Foster carers have been put at risk by not being told that the babies they are looking after could be HIV positive.And they wonder why there’s a shortage of foster carers…
Social workers decided that the human rights of a mother wanting to keep her child's status confidential were more important than protecting foster parents, it is claimed.
In one case a foster mother, with three young children of her own, was given a new-born baby to look after and not told that he could have HIV.
This exposed her, her husband and their children to risk of infection.
Midwife Tricia McDaid, who questioned social workers about the practice when she became aware of the case in Newham, East London, said: 'This is appalling. Both the babies, the foster carers and their families were put at risk as they were not told.Although a quick look-up on the net would have rung alarm bells.
'The foster parents were asked to administer anti-viral drugs to combat the baby developing HIV but were not told what they were.'
And as usual, someone raising ethical queries was treated..well, in the usual fashion:
Mrs McDaid, 47, says that when she raised the issue with social services she was then moved from her job as a midwife in the community.Yeah, because that’ll convince someone worried about the ethics to keep quiet, right…?
Mrs McDaid said: 'Newham takes the view that the foster parents don't need to know.Grand job, Newham Council! You’ve just ensured that Mrs McDaid has a national forum in the MSM. Cover up - FAIL!
'This happens all the time and it's putting foster carers and their children at terrible risk.
'I was also told by the head of child protection at Newham Hospital that if the foster parents asked me what the drugs were for I would have to lie.
'In my opinion that is breaking the law and breaking the midwife and nursing code of conduct. It also puts the baby at risk as anyone administering drugs to a young baby needs to know exactly what they are and what dosage it should be.
'When I raised difficult questions with the council they ostracised me and tried to freeze me out as they didn't want this getting out.'
The official statement from Newham’s PR flack hints at more to emerge, as long as the ‘Telegraph’ keeps a focus on this:
A Newham council spokesman said: 'Foster carers would normally be expected to be provided with full information, but we admit that this did not happen in this instance.Everybody else…? Tough luck!
'The circumstances in this case are complex and we acknowledge that it could have been handled differently.
'Our procedures and protocols are now subject to revision.
'We are launching an investigation and we do not know if any other cases have occurred.
'The pan-London child protection procedures, which we are signed up to, contain guidelines that are primarily aimed at protecting children and ensuring children and their parents who may be HIV positive are not discriminated against.'