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Too many children are being seized by social workers without good reason: why do these families have no protection from the Human Rights Act?

And why do the police so unquestioningly follow the instructions of the social services?

By on Friday, 14 October 2011

The Evangelical group Christian Voice (described in a hostile Wikipedia entry as a “fundamentalist Christian pressure group”) has been dismissed by one churchman as “a disgrace”, and its claims to represent Christians as “absurd”. Well, maybe they are absurd, and maybe they aren’t (though I have to say that I find myself agreeing with Christian Voice more often than I disagree).

But this month they have published a lengthy special report on what they describe as the “scandal” of the forced adoption of children seized by social workers, which I would have thought ought to be taken very seriously by anyone who cares about justice. Largely because these adoptions are carried out after child seizures have been executed on the basis of what often seems like no more than the unsupported instinct of social workers, and are imposed by secret family courts, whose doings cannot be reported on pain of contempt of court (many parents are imprisoned because they defy this monstrous law by going public), this is a problem which is hugely underestimated by public opinion.

Sometimes, journalists like Christopher Booker can report what are often harrowing cases: but only when a member of Parliament has broken silence on a particular case in the House of Commons, under protection of Parliamentary privilege. Hundreds of children have been torn from their parents in this way, often in the middle of the night. They, and their parents, have no recourse to law: they cannot appeal; they are entirely in the hands of judges who behave in what sometimes seems like an entirely arbitrary way—an inevitable result, surely, of any secretly conducted judicial system.

Christian Voice quotes an article by Christopher Booker published in the Sunday Telegraph in June, which I remember seeing at the time:

At half past 10 one night, the week before last, several cars drew up outside a family home “somewhere in southern England”. A 12-year-old girl was asleep in bed upstairs. Earlier in the day, she had been fetched home from school because she was ill. Also in the house were her disabled father and her two brothers, in their twenties. One of them, I am told, recorded the events on video as the house filled with eight policemen, helping two social workers to drag the girl to a car. She was crying and protesting, “What have I done wrong?”

She had grabbed her mobile phone, but it was confiscated from her as she was handed over to a council foster-carer. Being a resourceful girl, she managed to smuggle two handwritten notes to her family over the next few days, saying that she was constantly crying at being “taken from my dad and my brothers, the only family I know and I love since I was born”. “I feel like I get punished for something I haven’t done, as I feel they are treating me like a prisoner.” She also briefly managed to get to a phone, to claim – her remarks were recorded – that she had been hit by her African foster-carer (the girl is white).

What made this truly bizarre was that it had never been alleged that the girl was in any danger at home. Social workers had only become involved with the family when she was maltreated by her mother, who left the house two years ago. Since then, social workers have maintained contact to confirm that she was being well cared for. They repeatedly told her, in her own words, that “my dad was a good dad, that my brothers looked after me properly and that I was not going to be removed from my family”.

Only a few days before she was seized, the family had agreed to a care plan whereby the social workers would continue to keep an eye on her while she remained at home. But everything suddenly changed: the father wrote to one of the social workers, criticising the judge in the case. The note, it seems, was shown to the judge: the following day the child was taken away.

We have heard a great deal lately from our judges about the right to family life. But in thousands of cases, over which our “family courts” have jurisdiction, the Human Rights Act apparently does not come into play.

What strikes one is the astonishing lack of effort the social services put into finding an adequate evidential basis for their child-snatching ways. Take the following case, reported by the Mail in August:

A couple were accused of child abuse after doctors failed to realise their baby son’s ‘injuries’ were caused by a genetic bone disease. Both parents were arrested and prevented from seeing their children unsupervised for 18 months before their innocence was finally acknowledged. Yesterday Amy Garland said she and her partner had been treated like criminals after they took their six-week-old son Harrison to hospital when he was ill. Initial tests proved inconclusive, but X-rays later showed that he had suffered eight separate fractures in his arms and legs. Social services accused his parents of child abuse and took the baby and his elder sister into care.

In the end, it was Miss Garland who found an expert who said Harrison probably had osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. But why should SHE have had to find an expert? She is a defenceless amateur: the professionals who tore the family apart (in the end, under the stress, she and her partner split up) should have had the expertise to find the appropriate specialist.

What is so dreadful about so many of these cases is the idleness and incompetence of those who, not knowing enough to know how little they know, seize so many children and in some cases have had them irreversibly adopted before the parents are able to prove their innocence.

There is one question that puzzles me. Why do the police so willingly allow themselves to be used as the instruments of these social workers, whose incompetence can lead to such horrific denial of basic human rights? I end with another astonishing case reported by Christopher Booker, which concerns two parents who had had their six children seized:

On Monday, the parents were yet again arrested, on a charge of conspiring to abduct their own children, to fly them in a private aircraft to France. This is utterly ludicrous since they have no idea where their children are. Four of them they have not seen for six months, and one for over a year; they have had no contact with their year-old baby for three months, since it was seized by the social workers for a second time.

The wife was forcibly stripped naked in front of a male policeman; the couple were held overnight in an unheated cell without blankets and the next morning taken to a mental hospital to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Five bemused doctors examined them, finding nothing wrong, and they were released. In the days following, after the street where they live had been cordoned off so that 28 police officers could search their flat, the couple were twice more arrested and released.

That is all Booker was allowed to report: no names, no holding of any particular judge or social worker to account. As he says himself, “The treatment of this family has been so horrendous that I hope I can one day report it properly. But again, as so often in this and other family cases, why do the police seem so astonishingly compliant to the instructions of social workers? That is a mystery which I have never yet had satisfactorily explained.”

And again, I would like to know why such parents, and their children, have had so little protection from the much vaunted Human Rights Act. If anyone knows the answer, please let us have it.

  • Anonymous

    The answer is this. Social workers who work in child protection have an ideological and conspiratorial agenda to destroy the institution of the family. That is why they are as competent as the Keystone Cops when set the task of protecting children from death at the hands of a mother’s live-in boyfriend. But when these lying, chiseling criminals have the outside chance of seizing a child from loving, married parents to place the child for adoption with a gay or otherwise dysfunctional couple, they will descend with the ruthlessness of the KGB.

    The rest of the answer is that no one has tried to take a case through the appeals system at all, let alone to Strasbourg.

