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Please Don't Take Our Child - join the debate

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Caroline Mallan | 16:51 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

Each year around 20,000 children have their futures decided by the family courts. Baby William Ward was one of them. His parents Jake and Victoria Ward were investigated by police and social services when they were unable to explain a serious injury received by their three-month-old son. It took them two years to clear their names and a further three years to win the right to speak completely openly about what happened to their family.

Panorama's Darragh MacIntyre reported on the case of this ordinary couple and their extraordinary fight to open up the world of the family courts.

We welcome your comments on this week's Panorama. Please join our forum.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I haven't seen the programme but I am willing to bet it doesn't go the whole way in exposing the wickedness of Social Services and the Family courts.

  • Comment number 2.

    I don't think it is so much wickedness of social services as Iain-Dubh is saying as it is human incompetency.

  • Comment number 3.

    It is perhaps both. Simple errors, or incompetency, are commonplace and should be identified and corrected. The problem is that is human nature to try to cover up mistakes. That is when the wickedness begins.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am watching this with anger. This is typical of the Child Protection/Social Services system and I am speaking as a Police Officer. Day in, day out, I see cases of children living in squalor, cruel and blatantly dangerous situations. These situations go unpunished with little or no action taken. When it comes to a 2.4 children family who care and love their child who gets injured in unexplained or accidental circumstances, they have the book thrown at them. I could give countless examples of such cases and nearly everyday in my working life I come across the next 'Baby P' that is just not dealt with. It is typical of the scum of this county being untouched and the good upstanding people being targeted!

  • Comment number 5.

    How frightening. I have 3 young children, my boys are particularly accident prone and the thought of something like this happening absolutely petrifies me. There are real monsters out there who NEVER get caught. These poor people lived through a nightmare.
    Social services does not work. It needs a radical overhaul.

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh come on, this needed to be investigated by Social Services. Yes the family was innocent and it must have been absolutely awful for them going through this BUT the Police and medical experts made the error in saying that there had been more injuries that there had been - that wasn't Social Services' fault. Had the parents not been innocent and Social Services just left it we could've had another Baby P case on our hands. They really can't win!

  • Comment number 7.

    Social workers : Under paid and over worked and due to a the system over zealous ! Since when did we live in a guilty until proven innocent society. Why should any judgement be secret. They must be made public to clear the parties names...who is trying to be protected the child or the incompentant "experts" Name them and shame them and get them struck off. Unexplained injuries are by definition unexplained. The settlement should be made public too.

  • Comment number 8.

    ive just been through a very similar experience to this family unfortuantly i didnt have the happy ending, the judge ruled that me and my ex partner were possible perpatrators he couldnt actually prove anything and i lost my son to adoption this june hes not even 2 yet.
    i didnt hurt my son and social services and the judge didnt give me a chance. my son was 3 months old when he went into care for fractures same as teh family on the show

  • Comment number 9.

    As a mother to a toddler this programme has had me weeping. The parents should have just been able to enjoy their gorgeous baby boy and a further pregnancy and not have to endure what they did. I could feel my anxiety levels and emotions rising and I was only watching the programme. Until we put our son in a little sleeping bag we were often woken in the night with him screaming where he had got his leg trapped between the bars of the cot and we were warned off putting anything along the side of the cot to stop this happening in case he suffocated. I understand the hospital have a duty of care and that social services have to investigate, however, in this case it seems to have gone far to far. I can't even begin to imagine how they must have felt having to have parents monitoring their every move with their own child. I was glad to see they went on to have more children and they look a very happy family

  • Comment number 10.

    A very sad set of circumstances, horrific if you're innocent of course, but we live in a politically correct society where blame is important so anyone working in a public role that has even the slightest responsibility for anyone else's safety and welfare, feels duty bound to relieve themselves of any sense and take the safest option for their career. Don't take any risks, if there's the slightest doubt, take them into care.

  • Comment number 11.

    this programme was so upsetting..... iv been in the same situation in 2006 with my daughter this brought back so many memories i thought i was on my own untill i saw this..... ilive with this every day of my life i will never get over it

  • Comment number 12.

    What an atrociously one-sided arguement. As a paediatric doctor I would love to believe that no parent ever abuses a child but unfortunately they do. Our priority has to be the protection of children, if we assumed every unexplained injury was accidental then we could miss children who are being abused. What this family went through is terrible. However I am sure Panaroma will soon have an investigation of a child who died at hands of their parents and ask why doctors/social workers did not act more quickly or aggressively.

  • Comment number 13.

    I am watching this with anger also. My friend was a victim of this kind of situation. Funnily enough the first x-rays that were done on their son at the time dissapeared . I would like to know how this is acceptable why x-rays are allowed to go missing. When its clear that they never hurt their child. Their case had no outcome and they still took their eldest two children whom they haven't seen scince their eldest was two. Proof of this is that they have two younger children who live with them with no problems what so ever if they were such bad parents then why are they allowed to happily stay at home with them under their care. This is just proof that injustice does happen for no reason.Someone tell me why children who are loved and cared for and are well looked after should be taken just because of anon calls and such they are too quick to jump to conclusions also the fact that evidence that goes for you goes missing but YET children who are actually being abused and harmed are left in the family home. This confuses me I will never understand how they can get away with tearing apart good fareing familys that want nothing but the best for their children.

  • Comment number 14.

    Ill tell you why there are situation like this and then on the other hand situation like Baby P. It's because social services have a system where they need to 'save' children to get brownie points, but don't want to get thier hands to dirty. After all why become a target of a real child abuser who might attack you!?, why not get easier targets and 'suspected' child abuse cases, use professionals to twist the truth so that you become guilty.

    I know first hand about Social Services and they have used very trick on the book. And the worst thing is they get away with it in the courts. The miss out details, change words from 'may' to 'have' and by the time these reports get to the courts they are full of complete lies !

    Social Serives complain that they are damned if they do and damned if they dont, but actually its the innocent parents because CPS have always got the money and family courts support. Unless you rich you will never win against if they have it in for you, no matter how innocent you are.

  • Comment number 15.

    My heart goes out to this family, what a living nightmare.
    months ago my son was aged 4 months and the health visitor noticed his head was swollen, we ended up in hospital for 5 days and it was the worst experience of my life. I found out he had had a bleed between his brain and his skull. The medics called in the police and the social services, my son had to get every bone in his body xrayed and his eyes checked out for shaken baby syndrome!!! All they kept saying was its procedure. I can tell you i fully agree with the protection of children and have a very lovng caring family. After the 5 days and the tests being ok, they said we could go home that all the tests were fine, as if i didnt know that already. Im still sitting here worried sick about my wee boy and the Drs are telling me to treat him like a healthy wee boy. I have written complaining to them.What happened to innocent until proven guilty. I will never forget this as long as I live, i can only learn to live with it. Thanks for listening.

  • Comment number 16.

    my three children were taken from me in a closed court case i was accused at first until they realised it wasnt me then it was decided my lifestyle was to blame after 3 years i settled down and became pregnant they said they wouldnt take my new baby i was having unsupervized contact with my eldest when 9 months pregnant they told me they would be taking the baby so i left the country but they still hounded me and my baby was taken at birth i now have unsupervized contact with my baby she is not yet a year my life is ruined i will never return to the uk i think its so wrong to take children from their mother sometimes things happen and nobody knows what. my heart goes out to the wards im glad they are ok now but there are so many like me with children taken away with no proof just suspicion .

