Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
Accidental Fall into Child Protection
January 16, 2011 permalink
Christopher Booker tells of an unnamed mother who lost her child after an accidental fall.
A mother's fall causes her to lose her child
A woman who was temporarily paralysed in a fall had her baby taken into care while she lay in hospital, writes Christopher Booker
In recent months, I have reported on many disturbing examples of how our system of “family protection” has gone horribly off the rails, but none is more bizarre than this week’s. As usual, I am legally barred from identifying the mother at the centre of this case or giving many other details, but she is in her mid-thirties, has various academic qualifications and some time back returned to England after 10 years working in America. There, among other things, she had worked as a counsellor in Guantanamo Bay, but what she saw there led her to start a new career as a financial adviser.
In September 2009, after a difficult pregnancy, she gave birth to a daughter, by an old friend with whom marriage was not possible. Two months later, she was sitting on her mother’s windowsill, dressed in a coat and hat ready to go out, when she fell, snatching at a curtain in a vain attempt to save herself.
She woke up in hospital, paralysed from the neck down. Soon afterwards, a nurse handed her a phone. It was a social worker from the local council, to tell her that her daughter – who was being looked after by her sister – was to be placed in care and put up for adoption within six weeks. “I was so paralysed,” she says, “that I couldn’t wipe the tears from my eyes.”
Because she was very fit (having been something of a star athlete), she made a miraculously quick recovery, and was discharged from hospital – after a psychological evaluation which confirmed that her fall was accidental and that she posed no risk to herself or anyone else. Still, in January last year the social workers applied for an interim care order. She was told that this was because her baby was at “potential risk of harm” due to her “suicide attempt”, and that she was in a “violent relationship” – whereas there had been no man in her life for over a year.
The interim order was issued, as is routine, but the social workers were told to produce evidence for their case, and the baby was allowed to remain with the mother’s sister’s family. The mother was given a hair-strand test which, she was startled to be told, showed “traces of cocaine” and “chronic excessive drinking”, though she rarely drinks, and a re-test for cocaine was negative.