A personal experience of having a child removed:
Words hurt. Especially when they come from the people holding the balance of your child’s future in the palm of their hands.
The process of having a child removed throws you into a swirling storm. Your role as a parent is, in all but name, stripped from you. Lawyers, social workers, panellists – these are all voices which carry a tremendous amount of weight and which you need to hear with intense focus and clarity. It’s utterly daunting and confusing. You’re blown about in so many different directions that, at times, you don’t know which way is up and which way to turn.
Social workers are human. By that nature, some are wonderful, some are average, and some are downright shoddy. Professionality fluctuates between each individual, but let’s look at what life is like when dealing with the less exemplary workers. Social workers become the sole link between you and your child. They carry your voice to your child, your child’s voice to you and both your voices to the higher ups and panellists. Often, you find yourself baying for any scraps of information about your child you can get your hands on.
“How are they”, “Have they been brushing their teeth”, “Have they asked to see me?”, “Are they getting on okay at School?”
Each answer to these types of questions is more important that you could ever imagine it would be. You’re trying to colour in the very image of your child’s existence. Because of this, the accuracy and sincerity from the social worker is of extreme significance. Having dealt with those who do not consider the delicacy of their role, how their responses can floor a mother with worry for her child’s emotional and literal welfare. The responsibility of motherhood is surrendered to these individuals and the bad ones assume that role with an arrogance and patronising dismissal. As mentioned earlier, words hurt. The danger with words is that they are ephemeral and so, a social worker can say all sorts of things behind closed doors, and nothing can be proved. There are so many voices directed at you, badgering you and distracting you. It becomes very difficult to stick to the task at hand when you are distressed and disorientated by all these voices. It’s utterly overwhelming. Social work has total authority, and any protestations are met with immediate dismissal. At times, it can be agonisingly unobjective. They tell you who you are, how you act and what’s right. You read minutes from the meetings, riddled with astounding inaccuracies, sit through meetings where you’re lambasted and degraded, and await the big panel meetings with immense anxiety.
At the panel meetings you are surrounded by people who wield your child’s future. You no longer hold hope as you’ve been worn down by the minutes, the meetings, the emails, the phone calls. There is no way for you to empower your voice with more authority. The playing field is uphill and laden with traps. You have to rely on your lawyer and not react emotionally to the most emotional issues conceivable. You are characterised by social work and their words are valued more than yours – at least that’s how it feels.
This is where Maggie comes in. She cuts through noise and shields you from the procedural fallacies of social work. It cannot be underestimated, the value of someone believing you when you tell the truth. It is exhausting to be batted down, tarred as a liar and told what you are by those with authority. You don’t see the truth represented and it is terrifying. Maggie’s support alerts you to procedural practices that no layman would have any clue as to their existence. It’s so easy for social work to go unchecked. Maggie rectifies this and challenges them directly and indirectly. It is assumed that social work meets the standard. This is not always the case and Maggie’s superior knowledge and experience on the subject offers tremendous reassurance and security that you will be able to secure a better future and present for your child.