  • SocialWorker

    I found this article interesting, but as both a Christian and a social worker, I find your comments ignorant and offensive. I know many hardworking, dedicated social workers helping children who have come from horrendously abusive and neglectful situations. You cannot begin to imagine what some children have been through. I hope you never have to read a child’s case file – and those are the ones that survive their abuse. The system is not perfect, but the vast majority of social workers are doing the best they can within the confines a flawed system. I can’t speak to the UK system, but the US state system I’m familiar with requires extensive support for reunification with birth parents before moving towards adoption.

    Any infant who comes to an ER with evidence of eight bone fractures *should* be taken away from their parents until it’s understood what’s going on. It shouldn’t have taken 18 months to figure out that the child had a bone disorder, but you can’t exactly get mad at a social worker for acting immediately with what is, more often than not, clear evidence of horrendous abuse. Just because they’re a two-parent household doesn’t automatically mean they’re loving towards their children. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leonard-Henderson/543636136 Leonard Henderson

    Wow “SocialWorker”-

    There are a lot of different flavors of “Christian”.  I am a Christian too, and I think Social Workers are Lucifer’s personal hand maidens.  

    I highly doubt you have been a Social Worker over a month, or you are so naive you are blind.  

    Please visit the American Family Rights website.  http://familyrights.us

    Read a little bit of it, and think about how much you would like to continue expressing your naivete.

    Leonard Henderson, co-founder 
    American Family Rights 
    http://familyrights.us 
    “Until Every Child Comes Home”© 
    “The Voice of America’s Families”©

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leonard-Henderson/543636136 Leonard Henderson

    Regarding the “Human Rights Act”-

    Tuesday February 3, 2009
    United Nations Population Fund Leader Says Family Breakdown is a Triumph for Human Rights
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2009/feb/09020312

    Which is absolutely the same thing the Communist Manifesto says-
    http://revolution2.us/content/docs/history/communist/manifesto.htm#family

    Leonard Henderson, co-founder 
    American Family Rights 
    http://familyrights.us 
    “Until Every Child Comes Home”© 
    “The Voice of America’s Families”©

  • Creation332

    My kids where taken from me by Pasadena dcfs they where accusing me of neglecting any medical attention causing my kids physical and or raping my kids causing them emotional damage and that where I live is un safe for them! When I went to court to show proof that they where lying they said it’s because they want me to testify against my sons father. And because I still love him! The judge ordered visitation rights twice a week when I called they said no! I breastfeed my 2 month old and they said I needed to stop! They stole my kids using false allegations and because I can’t stop loving my sons father! They want me to accuse him of domestic violence how when he has never ever hit me! And what ever the judge say they do the opposite and then they say I don’t cooperate!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leonard-Henderson/543636136 Leonard Henderson

    Creation332- See How to Fight CPS

    http://familyrights.us/how_to/fight_cps.html 

  • James Rinkevich

    Social Worker you are a likely child abuser yourself and should not be allowed to  supervise or prepare a report on anyone with children.  The proof case against your position lies in the 3rd judicial circuit of Michigan, where it has been proven (in Michigan’s District Court) every last judge of the circuit is an accessory to forgery and commits fraud. [Instead of hearing the evidence from a SW at the initial hearing, they had a probation officer rubber stamp them without any judicial review, after this was published by the local TV station the judges modified it so it looks like they are reviewing them.)  This same circuit was also responsible for the Amer case where their two year old with brittle bone disease died after falling in a tub: a jury found the parent not guilty and the death certificate says accidental.  The agency had said in writing they would get their children back if she wasn’t found guilty but according to the lawsuit: the SWs, the LGAL William E. Ladd (he has been involved in other highly suspicious cases too: search for a case story named snowfall.pdf) and a judge of the circuit were involved in refusing to return the children or place them with relatives: the Amers have managed to get an act called the Amer Act passed to mandate that in Michigan (it was policy though at the time but the social workers refused to follow it).  Until real evidence says that the parent abused their child their should be no presumption that he did: too many SWs take children from easy targets who have little money and use the care money to place them in a worse circumstance; too many also refuse to visit unsafe houses and leave really abused children without ever seeing them.
    From what I’ve seen England is at least as bad as Michigan if not worse. And if you really want to read how well the system does for children why don’t you read the blog “I was a Foster Kid”?

  • Anonymous

    I can and do speak to the UK system. Social workers have the benefit of secret courts where they can lie through their teeth. I don’t know whether the God-hating criminal element is in the majority or the minority, but it is this element that calls the shots.

  • amfortas

    There’s something else going on here. Time and time again social workers have been criticised for not intervening. We all know about the hard cases (Baby P and so on). And so the default switch has been moved to the ‘if in doubt intervene’ position. They can’t win. Sorry if that point wasn’t ideological enough for other commentators.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angela-Horne/1621823849 Angela Horne

    America’s Adoption Awareness Month. Who are we kiidding?
    people like cute inarticulate children, but…

    http://all-about-orphans.blogspot.com

  • Parentof3

    The sad things is though that the system is so corrupt that it more often than not does indeed go on for that long-and by that time most parents are facing TPR! It’s a shame. I find your reply ignorant and offensive because you obviously haven’t bothered to do any research. 

    Social Workers don’t always do a good job. I have seen them lie and twist words and then try to cover their behinds when they get caught. So, please. And personally, I feel that someone who has been abused probably shouldn’t work as a Social Worker because it seems to me that would cloud your judgment and you could be taking a child that IS in a loving home away from parents and putting them in a situation that IS dangerous.

    You should read the statistics on how many kids are abused within the system then they are at home. I know there are good social workers who do care and are doing their best. But I also know of more SW that are so narrow minded and cold  that they don’t care.

    S, please excuse me if I am not too fond of the system and don’t have too many good things to say about it.

  • C A Geldart

    Parents should beware of the traps set by these people. The wrong remark at the wrong time can lead to suspicion and ‘social work involvement’. I was poor. I even had adverse comment made that I was ‘spending too much money on the children’s clothes and didn’t know how to budget’. I have never recovered from my experience.

