Category Archives: Foster Care

Interim housing/ care placement of a child when they have been removed from family. Can be a private placement arranged with family rather than strangers with Directions, Court Orders restrciting parents from full Parental Responsibility pending hearings

Children in care – The Department for Education

Children in care – The Department for Education.

About children in care

Children in the care of local authorities are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. The majority of children in care are there because they have suffered abuse or neglect. At any one time around 60,000 children are looked after in England (of whom some 59 per cent are subject to care orders). Some 90,000 children are looked after at some point in any one year.

The Government wants every child in care to grow up safe, happy, healthy, secure and loved. This is the only way they will be able to fulfill their potential.

The term ‘looked after children’ includes:

  • Those children who are in care through a care order under section 31 of the Children Act 1989
  • Those accommodated on a voluntary basis through an agreement with their parents under section 20 of that Act, or agreement with of the child if they are over 16.
  • Children placed away from home under an emergency protection order
  • Children on police protection/remand/detention (section 21 of the Children Act)

How are they cared for?

  • Most looked after children are in foster care (73 per cent)
  • Some 10 per cent are in children’s homes
  • The rest are cared for in a number of different settings including residential schools and placement with parents.

Young Person’s Guide to Being in Care

The Who Cares? Trust, working with the Department, has produced a guide for young people on being in care.

This is available as a series of pages on Who Cares? Trust, a website for young people

General article
Updated: 22 March 2011               [click on title above for direct link]

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.

Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.

Effective child protection is essential as part of wider work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. However, all agencies and individuals should aim to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children so that the need for action to protect children from harm is reduced.

Child protection: Role of LA Children’s Social Care

[click on title above for direct link]

The Director of Children’s Services, under section 18 of the Children Act 2004 has responsibility for ensuring that a local authority meets their specific duties to organise and plan services and to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Each local authority is responsible for establishing a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) in their area and ensuring it is run effectively. An LSCB can cover more than one local authority area.

Social workers take a lead role in:

  • responding to children and families in need of support and help
  • undertaking enquiries following allegations or suspicion of abuse
  • undertaking initial assessments and core assessments as part of the Assessment Framework
  • convening strategy meetings and initial and subsequent child-protection conferences
  • court action to safeguard and protect children
  • coordinating the implementation of the child protection plan for children on the child protection register
  • looking after and planning for children in the care of the council
  • ensuring that looked-after children are safeguarded in a foster family, children’s home or other placement.


The family justice system is callous, corrupt and staggeringly expensive – Telegraph

The family justice system is callous, corrupt and staggeringly expensive – Telegraph.

Home at last: The twins snatched by Essex Social Services Reunited with Parents

Justice for Our Children: Home at last: The twins snatched by the state | Mail Online.

Home after a YEAR in care: The twins snatched by the state after mother’s innocuous remark sparked a social services witch hunt

By Vanessa Allen
Last updated at 1:26 PM on 2nd April 2011

Leaning over the hospital incubator, Tara Norman smiled proudly down at her tiny newborn twins and whispered: ‘You should see what you have done to your Mummy’s body.’

It was the kind of rueful joke that any exhausted new mother might make after a traumatic emergency Caesarean section.

Implicit, of course, was the emphatic message that she would do it all again in a heartbeat, for the sake of knowing the joy of motherhood.

Tara and Adrian Norman were reunited with their twins Ashley and Olivia, above, after winning a battle against social services

Tara and Adrian Norman were reunited with their twins Ashley and Olivia, above, after winning a battle against social services

Throughout her pregnancy she had dreamed of the day she and husband Adrian would leave hospital as a family. She couldn’t wait to take their son and daughter, Ashley and Olivia home, and settle them into their nursery. But she had no idea that this passing remark about her figure — lovingly spoken, in a private moment — was being secretly documented by a nearby nurse or that it would set in motion a Kafkaesque nightmare which would tear her family apart.

Observing that Tara appeared ‘bitter’ towards her twins, the nurse updated the babies’ daily diary — a set of notes that are kept as standard practice on neonatal wards to help staff keep track of each premature baby’s progress.

The incident — if one can call it that — was never mentioned to Tara or Adrian. And if there were any other signs that something was amiss, the Normans, as new parents to two premature babies, were understandably too preoccupied to notice.

