Disabled Mother Threatened with Child Removal because She Co-Sleeps
A neighbour of mine with MS had a two year old daughter whom she co-slept with because the little girl became distressed when separated from her mother. Due to her MS she decided that she would like some support and hired a 'home help' to do household chores and take her child to and from nursery. Because of this request for help, she was assigned an adult care social worker and a child services social worker for her daughter.
After allowing them into her house to supposedly support her, the adult care social worker told her that she had to make her daughter sleep in her own separate room. When she informed her that this made the child upset, the social worker said
"If you don't put your daughter in her own bed, we will find a foster carer for her."
This was the same power-drunk social worker who visited me once when I was reported by Surestart for being a disabled parent and told me to 'send your child to school now, it must be so hard for you with your disability' and then promptly opened a child protection file on me because I refused to have social workers put my children to bed when I can do it myself and had already been doing it for years. In my case I knew my rights so I told her to leave my home and promptly hired a lawyer who got them to admit that they wanted to visit because I was disabled, that there was no case for them to be involved and they closed the file.
My neighbour, on the other hand, was too scared to stand up for herself.
I too had co-slept but for different reasons and in fact when my youngest child was born, my health visitor had given me a leaflet saying that they supported co-sleeping in mothers who didn't smoke and who weren't taking medications because it encouraged successful breastfeeding. The leaflet was about how to co-sleep safely. My neighbour's child at two years of age was beyond the age at which it is possible to over-lay or be unable to remove sheets.
I asked why my neighbour didn't tell them to leave. I asked why she didn't hire a lawyer. The rage I felt within me for her, for myself, for all the disabled parents in the world who are bullied and threatened by people who were charged with the responsibility of empowering them to be independent and for all the parents who had a stranger force their baby out of their arms just because they look different or learn differently from other parents.
If I had been there when the social worker said this to her I am quite sure that someone would have had to restrain me.
My neighbour's reply was heart-breaking:
"I was too scared they'd take my daughter."
She put her child in a separate room, despite the distress that this caused her.
Threatening a parent with the worst thing imaginable - the loss of a child - in order to force them to comply is as abusive as the sexual abuser who tells a child not to tell or he will kill them or the physically violent husband who is nothing but smiles in public but uses his wife as a punch bag behind closed doors. Social workers who discriminate regarding disability or medical conditions should no longer be tolerated by parents with disabilities.
Since an anti-discrimination law isn't currently in place, my advice to any disabled parent is:
Don't Allow Social Services into Your Home!
They Need a Warrant to Get In.
If Anyone Telephones You From Social Services, Tell Them Your Lawyer Has Instructed You Not to Talk to Them.
Social Services are not There to Help You, They are There to Monitor You Under the Assumption That You Will Neglect Your Children as a Disabled Parent.
If You Require Help , Ask a Friend or Relative, or if You Have the Finances, Pay for Some Private Assistance Outside of The Direct Payments System (Which is Overseen By Social Services and Doesn't Allow for Any Activities With Children).