Then it's still not your friend, but it'll leave you alone to pursue other targets. Like a nice middle-class family from Australia:
Of course, there are always two sides to any story and the social worker — having been alerted by the school — must have been alarmed that a nine-year-old child had made such a remark.Really? Doesn't such over-dramatic exclamation come with being a child these days?
The Seymours see it differently.
‘We kept asking ourselves: “How can a servant of the state act in such an aggressive, offensive, invasive and draconian manner on the uncorroborated word of a disorientated small girl?”’ says Alan.Hey, if they can act on the uncorroborated word of some anonymous complaint from someone who follows you on Twitter, why the surprise?
‘We made our own mistakes as well. In our naivety and relaxed Australian honesty, we did tell the social worker when she visited that the girls were difficult to handle on occasions, but that we were dealing with it.’
Yet as a result of the couple’s honesty, Victoria was ordered to attend a series of ‘Child in Need’ meetings with both girls to have her parenting skills assessed by Bridport children’s services.
She was warned by social workers that if she did not turn up or was deemed to be ‘unco-operative’, the state had powers to take the girls into care and put them up for adoption.I wonder if other such parents are similarly dealt with? Nah. Perish the thought...
When the meetings did not materialise on three occasions because social workers failed to arrive, had not been briefed or were on holiday, the Seymours dared to hope their nightmare had passed and would prove to be just a hiccup in their lives. But they could not have been more wrong.Clearly, alarm bells don't ring when the family avoids social workers, unlike the other way around...
The girls were increasingly unhappy and disruptive in class. At home, the Seymours were also battling with their behaviour. Less than a year after the family had arrived from Australia, in early June 2013, Georgia started the social services’ ball rolling again when she told a teacher she was ‘too frightened to go home’.
The night before, she and her sister had been warned they would be grounded the following weekend without TV or computers. ‘We think the threat of being grounded was the catalyst,’ says Alan. ‘Normally we would tick them off and the whole incident would be forgotten within an hour.Oh no. Far from it. You see, being grounded with no TV doesn't count as 'culturally appropriate child rearing', unlike other practices.
To the horror of Victoria and Alan, immediately after Georgia’s unfortunate remark, the girls were marched out of school and sent to a foster home.
A fortnight later, there was a conference called by Bridport social services, which decided they would be placed under a care protection order. A report afterwards stated: ‘We are of the view that while there was no specific injury to either of the children, there are clearly issues around child safety according to statements made by the girls.’No according to any actual proof of anything, just according to their statements. Welcome to the post-Savile world!
Frustrated and upset, Alan and Victoria wrote to Bridport children’s services saying they wanted the girls returned to them ‘within 24 hours’. The response was ‘swift and merciless’, they say.
Social workers successfully applied for an emergency protection order, formalising the fostering arrangement at the local court. During the rest of the summer, the girls were moved from one foster placement to another, and were begging, in phone calls, to come home.If you don't feel a bit of satisfaction at that, you wouldn't be human. I think the girls might have a new-found appreciation for their parents now, eh?
Allowed only occasional weekend visits to their parents, the girls were saying they were frightened at the foster homes.
Twice, they had bruises on their faces and bodies, which social workers insisted was because they had been fighting each other.
The girls told an entirely different story to their parents.I wonder what it was? And I wonder why uncorroborated statements about anyone oyther than their parents aren't seemed as 'alarming' by social workers?
Today, Alan says from Australia: ‘We admit we were very lucky compared with other families living in or visiting your country.
‘We fear the vast majority of children taken by social services never get back to their birth families again.
Finally, he adds: ‘We believe the only reason we got back the girls is because we fought the social workers every step of the way.’They are suing. Expect the usual excuses.And for no 'lessons to be learned'.