To improve "UK Child Protection Legislation for the benefit of all children and families"
A consultation last year about a mild bout of depression with a locum GP at Chartfield Surgery where she had been registered for 16 years was meant to be routine. It resulted in living hell for Lucy & her family when
a child protection investigation was undertaken questioning her ability to be a good parent.
On 9th April Lucy gave a dramatic and frank response to recent press coverage of how her family came to be the subject of a Child Protection Investigation on the forum of this site.
As a consequence despite being cleared Lucy felt she had to resign her position as a councillor for Southfields. In a letter Lucy has sent to Rt Hon Tim Loughton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Children and Families) she said:
"Our case lasted 6 months, cost us £10,000 in legal fees and ended in the loss of paid employment and all voluntary roles with children. Had it not been for my stable marriage of 20 years, strong social network, and financial security, we would have been unable to pick up the pieces. A mother in less fortunate circumstances would have had little prospect of keeping her child and would have been completely broken by the process. Our case is not considered a ‘mistake,’ nor is it unusual in anyway. The Council considers they acted ‘entirely in accordance with procedure."
Lucy told PutneySW15: "Our experience shows that officials can rely on ‘experts’ who have never met the family. Face to face assessments are ignored. Social workers did not meet my husband, and met me only once for ‘chat to see how I was."
She continued: "Despite this, a file five inches thick was compiled, containing opinions from people of whom we had never heard, depicting me as incapable of parenting. This information was passed on to our son’s school, without our knowledge it existed. We were told it would be circulated throughout his childhood. It will remain on his file until he is 32 years old, whatever his view of the subject. We were told all this was in ‘the child’s best interests,’ and that he was being ‘protected’. It is the ‘self reporting’ parents, as I was described, who attract the most attention, not those children most in need."
Her concerns has resulted in Lucy launching the e-petition to prevent families suffering unnecessarily the same experiences.
On 9th May a spokesperson for Wandsworth Council said:
"If a GP refers serious child protection concerns to us we have a duty to fully investigate those concerns and would be rightly criticised if we did not. We completed our investigation into this case within 13 days and concluded no intervention was required.
"Our handling of the case has since been the subject of a full independent investigation which found that the proper procedures were followed and determined that the most serious of her allegations are groundless. Her complaints to the health service ombudsman were also not upheld.
"Her account of these events is inaccurate, misleading and one-sided."
May 9, 2012