  • Comment number 17.

    I too have 2 children who social services removed from my care 18 months ago and am still struggling to have them returned to my care. I was falsely accused of endangering my children. Since then I have lost my job, my family and very soon my home that social services say is squalid!! They haven't been further than my kitchen at the front of my house and although it is in need of updating it is very far from being squalid. In my opinion Social services are nothing more than incompetant people who like to play God with other people's lives

  • Comment number 18.

    i would like to point out that because of the court case i never want children again, im suffering with major depression, and when friends want me to hold their children i panic, i know im innocent but the trauma left behind is hard to overcome

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    What a nightmare! This has totally ruined the happiness that they should have been experiencing while William was young. I have got two boys under four and to think I could be put through that if they accidentally hurt themselves. I feel so sorry for the parents because I could see how much they love and care for him. Glad to see that they were strong enough to get through it and have got their lives back. Their case should have been sooner and freed the social workers up to spend time with the troubled families that need to be watched.

  • Comment number 21.

    i have just watch this program and thinks its discusting the way they can accuse sumone of doing sumthink that they havnt done and im sure docters do get it wroung sometimes

  • Comment number 22.

    were going throught the family courts due to my ex abuseing me and my child 5 years ago. Weve been through contact centre, 3 unsupervised sessions (came back due to bruises on my childs arm from biologigal father) & now fully supervised and recorded contact by social workers. My ex has been 2 contact sessions since January. I ve taken a screaming child to all sessions (bar 2 session) & now ive had the court slapped on me a (prision?) penal notice, as i say I cant put my child through this hell! My child has told the centre manager that he hates this man, & school teachers. I ve now also been told my ex is going for FULL residential as apparently I'm abusing my childs as not making (forcing) him go !!! Now thats family courts for you!!

  • Comment number 23.

    What one is trying to understand ...is in my case i have a child at risk of being sexualy/physically abused for which social services etc have done nothing..and then i have a new born which has been taken from me...the reasons i feel they still are trying to figure out!!!! I really hope that after people watching this programme changes are made to stop children being taken from parents for no reason what so ever...and only based on hearsay and what may happen....would love for reporter to enter my case as they will be able to report the system of the courts where children are taken from loving parents for no reason what so ever.....

  • Comment number 24.

    OMG!!!! to say we went through EXACTLY the same things as this loving couple is an understatement!! I am crying my eyes out at ALL the similarities.... Our Son was to live in our house with my parents while investigations took place (for nearly a year!) The case was dismissed by the CPS and we had only a few days in Crown Court before that too was thrown out. We fought for our innocence too and we still have no answer to our son's Accidental Injury. I was taken to court for contempt as I DID name a Radiologist in a media interview, I had to make a personal apology to her, for her wrong diagnosis!! The court system HAS to change, as we thought we were the only ones.... clearly we are all out there fighting these battles and not being able to talk about it.

  • Comment number 25.

    I find this type of media very frustrating, lazy and shabby. I found nothing in the programme, despite it's obvious bias, that suggested the matter should have been investigated any other way. I commend Social Services for the jobs they do. Perhaps Panorama might investigate some of the THOUSANDS of children that social workes have saved in the last year, though I suspect that won't have the same media value. Social Workers are vilified on a daily basis, they are damned if they do and damned if they don't intervene. As for the Ward Ruling, it's clearly going to do more harm to children than good. Well done to all involved in that effort!

  • Comment number 26.

    How disappointing that Panorama chose not to place this case in context. It is unusual and does not reflect my experience of 15 years child protection. Parents come to court with me and hear the judgement given. Written judgements are given to all parties. Experts are named in court documents and give evidence in front of parents.
    I am surprised by what I have seen.

    For the record Social Workers canot win. If a case is investigated we are intrusive; if it is not we fail to save a child - as in baby Peter. As in both cases the problem lay with poor medical care and evidence not Social Services.

    I am sorry for the family's distress. However, villifying Social Workers is undeserved in this case and does not reflect the good work of the profession in preventing children from suffering pain and neglect.

    Do try and rein in the bias & drama BBC.

  • Comment number 27.

    i feel all the pain of any family that is inocent that has had dealings with social care. Im a mother of 5 children who have all been removed by social services my 2 eldest are goin to be adopted at the end of next month and no matter what i do i cant seem to stop them! I have never hurt my children or neglected them in any way nor do i take drugs or drink. But because of 1 arguement between me and my ex partner over money problems they say im unable to protect my children so i move me and my children away so they said i have a chotic life whilst the family had social care uprooting us and using it against us my 3rd child was born 3 months earlie due to stress which they also used against me! If anyone can help me to stop this maddness my lil broken family would forever thankful. My children are my world! Help us x

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    I'v just sat and cried most of the way through this, as im going through exacally the same! and i know how draining and mentally exhusting it is, social workers dont think about the effect things like this have on the children she was lucky enought to have a child who was too young to understand what was happening, one of my 2 boys is 6 and very aware something is happening and the change in him is unreal, he wont talk about any of his feelings, its like he's shut down to question because he's been pushed back and fourth by both the police and social workers asking about his baby brother and wanting to know everything about our family life! its absolutly crushing! all i can say is you are a very strong and determind family and you can see you are great parents.

  • Comment number 30.

    What a sad story and also a nightmare that is playing out across this country ruining many good decent families. My sister who is a loving Mum of 2 young children had both removed after an unexplained injury on the younger child (no previous issues or history of any kind). Due to having no explanation she was presumed guilty by social services and has been without her kids for nearly 2 years due to a doctors report saying it was unlikely to be accidental. The social services won't allow me to contact sessions due to social services saying it is too much for the child, nor will they assess me as I told them in interview there is no way my sister would have harmed.
    The case on Panorama tonight just shows how wrong the closed family courts are and how social services are getting it wrong by removing children based on one single incident of unexplained injury. Thoughts go out to all families affected by this unfair blight on British justice.

    Judging based on the balance of probability over anything else doesn't happen in criminal courts, why should it happen in family courts? Disgusting.

  • Comment number 31.

    Secret family courts are an abomination. They are contrary to any sense of justice. You are guilty if people behind closed doors say you are and you can do nothing about it. This must change. Lives are being destroyed by the SS and family courts. My step daughter has had all 5 children (my grandchildren) taken from her because her partner was secretly a paedophile who raped my eldest granddaughter. So now the whole family has been punished by the very people you expect to support and help you through this trauma. And all because they said my step daughter didnt protect her children! How was she to know?!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    The Ward case clearly took too long before they were exonnerated, and that is not acceptable. However, it was still right that it was fully investigated and that the court had the chance to test all of the evidence. We need to be careful that any backlash doesn't result in more Baby Peters. I notice that no mention was made about the fact that William would have been represented in the case by a Guardian and solicitor, independent of the social services and parents. It is the Guardian's job to scrutunise the evidence. Everyone expressing concerns about this case NEEDS to know that this very safety net is currently under threat because of so called reforms in legal aid, and government policy and cuts....there will be more cases like this....

  • Comment number 33.

    In October 2008 my son Benjamin was born at 26 weeks 3 days he was looked after by an amazing neonatal team at our local hospital until he was 8 weeks old still not even full term when he suffered a broken arm in his incubater whilst still in the special care ward. The staff could not explain it and when we pushed for an explenation all they would say was we dont know how it could have happened. when we sought legal advice we got the same answers. it appears to me that the medical profession acts as a club who only looks after its own.
    If there is anyone out there that has had this same kind of situation that I have experienced please leave your messages on this board. There must be more that can be done. Thanks

  • Comment number 34.

