to wonder why on earth this child had not been removed from his parents?

(132 Posts)
Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 22:37:27

Shaun Binfield, 45, and Sally Dent, 33, of Belper, Derbyshire, had both denied the charges and were convicted after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

Two-year-old Riley Pettipierre died in March 2012 after drinking Dent's prescription methadone which had been poured into a child's drinking beaker..............................The court was told that police found evidence of heroin and cannabis hidden around the house and scientific tests showed traces of both drugs in strands of Riley's hair.

Ms Coen said it was highly likely Riley had consumed heroin and cocaine in the months leading up to his death.

Quoted from www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-21064982

Why in the name of all that is good was this child still with these parents? He must have been a heroin addict at birth. Drug abuse should surely be a reason to remove the child at birth?

Holly - a lot of the time they're just put on methadone as a replacement with no plan to reduce and quit over time. It basically just replaces the heroin in a lot of cases but obviously is legal and monitored

All the patients we had for inpatient detox were on methadone and also still using heroin, I wasn't there long though. (student placement) Lots were also from Beler

Narked Fri 18-Jan-13 23:13:17

'A drug addict can still be a good parent'

Some might, but most won't. Addiction is selfish. If it's drugs vs the child's welfare, drugs will win every time.

Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 23:19:45

Addiction is selfish. If it's drugs vs the child's welfare, drugs will win every time.

This is why I cant understand why addicts children aren't removed. And yes, it is true that a childs life will be worse if they are in care, but that is a seperate (and very important) issue. From what my child advoocate friend told me, children in care thrive until their teens. That is when they are aware that they will soon be on their own. They have no one and they know it. Even their foster parents are limited as to what they are allowed to do. So they hit 16 and are suddenly thrust out into a world that they have only seen the very worst of and dont know what to do. Thats why they end up repeating the cycle that of their parents (often themselves victims of the "care" system, a misnomer if ever there was one).

Hitting 16 or 18 does not make a person an adult. Imo the care system should continue until 25, foster care being available until that age if the person needs it.

Spero Fri 18-Jan-13 23:19:48

Funny isn't it, I've been on loads of threads where people are outraged at 'risk' of future harm being enough to remove a child and demanding proof of actual physical harm before they can be taken.

Some drug addicts can be good parents. With help and support. If you took away all the children of all the drug addict parents, you would have to find thousands of new foster parents - from where? and the Daily Mail and John Hemming would explode.

I have dealt with loads of parents who were drug addicts. Quite a few failed. But some made it. They are given help and advice about locking away their methadone. This woman put it in a child's beaker. not every drug addict is so stupid or so careless. Always assuming that's true and she wasn't giving it deliberately to the child to keep him quiet. That also happens.

trouble is, none of us have a crystal ball. It is not always easy to tell who will be the 'responsible' addict and who won't. But because, quite rightly, so much fuss and worry is raised over removing children, sometimes children get left when they shouldn't be.

If you really want things to change/be better, train as a foster carer so there are real options for these children.

DoJo Fri 18-Jan-13 23:24:02

I agree with 3littlefrogs - the care system is not necessarily a solution so much as a different set of problems...

SashaSashays Fri 18-Jan-13 23:30:03

There are so many children being seriously neglected, abused or in need of care that with the children of addicts the potential for neglect or harm is not enough of a driver to remove them. The system is overwhelmed so they prioritise the most at risk first.

Drug care and in fact drug management in this country is piss poor, but that won't get better any time soon, not with the cuts.

Care for children will also not improve with the cuts, SS are just doing their best with what they've got. Some of the stories I've heard first hand accounts of, make leaving your child with its dad while you sleep of drugs sound like good quality loving thoughtful parenting. Levels of neglect, which with poverty rising are likely to worsen, are astounding.

Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 23:31:01

This woman put it in a child's beaker. not every drug addict is so stupid or so careless. Always assuming that's true and she wasn't giving it deliberately to the child to keep him quiet

Thats exactly what H said sad

I am not allowed to foster because I cant offer a room to a child. We own our own home and are overcrowded according to local standards. I would love to, I really would, infact my exH said that I would adopt the world if I could.

maddening Fri 18-Jan-13 23:31:24

I think that while these people are under treatment such as methadone then they should be allowed to live in safe homes with their children under a level of supervision - otherwise no - until they are stable they should not be in sole care of the children.

In a centre the children can be safeguarded and the parents might have a greater level of success.

Imo anyway.

A friend who was an ex-addict had a friend who came-to to find her 3 yr old dead after she had found a bottle of methadone while her mother was unconscious - this was over 20 years ago - it is wrong

Bogeyface Fri 18-Jan-13 23:34:36

I suppose I just dont understand.

I have 6 children and I would die for all or each of them. They are all the light of my life, they are the reason I wake up and breathe, if something took them from me I would have no reason to live.

I dont get the concept that they could be any less than the most important thing in the world, and it breaks my heart to think that there are children all over the world suffering for a lack of the love that is theirs by right sad

Spero Fri 18-Jan-13 23:38:34

a residential assessment place can cost £50,000 for six months. How on earth are you going to fund placements for all the drug addicts when essential services and benefits are being cut?

I do understand why people are so angry and upset. What I don't understand is why you think nothing is being done - not because no one else has noticed the problem but no one can afford to do anything about it.