In fact, they knew nothing of the problem until days later, when a woman from Havering Social Services arrived at their home in Hornchurch, Essex, and announced: ‘I’m here because we want to take your children into care and we want you to agree to it.’

Tara and Adrian Norman from Hornchurch in Essex nearly lost their twins for good

Tara and Adrian Norman from Hornchurch in Essex nearly lost their twins for good


The Normans, whose twins were yet to leave hospital, were left bewildered and the woman made no mention of the comment Tara had made about her body.

Speaking exclusively to the Mail, Tara says: ‘We couldn’t believe what was happening. I made a silly joke and suddenly they were ripping our family apart.  We told her we’d never agree to our children being taken away. So she said: “Then we will see you in court.”’

Any loving parent would have been panic-stricken by such a threat — but for the Normans it was even worse. This threatened their only chance of having a family. Owing to a rare hormone disorder, Tara is unable to conceive naturally.

The couple had endured five gruelling rounds of IVF and suffered a miscarriage before she eventually fell pregnant with twins.

There could be no doubt of their desire to become parents or their commitment to care for their children, yet social workers claimed that Tara had made ‘emotionally abusive’ comments towards the twins.

In their professional opinion, Tara and Adrian could not cope with the demands of first-time parenthood with two premature babies.

Havering Borough Council, acting on information supplied by Whipps Cross Hospital in East London,warned that Ashley and Olivia were at risk of ‘significant harm’ and launched court proceedings to take the six-week-old twins into care. According to the hospital, the Normans were struggling to care for the twins, born six weeks early and weighing only 3lb each.

As evidence of their ‘inadequate parenting skills’ and failure to bond with the twins, nurses cited Tara’s comments and occasions when the couple had not fed the children the recommended amount of milk or changed their nappies properly.

‘No one is born with parenting skills, but we were learning as we went along, just like anyone else,’ says Adrian, a 43-year-old former Post Office worker. ‘If we had been given some help we would have been fine.  But they only seemed interested in taking the children away.’

Whatever the fears of the nursing staff, who no doubt felt they were acting in the best interests of the children, what happened next seems to be a gross overreaction. Within days a protection order was granted at a secret Family Court hearing and the six-week-old twins were discharged from hospital and placed in a series  temporary foster homes.

Tara and Adrian were never allowed to leave hospital with the babies, as a family. ‘We will never have that experience now,’ says Tara. ‘We can never get that moment back.’

The pain of returning home without their children was almost unbearable. They had spent months preparing their four-bedroom, semi-detached home for the twins and had decorated a Winnie The Pooh-themed nursery.

baby p

There was nationwide fury over the death of 17-month old Peter Connelly in Haringey, North London in 2007

Two identical cribs stood empty, toys lay untouched and rows of baby clothes hung unworn in the wardrobe, still with their tags and wrapping. ‘I felt completely empty. I couldn’t even cry,’ says Tara. ‘I had been given these two miracles, two gorgeous healthy babies, only for someone to take them away. It honestly felt like they had ripped my heart out.’

The twins were placed in a foster home, but moved within 24 hours to a placement with a foster family near Southend, Essex, an hour’s drive from the Normans’ home in Hornchurch. Tara and Adrian were allowed just five hours’ supervised contact a week.

Recalling their first visit, Tara says: ‘We walked in and I saw our tiny eight-week-old twins propped up on the sofa between the foster carers’ two children, who were just nine and five.

‘I started screaming. My children had been taken away because I was supposed to be a risk, so why was it OK for a five-year-old to hold them?’

Tara’s infertility was caused by a childhood infection, which resulted in a hormone disorder. She and Adrian, who met in 2003 and married a year later, always knew fertility treatment was their only hope of conceiving.

Former head of children's services at Haringey Council Sharon Shoesmith was sacked over the 'Baby P' case. She became the focus of public anger after initially defending her department over failings that led to the death of Peter Connelly

Former head of children’s services at Haringey Council Sharon Shoesmith was sacked over the ‘Baby P’ case. She became the focus of public anger after initially defending her department over failings that led to the death of Peter Connelly

In May 2005, their GP referred them for IVF and the couple sought private treatment, to avoid NHS waiting lists.Over three years, they spent an estimated £38,000 on IVF treatment, paid for from a £1 million compensation fund, which Tara received after being hit by a car on a zebra crossing at the age of 19.