    Given the child had significant injuries including 2 broken bones at such a young age, it is clear an investigation was required irrespective of social class. What is the alternative? I am 100% sure if the media discovered there was a child with 2 broken bones left without any investigation by social services or the police there would be uproar. Such agencies really cannot win. It must be remembered that injuries in such small children are extremely rare and should be treated with caution. The case appeared to go on for a very long time and of course there is sympathy for any parent who has gone through this system who is innocent. As always there will be much more information to this story than published in a 30 minute programme and viewers should remain mindful of this. The court as quoted 'took weeks to decide' and therefore it would appear the case was finely balanced. As it have been so clear cut, the judge would have made their judgement immediately.
    I welcome a balanced TV programme looking at the positive work of social services, child protection police, family courts and medical staff in this exceptionally difficult area of work who protect numerous children on a day to day basis. The media portrayal as always remains unbalanced which is very unhelpful for workers undertaking this role. It remains a dangerous and thankless task and workers who remain in this field are passionate and committed.
    Also expert witnesses do need protection. There would be less professionals put themselves forward for this task if the system was completely transparent for such public persecution and negative media attention. This would be hugely detrimental to the children they serve.

  • Comment number 35.

    We gave birth to our first baby girl last year to find her with a bowel condition that required life saving operations. After nursing her better in a neonatal unit for several weeks we finally got home to start being a normal family! Only weeks later I take her into hospital with similar syptoms to the programme and they discovered a spinal fracture to the arm. We are all for the protection of children and cooperated fully but we have never been made to feel more like prisoners in our lives. If only we had known what was to come! Social services and police were involved and our daughter was put through test after test including several xrays and a ct scan. (As if she had not undergone enough already!) We had to remain in hospital like caged animals in a zoo, not because she needed to be in there but because we may of bee a risk to our daughter! We were finally allowed home under supervision and had undergone weeks of visits from social/police and other professionals. We then saw the light after travelling to London for a medical opinion which discovered her weeks of artifical feeding in hospital where she was poorly had led to soft bones - hence the unexplained injuries. Never do I wish anything upon her but that was our only saving grace. This experience will live with us forever and we remain petrified of any normal injuries that may occur putting us back in the frame. The system is necessary but WRONG. I thought in this country you were innocent until proven guilty but this system operates in the complete opposite fashion. Good on all the people that want to exploit there stories - that sick feeling of being under investigation will be one we will never forget.

  • Comment number 36.

    Having just watched Panorama I am very upset. I have bipolar disorder and whilst during an episode of severe depression social services became involved in our lives. I have never hurt any of my four children. I had three hospital admissions in the first five months of their involvement (a third of all my admissions). They have no concerns about our parenting but have openly stated that they do not believe that the excellent mental health care professionals that care for me will report concerns. The "expert" witness appointed by the council insisted that they took care proceedings three months after I stopped medication. She hadn't seen me for 6 months (and only saw me once) and did not speak to my psychiatrist. She was alarmist and her recommendation had no evidence base. We have not been given the opportunity to challenge "experts" as the local authority were not prepared when we attended court and we spent two days (and £80000 of taxpayers money) getting a written 'agreement'. The system is unfair and bullying. It is acknowledged that their intervention has been harmful but despite my son's school describing him as exceptional, emotionally well-adjusted and total 'normal' he remains subject to a Child Protection Plan. I would like the opportunity of reporters attending our court case. Our case is about my mental illness. This has been stated. It has implications for all mentally ill parents and I would be content to be 'tried' publicly. At least if the public knew how threatening and bullying social services really are and how discrimination is overt, not even covert, others could be helped. I am still fighting because of my mental health team and because I have never harmed my children. I have a mental illness but feel like a criminal.

  • Comment number 37.

  • Comment number 38.

    I watched this program in ANGER. I understand the terrible stress the family were under but can people not remember the public outcry with Baby P? The social services now have to be ridiculously cautious to avoid retribution. One minute the public is attacking them for negligence. This prograqmme was disgusting, attacking the people who are trying to protect our children. argh

  • Comment number 39.

    There will now have to be a re-opening of similar cases in which these experts gave testimony in criminal or family court trials in East Anglia, or even further afield, and which resulted in conviction or separation of the babies from the children.

    Let us be clear: in cases of real abuse it is the perpetrators who are at fault; in the case of phantom abuse it is the experts and the system who are at fault.

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm going through this right now, i was in tears watching but it has also given me some hope. My daughter at 4 weeks suffered injuries that neither my partner nor myself can explain, she is currently in care and has been since 5 weeks old, she is now almost 8 months. The emotional turmoil has no words to it and we are currently fighting hard to get our little girl back. The thing is, there is no history of abuse for either of us and i also have a 7 year old daughter with adhd and autism, whom is still at home with us. The criminal charges have been dropped just like the family in this program, we have a finding of fact 24th September and i have to be honest, i'm tore apart by it. So nervous even though i know we are innocent. I so happy that the family got their son back, i just hope we have the same happy ending.

  • Comment number 41.

    Doctors in Child Protection cases should be named. If they are fair and honest in their opinions and act in the manner expected of them by the General Medical Council, they should not fear being named. Experts should be protecting children and if this means giving the honest opinion that it may not be as straight forward as others wish to believe they have a duty to give this opinion. Doctors, like Judges (who are named), should not hide behind their 'white coats'.

  • Comment number 42.

    Its amazing how so many people have been through the same thing. It doesn't matter how many children they have saved because that is their job and they are supposed to be doing that ! What DOES have to be mentioned is the amount of family's they destroy. Not only are they wasting tax payers money on doing the total opposite to what they are paid to do.

    And for those of you who are saying this is bias and complete out of context I can tell you right now that this is the FIRST time ive seen any documentary on the BCC or any other channel that deals with this point of view. And until your in that situation (which I doubt any of you objecting to it have ever been in) you cant make a judgement.

    Ive been on both end of the wheel and in both cases they did nothing when abuse was staring them in the face. Infact the Baby P situation seem to have created a backlash whereby CPS are going over the top and completely tearing family apart in the process.

  • Comment number 43.

    I really feel for the parents in this case, with my experience with SS, I feel they do pick on easy targets rather than the cases that need desperate attention. They need to stop dwelling on the fact that some injuries just can't be explained and that doesn't mean they're non accidental. They should instead look at the bigger picture of the family and gather information from their day to day living with the children rather than the view of a doctor as often they get it wrong with what a non accidental injury is and what an accidental injury is.

  • Comment number 44.

    ANDREW PARKER - We have had a similar situation. Our daughter was nearly killed in theatre and had a arterial vein jab to prevent a coma. We were told that the hospital has a NO BLAME CULTURE and that a critical incident form would be completed. This jab has left a lesion on her leg which resembles a bruise and whilst under investigation for a fractured arm months later we were then questioned on this mark as it had been documented NO WHERE! An NHS "mistake" that we had to explain with nothing in writing!

  • Comment number 45.

