Shortly after I first arrived in Estacado I got a temp job helping the state’s Child Protective Services move their headquarters from one location to another. While doing so I found an immense amount of respect for the horrors they hear day in and day out. Most of the people I helped move were first-respondants at the phone bank. Just the things I overheard sent shivers down my spine.

“Is she expected to be able to see out of that eye again?”

“Did he threaten to burn your apartment down with you in it or while you weren’t there?”

“How long did he hold her hand on the stove? How severe are the burns?”

And over and over again: “Have you informed the police?” and “Do you have a complaint number?”

Talking with them on break and whatnot, I could sense the frustration of their relative impotence over the situation. At least in Estacado it seems that it’s not very easy to keep an abusive parent away from his or her children.

Apparently it’s not quite so difficult in Britain:

A pregnant woman has been told that her baby will be taken from her at birth because she is deemed capable of “emotional abuse”, even though psychiatrists treating her say there is no evidence to suggest that she will harm her child in any way.

Social services’ recommendation that the baby should be taken from Fran Lyon, a 22-year-old charity worker who has five A-levels and a degree in neuroscience, was based in part on a letter from a paediatrician she has never met. {…}

Under the plan, a doctor will hand the newborn to a social worker, provided there are no medical complications. Social services’ request for an emergency protection order – these are usually granted – will be heard in secret in the family court at Hexham magistrates on the same day.

From then on, anyone discussing the case, including Miss Lyon, will be deemed to be in contempt of the court.{…}

Miss Lyon came under scrutiny because she had a mental health problem when she was 16 after being physically and emotionally abused by her father and raped by a stranger.

She suffered eating disorders and self-harm but, after therapy, graduated from Edinburgh University and now works for two mental health charities, Borderline and Personality Plus.

Maybe there is a side to this story that I am not seeing (the article does seem somewhat slanted), but this is some pretty disturbing stuff. Here is a woman that has turned herself around and now her child might be taken from her because of speculation that she might be a danger to it.

If mental health care professionals want people to seek help when they need it, they need to stand up for their success stories and prevent organizations from using unfortunate pits in their youth against them in adulthood. The result is that people will not seek help when they need it. This is even worse than preventing them from joining the army or even hassling them over getting their medical license: this is sending the message that if you seek help, it may be decided that you can never have children.

Who knows, maybe Miss Lyon is a threat to her child. Maybe there is something significant that this article is leaving out. If anyone has more information, I would love to hear it. I don’t want to believe what I am reading. It’s unfortunately hard to make any determination because everything is kept so secret. Despite the understandable frustrations of the heroes at the Estacado CPS, it ought to be a lot more difficult to take a baby from her parents than is portrayed in this article.

Category: Hospital, Newsroom

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One Response to Babies & Their Mothers

  1. Rob says:

    The situation in that article is called anarcho-tyranny. The government doesn’t enforce lots of laws, but selectively enforces a few laws foolishly.

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