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October 20, 2013 permalink
British social services intervened in the life of a Sikh family because of recreational cocaine use. After the family reformed, social workers would not leave them alone, so they fled to Thailand. Britain is trying to get Thailand to force their return to Britain.
Out to seize their children, courts hound a reformed family
A disturbing case reveals the remorseless way social workers and courts seek to track down families who have fled to a new life abroad
Even Ofsted last week seemed to be joining the ever-growing number of people alarmed by the extent to which our “child protection” system has gone horrendously off the rails. After inspecting the performance of 152 local authority “children’s services” departments, it reported that 83 per cent were performing barely adequately, or worse. Even so, Ofsted made no mention of one of the most disturbing scandals of all: the number of children being taken into care for no good reason. And nowhere is this more obvious than in the remorseless way our social workers and courts seek to track down families who have fled from them to a new life abroad.
The latest example I investigated last week concerns a family torn apart two years ago when the wife was admitted to a London hospital to be treated for a serious gum infection. Because she suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and speaks rather quickly, the hospital reported to social services a suspicion that she might be on drugs. Although tests showed that they were wrong, it was discovered that both she and her husband, a Sikh brought up in Britain – they met when she was studying law at the LSE – had been “recreational” users of cocaine.
Thanks to the parents’ record of drug use, and the fact that their home was a tip (mainly because she had been in hospital), the social workers removed their two young sons and put them into the care of a strict Muslim family. The social workers brushed aside evidence that the boys were being smacked and neglected. I am told that the older boy, pleading to be back with his “Mummy and Daddy”, fell badly behind at school.
Their shocked parents began dramatically reforming their lifestyle. As tests have confirmed, they gave up drugs. But when the wife last year produced a daughter, there was talk of sending the boys for adoption and seizing the baby, too. Increasingly desperate at the social workers’ failure to recognise the efforts she and her husband had made to mend their ways, the mother snatched her boys from care and she and her husband fled with the children to Thailand.
Since then they have built a new life. They live in a neat house. The father is a manager for an international company. The older boy has won a glowing report from school. But instead of recognising this, the only response from our “child protection” system has been to find any way to get the children back to England. The British Embassy was asked to enlist the help of Thai social workers, who reported that the children seemed happy and well looked after, and they saw no cause to intervene.
But back in Britain, I gather, a judge is now so angry at their breaking of the law that the parents have been warned that, unless they bring the children back by the end of this month, the police will be asked to act. Furthermore, the media will be informed and allowed to name the family. Yet the moment the parents return to Britain, they are told, they could be imprisoned and their children again taken into care.
If the system cannot recognise that these parents are now in a very different state from that which prompted its intervention two years ago, what can they do? They have no one to speak for them in a British court (at several hearings, the mother, representing herself, found herself up against three different sets of barristers and solicitors, plus a QC, all at great public expense).
If the foreign authorities see no reason to intervene, why should this any longer be a concern of our own courts, at such huge ongoing cost to British taxpayers?
Source: Telegraph (UK)