  • Anonymous

    SocialWorker, we are not talking about “bone fractures” here.  We are speaking to the false allegations that about 90% of the accusations are about.  Where kids are taken without any proof there was past abuse but taken anyway for “future” abuse which there is no indication will occur. This without any real proof in courts that act on behalf of the case worker and ignorant CASAs who believe that “every accusation is already proof enough” rather than looking into the case any further. Accusations that are funded in the billions of dollars with the caveat that, “the more kids you take the more money you make and if you return them home, you will LOSE any present and future funding…” (Title IV funding mandates).  

    Where case managers receive bonuses for every child they take and adopt, CASA receives millions for *not* representing the child as they are mandated to do as replacements for a real attorney, but representing CPS instead ~ by their own admission of going with CPS over 97% of the time.  Where no services for family preservation is given but instead is given to foster care, counselors, prosecutors, defense attorneys, family court  judges and case managers all out of the same funding that says, “the more kids you take …” Just to tear a child from their famil;y and place them with strangers for no other reason than  “feeling”.  

    I am speaking from a citizen who witnessed the very famous Wenatchee Witch Hunt case, which turned out to be a bunch of lies that incarcerated for decades dozens of innocents and scattered hundreds of kids to the wind on lies.  Not ONE case worker, CASA, counselor, prosecutor,or judge has so much as received a slap on the wrist then or since for the destruction and mayhem they caused.  A case which was based on bogus counseling  methods that are now considered unethical by American and British psychological and psychiatric societies but are still used to this day to prosecute the accused as “fact” and take their children. 

    No case manager, counselor, CASA or anyone affiliated with them has to worry because even after being proved in court they LIED, they will never face anything but more bonuses for witch hunts that only tear the family apart and traumatize the child for life.  So what if they are “damned if the do, damned if they don’t …” ? They never face any other consequences if they lie or are wrong and there is never any remedy to the grieving families for the damage they have done. 

    Cat in Seattle

  • Familyrightswi

    SocialWorker, I find your comments ignorant and offensive. I have seen examples of horrendous social workers “case files.” I have seen how these “case files” are filled with lies, exaggerations, and twisted opinion. I have seen how GOOD families are destroyed by your “well intentioned” agents. I have seen what it does to children to be ripped from their LOVING homes…by strangers…carted off to a strange home, all due to a social workers opinion that they know better what a child needs. Your arrogance/ignorance is appalling. Your sanctimoneous attitude is the very reason that has lead to your agency’s abuse of innocent children and families. Your suggestion that the US state system requires “extensive support for reunification” with birth parents… do you even understand what is WRONG with this statement??? The US state system REQUIRES that you make ALL reasonable efforts to MAINTAIN a child in their home first! This is too often overlooked by pious agents who assume a parent is guilty of something and therefore justifies their decision to kidnap a child and let the judge/court determine the innocence of the parent based on allegations that are false in an estimated 80% of cases where children have been removed (based on ACF federal reports). The trauma that is caused by removal is unconscionable. The days, months, years that a child is kept from their parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, pets, all that is familiar while the parents jump through your hoops to prove their innocence is unconscionable. When an estimated 80% of cases end with unsubstantiated findings, decisions are NOT as you suggest “clear evidence of horrendous abuse.” You have now abused these children and caused irreparable harm, and that IS clear evidence of horrendous abuse. Those children are not thanking you for “saving them.” Excusing your “flawed” system is not acceptable. familyrightswi@ymail.com

  • Anonymous

    “What is so dreadful about so many of these cases is the idleness and incompetence of those who, not knowing enough to know how little they know, seize so many children and in some cases have had them irreversibly adopted before the parents are able to prove their innocence.” Is their idleness and incompetence any worse than the idleness and incompetence of some RC bishops and cardinals  in dealing with abuse cases? 

  • Brandy M Miller

    SocialWorker: 8 bone fractures does not warrant an automatic assumption of abuse. There are other possibilities to be considered – car accidents being but one of many possible explanations. Is it common practice among social workers to assume guilt and force the party to prove innocence?  Whatever happened to a parent’s right to be presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty?

  • Ijak62

    The sad reality is that social workers are stressed out, and so rather than focusing on the real dangerous and demanding cases, like Baby P, they naturally fall upon the law abiding, but often stressed out parents who by some odd reasons or another come their way. It is easier and quicker to deal with such people, to put it crudely to control them, and a lot less dangerous. I know of a case where a social worker refused to go and investigate three children, including a baby,  having been left alone by their father. The reason was that the father had just assaulted his wife who had fled the scene in fear of her life, and the husband had pursued her to her friend’s house leaving the children alone. The social worker refused to get involved until there was a police incident number, because the social worker might have been hurt. The police took 5 hours to attend. While the police did subsquently apologise after a complaint was made via the local MP, the social work department never bothered even to reply to the MP, let alone to the family.  This is a logical consequence of a health and safety culture plus meeting statistical targets, plus a sort of arrogance fed by a certain type of ideological thinking and a lack of accountability. I am sure most social workers work very, very hard and care deeply, and believe they are doing the right thing. But in the end they are making collosal mistakes and the current system fails too many children too many times. If they oculd at least admit that, then maybe together, as a society, we could reform things satisfactorily?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leonard-Henderson/543636136 Leonard Henderson

    It appears my original comment to SocialWorker has been removed.  I am curious of WHY?

  • Jacob Suggs

    Does the competence of Bishops have anything to do with whether or not it’s ok for the government to strip children from their families without just cause?

  • http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/ The Catholic Herald

    It related to point 4 of our Content Standards:

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/acceptable-use-policy/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leonard-Henderson/543636136 Leonard Henderson

    OK.  So pointing falsely accused parents to WHERE to find help on HOW TO FIGHT CPS is “unsolicited or unauthorised advertising or promotional material”?

    I comment on CPS stories everywhere.  Some publications PREFER people who are AUTHORITIES on the subject to IDENTIFY themselves and WHERE to LEARN MORE, and some places prefer leaving people utterly in the dark.

    I believe that if you looked at the American Family Rights Association website, and the fact that we do everything in Christian benevolence for FREE, and don’t even allow banner advertising- perhaps you might reconsider a need to sanction AFRA?

    We want to HELP PEOPLE, and sincerely wish more people could find us BEFORE CPS runs them through the meatgrinder- at the end, leaving the accused with NOTHING to APPEAL because they did not GET THE TRUTH and the evidence ON THE RECORD for APPEAL.  

    The stakes are very high, because we are dealing with “The Death Penalty for a Family” and the mass public is clueless.