Fifth time around, the treatment worked; the twins were successfully implanted in May 2008 and the couple made arrangements for the twins to be delivered at a private maternity hospital, The Portland, in Central London.

But two months before her due date, Tara developed the potentially fatal condition pre-eclampsia, and she was rushed to Whipps Cross for an emergency Caesarean section. Early hospital notes praise the Normans for their efforts, as well as indicating their need for ‘help, encouragement and constant supervision’.

But on January 29, 2009, a month after their birth, a senior nurse referred the family to social services, stating: ‘I feel that babies’ health and safety needs will be compromised if babies are discharged home to parents without social services’ input.’

Adrian and Tara acknowledge their inexperience and insist they would have welcomed support from social workers. But instead, Havering began care proceedings.

It was ten agonising months before Tara and Adrian were allowed to see and hold their own children unsupervised. During that time they were warned during court hearings that their desperately longed-for twins could be put up for adoption. Who could blame the Normans for believing they were on the verge of losing their children for good?

Under the social workers’ diktats, Tara was told she should stay at the foster home in Southend for five nights a week, to gain some hands-on experience of caring for her twins.

‘We’ll never get the first year of their lives back.’

The foster couple’s home was officially designated as a ‘mother and baby unit’, so Adrian was still limited to seeing the children for only an hour a day, five days a week.

The arrangement was intended to bring them closer to taking the twins back. But to witness another couple acting as parents to their children was excruciating.

Tara says: ‘The smallest things were unbearable. One day they had put dummies in the babies’ mouths to stop them crying. That should be my decision. I’m their mother. Whenever our contact hours were over, I would beg them just to leave us for a minute longer. Letting them go broke my heart every time.’

They were told to get separate solicitors and warned that it was possible custody would be awarded to just one of them, meaning they would have to live apart after five years of marriage.

It was, without doubt, an extraordinarily cruel punishment for a non-existent crime. Without evidence that any violence or abuse had ever taken place, huge decisions were made in haste. As a result, the twins spent their first precious year in the arms of strangers.

But why did it happen? Tara and Adrian have a theory. The twins were born in December 2008, at the peak of nationwide fury over the death of Baby P — Peter Connelly — in Haringey, North London.

The Normans think they were victims of political panic as their twins were born during the nationwide fury over Peter Connelly's death

The Normans think they were victims of political panic as their twins were born during the nationwide fury over Peter Connelly’s death

As details of the case emerged,  social services came under fire for failing to stop the abuse that led to the toddler’s death. Campaigner Alison Stevens, of Parents Against Injustice, says the number of care proceedings launched by councils has increased by up to 75 per cent since then: ‘We’ve been flooded with calls from parents who fear they may never get their children back. Families have been ripped apart.’

The Normans believe they were victims of the ensuing political panic. And even when, in March 2009, the twins’ court-appointed guardian formally recommended they be returned to their parents as soon as a parenting assessment was completed, nothing could halt the wheels of officialdom. When Tara protested, social workers noted that she had ‘anger problems’. She admits she once threw her handbag at a wall in fury, and it hit a social worker on the arm — she accepted a police caution over the incident.

Two social workers also claim she threw her mobile phone at them. Her understandable frustration was regarded as proof of the risk she presented to her children.

‘They had taken my children away from me. How was I supposed to react?’ she says.

In January 2010, more than a year after their birth, the twins were allowed to go home with their parents under a court supervision order. Key to this was Adrian’s decision to take voluntary redundancy to help Tara to care for the twins.

Health visitors and social workers visited the family’s house at least once a fortnight and consistently reported that Ashley and Olivia were ‘happy and content children’.

‘They ripped our family apart for a silly joke’

Tara said: ‘I had imagined taking two tiny babies home from hospital, but by the time they were finally allowed to come home they were one-year-olds. ‘The first minutes on our own in the house were almost unbelievable — it had taken a year to get to a point where we were finally alone with our own children.’

Now toddlers, Ashley and Olivia cling to their parents and demand constant attention, but the Normans hope they will not remember their separation as they grow up. No further concerns were raised and the court supervision order expired in February this year.

