By Daily Mail Reporter
Newborn baby of 23st mother and her SIX siblings taken into care ‘over obesity fears’
An obese couple’s seven children are all to be taken into care, it emerged today, after their newborn daughter was removed over fears she would become dangerously overweight.
Three children had already been removed by social services before the infant was taken from her mother within hours of her birth.
Now her ‘heartbroken’ parents have learned that their three other children will be taken away from them too.
They say the children of the so-called ‘fat family’ are being removed over fears they would also become clinically obese.
On Monday afternoon, the mother gave birth to a girl by Caesarean section.
And 28 hours later, social workers arrived at the maternity ward to take the baby into care, after serving child protection papers on the patents.
Yesterday morning, a meeting of the Children’s Panel of Dundee Council decided the three youngsters still living at home should also go into care.
They are expected to be removed from the family home before the end of the week.
Yesterday the mother pleaded: ‘I just want my wee girl home. She’s only a day old.’
The father, 54, who was at the Children’s Panel hearing, said: ‘The panel members wouldn’t listen to me.
‘They would only listen to the social workers. They were accusing me and my wife of physical and emotional abuse and physical neglect – and we deny all that.
‘I have lost all my children and I am completely devastated.’
Speaking about his wife, he added: ‘She doesn’t know what to do next. The family feels that they have done enough to help their kids and try to keep their weight down.
‘They love their kids so much and this is a mother’s worst nightmare.’
Earlier, he explained he had been visiting his wife and baby daughter at Ninewells Hospital on Tuesday when social workers served him with a child protection order relating to the infant.
‘I kissed the baby bye-bye, but my wife couldn’t because she was so upset.’
He added: ‘We never thought they would come to hospital and take the baby away.’
The father continued: ‘I can’t understand why they are doing this to our family. Of course we are good parents.
‘We love our children. We might overspend on them and give them too much, but that doesn’t mean we are bad parents.
‘What they are doing is heartless and cruel. They are going overboard and we are suffering.’
The family’s lawyer, Kathleen Price, said that the family had not been given a fair hearing, and had not been kept informed about the action taken by social workers.
‘There is a serious question here about how you ensure that the rights of the families are protected,’ she told The Times.
‘It is very difficult for the family to get a fair hearing if the social workers have got it wrong.
‘The [children’s panel] are very influenced by the social workers’ recommendations … The family is not being helped here, they have been systematically bullied and disempowered.’
Earlier this year, the mother said of social services: “They keep making an issue about the kids’ weight. I don’t even own a deep-fat fryer.’
A Dundee council spokesman said: ‘We will not comment in detail on any family with whom we are involved, but we have made it clear on numerous occasions that children would not be removed from a family environment just because of a weight issue.’
He added: ‘Any decision about a child’s situation is given full and careful consideration.
‘It is never taken lightly and always at the forefront is what is the best course of action for the welfare and safety of the child.
‘The decision to remove children from any parent’s care on a compulsory basis is not made by councils but by the children’s hearing system.’
By Christopher Booker
Adoption system is UK’s shameful secret
Britain is the only country in Europe where children are routinely removed from their parents without consent, says Christopher Booker
This week I return to one of the most disturbing stories this column has ever reported. It began on a morning in April 2007 when the home of a respectable middle-class family in Sussex was overrun by 18 policemen and two RSPCA officials, supposedly looking for guns. When the father, a professional dog breeder, volubly protested, he and his pregnant wife were arrested and handcuffed, to the horror of their watching five-year old daughter (whom I call, for legal reasons, “Jenny”).
East Sussex social workers were then called to remove the little girl. Her mother had a miscarriage while in custody and returned to an empty home, left in chaos. Jenny has remained in foster care ever since, and despite her parents pleading for her return through 74 legal hearings, the ruling by a family court judge last March that she be put out for adoption was upheld in July by the Appeal Court.
Having now seen further documents relating to this saga, I can understand why the family’s GP wrote that in 33 years as a doctor he had never come across “such an appalling case of injustice”. The first document was her parents’ careful chronology of every step in the story, including transcriptions of many of their telephone conversations and meetings with Jenny, invariably under strict surveillance by social workers or the foster carer.
The dominant impression from these recordings is of Jenny’s desperation to be reunited with her parents, and of an increasingly distraught child who cannot understand what has been done to her. The parents claim that pressure was put on her constantly to say that she didn’t want to see them again. Why did the family court judge not allow this evidence to be heard in court, although she did admit accounts of these “contacts” by the social workers?
A second document is the judgment by Mr Justice Bodey in the Appeal Court confirming that Jenny must be put out for adoption. No evidence had been produced that her parents ever caused Jenny physical or mental harm. His ruling centred on two points. One was evidence that her home was a mess on the day of the raid, although those who knew the house well testify that it was normally clean and tidy. The other was that, when the family’s home was invaded by 18 policemen (a figure confirmed by one policeman in evidence), the father verbally abused them in colourful fashion (but didn’t attack them physically). Are these really adequate grounds for tearing a child and her parents permanently apart?
A third document is the book Forced Abduction by Ian Josephs, a businessman who has taken an active interest in the removal of children from their parents by social workers ever since he was a Tory county councillor in the 1960s. He acted in part of the Jenny case as a “Mackenzie friend”, that is, an informal assistant and adviser.
Mr Josephs shows that Britain is almost the only country in Europe which routinely allows children to be separated from parents without their consent. Indeed, he reproduces a press release put out in 2003 by Hammersmith & Fulham Council boasting how, under a Local Public Service Agreement, it had received a reward of £500,000 from central government for hitting its target of 101 adoptions in the year. This particular, highly controversial scheme of cash bonuses has, thankfully, since been abandoned.
The impression given by these documents supports the GP’s view that this is an “appalling case of injustice”. Social workers, lawyers and judges seem enmeshed in a system heavily skewed towards putting children out for adoption – by a process so shrouded in secrecy that it seems designed more to protect the system itself than the interests of the child. Most alarming of all is that there seems no one with the authority to intervene in cases such as Jenny’s, where that system appears to have left both a loving family and justice horribly betrayed.