    This should be a Great Calling for Christian ministry, because it is vitally serious.

  • Anonymous

    What was “ignorant” about telling the truth with the facts?  Nobody’s talking about the tragedy of abused kids.  

    What we ARE talking about is the tragedy of kids who AREN’T abused but who are taken anyway.  Seems the System deems it necessary to take thousands of children who are *not* abused for the one child who might “slip through the cracks”.  so thousands of children should be traumatized for life for one child? THIS is our concern.  Nobody is saying that a child who is suffering should be ignored and left in the circumstances ~ which BTW happens a great deal while kids who have not been abused are taken at the drop of a hat.  Especially if they are an older kid suffering.  

    Come one!  Admit it!  Older kids are not taken so much because they are not so marketable and don’t bring as good of a price like the human marketing scheme of little kids that CPS profits from all the time. Don’t TELL me that the Title IV mandates are not a corrupting force!!!!  Anyone who has looked at the numbers can see it, even low income poor people like me who DSHS likes to pretend “chose” poverty and “did nothing”  when it comes to the 24/7 job of raising their children.  You know, the “doing nothing”  like The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Act says (Welfare Reform) raising children is about.  You know the one that says poor women “do nothing” while raising their children but “do something more important” while being forced to ignore their children in order to make some rich man richer while saying, “Do you want fries with that?” I have a teacher friend who kept bringing a 13 year old in to CPS who was being severely beaten by his father for over a year ~ but would CPS even get up from their office chair to do anything about him?  Not until the teacher threatened to go to the press would they move their lazy butts enough to do anything about it!  The teacher was puzzled about this reluctance ~ until I explained to him that this child would not bring in so much of a profit as a cute little 3 year old.  Such as a toddler whose trauma boiling down underneath nobody would see or understand that would not show up until they were in puberty because they had been ripped from their families . Like the legally kidnapped 3 year old who I saw this week with MRSA on her finger that would not heal because the parents (both working McJobs that did not even pay the rent) could not afford to take her back to the doctor who gave them a cream to rub in the wound that didn’t work. Did CPS help these hard working parents? Not on your life when there is mney to be made, 1000% more to be spent taking and selling this child instead!  

    The teacher was more understanding then of how the System works: Cute little babies will SELL like hotcakes, while a teenager getting the crap beaten out of him every day?  Not so much … I have seen just within the past month where a 19 year old gave birth to a child when she did not even know she was pregnant.  Before she could decide what to do and the grandparents were there ready to take the child should she decide she could not raise him ~  CPS chose to announce they were moving in and taking the child within a couple hours after this baby took its first breath where 8 FREAKING COUPLES were already lined up waving money  ~ notified by CPS workers slobbering after those bonuses, doncha know …Worse unless YOU are “ignorant” then you yourself know about the studies done where instead of spending 1000% more or our tax dollars on foster care, giving families services (even in the case of drug addicted or alcoholic parents) actually works better than taking kids except in the most severe of cases.

    You also know if you are not “ignorant” that children have a 5-7X more likely chance of being abused in foster care and that adoption is not far behind with abuse statistics, than if these had been left in the home and their birth families given services.If speaking about the legal kidnapping of kids when they are not abused is considered by you to be “ignorant” well perhaps you are part of the problem for which I speak.  See, since you are a professional you should know that every single case is *not* about “bone fractures” ~ which, according to University of Washington, Michigan University, NY Department of Social Services and the Casey Foundation show overwhelming statistics true, severe abuse is present in only about 10% of those cases. The other 90% of these children as I said, are not being taken from their families for any “bone fractures” at all ~ just for “future” abuse when there has been no indication proven in a real court of law with due process, that any abuse had occurred, much less any indication of “future” abuse, whatever that means.  You know well, where “the best interest of the child” REALLY means more like, “The best interest of the bank accounts for the Foster Care and CPS Industrial Complex …. ”  

    Just sayin’ …sheesh Cat in Seattle

  • Familyrightswi

    Mine has also been removed.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Oddie, you deserve a ton of kudos for bringing up this issue to the blog. However, when you ask why such parents, and their children had so little protection from the much vaunted Human Rights Act, that’s the Pandora box you can’t selectively open and close at will. What I mean is that you can’t join force with Human Rights Act and its activists when need be and discard their work whenever their intervention targets our own community. That’s why I urge to read this brilliant exposé,” Sex, the Greatest Damned Thing?” in Amazon.com.uk  about children bastards born out of wedlock from women concubines of priests and bishops around the world. This is a greatbook of advocacy for dispensed priests, who deserve better than a limited role in the Catholic Church. And this, at a time that our own Catholic Church for which they have worked for decades, would rather welcome married Anglican and Lutheran clergy in the church with better benefits. The whole issue is that Human Rights Actibvists have reporting to us that domestic violence against priests’ women concubines and  their bastard children is evil and ungodly. Talking about Human Rights Act in the secular world of corrupt judges and cops, is like the cat calling the kettle black. To conclude, I would urge to read the above book and blog about the fierce urgency of change to eradicate violence against children everywhere in church as well as in the secular world. God bless!

  • Mei

    I agree that clergy should be held accountable if they do not deal properly with abuse suspicion, however, MOST institutions (especially back in the 70′s, 80′s 90′s or earlier) handled these issues within (not bringing in outsiders due to the scandal it would cause). There is a great deal of abuse happening in schools but the media only wish to focus on clergy. The majority of abuse happens by non-clergy and at home with relatives but again, the media are silent on that. I wonder why…

  • James Rinkevich

    It is totally disrespectful for any social worker to come on the internet and suggest that a care system that has injured, or in many cases, recently killed, a child in their care – conditions that would remove children from anyone else’s care permanently, should be allowed to care for a child merely because they have unexplained broken bones. It violates Catholic social teaching and European countries like France, Spain and Italy and most of Latin America don’t remove them them on that basis: it’s culturally backwards and offensive. Only common law countries and Germanic/Scandinavian countries do it – I don’t even think even Russia and the former communist block countries act like this.
    As for these workers caring about children, if they cared, agency services would be given outside of normal business hours, workers would return their calls promptly and sometimes even answer them.  Reality is that the workers work to please their bosses, who need more cases of abuse to justify their continuing budgets, the judges don’t want to judge the case lest it be a case that goes bad later, and the lawyers make money by keeping the cases alive (rather than closed).

