Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Never Judge A Book By It's Cover

Adele Joicey is a 41 year old UK woman.
A loving mother to her 4  adorable children; Erin 9, Esme 6 and twin boys Luke and Ryan 2.
Two of Adele's beautiful children; Esme and Ryan both have disabilities.

During a visit to Adele's GP due to Ryan being poorly, the doctor noticed a small mark upon Ryan's body which was unexplainable the GP referred the child over to Social Services.
Despite the fact that all children, especially toddlers tumble and fall and often present themselves with lumps, bumps, cuts and bruises.
"We can't watch our children 24/7 and we shouldn't have to either, they still need their own independence"
When Social Services became involved they addressed the case as a "non accidental injury" which meant they believed that someone, such as his mother, had deliberately hurt Ryan.

Adele has kindly agreed to an interview with me regarding her children and what happened.


Adele's Interview:

What health issues do your children have?
The twins were born 10 weeks prematurely and an ultrasound head scan when Ryan was 48 hours old detected a large bleed in his brain.
This was followed up by an MRI in February 2014 which confirmed a large part of Ryan's brain had been damaged by a stroke soon after birth.
Ryan has hemiplegic cerebral palsy and his right side is affected.
Esme has Down Syndrome and significant sensory issues so is currently being assessed for autism.
Esme was diagnosed at 8 weeks old following a blood test.
Esme has a life long learning disability, the biggest impact is speech and behaviour problems.

What support do you receive?
In terms of support we access 8 hours of direct payments per week to employ a support worker.

During a visit to your GP, a mark was found on Ryan.
What happened next?
After the GP reported the mark we had to wait for a social worker to arrive which took over 2 hours.
Afterwards the social worker followed me home and I was told that unless someone could stay with me to supervise me with the children (my partner works away) then they would remove Ryan from my care.

What happened once the Social Services were involved?
I couldn't provide a protective factor so I packed Ryan's bag.
In the meantime Ryan, who was ill and had been without water, food or calpol went floppy and unresponsive so I told the social worker I was taking him to hospital.

What happened at the hospital?
At the hospital we were joined by a second social worker and when we saw the doctor he told them he had no concerns about Ryan and I was allowed to go back home.

Have you received an apology from the Social Services?
No I have not received an apology from social services, despite 3 letters asking for one.
I have formally complained and am currently at the final stage of the process which is a request for independent review. The council has not yet made a decision on this request.

For those reading this who are in the same type of situation, what advice would you give?
For those accused by others I would say that you're not alone and not to feel isolated and worry about being stigmatised through it all as now that I have spoken out I have been surprised by the amount of people who have now contacted me and shared their story.
I felt isolated and alone and felt that I would be judged, but most contact has been very positive.

What additional information can you share with me?
Referrals to social services have increased significantly however 92% of parents are innocent.

I have worked with The Guardian and they used my story as a case study.

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