    Every one that backs up the social workers need to keep their opinions to themselves as they dont know the extent of their work. Children like baby P are injured and killed because social servises DO NOT CARE about what they do to families. That is why these children do not get looked after because it is known that these children are at risk but they can not make any money out of it as the parents do not care. Loving families are being torn apart as they will fight for there children. These parents always lose as socail services use these figures to "show" that they are doing there job.The proffesionals are all biased and to stand a chance you have to fight for years. This couple was lucky that they won there fight as it takes th European Courts to fight these evil people.However most parents do not know what to do or where to go they rely on their solicitors who are being paid no matter what happens. If socail services get involved, you dont have money and love your children YOU WILL LOSE THEM.

  • Comment number 46.

    In respect of all social workers: if any one of you actually works to promote the safety or welfare of children, then I apologise.

    However, in my own experience - gained in Stockport - there has not been one social worker across disability, early intervention or family teams, who actively promoted the welfare of the child involved.

    So why are we paying these people/ What exactly, to we expect them to achieve?

    It sems to me that they should all be sacked, and be denied their pensions, since they are acting fraudulently.

    No child or its family, should have to jump through the hoops which are expected by such pig-ignorant people - and which ar deliberately designed, by their superiors, to denigrate and very badly affect, those children who most need their help.

    It is high time to et rid of the rubbish in the system, replacing ti with sensitive, caring people, who actively promote the life interests of children and their parents.

    Get on with it.

  • Comment number 47.

    My wife and I had a parallel experience but with psychiatric experts interacting with social workers. My wife suffered from teenager years occasional isolated bizarre behaviour involving hallucinations, paranoid delusions, irrational emotionality and catalepsy. With medication there was no problem but when she became pregnant the medication was not allowed. Unfortunately during one pregnancy she developed the symptoms. This posed no danger to any of the children or the foetus and the symptoms disappeared upon normal birth. However, immediately after the birth social services insisted on removing her from all contact with the children, claiming that she was at risk of "emotional harm" to the children because her illness was alleged by social workers to be caused by abuse to her when she was a child, and there was a theory popular at the time that "the abused becomes the abuser". I was accused of "accommodating" the abuse by supporting her, so the children were removed from me as well. The case went after several years to the Family Court, driven by social services, where just one of the expert witnesses claimed my wife was lying or exhibiting "suppressed memory" when she said on oath she had had a perfectly happy childhood. Most other medical staff and family members supported us for different reasons. However, the judge astonishingly agreed with the one non-consensus expert, who had never met the children or the family. The family was eventually split up amongst several carers, and my wife just gave up and went to pieces in despair. I was barred from even attempting to contact my children or talk about the case and have never fully recovered.

    It amazes me that one's entire family can be eradicated in one day by a complete stranger who unexpectedly turns up in court to declare that the parents consitute a "risk" to the children even when no actual harm has occurred, to collect a fee and to disappear, and a judge simply rubber-stamps that expert's view.

    I have gradually come reluctantly to the view that "risk" of harm, especially emotional harm, is not a satisfactory basis for removing children; there should be actual harm and hard evidence, not expert opinion of what might happen. The system is well overdue for reform.

  • Comment number 48.

    Where i've done my research i was disgusted to find that they are taking children away from familys who care and love for them to fill their pockets and adoption targets that need to be met every year. They think we do not know this but we are all aware what goes on behind closed doors.
    As i say and have been told any Social Worker who says to you we are here to help you do not believe them as this is not true.The Problem is that their are some good social workers who are doing jobs properly and social workers that are not and will do anything to degrade you in court in the form of lies. Because of these good decent social workers get the bad end but what happens in most proceedings is that these good social workers are often threatened in the work place if they do not comply with what the corrupted ones say which is bad for parents as well as the social worker themselves their hands are unfortunately tied.From other research that i have found out if i.e forced adoption the golden rules one in particular never give your children up for temporary care if they guarantee you your children back this wont happen unfortunately as in doing so you have admitted to neglecting your child or children which will go against you.
    The system is corrupt and these secret courts need to be opened to the public for a fair hearing but of course they wont as these people do not want to be found out by the outside world that corruption happens due in the form of lies.
    It is disgusting and people are most of the time to scared to say anything as this could result in them looseing their children.Dont be scared to do anything about it. I am at the moment myself dealing with these people due to an anonymous call which was found to be false. But they still want to invde my privacy for no reason. My first intial assessment is golden ie children cared for appropriately and clean.But i am still being hounded by these people.
    I have myself gone to an MP about this as i will not let them lie to get what they want.
    My Children are found to be happy clean and appropriately cared for. And i have this in black and white but they still want to do a Core Assessment even though it is not needed due to their own words.
    I would suggest anyone who is dealing with them same situation as myself or are going through courts that you visit forced adoption a site will come up where you can find these golden rules and also contact someone if need be. I hope this helps.

  • Comment number 49.

    Many of these comments are correct: social services cannot win in the eyes of many. Unfortunately, cases like Baby P result in 'knee-jerk' reactions from professionals and social services. Children across all social classes are subjected to abuse but what is required is sensitive, well co-ordinated responses. Making innocent parents feel like criminals does not enhance child protection but has the opposite effect. Time delays are detrimental to children. Those whose parents are innocent live in families who are so stressed that caring for their children is difficult and those whose parents are "guilty" may be subject to further abuse. Social services are under-funded but the cost that our local authority has expended in taking child care proceedings could have funded several social workers. Surely common sense, not "covering backsides" should be the prevalent attitude.

  • Comment number 50.

    What is the profile of a child abusers as that was mentioned in this program that they did not meet the profile so all of us that have lost our children, taken for no reason and placed for adoption must look like child abusers

  • Comment number 51.

    I would be more than willing to talk to someone im telling you. Because it is interesting that i myself am being investigated for no reason even though the initial assessment says that they have no concerns in black and white and also that my children are healthy,Happy,clean and appropriately cared for and dressed so the question comes to pass why all of a sudden am i being investigated if my children are not at risk. Makes you think about the real motive behind why they want to do a Core Assesment when it is not needed all because of an anon call.

  • Comment number 52.

    I think what has happened to this lovely family is an absolute disgrace. The Social Services are always targetting families who clearly love their children and care for them well. Yet there are some who neglect their children and nothing gets done about that. We recently had a similar situation where one of my twin grand-daughters had a problem with her blood clotting and came out in strange red marks all over. Although 3 results came back abnormal the hospital still,did full skeltal x-ray and other tests, and once it was ruled out that nobody had hurt her they were not so keen to spend money and resources to find out why her clotting factors were not right. We had to pay privately to see a doctor in Bath (we live in Wales) who confirmed that the marks are sometimes seen in prem babies who have blood clotting problems. Hospital staff treat you like dirt. I believe in innocent until proven guilty not the other way around. Yet when hospital staff handled my grand-daughter and she continued to come out in more marks that was ok in their eyes. The whole system needs a overhau. The twins were much loved and planned for babies, as I am sure the Wards child was and to be treated the way they have been is shameful and the hospitals government and social services need to stand up and apologise to start with. This sort of thing ruins a families enjoyment of what should be the happiest time of their lives and can never get back. DISGRACEFUL!!!!!!!! To the Ward family, let me say good luck for the future and we are behind you 100%.

  • Comment number 53.

    Our case ended happily,as I pray the cases mentioned on here do, but when we tried to fight to clear our names we were warned against it because the reply from the SS, the courts , the Guardian....is always "we were acting in the childs' best interest" and who can argue that. But we were innocent and we proved that, so why is there no help out there to show this so-called justice system up for what it truly is ..... A SHAM!!!!????

  • Comment number 54.