  • David Armitage

    Christopher Brooker is such a temporate moderate jounalist, such an expert child care mattersand much else besides. Far be it from him to search out the sensational and apply to the generality of cases.  Congratulations to Dr Oddie, having the courage to wander off from his field of expertise, and taking Booker for his mentor, wax eloquent in castigating those who don’t know enough to know how little they know. As a social worker with forty years experience I have long learned to disregard  pontificating based on hearsay. Competent social workers do indeed use their instinct: instinct founded on scientific learning and shared experience.  I for one have been led by instinct on countless occasions to be tactfully and discretely attentive to situations where irrefutable evidence has emerged of ill treatment and abuse; tragedies have been avoided through skilful intervention and abusive parents, many of whom were themselves abused as children,  have been rehabilitated through understanding and support.

  • W Oddie

    No. So?

  • W Oddie

    I’m not attempting to join forces with the Human Rights Act: I’m expressing total scepticism about it.

  • Anonymous

      Mr Oddie, often I agree heartily with what you write, sometimes I disagree but up to now I have always enjoyed your articles. However, I felt quite sick when I read this one. (Even more so when I read a chunk of the comments.) Yes, one often reads articles riddled with ignorance and prejudice on the subject of social workers but naively I have expected better of the Catholic Herald. I have had to wait some days since it first appeared to be able to respond calmly.

    A hallmark of prejudice is to write off whole groups of people rather than considering individual cases. And while anyone may be excused not having a good knowledge of social work practice in the UK, to write an article about it without that knowledge and taking all the information from only one source is egregiously unfair. I am sure that as in any profession there are social workers who have all sorts of defects, act negligently or carelessly etc. I am equally sure that the majority enter the profession, knowing that they will constantly be exposed to extremely distressing circumstances, huge workloads and hugely derogatory comments in the press, out of a sense of commitment and dedication. Amazingly this attitude persists in many throughout their years in this field.

    You and many of those who have commented write as though social workers practise in a vacuum, removing children from their families at will on scant evidence and on their own authority. Not so. There are statutory provisions, policies and procedures which they have to follow at all times. They make recommendations to a judge which may be agreed or set aside. Those recommendations are tested in court under cross examination. It is the judge who decides whether a child should be removed, not a social worker.

    Ah yes, those “secret courts”. No, they are not open to the public. Just consider for a moment if they were. At the moment families who are aggrieved at a decision can and often do have recourse to the press. The social workers of course cannot respond since they are bound by confidentiality. But if the public and the press were able to attend just imagine the press reports picking over the details of chaotic lives which would appear, particularly in the tabloids. Because the press is fickle. They would not confine themselves to reporting cases where they would encourage outrage at social workers and their treatment of innocent parents but would just as easily report on cases where they would encourage readers to sit in judgment on the families . Do we really want this level of intrusion into private lives – those of children and their families ?

    I do have an interest to declare. My own daughter has been a social worker for 13 years in this field at various levels of responsibility. I admit to feeling proud of her and moved by her as she matured in the profession where she has always been motivated by the ethic of service, primarily to the children involved, to families and as she has increased in responsibilities, to expecting high standards from those workers under her management giving them support so they can attain them. I know she is not exceptional – there are many more very similar. But one would never know it from what one habitually reads.

  • SocialWorker

    @cd72ecb47a8fe178f7687e5704d0eb82:disqus You’re right, but I think a parent would mention a car accident if they presented their infant to the ER. These parents did not.If that child ended up dead after being returned to the parents until it was known why the child had 8 broken bones, you would all be up in arms that the child was returned to the parents. It doesn’t mean the parent is “guilty,” but kids oftentimes have to be separated from their parents while an investigation is conducted. Imagine a child reporting their own abuse and what would happen to that child if he/she stayed with the parent! Would you want an accused child molester still teaching your child’s kindergarten class while an investigation was conducted? Didn’t think so! I agree with you all that it’s not ideal, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what would work better, given that many claims of abuse are true. I appreciated your thoughtful comment, @ancientconvert:disqus , as well as the reminder that the judge makes the ultimate decision. Social workers make recommendations, which the judge has the choice to follow or not. There are also pretty specific mandates by law, so recommendations are not always subjective.I’m so saddened to read that people have had experiences with children not being taken away because they’re older. That’s not the what I’ve seen, but I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. It’s true that foster care is full of older kids and special needs kids. This is why people travel to far-flung countries to adopt babies and toddlers when there are plenty of children right in their backyard. 

    I’m not here to say that the child welfare system is perfect. Foster care is far from ideal. All children deserve loving supportive homes, but many are not so lucky. Some kids ultimately have problems with their families because of poverty, not willful neglect. 21% of kids live in poverty in the richest nation in the world. That’s not a problem that the child welfare system is equipped to solve.

    If you are so outraged at how children are treated in the system, why not consider becoming foster parents or adopting an older kid?

  • http://thatthebonesyouhavecrushedmaythrill.blogspot.com Laurence England

    Well done, William. This is a widespread, national scandal. It happens to the poorest families.

  • David Armitage

    Congratulations. I have worked in deprived areas in the UK, in refugee camps, war zones and disaster areas. I’ve tried to help families overcome adversity. I’ve struggled to prevent so-called orphans being snatched from camps for adoption, and worked with families who have managed to adopt. Suicides and delinquency are frequent. Perhaps the Catholic Herald might look for contributors who are experienced professionals. Many would have intervened effectively in the incidents of religious child abuse if bishops and their accomplices had been aware of their incompetence, and like socials workers placed the interests of children rather than their own reputations at the heart of their concerns.

  • Anonymous

    Social workers DO practice in a vacuum, at least in the US.  

    Those “laws and policies” are regularly ignored in our Family Courts.  In the real courts, the accused have a right to an attorney and to “Due Process”, and the only accused who have any a right to an attorney is the parent.  This right means an attorney is paid for by the government.  Other accused such as grandparents, relatives, or anyone who is not the parent do *not* have that right.  The finger is simply pointed by the case manger and the accused is automatically considered guilty.  They are allowed to consider “in the best interest of the child” on a FEELING with no proof of any abuse but just say there is FUTURE abuse (you know, even if it is something that never happened in the past but hey, these people have a FEELING it will so therefore it suddenly becomes a legal “fact”). 

