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A Letter to Social Workers

I write this letter with the hope that you will understand my feelings and thoughts throughout the whole process of removing my child from my care.

I do not feel I was ever heard properly and I was rather misunderstood or things were altered and then judgements were made about me. We had a few things happening around us at the time of your involvement with the court, family and illness. I looked to you for help and guidance and I was criticized instead.

I asked to do a course to teach me how to parent but this was refused. However, during a looked after children's review the foster carers were told they needed to attend the exact course I asked to do.

If you had listened you'd have understood what I was trying to say, what was causing me anxiety and why things were the way they were. But you didn’t. You took everyone else’s view very seriously but couldn’t hear me. Before all the court proceedings began my child was a happy and healthy and cheerful - without a care in the world. There were no concerns.

But then came the first psychologist's report which recommended therapy which I did. Then the second psychologist report came which recommended a different form of therapy- saying I shouldn’t have done the therapy before but this new different one. And that if I was not alone my child to remain in my care. But as I was alone my child should be removed and if that happened I shouldn’t do the therapy as it would be too stressful.

But the stress came from my child being removed. Had I been given time to deal with my problems I would not have felt overwhelmed with the loss of my child. When I tried to explain to you that the report wasn’t factual and that so much of it was incorrect or altered- you didn't want to hear. Again.

During the whole process, not one person sat down with me and explained what I'd done for it to come to all of this.

I felt I was being punished but I didn't know why.

You altered the goal posts frequently. You made it impossible to meet your requests. And when I did it was never enough.

I've done more than has been asked. I’ve done three kinds of therapy. I have completed the Freedom Programme and I am now with New Beginnings. All of which I have done by myself- I self referred to show I knew I needed support. But it was not enough.

I don't feel any of it has been recognized and feel from things said as though I'm still not good enough to be a parent.

I take full responsibility for the fact I could not support my child properly because of my own childhood trauma. I did not have the skills or the knowledge. But instead of teaching me, you took against me. You helped others but not me. I still don’t understand. Why could I not have had that help? What was it I did for you to dislike me so much?

When I heard I had a new Guardian to review the case, it was music to my ears; a fresh set of eyes on the proceedings and a new beginning.

The day the guardian called I felt so positive, I finally felt heard. She asked me questions others had not and she listened. I genuinely felt like she understood me and recognised all the work I had put it. I gave her an example of how I have learnt and how I had put it into action. I told her how contact was positive and how my child reflected on memories we made. Although I was positive, I was also cautious due to previous experience with Local Authority.

The day the report arrived I had just come out of a self care session with New Beginnings. I thought “the timing couldn’t have been better”. I was ready for this, for this moment of change and hope for the future.

But as soon as I read the report I felt so disheartened and let down once again. I was still being judged by my past. None of the work I’d put in had been acknowledged. All the positives were framed as negatives- the work I had undertaken was viewed as tokenistic. All the reports and the labels that I have ever been given previously were brought up again….and it was very clear that although I had moved on, the professionals I worked with had not.

What no one can see, or appreciate, it feels, is that I went from seeing my child everyday to having contact once a month. On top of that I am not allowed to talk about the future, the past or show my feelings because you said it would be too upsetting.

Every day I am missing a great deal of my child's life, its time we will never be able to get back.

I cannot forget how much pain you have put us both through and so completely unnecessarily, especially when the smallest of actions could have prevented all of this. I forgive you for your actions, not for yourself but for me. I don't want to carry all that anger and sadness around with me and ruining my future happiness.

I will continue to be the consistent and best mum that I can be. The love and bond still remains despite everything that has happened. I would like to think reading my perspective will give you some insight into what parents feel during the child protection process. Parents like me- we feel unheard, let down, not included, inferior, an after thought. We are always the last to know anything, our feelings or opinions are not valid or we don't find things out till they are put in a report and are damaging.

I hope this letter helps you think about the ways you will approach other parents in the future so that my situation has not been in vain or has not served a positive outcome for others.

A mother.

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