I am sorry op that you can't be a foster carer. We really do need many, many more people.

lisad123everybodydancenow Fri 18-Jan-13 23:41:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IdreamofFairies Fri 18-Jan-13 23:43:43

a truly awful story i dont know much about it

but as far as i know 'just' being a drug addict doesnt mean they can remove children thy have to prove neglect or abuse which can take time.

care i agree is not working great at the moment so many foster parents are lied to and handed 'problem' children with little or no support, so they get stressed the child gets moved and before you know it the childs like a bad smell no one wants.

and people are shocked children in care have emotional problems.

on the plus side in the area i live in even though you do leave care at 16/18 you still have a social worker and a dedicated care leaver worker who is there for advice and support till 21 24 if in education so they are not left to drift at 16/18.

it all comes down to money and the fact people are not willing to invest in these children's futures. more funding now for ss, for training and fostering support. more parenting in education, rehab etc

means in the future less money on prisons, anti social behaviour, rehab, crime etc

unfortunately there is not enough money to go around everywhere.

Softlysoftly Fri 18-Jan-13 23:51:39

There was a case near us recently of a baby with methadone in its bottle to keep him quiet so not shocked just very very sad .

As has been said though the alternative is overstretched.

Bogeyface Sat 19-Jan-13 00:27:16

There was a case near us recently of a baby with methadone in its bottle to keep him quiet

And yet "addicts dont always make bad parents"

I make no apologies for saying that stories like that are why for me, where addiction is concerned, it is guilty until proven innocent.

Spero Sat 19-Jan-13 00:37:25

How do some examples of drug addicts killing their children allow you to conclude that ALL drug addicts can't parent?

Lots of non addicted parents kill and hurt their children every single day of the week. A child under two is at most risk of being killed by his/her parents. Not all of those parents are drug addicts, not by a long chalk.

Many things go into the toxic pot of bad parenting. Drug addiction is a big problem. But so too is low self esteem, hooking up with violent men, and general stupidity and laziness.

I worked for SS and have been involved in a few cases where addicts were parenting. A few points. SWs are not psychic. You have to rely on what you see, are told and assess. You have to put all the information together and hope to make the right decisions. It all looks so easy and obvious from the armchair. On the ground it is complicated and difficult.

When is use misuse? When is misuse addiction? When is one addicted parent worse than being in care?

There are not enough SWs, rehabs, good placements or supports. As long as we let SWs get overwhelmed and let the government sell off the NHS...

Bogeyface Sat 19-Jan-13 00:48:07

I didnt say they couldnt Spero. I said that anyone with any knowledge of addiction knows that the addiction comes before all else, so that the an addict must prove themselves a good parent in order to keep their child rather than proving they are a bad one before the child is removed.

Junebugjr Sat 19-Jan-13 01:05:30

I'm not sure what the solution is, but of the families I've worked with, those parents who have addictions seem to be the most unpredictable.
You can be working with a family, they're engaging, kids are doing well , the addiction seems to be in control and then Bam, they've had a relapse, and the shit hits the fan. I've had one woman, who was a lovely person and a good mother most of the time, seemed to be doing well. It took one slip with her alcohol addiction, and her youngest only 18 months, very nearly became one of these statistics. It's the unpredictability of it that's the most dangerous, as all it takes is 5 minutes of the parent being unconscious or less responsive and all sorts can happen with little ones.
Personally, I think enforced contraception is the way to go for addicts until they've been under control for a number of years. I deserve to get a flaming for that opinion I know, but when looking at the other options, I just think well what else can really be done, like spero says it costs an absolute bomb for specialist treatment, that LA's could not pay for. To fully address and put the resources into families like these would send David Cameron grey!!

MichelleRooJnr Sat 19-Jan-13 01:11:55

I do work in this area and there are many parents who are addicts/ex-addicts/in support who are very able to provide good care to their children.
bogeyface being an addict does not mean you put all else above your addiction - that is not the nature of addiction.
Not every heroin user will rob old ladies or steal from their families.
Addiction is demonstrated by the effect of usage on many areas of daily life.
So someone may not be able to maintain employment because of their usage - but that doesn't mean they will neglect their children.
Many many people use substances for many reasons - but often they can also meet the needs of children, pay their rent, attend appointments etc while struggling with their addiction.

I agree that addicts can be good parents.

Bear in mind that the press tends to demonise addicts and so we only tend to hear about those with a chaotic lifestyle, or horror stories such as this one.

We don't hear about the VAST numbers of "functioning addicts" (so many there is an actual term for people who are addicts yet still live so called "normal" lives.)

There are addicts in EVERY walk of life, from the homeless to high level professionals - some chaotic, some functioning in high powered, ridiculously well paid jobs.

Doctors as addicts is not as rare as you would think hope, my childhood GP was a lovely man who died young. Turns out he was a morphine addict and died from an overdose. What is morphine? It's heroin.

Recent studies have also shown that a significant number of people are addicted to prescribed opiates. People from all walks of life popping pills, but it's OK because they are prescribed. So is Methadone.

This is an incredibly tragic story - and it happened because the parent in question was living a chaotic lifestyle. That doesn't mean that ALL addicts are the same. I'd like to bet we have all known someone who is an addict and never had the slightest idea.

To simply say that addicts don't make good parents is neither true nor fair.

5hounds Sat 19-Jan-13 01:23:42

Bogeyfaces words about the care system and been thrust into the world as a teen at 16 are spot on. That person was me. Every word

Mosman Sat 19-Jan-13 01:28:58

Look at statistics, many of the outcomes make it appear as if children aren't that much better off in care.

And that's what people need to consider everytime they start wailing for SS to come along, I have seen foster homes where the children are treated worse than dogs, with a separate cupboard's of food with the fruit, veg, nice brands in that the FC can't have just as one example. The drug addict isn't perfect but you know most parents aren't.

Bogeyface Sat 19-Jan-13 01:47:37

5Hounds I wish I had been wrong. I hope that you are doing ok now x

5hounds Sat 19-Jan-13 01:53:51

I'm 25 now but still deeply scared by my past and still only have myself. Doctors try to help with antidepressants. If it wasn't for my dogs who I adore I wouldn't be here.

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