    Due Process is in our Constitution is a right to a trial and for the accused to face the accuser and defend themselves.  This is not followed in Family Court at all.  I am sorry but yu can be a professional for 50 years and it is *not* considered proper to make a FELLING into a fact ~ and sorry even a magician could ever prove something will happen in the future. A funny thing even the most ignorant know about the future…NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS.  Especially when there is no proof anything ever happened in the past. Sorry being “experienced” should not work ~ even if they consider themselves so wonderful they KNOW what the future will be like they are Jesus or something, which many of them seem to think.   
    Then these accused, never proven to be abusive, are then put on a public list for the rest of their lives.  If they cannot afford an attorney, too bad and there is no way to remove it. For LIFE.  This is not in our Constitution to be accused and then never get a chance to have a professional defend you when the consequences are so dire.  Worse, even the parent’s government attorney is paid out of the same funding as the judge, social worker, CASA, counselors, all who rely on our Title IV funding mandates: “the more kids you take the more money you make and if you return those kids home, you LOSE all that funding…”  This means that what we call a “Public Pretender” depends on LOSING their cases because it keeps them employed In addition, the case manager, CASA and judge all depend on this same money to keep their jobs.   A”public pretender” never has to prove themselves to have won a single case in order to be one, and most if not all lose their cases all the time. Talk about a vacuum! 

    Sorry, but I have been a part of a case where the case managers LIED and it was proven in court, and I “won” the case.  Even when you “win” there is no remedy for the “accused” but simply to watch their relative be sold like a piece of merchandise ~ where the “vendor” gets thousands in bonuses for doing so after being proven a perjurer.  Perjury is something that is SUPPOSED to be a crime, but instead it is ignored as if it never happened and the perjurer never faces so much as a slap oin the wrist (according to an FOIA request in my state showing thatafter 30 years liars did not receive so much as a slap on the wrist ~ many were even promoted).  

    Yes, talk about an VACUUM, these liars are given BONUSES and promotions for doing so!  So, by the time I could prove their lies, they had performed an adoption to an unmarried couple of four kids who stayed in bed until after 10:00 in the morning and their own unsupervised toddler Drowned in their unprotected, adult-sized swimming pool with two toddlers running around.  These adopters, part of CPS and funded out of the same money, decided to give a child to a couple who should have been considered neglectful under their own “laws and policy”  less than a year after the death of a child.  

    So, I am falsely accused and these child neglecters got their “replacement” kid by the time I could legally prove their lies, it was already done.  This was already done after DHS dragged their feet for over a year.  BTW I was poor and could not afford a lawyer.  I had to suddenly become a judge, attorney and do all the work myself. Otherwise, not only did I wrongfully lose a child I had cared for as the only mother she knew her first four years out of her life without so much as a trial, I would have been put on a public list for the rest of my life where I could not find work, rent a home, or even volunteer for my granddaughter at her school.    No these case managers live in a vacuum all right. I am glad you are proud of your daughter, but she is part of a corrupt System that relies on the sale of children for their own employment.  I am not the only one who has seen this happen, I am just one of thousands a year who experience this and our children are traumatized for life ~ basically because “the more kids they take, the more money they make and if they return them home (or help the birth families), then you will LOSE YOUR JOBS! Not only Have I heard these caveats from US Representatives in charge of funding this, I have also seen the damage done because of this reliance of social workers to live off the backs of (mostly) poor children.  Then ask the 270,000 foster care and adoption “alumni” about their 5-7 X more likely to be abused in foster care and adoption that Michigan Sate and also the NY DSH studied. simply because nobody responsible has to prove a thing in court except their “feelings”, which are then turned in to “facts” ostentatiously because it is,  “in the best interest of my wallet ~ errrr  I mean in the best interest of the child …”. Cat in Seattle <—warrior for low income families and the falsely accused! 

  • Anonymous

    Dr Oddie, writing as “a leading English Catholic writer” you bring the Church into disrepute when you write things like this. 

    I write this while watching “Spain’s stolen babies”. I hope you are watching it too, and I wait to hear your comments on that.  

  • Anonymous

      mntleo, I am very sorry indeed to hear of your experience.  I hope I made it clear that I am not claiming any knowledge of the system in the USA or indeed anywhere else outside the UK.

    I was also not saying that there should and could be great improvements within the system in the UK.  All I was trying to do was to redress the balance here in the UK where social workers are regularly denigrated as a blanket group thing by a Press which makes no effort on the whole to understand what the system is and by successive Governments of varying hues which in the way of Governments throughout the world make sudden reactve changes in a short-termist way of thinking which often make it more difficult for those working within the system and therefore ultimately for those people caught up in it.  I merely wanted to defend those social workers – I believe the majority here in the UK- who do a good job under difficult circumstances and who do not lose their humanity.

  • Speransgaudebo

    He can’t become a foster parent in the UK.  He’s a Christian and that’s verboten.  Remember?

  • John hannigan

    This is a digrace I intend to expose this error in law, I myself have a unbelievable story to tell !

    johnhhannigantgwu@yahoo.com.

  • Familyrightswi

    SocialWorker, I find your comments ignorant and offensive. I have seen examples of horrendous social workers “case files.” I have seen how these “case files” are filled with lies, exaggerations, and twisted opinion. I have seen how GOOD families are destroyed by your “well intentioned” agents. I have seen what it does to children to be ripped from their LOVING homes…by strangers…carted off to a strange home, all due to a social workers opinion that they know better what a child needs. Your arrogance/ignorance is appalling. Your sanctimoneous attitude is the very reason that has lead to your agency’s abuse of innocent children and families. 