The Normans, who are considering taking legal action against the council, have received no formal notification from the court or the council, although Family Court officials have confirmed to the Mail that the case has been closed.

But they cannot shake the fear that officials will find a pretext to take their children again.

A spokeswoman for Havering Borough Council said: ‘We have worked hard with the family and are pleased that after a year of supervision and Mr Norman’s decision to be at home during the day, we have closed our orders.’

It may be over as far as the council is concerned, but Tara, Adrian, Ashley and Olivia continue to live with the impact of their decisions.

‘I find excuses just to be near the children now. I’ll tickle Olivia’s face or pat Ashley’s tummy,’ says Tara. ‘And when I do, they look up at me and say “Mum”.’

Their ordeal may finally be over, but for years to come, precious moments like these will serve as a reminder of all that she and Adrian so nearly lost.

Read more:

BBC News 27/02/2011 Children in care far from home ‘at risk

Gov intends to reduce the number of children sent away

Charities are warning that thousands of children placed in care far from home are more vulnerable to criminality, drug abuse and sexual exploitation.

A third of the 64,000 children in local authority care in England and Wales live outside their local area.

The charities say long-distance placements often traumatise children who are already damaged and vulnerable.

From April, councils are due to be forced to have sufficient accommodation for children in their care.

Thousands of children are currently being looked after in foster or children’s homes hundreds of miles from their local area.

Charities – including Barnardo’s, the Who Cares Trust and Voice – say uprooting an already vulnerable child can be highly traumatic.

Children in care are often deeply damaged from past abuse, neglect, or growing up with addict parents, the charities say.

A shortage of local authority children’s homes stems from child abuse scandals in the 70s and 80s, they say.

Private care homes have cropped up, but often in rural locations where property is cheaper.

Local authorities, which pay the private homes, remain responsible for the children, but social workers can struggle to maintain contact with them if they are accommodated far away.

The government plans to enforce a “sufficiency duty” on local authorities from April.

Intended to cut the number of children being sent away, councils will have to increase care provision for children in their local areas.


PAIN to Chair Forced Adoption tv Interview


Parents Agains INjustice (PAIN)  is a wonderful organization. I have corresponded with Florence & Allison and I am looking forward to this viewing.

I frequent this site and have an RSS feed of your posts going onto my page.

I personally recommend this blog and their other pages to all who seek information regarding Family Law and Care Proceedings

Parents Organisation To Chair Forced Adoption Television Interview

A Midlands based support organisation Parents Against Injustice is to host an event this coming weekend, to highlight the ever growing increase of forced adoption within the UK.

PAIN spokesperson Alison Stevens says that there has been a huge rise in Social Services Care Proceedings since the Baby Peter tragedy, resulting in some Parents having their children wrongly taken into care, mirror imaging the events of Cleveland in 1985, when over 200 children were removed from their Parents, based on the conflicting medical evidence given in the family court arena by Paediatrician Dr Marietta Higgs.

At the time she stated, that all children had been sexually abused by their parents or other persons. The evidence was later discredited by some professionals, but too late for some families, that had been torn apart by forced adoption.

Some 26 years after Cleveland and the substantial Public Inquiry chaired by Dame Butler-Slosh, there is very little change, with the policy of over zealous Social Workers taking babies into care  within hours of birth, on emergency protection orders, with very little or no real evidence to support such drastic action.

The televised event organised by French journalist Florence Bellone will show the effect and the trauma of such events, based within the secret family courts and the programme will also screen interviews of family members who have lost children to a system that is based on lies and here say, with conflicting evidence given by the so called expert witnesses, who pander to the wishes of Local Authority’s, to gratify their adoption targets.

Children’s Panel Solicitor Brendan Fleming, based in Birmingham, will be interviewed about his experience of dealing with cases within a city that has been declared NOT FIT FOR PORPOSE, with regards to the children’s Services within the area, by a Social Services Department that has failed grossly to protect vulnerable children, resulting in child deaths.

Ms Bellone states that there is very little evidence of forced adoption, within France and Belgium and her findings will shock the general Public on the continent.


Visit their site:

Birmingham MP John Hemming blasts ‘power-crazed’ social workers – Top Stories – News – Birmingham Mail

Birmingham MP John Hemming blasts ‘power-crazed’ social workers – Top Stories – News – Birmingham Mail.