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Pregnant Mother Flees England
September 1, 2008 permalink
Another pregnant woman, Sam Thomas, has fled England to prevent social services from seizing her baby in the delivery room.
Mum on the run: Pregnant teen flees to Ireland to escape social workers she fears will take her baby
By Neil Sears, Last updated at 8:12 AM on 01st September 2008
A mother-to-be has fled to Ireland because she fears social services are planning to seize her newborn child and have it adopted.
Sam Thomas, 19, left Britain alone, despite being heavily pregnant.
She discovered that her social worker had told the local hospital not to let her leave the maternity ward with her child - a girl - without social services being involved.
The county council has not obtained a court order giving it authority to keep Miss Thomas in the hospital, and she has no history of being a danger to children - yet social workers appear convinced she is unfit to care for her baby.
Last night an MP who is campaigning against local authorities' power to remove children from their parents and have them adopted said he was aware of the case.
Liberal Democrat John Hemming claimed that the local authority had been heavy-handed.
In some cases, he said, fearful parents feel they have no option other than to flee to Ireland or Sweden, where it is difficult for councils to take children away from them.
'Miss Thomas is right to worry that if the new baby is taken into care after birth she might end up getting adopted,' he said.
Miss Thomas, staying in bed and breakfast accommodation in Ireland, said: 'All I want is the opportunity to prove I can be a fit mother - but I feel like I'm on the run.
'It's the only way to make sure I can have my baby girl and be with her in peace.'
She had been living in Yeovil, Somerset, with her mother Carol Hughes and looking forward to the birth of her first child.
She became concerned, however, at Somerset County Council's growing interest in the birth, due in early October - and says it soon became clear that there was a risk she would not be able to keep her child.
Miss Thomas accepts that she has harmed herself and taken an overdose in the past, but insists she has not been troubled by problems related to depression for two years.
Yet council documents show her past difficulties are still considered serious.
There is a further issue surrounding claims that she has failed to take medication for a health condition related to blood-clotting.
She feared a child protection conference arranged for today would result in her child being taken from her.
A letter sent by Somerset County Council social worker Carly Barrett to Yeovil District Hospital earlier this month instructed that after the birth 'under no circumstances must Miss Thomas be discharged without Children's Social Care involvement'.
Miss Thomas fled to Wexford last week, where she is signed up with a GP and is in contact with Irish social services. She plans to name her daughter Ellie-Jay.
She said: 'I don't want to be here - but I feel I have no choice.
'Social services have made me out to be an unfit mother but everything in their reports is either wrong, or out of context. They're not listening to anything I've got to say.'
Miss Thomas's mother Carol is supporting her emotionally and financially from back home in Yeovil.
Somerset County Council said it could not discuss individual cases.
Source: Daily Mail (UK)