    Your suggestion that the US state system requires “extensive support for reunification” with birth parents… do you even understand what is WRONG with this statement??? The US state system REQUIRES that you make ALL reasonable efforts to MAINTAIN a child in their home first! This is too often overlooked by pious agents who assume a parent is guilty of something and therefore justifies their decision to kidnap a child and let the judge/court determine the innocence of the parent based on allegations that are false in an estimated 80% of cases where children have been removed (based on ACF federal reports). The trauma that is caused by removal is unconscionable. The days, months, years that a child is kept from their parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, pets, all that is familiar while the parents jump through your hoops to prove their innocence is unconscionable. When an estimated 80% of cases end with unsubstantiated findings, decisions are NOT as you suggest “clear evidence of horrendous abuse.” You have now abused these children and caused irreparable harm, and that IS clear evidence of horrendous abuse. Those children are not thanking you for “saving them.” Excusing your “flawed” system is not acceptable. 

    familyrightswi@ymail.com

    I am wondering why you had removed this comment?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Peacher/1484526999 Andrew Peacher

    http://www.parentsinjusticegroupscotland.co.uk/ Parents Blogging website for all.

    http://www.profitableharm.com/home.html Vaccine damage link

    NAME AND SHAME THOSE SOCIAL WORKERS THOSE JUDGES AND THOSE CHILD ABUSERS IN THE STATE SYSTEM ANYWHERE WORLDWIDE.

    Had you child stolen ?
    Had your child suffer after childhood vaccinations ?
    Is your child in care ?

    Does your child have adhd autism aspergers allergy or a moderate learning difficulty ?
    We have been created by the need to fight widespread social care injustice and abuse of draconian state power. Children are being ripped from their parents simply because they are considered “unconventional” or even single.
    Just like pigs we rootle under the surface to find those golden nuggets of truth hidden beneath half truths, targets, idealised aims and a “not my decision” culture. In fact, we are the truffle P.I.G.S. of the social care world.

    Our aim is to help and support parents who have lost their children through spurious reasons. Low income, untidy house, learning difficulties,Vaccine damage, bad diet, disorganised lifestyle or a perceived non cooperation with social services.
    We don’t claim that these are fully acceptable but if the money wasted by the legal and social system was spent helping families with these difficulties there would be no need for their abusive and draconian behaviour.
    The whole system cannot be seen to have made a mistake, so they cover up any dodgy decisions. Everyone has seen how government and bankers squirm out of responsibility for their actions. Even sympathetic solicitors have little chance against this state conspiracy.
    The worst thing about the whole rotten business is that the children pay for the rest of their lives. And it doesn’t stop there. Their children end up suffering too. Three generations affected by inept decision making, it’s beyond criminal.
    So please get in touch however hopeless and battered you feel. We can and will make a difference to you and your children

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Peacher/1484526999 Andrew Peacher

    http://www.parentsinjusticegroupscotland.co.uk/ Parents Blogging website for all.

    http://www.profitableharm.com/home.html Vaccine damage link

    NAME AND SHAME THOSE SOCIAL WORKERS THOSE JUDGES AND THOSE CHILD ABUSERS IN THE STATE SYSTEM ANYWHERE WORLDWIDE.

    Had you child stolen ?
    Had your child suffer after childhood vaccinations ?
    Is your child in care ?

    Does your child have adhd autism aspergers allergy or a moderate learning difficulty ?
    We have been created by the need to fight widespread social care injustice and abuse of draconian state power. Children are being ripped from their parents simply because they are considered “unconventional” or even single.
    Just like pigs we rootle under the surface to find those golden nuggets of truth hidden beneath half truths, targets, idealised aims and a “not my decision” culture. In fact, we are the truffle P.I.G.S. of the social care world.

    Our aim is to help and support parents who have lost their children through spurious reasons. Low income, untidy house, learning difficulties,Vaccine damage, bad diet, disorganised lifestyle or a perceived non cooperation with social services.
    We don’t claim that these are fully acceptable but if the money wasted by the legal and social system was spent helping families with these difficulties there would be no need for their abusive and draconian behaviour.
    The whole system cannot be seen to have made a mistake, so they cover up any dodgy decisions. Everyone has seen how government and bankers squirm out of responsibility for their actions. Even sympathetic solicitors have little chance against this state conspiracy.
    The worst thing about the whole rotten business is that the children pay for the rest of their lives. And it doesn’t stop there. Their children end up suffering too. Three generations affected by inept decision making, it’s beyond criminal.
    So please get in touch however hopeless and battered you feel. We can and will make a difference to you and your children

  • Anonymous

    Oh the System wins a great deal for taking a child under false pretenses, all right.  This false caveat that a case manager is “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” crap is just that: crap. A Freedom of In formations Act request reveals that in over 30 years these “damned if they do, damned if they don’t professionals” have not even gotten a slap on the wrist, even after having been proven in court to have lied (perjury in the US is punishable and considered a crime).  

    Oooo the newspapers and TV reporters condemn their mistakes …scary! In my US state where the Wenatchee Witch Hunt occurred and dozens were falsely imprisoned for years, their kids scattered to the wind, families destroyed, was later legally proven to have been nothing but a bunch of lies.  It was based on false psychology that used a now debunked method called “memory retrieval” where counselors used children as guinea pigs and got them to “remember” abuse that never happened and then used it in court as a fact. What has happened to even ONE of these people?  The ring leader of this now considered unethical “counseling” is doing fine in practice as a UW professor and department head.  She is also advising the WA state legislator about CPS issues for laws they pass. The prosecutors are now judges themselves and part of large law firms with big salaries. The counselors are now in private practice with nice credentials making bucco bucks as if it never happened. But for sure in this case, there were firings all right ~ by the social workers who tried to report the reneging of the children who tried to tell the truth about their lack of abuse, as these professionals were required to do.   One was driven out of the country after being fired and then falsely accused of abusing his own children, the other was a supervisor who later sued the the state and won $3,000,000.  But over the stress she died.  Did any elected official, CPS workers or anyone in the legal system learn one thing from this case?  Nothing. Ziltch. If anything the main thing it did was teach them was to push through bogus laws that protect them even more and allow them to cover their tracks.  The same practices still exist to this day.  Case closed! The US has passed laws that tell case workers, “The more kids you take the more money you make and if you do anything to reunite them with their family you will LOSE all your present and future funding…” This funds all the people who decide to take a child from foster care, adoption and even funding the supposed Public Defender or as we call them, the “Public Pretender who never really has to defend the accused. Literally 1000% more is used to take kids than to reunite them with their families.  So everybody BUT the child “wins” if they rip that child from the family, tear the family apart, refuse to use their funding to assist the family, and then give the child to someone 5-7 X more likely to abuse them. This is routinely done even after the lies are proven with no recourse for the falsely accused. and nobody is ever held accountable for their lies, even after it is legally proven they did lie. Because they have blanketed themselves with legal protection that gives them immunity. The tragedy in all of this is the taken child, 90% who would have done much better if they remained with their parents and the family was supported.  Professionals well know this is a fact and this is the saddest of all.  Worse are the ones who remain intentionally ignorant because they profit from this corrupt System, they are an even sadder case.  Because this corruption will continue  as long as a government supports these practices while pretending they are deciding for “the best interest of the child”, and they are hiding the fact it is nothing more than in “the best interest of our bank accounts” and getting away with destroying lives for profit.  So no, the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” defense is no excuse, since not a single one will lose their jobs, get sued or even get disciplined even if they are proven to be liars. They well know there is no legal or systematic punishment they ever have to face except perhaps a newspaper or television reporter who criticizes them and embarrasses their department.  All will remain the same after the furor dies down and they will continue to do the same things.  Please note that this is not being done as much to teens and older children, this is something mostly younger children and babies will face as they are easier to sell.  If you believe this will somehow make them bond better, think again. Many will spend the rest of their lives wondering why they were “given away” when in fact they were sold to the highest bidder. While nobody wants a child to suffer in an abusive situation, unfortunately everybody BUT their own family is given the support needed for them to grow up healthy and loved.  Routinely 90% of these kids are never going to see their families again even if they were never abused.  They are then put in a 5-7 X more likely situation where they face a large likelihood they will drop out of school, become homeless, become addicted to drugs and alcohol, and/or become imprisoned.  Therefore, the only way case managers are “damned” is with their own voluntary enmeshment in a corrupt System keeping them employed where after even one week of employment they should see, it will eventually rot their souls. Cat in Seattle  

