Tuesday 24 March 2009

A Tale Of The Unexpected

I guess there has to be a reason why we do things - just the same as things happen in our lives that make no sense at the time.
People become victims of circumstances that are created by others - yet those same victims had nothing to do with the creation of those circumstances. I spent time in the legal profession helping people against injustice but learned - the hard way - that the law is its own worst enemy because it can uphold injustice.
Take the case of a paedophile who sexually abuses an 11 year old girl. He gets caught - well, it was easier to surrender to the police rather than try and escape past the girl's father - goes to court where he pleads guilty and says he's sorry for what he had done but the girl did ask him to do what he did. So he gets a two year sentence - suspended. He is sentenced the same day as his first child is born. Within weeks that child will be in a hospital bed with broken ankles. The paedophile puts all the blame on his wife. He says that she is suffering from post natal depression but under police investigation he buckles and admits to his crime. Now, you would think that he would go to prison this time - once more he pleads guilty in court and says how sorry he is. Another two year sentence and again it is suspended. This is a man who has abused two children but committed two different crimes - one of sexual abuse and one of physical abuse - had they been the same offence then he would have gone to prison.
However, Social Services - who are a law unto themselves - decided that it was the mother who was the guilty party. In their eyes the abuser was just taking the blame for what she had done.
Let's face it everybody but Social Services knew who the abuser was and the child's grandparents were going to make sure that that their grandchild - their first grandchild - was going to be safe. While they were on the way events took a strange twist. The mother mentioned that her parents were on their way and the Social Worker went straight into action. They slapped an Interim Care Order on the child so that a) he could not be removed and b) had the child removed into a Care Home before the mother reached the hospital.
An interesting turn of events taking into consideration that the very first paragraph of the Act is that Social Services must do all in their power to keep families together and that if another family member is willing to take the responsibility of that child then that has to be the first priority.
Sorry, that part of the Act does not apply to Social Services - their only concern starts from the first mention that they have to look at 'the interests of the child'.
To cut a long story short - after a year or so the grandparents got their wish and took responsibility of their grandchild - they even signed a contract to that effect. Of course, during that time a different social worker from another area took over the case. Also, there was a proviso for the placement of the mother and her - now - two children in a mother and baby unit for assessment. There were no places available. The new social worker saw no need for this as the children were thriving with the grandparents.
The other team of Social Workers were stymied - for as long as the child was with the granparents they could not touch him. So they put pressure on the other team to find a placement and they had no choice but to do what they were told. Within a week of being placed in a Mother and Baby unit - the child was on his way back to a Care Home and then to foster parents.
The contract that the grandparents signed? It never happened. If it had it would have been on the file - wouldn't it?
The other child? Well, that child was 'removed' from its mother and placed with the grandparents and he grew up as their 'son'. The mother was totally devastated by all these events and went off the rails.
Still, they continued to fight for justice and opposed the adoption proceedings. The Judge ordered another hearing in his prescence but Social Services wrote to the grandparents solicitors to say that if the grandparents did not withdraw then the child's adoptive family would pull out of the adoption and that the grandparents would be responsible for the child being shunted from home to home.
They also brought the final hearing foraward and presented their case to a different judge and the child's fate was sealed.
The child in this story was three and a half years old by the time the Adoption order was granted.
Still the grandparents went away believing in that adage that if you love someone let them go and if they are yours then they will return to you.
When a child is adopted they not allowed anything that will identify any other relatives.
Many adopted children have difficulty in tracing their natural families. The Freedom Of Information Act does not apply to Social Services (it does but it is not what they tell you) so you cannot trace your roots through them.
I wrote some books because I just enjoy the creative process - just did not know how important they would become in the future.
I started a blog - just seemed a good idea at the time but I get a lot of enjoyment out of it - again I did not know how important that would be.
For those who read the comments on the last post - maybe, you understand how important the last two sentences are.
You see when my eldest grandson was adopted - he was given two of the books that I had written. In order to find his family, seventeen years later, he wrote to my publishers which Robert Hale passed to me this morning. He also looked up Jack Giles on the net and found 'Broken Trails' and left a comment for me - and we're all riding a very emotional rollercoaster at the moment.
He is one of the lucky ones - he and his brother are getting to know each other.
Many do not have that kind of luck - and many should not have been in that position in the first place but for as long as there are contradictory laws and no proper regulation of Social Services children will continue to be lost in the system and some of them will die.


David Cranmer said...

How wonderful that he was left with your books to read and now has been reconnected. I'm very happy for both of you.

Unknown said...

A tale of the unexpected indeed. And so much more. The "stories behind our books" should be told more often. I'm sure there are many others. Not all of them will have happy endings, but I'm sure this is one that will gladden the heart of John Hale! Thanks be that the Hale-published books always carry a full postal address and that the folks at Clerkenwell House know how to pass on correspondence. In today's multinational-conglomerate culture that doesn't always happen. My warmest wishes for all members of the Foster clan.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Wow. Quite a tale. And I am so happy to see your post.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Am happy for you