    Good grief. What ever happened to journalism? Media does not have to resort to manipulating trigger emotions to perpetuate a high market hitting topic, especially when concerning vulnerable children. That only perpetuates the problems. This biased documentary is particularly distasteful considering the recent high profile cases such as Baby P and Victoria Climbie. God forbid the backlash doesnt mean another Baby P disaster because Social Services will be too scared to investigate now.

    It is far more effective and intensive to create a long term step by step insight series 'about' the problems involved. And get problem solving factors embedded in the public's minds instead of 'reality tv' and creating yet another moral panic.

  • Comment number 55.

    Comment for Andrew Parker

    We had similar scenario. When my grand-daughter was in special care the same red marks came out on her that appear now granted only a couple of times. Not one member of staff was under suspicion and nobody had an explanation or seemed worried in any way. Again when we took her to hospital worried about it and the hospital staff saw the marks coming out on her while they were handling her that was fine. They cover their own backs all ways. Even if they have to lie, yet as you say if it was you who could not explain a broken arm well it doen't bear thinking about. Hope all is well with your little boy now. Should a lot of parents maybe get together and sign some sort of petition as this is happening too often, while the real abusers get away most of the time.

  • Comment number 56.

    I have watched tonight and feel physically sick.

    We are going through a similar experience, and reading these comments and watching the programme has filled me with absolute fear about our situation.

    I think unless something like this happens to you, and you are accused of physical abuse, you have this blind faith in doctors, social workers etc, and assume that common sense will prevail.

    My heart goes out to everyone else who is suffering at the hands of incompetent social services departments,

  • Comment number 57.

    After watching this and ending up in absolute floods of tears I felt I had to response.

    I too, am currently going through this awful ordeal. It was like watching my life story unfold on the TV. We have been going through this since my little man was just 8 months old. He is now nearly 18 months old.

    Fortuality after having two god awful social workers I have been blessed with a lovely young woman who really is dedicated to her job and what is best for the real innocent in all this - the child. She still gets the job done but in a more tactful way. To a point I think that social workers and social services legal teams should be separated when being discussed. They do two very different roles.

    I am an honest person who lives and breathes my little boy. to quote a great philosopher Jade Goody (Well...) "if you never discovered something you would die for, then you haven't lived. Well, he is proof that I have lived"

    I used to believe that telling the truth, being honest and justice would always win through. I used to be naive.

    I totally understand that the investigations have to be done and procedure followed. It does not make that any easier on the innocent parents though. I too thought I was alone. its heartbreaking to know of all these families ruined. To say it is a living nightmare is so cliché however that is the only way to truly describe it. It really is true that your heart does break everyday.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    Like other comments on this programe. I've been through Social Services. This has left me and my children feeling that we haven't a voice I was in there eyes guilty even through I was innocent. I found that the Social Services think they have the right to lie and twist the truth to fit the paper work without the parent's right to answer back. I do think they think they are Gods. The trauma that they have left me and my children is wrong. But reading the comments that other parents have written that I'm not the only one that the Social Services have threatened and bullied.

  • Comment number 61.

    the nitemare goes on way past the judges ruling and way past the adoption side of things cos ur heartbroken and in some cases if u go on to want children in the future social services get involved again and have to reassess u, not a path i will be going down ever again im 27 and social services have destroyed my life

  • Comment number 62.

    I just wanted to say that if it were not for programmes like this then people like myself wouldn't be able to discuss our experiences...thats the whole POINT of the programme... we are NOT ALLOWED to talk about it. If you are going through or have been in this situation then this is a life-line to be able to talk openly.

  • Comment number 63.

    I was a little afraid to watch this program more as it brings back memories since the 18th August 2008 but more it reminds me of the incompetence of the family courts system and more prominently the failings and the maltreating of children of Cambridgeshire county council social services department. At seventeen now I have been forced into independent accommodation and whilst that is not the worst outcome it certainly has put a strain on my life with given extra emotional baggage I have had to deal with, coupled with little help from social services whom have followed by life with keen eyes. While I truly believe me and my two brothers and three sisters should of been taken away from my mother, recently released from prison, the events and actions before and after the date by social services coming from an extremely substandard level of care or supervision for which my family, all members included, needed from them. Failings throughout the court cases and social workers trying to seemingly 'create' more than find problems within where my family ended up. This has lead to the majority of the family being in a worst state than when it began with notable exceptions but even those came from luck rather than social services involvement, with was either lacking or too much. Only one member of there team seemed capable of even having a CRB with the other being obnoxious, to a state where they bullied and belittled each family member no matter what age or position in the events. They acted as if everyone was a criminal, the children did not matter as I can quote from one on the day. My ambiguity is more because I do not know what needs to be kept secret due to the family court system but I know from experience how incompetent Cambridgeshire social services are currently and were over the past two years especially along with the ten preceding years of this decade. I do not hold much evidence to support this claim apart from multiple eye witnesses but my opinion, and that is all this is, is that Cambridgeshire Social Services and so severely bad they harm the children so badly emotionally that they often become wrecks of their former selves. While I understand the job is not easy there is no need for bullying rather putting children first and understanding the true nature of the job; protect the kids not punish them for parental wrongdoings treating kids as the sum total of there parents. The latest panorama program showed more than many have seen before but has barely touched the internal workings of the family courts or the incompetence of social services mentioned often in the comments above and something I agree upon, a seventeen year old having the aforementioned happen to me. Panorama should delve further into this problem and show people what you find.

  • Comment number 64.

    Its always unfortunate when innocent people are subjected to a witch hunt but I was annoyed that the report didn't deal in any statistics. For example what proportion of children who definitely are at risk are protected by the family court system? What about the scandal of many middle class children who really are abused emotionally physically and sexually by parents but who remain under the radar because they are not 'obviously' neglected or from poor backgrounds. Social services do a very difficult job trying to help children and mentally ill people and I think this programme by focusing on one case that was actually troubling will not help those who need protecting. I cannot help wondering if the parents had been tattoed and toothless whether Panorama would have run this.

  • Comment number 65.

    How to reform this shocking undemocratic system? At the moment 200+ parents are jailed every year for protesting publicly,(revealing their own names) when their children have been taken for adoption by strangers !More often for "risk of emotional abuse"than for any injuries.

    HEARSAY EVIDENCE IS GIVEN BY ABSENT WITNESSES (SOCIAL WORKERS AND MEDICAL EXPERTS) WHO MAKE REPORTS AND SELDOM COME TO COURT TO BE QUESTIONED !Yet they are believed in preference to parents who are eyewitnesses and come to court to be questioned.
    1:- Parents should not be gagged but like rape victims they should be free to tell their stories as soon as their children are taken and also should never have their conversation with their children censored by social workers who threaten to stop contact if the case is mentioned!
    2:-There should be no hearsay evidence and all witnesses should be named and present in court to be questioned
    3:- Judges hesitate to overule social services in case they are criticised later.99.25% of care orders requested by local authoriyies are granted!
    Juries would have no fear of future criticism and would not be so ready as judges to confiscate babies at birt for risk of emotional abuse.

    One question,Has anyone in care or who was in care ever had a good word to say about social workers? Never ! And why is that?

  • Comment number 66.

