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The Silence of the Grands
September 1, 2012 permalink
How should a grandparent react when a boy breaks his jaw? According to social workers, the best reaction is to avoid discussing the injury with the child. Christopher Booker discusses this and many other ridiculous rules made by social workers for visits between foster children and family.
Don’t ask your grandson how his jaw got broken, say social workers
An alarming story about a boy in foster care raises concern over 'child protection'
A chilling recent episode exemplifies what, to an outsider, is yet another a shocking feature of our state “child protection” system. This is the ruthless way in which, when children are taken into care, social workers try to drive a wedge between their new charges and members of their families who have done them no harm and are closer to them than anyone else in the world.
Last month, an 11-year-old boy was taken to the seaside by his foster carer. There he was attacked on the beach by a gang of teenagers who left him to be taken to hospital with a broken nose and jaw. No one was more concerned to hear about this than his grandmother, into whose care he and his 16-year-old sister had been given when they were removed from her former daughter-in-law and her new partner for abuse and neglect.
When the girl ran away from home after a verbal tiff, she was taken into care. Shortly afterwards, a Romanian social worker arrived at the boy’s school to remove him as well. Terrified, he tried to escape by scaling a 12ft fence, crying, “I want my nan!” She had given him the only real sense of loving security in his life. From then on, the grandmother was only allowed to see the boy at occasional contact sessions, closely watched by a social worker in a council contact centre.
As is not uncommon in such circumstances, they were both made to sign a long list of conditions on which continuing contact could be allowed. Expressions of affection must be limited to a “brief hug” at the beginning and end of each session, which had to be initiated by the boy. They were forbidden to make any reference to his “case” or why he was in care. There must be “no whispering”. No reference must be made to his foster home or social workers. The boy could not be shown photographs except by written permission obtained in advance. Any breach of these or some 15 other rules would end all contact. His grandmother was forbidden to have contact with him in any other way.
When she heard two weeks ago that he had left hospital after the assault, she asked to be allowed to see him. She was told they would be allowed a brief “one-off contact”, but only on condition that no reference was made to his injuries or what happened on the beach. When the grandmother called the police to ask whether any charges were to be brought against the boys responsible for assaulting her grandson, she was told they were to take no further action, on the advice of the social workers who had “parental responsibility” for the boy.
Again and again, I have heard how social workers impose almost totalitarian control over how contact sessions are conducted. Frequently, children look terrified as they try to remember everything they have been told, by social workers or foster carers, that they must not talk about. When families are foreign, they are strictly forbidden to speak to each other in the language normally used at home.
On one occasion, where a distressed 10-year-old girl told her parents that she had been sexually interfered with by a foster carer’s 19-year-old son, the contact was immediately terminated and the parents never saw her again. When this was reported to a judge, he waved it aside as of no concern.
How many of our MPs (apart from John Hemming) have any idea that the state system routinely treats children in this inhuman way? Politicians gave social workers the opportunity to abuse their power like this, through the Children Act. It is only, alas, politicians who can end the appalling mess that they thus unwittingly called into being.
Source: Telegraph (UK)