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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?

wordfactory Mon 21-Jan-13 08:58:29

The sad fact is that there is nowhere to put children who are removed from their parents.

The lack of foster placements is so acute that many local authorities have to seek placements hundreds of miles away.

Children's homes are full to bursting.

Children in care have the worst outcomes of all children in the UK.

Spero Mon 21-Jan-13 07:58:39

I agree Kungfutea that the system isn't a good one but where I suspect we disagree is the reasons behind this. I see the reasons primarily in no particular order or importancr due to lack of available judges, hence lack of court time to deal sensibly and proportionately with cases, lack of experienced social workers who are leaving the profession due to unrealistic work loads and constant pressure and denigration, the increase in social problems due to more vulnerable families, they are more vulnerable because services that once existed to prop them up are cut or done away with altogether....

what I don't accept is that the system is inherently and deliberately corrupt, designed to abduct babies and that weak cases are routinely pursued.

yes, mistakes are made. I don't want to comment on your friend, I don't know what is going on there, she coud have been the victim of a hideous miscarriage of justice - in which case I think she has a duty to go to the papers to try to shine a light on what is happening. But unless she has shared with you every document in this case and you have been with her to every meeting and every court hearing, you just can't know the full story, you know what you have been told. And there may be more to it than you know.

I don't think care proceedings are taken lightly, and in 90% of my cases I am more concerned by way the LA waiited so long before doing something.

Mags can only sentence for six months in criminal cases, but if they think what you did was serious, they can transfer your case up to the Crown court for a longer sentence - I think! haven't done criminal law for ages.

I also agree with you that taking a child is probably worse than a sentence of imprisonment - you will come out of prison, but you wont get your child's childhood back. But you also must remember that most care cases take over a YEAR to resolve - this is one of the massive problems in the system. So parents get every chance to show they can turn it around or deal with LA criticisms of their parenting.

Mosman Mon 21-Jan-13 07:44:28

4 days - 4 hours - bloody ipad

Mosman Mon 21-Jan-13 07:44:06

Compulsory HV really ? Mine told me that my 2 day old daughter was a demanding little bugger because she wasn't going 4 days without a BF and swung her around like a rag doll to weigh her, almost by the feet. Then there was the one who told my husband I would obviously get PND with DC4 because I hadn't had it with the other three so it was my turn. Their area of expertise should be breast feeding, child development, maternal health etc and they can't often even get that factually correct.
I can't think of anyone I'd trust less tbh.

DizzyZebra Mon 21-Jan-13 05:34:04

I also believe addiction is similar to pain regarding how people handle it. I can handle pain if I know exactly why its happening and that it will stop soon, its a focal point. . I believe that the functioning addicts that I know are similar when they withdraw - they know why it is happening, and they know it will stop soon - they just have to get through those few hours.

I was incredibly I'll once and I was prescribed some incredibly strong opiate based painkillers.

No one told me you have to have a break to prevent addiction, and I wasn't able to readthe instructions myself. When I stopped taling them I withdrew. It was horrific. Id have clawed my own eyes out if it meant it would stop. I sat awake for daysand nights, sweating, screaming, everytime someone spoke it was like they were screaming down my ear.

I didn't understand why. I think if I had more id have carried on taking them. I just wanted it to stop.

I get lile that with codine too, if I have to take it, but now I understand its easier to manage if I experience withdrawel upon stopping them.

I think that's the same reason functioning addicts can manage. From what I've seen anyway.

DizzyZebra Mon 21-Jan-13 05:14:10

The taking children at birth thing is difficultbecause there are what you call 'functioning adicts' even with drugs as strong as heroin.

I know two. I've seen them go without because they do ensure their kids have their needs taken care of first.

I've never seen them endanger their children.

I do think in cases of such a strong addiction, more involvement from social care is needed, perhaps compulsory healthvisitor input too.