    Jan 2003 to September 2003. We went through the same hell. 6 family members all falsly accused of NAI's/Child abuse. This case is like ours except we proved we are innocent. The social services and police are still treating us like criminals. They tried to steal an injured baby who was very ill and was suffering from OOP Brittle bone condition due to extreme prematurity, for forced adoption. Social services threatened us as did Cafcass. Social worker committed perjury and told vicious lies, as did the team leader. We have never been vindicated despite American Dr's evidence, which the corrupt UK dr's refuse to accept. They had their agenda to steal a baby and thats that. They have ruined us emotionally,and financially and professionally. Devastated. Watching this brought back very painful memories. The media and tabloids have refused to tell our story as it proves authoritarian corporate corruption.We are still sufering and still being abused and persecuted by police.

  • Comment number 67.

    Just regarding the comments above;

    those who praise social workers are right to do so they do have a difficult job to do and yes they are damned if they do and damned if they dont but those who condemn them are also right, social workers should be there on the outside when something does not look right like in the program. The power they weld and the weight of their evidence is unfair and biased against the parents. In my experience social workers seemed to be against the family rather than for hence my heavy dislike for them. They are not made of gold and can end up making mistakes or incompetence, as i believe the social workers with me have done so.

  • Comment number 68.

    I feel like I am echoing so many of your comments. Victoria and Jake's story is an echo of what we went through.
    We are now through our ordeal and are helping support another family that is going through something similar.
    When we went through this, we had no one to talk to or turn to - my mother who was over from SA being our 24 hr care was diagnosed with cancer, rushed back to her home in SA, and on her death bed was asking for her grandsons, a wish that was never fulfilled as social services did not allow it. My lovely dear mum passed away before the outcome of our case (the outcome was that SS withdrew their case at the final hurdle because of medical evidence that WE.... that's right ... me and my husband.... uncovered....) We went through 14 months of absolute hell, first with no one listenign to my concerns about my baby, then when eventually more investigations were done... fingers pointed, accusations made, arrested, bailed, jailed, released, court cases, 24 hr supervision, SS visits, family assesment visits, court cases, final hearing.... all with 24 hr supervision, and expected to keep life normal as if we didn't... then both our beloved children would be removed....
    and then... on the 8th October - they withdrew... the barrister for the city council cheerfully uttered the words... "enjoy the rest of your lives" on his way out the door.. and left us to now pick up the pieces....!!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    I would like to be a support to others going through this situation... I am not sure if I am "allowed"... does anyone know?? I know I would have loved a shoulder to cry on and a chat to someone who understood when we were going through this ordeal....

  • Comment number 70.

    The comment you see on car window stickers of "Save a child - sack a social worker" rings very true!

    Sack them all they are under worked and overpaid and crap at their job

  • Comment number 71.

    Many posts start "i watched this programme..." but then don't go on to talk about it much, but instead about Social Services in general. The principal agents in this story were actually the paediatricians that testified in the court case. Social services didn't actually feature very much in the narrative and could not be seriously faulted. They allowed 3rd party provision and the Wards had no complaints about any lack of professionalism - they only noted the frequency with which new Social Workers were assigned. I think that on the whole it is good that expert witnesses can now be named (the point of the programme). I'm sure that as a result there will be some experts now reluctant to put themselves forward, but hopefully there will be enough to lay their professional reputations on the line to help decide important cases like this one. The debate as to whether we have a strong Social Services or not is important, but assuming that we do want one, it should investigate all complaints and referrals equally, and most importantly, the public should back them.

  • Comment number 72.

    Ian Josephs
    yes i myself have been in care. i'm already in contact with you but i can say on my time in being in care from the age of 13 i was moved around from pillar to post i could not even pass any gcse's because i was movd around so much to at least 5 different schools until the age of 16. Then as soon as i hit 16 i was thrown out on my ear by ss and left to fend for myself in a bedsit that was mouldy and i ha to share bathrooms and the rest of the house with popl who had just come out of prison. How is this right for any child to go through this andjust be ejected like an animal and ss say it is all in the best interest in the child. Needless to say this is probably why i am getting hastle now with my own children from these people.

  • Comment number 73.

    i came across this programme inadvertently and it hit a nerve as like many others posting on here tonight i have had social services involvement, lengthy court processes, inaccurate information, residential assessment and more besides, however what really got to me was that like the wards i also live in Cambridge and two of the 'experts' in their case were also the same as in mine who painted me as a monster capable of hurting my own child.
    this nightmare lasted for 2 and a half years and then it was over, ss no longer had any concerns.
    programmes like this although dare i say it may be bias do make you realise that you are not the only ones going through a similar situation and for that it should be praised as so many go through it alone unaware of anything similar just jumping desperately through the hoops.
    i do understand why there were concerns in my case ( my eldest had an accident and as a result he was taken to a&e subsequently the ss and police became involved and he was placed in care whilst i battled through the courts) i do realise that there is a very fine line and despite my own experiences i have a lot of respect for social services, they do a very difficult job and despite what people may think they do not want to tear innocent families apart, yes sometimes they get it wrong but that is nothing in comparison to the good they do and i feel that this should not be forgotten.
    those struggling at the moment just keep going, stay strong, do your research there is information out there about the processes you just need to find it. above all never forget to hope.

  • Comment number 74.

    At last! It's so refreshing to see a programme deal with this injustice for once, but this really is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm going through an almost identical situation with my baby who suffered a broken bone also and myself and my baby's father have been wrongly accused. My whole family is absolutely devastated and our precious baby only had a few weeks of normality before this false accusation turned our lives upside down.

    This has already been going on for months for us and in that time I have met so many other parents suffering injustice like we are. Panorama, please don't leave it there, this problem is bigger than you think!

    I've seen first hand how Social Services manipulate the 'evidence' and submit false reports to the Court over and over again. The dirty tricks they use are disgusting. The only harm my baby has ever suffered has been as a result of Social Services taking him away from his family and putting him in foster care. Yet I feel powerless to prove my innocence and give my baby the life he deserves. I will keep on fighting though, we're in the middle of the fight right now.

    FRUSTATED PARENTS - I would like to talk to you, my situation seems very similar to yours. Is there any way you can contact me through this site? Any other help from anyone else would be welcome - Thanks

  • Comment number 75.

    we are still going through this with social services as we speak, i had to medically retire from work,and due to me being £7.00 over we have had no legal aid, and had to represent ourselves, our grandson was unlawfully taken away from the family home when he was mis diagnosed by a gp with a healing fracture to his rib at the front, only to find he had a fracture at the back rib just one rib, he was a happy healthy baby who if there was a problem was always checked by a gp, the relationship between ourselves and social services is non existant as they accused us all, we did not do it, there was never ever an investigation between us and them, our daughter is now in mother baby foster unit far away from her home, social services have dragged there heels and delay and cancel appointments, we want the truth and they have never ever said what type of fracture it was, as he had a virus a week before and was coughing very badly, it will be a year on friday and he is only 20 months old, it breaks our hearts but as we dare to complain they deem you as difficult, and they say if you dont do what we say he will be adopted, we did not do it but they deem you as guilty as we know they have targets to meet to adopt babies up to 5 years old, and no one helps us, we will not give up and are going through exactly what that family went through

  • Comment number 76.

    I haven't seen the programme yet but have it to view on iplayer, the whole family court system needs to be overhauled to make it fair in other areas too.

    Gordon Brown said in his farewell speech

    He was leaving, he said, being PM was the second most important job I could ever hold after that of being a husband and father, which he would now 'cherish even more'.