  • Emmanuel Goldstein

    Social Worker,

    if your child suffers from OI or brittle bone disease this will not be considered by certain medics and the SS Depts.  This is because of a powerful lobby, determined not to be proved wrong, maintains this is not a disease but metaphyseal fractures, even saying growth lines on bones are “healed fractures” and going all out to convict the family and adopt the children, regardless of the effect it has on the children?

    What did the Good Lord say about mill stones?

    By the way, in the US and in Britain a  lot of work is not done before the children are adopted, in spite of the theory that they are. 

      

  • Jessica Clifton

    THE GP IN HARINGEY OR THE PROFFESSIONALS IN ST THOMAS CONSPIRE WITH HARINGEY AND GAVE THE BABY M OPIUM OR MORPHINE.
    THEY DID IT TO JUSTIFY THEIR CRIMINAL ACT AGAINST THE FAMILY AND TO COVER UP THEIR CRIMES.

  • Katey-judge

    I’m a mother of two children which were taken away a year next month, put into foster care then given back to their father who was abusing them thats why i left him 3 years ago. I only see them for 1 hour supervised every month. I have been fighting for someone to talk to my son for the past 3 years. The whole system in my eyes have let both of my children down and helped with the legalised child abuse. I’m shocked and digusted that this can happen to most innocent people of our society. I went to Social Services for some advice that was the BIGGEST MISTAKE i ever did. My and my childrens life was under the microscope for 2 years. The social worker kept lying about what she told me when there was no witnesses so it got to the point that i wouldn’t see her on her own, but they used that against me that i wouldn’t cooperate with them. A year after i left my ex my son then aged 6 started to talk about what his father had done and shown him. My son had 2 police interviews but the police didn’t believe him as the Social worker got there first and told them that i had told him what to say. Which disgusts me and any parent that does that doesn’t derserve their children. The day after both of my children was placed on a proctection plan which they stayed on it for 18 months the children were with me and i attended every core group and conferences. It got to the point where all of the professionals wanted the children offf the plan but Social Services wouldn’t let them. Why does a view of a social worker who only saw my children for an hour every couple of weeks is more vailded then a head teacher who see’s my children everyday 5 days a week for 6 hours and her view isn’t??? Why do Social Services seem to give the image that they have all the power? I feel strongly  that they are all bullies and pick on vunerable parents. I won’t stop till this is exposed and people of power sit up and listen. These children are our next generation how can they have a balanced view of the world when they have experinced a legalised emotional abuse by the hand of the system. 

  • Gypsytartlet

    HOW CAN WE GET THIS ARCHAIC SECRET SOCIETY DISBANDED???????

  • http://www.injurycompensationlaw.co.uk/ injury compensation law

    Head injuries occur commonly in childhood and adolescence. Most head injuries are mild and not associated with brain injury or long-term complications. Falls are the most common cause of minor head injury in children and adolescents, followed by motor vehicle crashes, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, sports-related trauma, and child abuse. People should take care because minor injuries may cause to serious harm.

  • Rachelchandler1982

    my children were unfairly taken from me on the 7th march 2012 after lies being put in my file and no truth being placed in it. After meetings with managers and social workers nothing had been put in the file of what was said just all regarding me and my income (I am on a very low income and only recieved money for one child to provide for myself and 3 children) They didnt help me with things when asked and did not do as the conference reports had said they had to do. Because of this my children have now been removed from me and sent to an abusive household and I am not allowed contact with my children. My youngest has not been away from me for this length of time. Due to the incompetence of social care my children have been ripped away from a household that loved and cared for them the best they could. I am a single mother with no support from family as family are the ones that involved social services in the first place. Since the children have been taken there has been four other calls regarding the treatment of my children while they have been with my parents and social care have not acted on this. I am now hoping to take social care to court to sue them and I have been in touch with not only my local MP but I have also been in touch with the PM regarding the vial way parents are accused of things when innocent. This has all happened since homestart stopped working with me due to social services demanding they have no contact with me.

  • Rachelchandler1982

    If this is the case then why are they sending children to abusive homes that have had reports regarding this abuse? Thats right its because they dont do the job properly. My children have been sent to an abusive home and reports have been made many time regarding this home by various people and the social worker has done nothing to investigate these reports. I am not just saying they have done nothing, even the manager of social care has said that the social worker didnt investigate them. How do you explain the fact that many innocent people are being ripped away from their parents and siblings because of socail care not doing their jobs properly and to the full?

  • Rachelchandler1982

    I would like to know how any social worker can send a child to an abusive home from a loving home and then state LIES in the file and not put things in the file from meetings and concerns people have. How can a social worker disregard any complaints made by others regarding the care of the children in that abusive household?