrician
    suggested a slap could have caused the bruise, describing it as a
    ‘non-accidental suspicious injury’.


    His parents rejected this and gave
    other possible explanations, including him hitting his face on the metal
    legs of the sofa, or on his cot bars, or on his toys.
    But Mrs Nevin said: ‘Although the paediatricians did not say it in so many words, they thought we had slapped him.’
    Reilly
    stayed in hospital for two nights for observation and tests, including
    one for shaken baby syndrome, which all came back clear. Despite this,
    the devastated couple were told they were not allowed to take Reilly
    home because of concerns about his safety.
    Arrangements
    were made for the baby to stay with relatives, initially his uncle and
    aunt. Reilly then spent the next nine months being fostered by Mrs
    Nevin’s parents, who live a few miles away from Rhos, with a social
    worker acting as his legal guardian.
    The
    couple were allowed to see their son, but only on a strict schedule,
    and they had to be supervised at all times. They visited each day but
    overnight stays were banned.



    Mr Nevin, 48, said: ‘On the first
    day, we got back home and we just hugged each other in the kitchen and
    cried. Even though it was New Year’s Eve, we were in bed by 8pm and
    cried all night.’
    Then
    in February last year, the couple were arrested for suspected assault. A
    few weeks later however, police told the Nevins the case was being
    dropped because of lack of evidence. Despite this, social services still
    sought a care order and told the couple Reilly might be put up for
    adoption.
    Over the next
    few months, the couple, who have been married for nearly four years,
    attended the family court in Swansea four times to try to get Reilly
    back. A second consultant paediatrician, instructed by Reilly’s
    guardian, initially told the hearing the bruising was caused ‘most
    probably by a hand slap’.

    But after various alternatives were
    put to him he changed his evidence, conceding the bruising was narrower
    than he would have expected if Reilly had been slapped. He eventually
    said he believed the most likely cause was Reilly bumping against a sofa
    leg.
    District Judge
    Jane Garland-Thomas dismissed the care order application, ruling that
    Neath Port Talbot Council had failed to prove the injury was
    non-accidental and that there was ‘no evidence whatsoever’ of any other
    causes of concern.
    She
    added: ‘Reilly was a well-cared for and no doubt still is a well-cared
    for baby and these parents have been totally compliant and engaged fully
    with the social services.’



    Finally, on September 27 last year, the couple were able to take Reilly home.
    Nearly six months later, Mr and Mrs Nevin are still recovering from the pain of being separated from Reilly for nearly a year.
    They
    have written to the Prime Minister asking for changes to child
    protection procedures, highlighting the ‘stress, heartache, family upset
    and depression’ they suffered.
    Mrs
    Nevin, who was prescribed anti-depressants, said: ‘He is the most loved
    child ever. But I still don’t think I have got over it. I am even
    afraid to take Reilly to the doctor now.’
    A
    spokesman for Neath Port Talbot Council said: ‘We take safeguarding of
    children extremely seriously. We are satisfied that all appropriate
    actions were taken.’


     
  2. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    I wonder what is the real story here. Honestly, social workers really don't take children away from their parents just for a bump on the head. There is a whole heap of stuff that hasn't been reported.
     
  3. It is very scary but I do agree with Mandala that children aren't generally taken away from their parents for one incident. If they were I would have been brought up in care as I was very accident prone as a toddler, and both my girls would be in care by now as they've both had the normal childhood bumps and bruises.
     
  4. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    As with teachers, there are good and bad in every profession. We all just think it won't happen to us. How do we know there is more stuff that hasn't been reported? Or is it just easier to think 'no smoke without fire'? Because we don't want to believe we could be next.
     
  5. Nice middle class married couples who work for charities abuse their children as much as any other section of society. I don't think because "background checks" came back clear they should automatically have been handed back their child. In fact it was only on balance of probability that the injury may have been caused by another route that he returned home. Social workers are not out to "get" parents and no worker would take any pleasure in removing a baby from their home.
     
  6. Peter Connelly's mother was "fully engaged and compliant with services" to the best of anyone's knowledge until he died. It was in part the reluctance or lack of follow up on concerns and unexplained injuries (as the injury was in the case above) by professionals that lead to his murder. So I would be very hesitant to criticise any consultant or other who flags up potential harm to a child - it wouldn't be done lightly.
     
  7. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    Because everything can't be reported. Reporters have to make a choice as to what to synthesise to present to us, else newspapers would be inches thick. Journalism isn't about the unbiased recounting of news events - that doesn't sell papers. Sensationalism does, sadly.
     

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