    We should remind ourselves that many men who are separated or divorced are being denied their right to be Fathers to their children this is because of the inequality of parenting rights after divorce and more should be done to end this.

  • Comment number 77.

    Myself n my hubby have just been thru somethin just like this. Are any of you on facebook who have been thru similar? We r comin to the end of our nightmare but have felt sk alone thuout the whole process x

  • Comment number 78.

    I really do feel for the Ward family and fully understand what they went through the long days at court, these so called "experts" and the incompident work which the social serices do. myself and my fiancee are going through the same as the ward family the only difference is that i have given an account of what happened and the medical experts have accepted my version of events..... now the social services are takeing it further and getting experts in to try and disprove in what i am saying! the social services are incompident of doing there jobs! they are not called baby snatchers for nothing! the stress they are putting onto us the arguments they have forced me and my fiancee into! they have splited myself from my fiancee and twins and have to take residence with my fiancee parents! the strain they have put on all of us has caused a lot of pain! and this has been going on for 8months and still nowhere near getting my family back.....

  • Comment number 79.

    Whatever the cicumstances are it does not matter. They will always say the same thing that is that you are not willing/able to work with them. This is more commonly being used to get care orders as if you cannot work with them then they cannot protect the child (even though in these cases the children do not need protecting) if you do not act against them you cannot win. They do not want to help you they want you to fail.

    I too have been going through my ordeal alone for 3 years and no one can help because of the secrecy. I am on fb but my case is nowhere near over yet although i have lost my 3 sons. However because of my 2 eldest ages and the fact that they are black they will cannot be adopted (they are on an adoption order) because nobody wants them (except their family). They where advertised like animals and noone wanted them. My baby is a different matter (everyone wants him as he is a baby).

  • Comment number 80.

    i watched the programme last night, and it was if my nightmare was playing out again, but mine has not even ended yet, my son was 3 mnths old when social services removed him to foster care, and placed my 5 yr old with his father....

    i was never involved with social services before all this but now they make me out to be some monster, i agree that the ' gagging ' order needs to be removed from family courts, nearly 2 years now i have been going through the ordeal and we are not allowed to talk to anyone even if its for support, and no matter what social services put in the reports...they are always right never wrong!!!!!

    i am determined to fight for my kids all the way, they dont care that my little boy is saying he wants to come home, they do not seem to be putting the kids interest first it seems that they just want to win and remove children to be seen as a good and 'doing the job correct'....

    i have had positive independant reports done, just seems the local social are determined to remove them for good... and its personal against me now

    i would love to talk to someone in my situation....

  • Comment number 81.

    Clare,you have been listening to lying judges and lawyers I think!
    You are allowed to talk to any individuals you like for advice (people like myself who advise families involved with the "SS") or for support (family members and personal friends);The only thing you cannot do is "go public" by contacting the press,holding public meetings or demonstrations etc unless all court proceedings are finished,in which case you can even go to the press or tv if you want !All that is the law according to regulations passed by Jack Straw when he was in office and had no time to retract them !
    It is still quite wrong to gag parents and children from public protest when families are split up, but the gag is often exaggerated by lawyers etc anxious to hush up a flagrant injustice !

  • Comment number 82.

    Does anyone know how we can contact someone off this website?

  • Comment number 83.

    Shaken Baby Syndrome: Potentially Pandemic Medical Misdiagnosis is the name of a facebook group set up by someone in the same situation, she is however in USA, but we may be able to make contact through this group?!?
    if you make mention in your post of BBC Panorama then I will be able to identify you and be in touch...
    can't think of any other way to do this?

  • Comment number 84.

    I have an idea where we call all talk and get in touch, if someone can make a group on fb maybe panorama wronlgy accused then we can join and talk to each other. I cant make the group as i dont have internet access on my mobile x

  • Comment number 85.

    I will find this group too, as our case was SBS. I think we are all in need of some kind of support from each other, either going through this or have been through this. If ever there was a need for a support group.... then this is it!!

  • Comment number 86.

    I just watched this program, I cried all the way through it. Me and my family are currently going through this at the moment and everything that was said is true in our case. Paediatricians DO NOT investigate any other possible cause into an injury that is unexplained. It is true that Social workers go on the say of medical experts and they too do not investigate any other explanation. They threatened us and bullied us and have left us shattered and frightened. We are a loving 2.4 family and we would both die for our children, but it makes no difference to so called professionals.

  • Comment number 87.

    My gorgeous little 9 week old grandson was taken by Social Services and then they fought tooth and nail to have him adopted. Admittedly my daughter was young and there were some issues but after a year and a half of trying to get him back the final court judgement actually said that he had been removed illegally!
    All my daughter needed was a little help and support. All SS wanted was to have a perfect baby adopted! The worst part was that we could do nothing - there was no help anywhere.

  • Comment number 88.

    I have a group on facebook for families that have gone through issues like this and are still going through this. The worst thing is, is that you feel you are the only one going through this. The scary thing is, is that there are hundreds of families going through hell. If one good thing comes out of this is that I have the strength and determination to help other families. SO please my name is Helen Foden if you need to talk to myself and other families get in touch.

  • Comment number 89.

    I agree with the comments about Panorama being more about allowing experts to be named than the SS. There is no doubt that the SS have a legal duty to investigate but they have a legal responsibility to do what is 'in the best interests of the child'. This is a nebulous concept, ill-defined by the law and very much open to interpretation. The 'best interests of the child' in the majority of cases involves rapid resolution of potential suspicion, sensitive handling of families and the removal of pre-conceptions. There is no such thing as a 'profile of a child abuser'. There are circumstances which pre-dispose children to being abused but it is not as straight forward as picking people out of a line. In my case, my bipolar depression is thought to be a risk. I am well and have been since I took myself of high dose mood flattening drugs (I do NOT have psychosis). I used to work in a high profile job involving the children and was responsible for determining whether an injury could have been non-accidental or not. Very few were. I hope that, even when I was suspicious, I treated parents and extended family with the respect that all humans deserve and never let my own emotions get in the way. I have NEVER hurt my child, he has never had a bruise on his body except for those associated with normal child play. The SS believe that he is at risk of 'emotional harm' if I kill myself. They fail to see that, like so many others, their intervention precipitates depression and anxiety and is in fact far more of a risk to my son than I will ever be after 25 years of bipolar disorder and having had 4 healthy children who are all extremely bright and well-adjusted.

    High profile cases have undoubtedly reduced the number of paediatricians who are willing to do child protection work BUT this does not help. Doctors are not infallible and will make mistakes, like we all do. However, it is 'out of the box' thinking that is needed. Good doctors, who act professionally have nothing to fear. It should not be a case of 'one expert for parents', 'one for the SS'. It should be a case of 'this is a child who has been injured, what are the possible explanations for his/her injuries'. If a doctor does not know or no reasonable explanation can be found, then so be it. The child in Panorama suffered no further injuries. The SS will say that this is because his grandparents watched him continuously. We all know that it takes moments to harm a child and anyone who is determined to do so will do so regardless of who is watching. The SS have a right to fulfill their legal roles but they do have a responsibility to act proportionately, with sensitivity and without letting their own "gut reactions" affect their work. Not all individuals working for the SS are "bad" but many live in a world far-removed from that which the rest of us inhabit an many do not have enough experience of 'normal' children. I lost faith when I was told that four year old children do nit have tantrums when they don't get their own way and that my very bright teenagers should not have knowledge of my illness. I have yet to discover what the SS believe I should tell my children when I have to spend a month in a psychiatric ward!!! Reality, compassionate, open-mindedness, non-judgmental, humane, respectful are all words that come to mind BUT maybe it is me who lives in the fantasy world!!