From that article, I am amazed the boy survived as long as he did.

sleepywombat Mon 21-Jan-13 05:00:58

My parents were addicts. My dad a lot worse than my mum at keeping clean (he finally died of hep c when I was 20) & he did steal from me several times, but he was still an intelligent, funny man, when not under the influence, who loved me so much. My mum did her very best for me. Both my parents had harsh upbringings, suffered bereavement in childhood & huge periods of depression pre-drugs, so I can completely understand why experimenting as teens turned into addiction.

I've had some emotional & mental issues in my life, but lots of people do. I've done well academically & in life in general.

If I'd been taken into care, I think a) it would've pushed both my parents over the edge, b) I would be a hell of a lot less balanced than I am.

AlienReflux Mon 21-Jan-13 04:37:12

Functioning addicts exist. as do countless Functioning alcoholics, should we take their babies at birth too?

Kungfutea Mon 21-Jan-13 03:54:01

Sorry spero, but I'm afraid that is not true of all social workers. I'm sure there are some excellent ones and I'm also sure that child protection is extremely challenging. But some of them are also wasting their time and precious resources chasing cases which are marginal at best with, seemingly, little accountability for which cases they decide to go ahead with. Look at the coventry case, how many resources were squandered there? Very much an example of 'bit between the teeth' although you're quite right that we shouldnt generalize to all las on the basis of one example (although i suspect there are many more).

And then the system is set up so that you have a layperson, who in criminal cases with a much stricter burden of proof can only give 6 months prison (is that right?) but who can make the decision to make a care order removing a child from his or her family until they are 18 with a much more lax burden of proof - and who rarely goes against what the local authority are proposing. In my opinion, removing a child from his or her family, while not punitive, has far more impact on a family than 6 months imprisonment.

I would never have believed how the system can operate and the power of las until I saw what my friend went through. One social worker wrote that she is manipulative and that is why she is so successful as a barrister, I mean, how inappropriate! When my friend complained, it was dealt with internally and she was told her complaint wasn't justified. And it's quite terrifying what may have happened if my friend would have stayed in the uk. Yet a magistrate quite happily granted an interim care order.

I'm sorry, the system in the uk is not a good system. What happened to my friend shouldnt have happened. I don't think our record on child protection is stellar or even better than in other countries, but we seem to be far quicker to take chikdren away than they are in other countries.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 21:16:01

A member of a particular group implies racial or cultural or religious.

Drug addicts are damaging to themselves, to their children and to society. They break the law simply by being possession of the drugs that they are addicted to, many break the law to fund their habits, many deal to fund their habits thus spreading misery further.

I simply do not buy the theory that a child should not be removed from a neglectful (at best) addict parent on the basis that the parent might be ok one day. One day will be too late, the damage is done. I would be interested to see how many of these so called "functioning addicts" there are compared to those who have lost their children either officially or because granny stepped in, or because the addict died.

There simply is not the justification for keeping a child in such circumstances, especially as the only person who suffers is the child, the one person in the whole sorry mess who cant speak for themselves and has no true understanding of what they are suffering. And in time, the cycle repeats because drug use, abuse, neglect, violence and crime are the only thing the child knows. It knows nothing of unselfish love, of kindness or living without fear.

Spero Sun 20-Jan-13 21:07:46

op, you may want to live in a society where people's babies are removed at birth because they are a member of a particular group.

I don't. I think that would be a horrible kind of society.

Spero Sun 20-Jan-13 21:05:47

yes it is a fact that mistakes are made, often very serious ones.

But just as you don't assume that all GPs are out to murder you after Dr Shipman, nor can you make some throw away comment that all LA's just get the 'bit between their teeth' and just love a bit of abduction.

Part of the reason the system is in such a mess and so many defensive wrong decisions are made is due to the constant barrage of ill informed hysteria about the 'evil' system. Social workers are under immense pressure and over worked. Believe me, they are not looking for children to abduct. They are fire fighting on every level, reacting to emergencies instead of being able to intervene and plan sensibly for children.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 21:03:47

people may not be so eager to queue up for these babies as you think.

A hell of a lot more than want to adopt a screwed up 8 year old because his removal was left too late....

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 20:59:08

Spero the irony didnt escape me, I worded it wrongly.

It seems that there are too many cases of innocent parents being hounded at the same time as children like Riley are being left in unsafe and neglectful situations. How is that crap? Its a fact!

Spero Sun 20-Jan-13 20:45:45

it may baffle you Hermoine, but it doesn't baffle the European Court which is way if we whipped all babies off at birth, the UK would find itself hauled up time and time again for gross infringement of the Article 8 rights of all concerned, and I definitely include the children in that.

yes, lots of people want to adopt babies. nice, middle class, no familiy history of substance abuse, mental illness type babies. people may not be so eager to queue up for these babies as you think.

hermioneweasley Sun 20-Jan-13 20:43:15

There are lots of people who want to adopt babies. If these babies were removed at birth due to the very high correlation between being an addict and unsatisfactory parenting, then they would all be placed in safe loving homes. In a small number of cases the parents might have been fine, but this madness of keeping kids with addict parents on the off chance they are ok baffles me.

Spero Sun 20-Jan-13 20:37:24

sorry op but that is just crap.

I don't understand why you can on the one hand be angry that children aren't being removed, then trot out this nonsense that the child protection system is all about abduction.

make up your mind.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 19:58:55

I am surprised that proceedings were started against her

Makes you wonder if they were pre-disposed to go against her as she was acting for parents against the LA. As we know, once they get the bit between their teeth, they wont let go. They never let the truth stand in the way of a good child abduction.

Spero Sun 20-Jan-13 19:45:24

I asked the question, because no barrister would say that and I thought it was weird. Fair enough, she didn't say that.

I am surprised that proceedings were started against her, particularly as she knows the system. But obviously you can't go into detail.

Kungfutea Sun 20-Jan-13 19:25:55

Yes, I'm sure she was a barrister. What kind of question is that? I probably have the terminology wrong because I googled magic circle once to see what it meant with regard to a solicitor who had said it and saw that her chambers (which is what I meant) is considered 'magic circle'. It's not something she ever said to me.

And, yes, she specialized in family law, especially public. And she got to the point where she wouldn't act for the la anymore, only the parents, who she felt got a raw deal. Ironic then that the la would then start proceedings against her!

Spero Sun 20-Jan-13 18:31:48

90% pf criminal cases are dealt with by lay magistrates. Again, its the money. Get rid of magistrates and pay judges to deal with all cases? you will need a lot of money.

All magistrates are assisted in court by a legally qualified clerk who advises them on the law. They have pretty extensive training. I don't think it is ideal but you are not being judged by people with no knowledge or experience.

Again, I don't agree that they 'always' go with the LA. But I do try to get cases moved up to the county court because I think generally care cases are too complicated for the mags. Sometimes they have problems organising a hearing for more than 3 days and a lot of the more difficult cases require 5 or more.

Are you sure your friend was a barrister? There is no such thing as a 'magic circle' Inn - there are four Inns of court and it is utterly irrelevant to your practice which Inn you are at. You just have to join one to qualify. What is important is your Chambers.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 17:03:18

https://www.gov.uk/become-magistrate/what-magistrates-do

So basically, it is the very people gossiping about you that make the decisions!

Kungfutea Sun 20-Jan-13 16:47:09

I never knew that about magistrates. It's really scary. I don't think juries are the way to go but I wouldn't want my children's future to be decided by someone whose qualification is ex-bank manager. They should be legally trained judges at the very least.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 16:43:02

Sorry for typos, on my tab and I still cant work out the delete bit! It cuts and pastes instead!

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 16:42:26

Gambling addiction led to the wife and children of an ex friend of Dh's becoming homeless. He went to prison for theft from his employers and she was evicted from their home as he hadnt paid the mortgage as he was spending all of his money and all of her contribution on his addiction.

He is now doing voluntary work at a charity shop and she is working 3 jobs to keep a roof over her childrens heads in the roughest area in our town sad

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