  • Comment number 90.

    Falsely Accused - We would be more than happy to talk to you. If you can find a facebook group or something that we could both join then we can post panarama on the wall to identify as others on here have suggested. Cant think of any other way.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ind 84: i agree with your statement. I am viewed as uncooperative because i have refused to allow the SS access to information about every psychiatric appointment I attend. They want to know if: I sleep more/less, if I increase/decrease my appetite, if I lose weight, if I become obsessional. I have refused them access because I do not see how breaching my confidentiality helps my son. They have created a situation where I have 'lip service' care, where I cannot disclose my thoughts and where I am essentially alone with a severe mental illness. What they cannot see is that the risk of 'emotional harm' is far greater now because they have removed my psychiatric care than it ever was before. I am not uncooperative. I am simply fighting for my rights as a human and in doing so am fighting for my child's right to live without the fear of the SS - he is 5 and is terrified that they are going to turn up at school and take him away because he was there when they told me that if I did not go to hospital (my psychiatrist was happy for me to be at home) they would take him into care. I have no doubt that standing up for myself is seen as unco-operative BUT I also have no doubt that the anxieties that the SS cause are family are disproportionate to any risk. They are bullies and they believe that their 'powers' are all consuming. Sadly for them, I know the law, I know medicine and I know a bully when I see one - the NHS is full of them!

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    As a national pressure group at the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, we know of many cases similar to the one portrayed in last night's programme. Unfortunately many families in a similar situation lost loved and cared for babies to adoption, since babies became an adoption target for which local authorities received big financial rewards under the previous government - and they are still a prize, whilst older,unadoptable or disabled siblings will often be left in the care of the same "unsuitable" parents. When the same problems continue in foster care, they are sometimes denied or concealed. This is not child protection, but what one of our clients from a holocaust background has described as "redistributive eugenics".
    A crucial elemen has been the illogical medical reasoning at last nailed by Prof. Tim David: if there was no medical explanation (and these were not always stringently sought) for a baby's injuries, then the assumption was that the injury was inflicted. A bruise in a baby too young to crawl was assumed to be the result of abuse, since "Those who don't cruise rarely bruise" was the maxim. We have spoken to a number of families who believe that certain baby equipment, or rough play from an older toddler, was likely to have caused the problem. Because doctors and social workers were sure they already "knew" the answer, innocent causes of fractures and bruises have not been properly researched and are not explained in the literature. Doctors who have put forward possible innocent explanations without a research base have been attacked by their colleagues. Yet no-one is collecting these cases
    I suggest that parents wrongly accused of injuring infants who sustained bruises, fractures, or head injuries, should put together their own database. Jean Robinson, AIMS

  • Comment number 94.

    My hearts go out to the Ward family. My children and I know only too well what it means to be totally innocent and yet to find yourself entangled with the family court system . Immersed in the most unprofessional and unpleasant people who dictate your fate ! Simply the worst nightmare indeed. Life is dessimated forever, my daughter tried to commit suicide because of the ongoing years of harrassment. I applaud the Wards for going back to the |High Court to ensure that the paid so called experts were named, in order to help others who found themselves in this appalling situation. What decent and kind people . I personally wanted to thank them and sincerely wish and pray that they can enjoy their life with their beautiful children. Please know that others have gone through very similar experiences and truly understand the permanent damage that this creates. Love and blessings Annie and family x x x x x

  • Comment number 95.


    Stop using Baby Peter Connelly as a reason to justify removing children and babies from inncocent parents.

    Stop Vilifying and lambasting the Social Services, it simply serves no purpose, but makes matters worse.

    Over 70,000, yes Seventy Thousand children are placed into the care system every year, in many instances for absolutly no reason, and many children are removed when other more suitable avenues could be used.

    Having your life destroyed because of the removal of your children is something the UK has become more acceptable and taken as a common practice these days, its high time this whole system was changed.

    Yes children need protecting but taking a gung ho approach only leads to situations like the programme highlighted.

    Its time the Crystal ball gazing was changed and the What if's brigade was locked away never to be used again.

    Because of what Baby Peter, Vicotia's and Khyra's evil parents did to them poor children, 70 thousand children and their families suffer seriously because of what these people did is shocking. Has anyone thought about what it does to the Children being dragged away from their loving homes because of an over zealous Child Protection System. I bet many havn't.

    You never know it could be you next.

    J-Lonsdale (Justice For Famlies)

  • Comment number 96.

    I watched this programme and I too have had to experience so called family law ( personally I call it legalised cruelty rather than family law) for my own child .

    My case was different to the programmes though BUT It still involves suffering whats called "in camera proceedings" behind closed doors ! Crazy when we can have criminal proceedings in open court involving children BUT then addressing kids as child a & child b YET we have to have secret proceedings in family court???

    So many of these family court magistrates/judges are in fact breaching the childs own rights to be nurtured by BOTH its parents under UNCRC THE CONVENTION FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD which all courts must be compliant yet thousands of non resident parents (mostly dads) are being denied the chance to nurture their kids upon parental separation by some resident parents treatint the child as a tug of war rope blocking even COURT ORDERED CONTACT !! YES ignoring a judges orders and still getting away with it , Fortunately now the parent blocking this court ordered contact is now commiting contempt of court !

    As for social services and especially CAFCASS ? Who are under the banner of NAPO antional association of probation officers its sad that a parent probably with no convictions now has to be assessed by an ex probation officer handed a child case to deal with is apppalling

    Loads of so called absent dads are in fact probably banging on the doors of "family courts" to be fully involved with their children but being totally ignored by the system or cannot afford a lawyer to get the case to court in the first place.

    So sadly the child loses touch and so it goes on , another child the sufferer of PAS Parental Alienation Syndrome backed by our so called family law at least in criminal law you are innocent until proven guilty ? un like family law

  • Comment number 97.

    Hi. I have created a facebook page based on this topic. The page is named: Panorama BBC - Wrongly accused

    I am hoping that we can all use this for support by getting in touch with others who have either been through - or are going through this trauma. I know when we went through it there was no one to talk to, even though our own MP told us of two cases going on at the same time as us in our very town, he could not disclose their details to us - and there are no support groups out there either...

    Whilst I am strongly against child abuse, I cannot sit back and allow countless families to be abused by the system... and you know what they say... strength in numbers!! see you on facebook!

  • Comment number 98.

    Public authorities such as Cambridgeshire County Council are costing us millions with mixed results. Are they tackling child protection abuses effectively or are they creating further problems while wasting public money?

    Cambridgeshrie County Council, with the full support of its child protection team, recently spent over £100,000 fighting the family of a teacher who died after false allegations were made against him by pupils. The defensiveness of the child protection industry is hardly surprsing: they have much to be ashamed of and insufficient accountability.

  • Comment number 99.

    Facebook page: Panorama BBC - Wrongly accused

  • Comment number 100.

    FRUSTRATEDPARENTS - I am also contactable on the Justice For Families forum, I have the same username there and posters can send each other private messages. If anyone else wants to contact me on this forum then feel free. Just set up an account and go to 'User Control Panel' to send a message.

    It's another way apart from Facebook of getting in touch with others. I have already talked to and met up with several parents and sharing these experiences really helps.


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