I was contacted by a mother from Queensland yesterday and learned how the child department there turned her — the protector — into the “abuser.” I saw a video of the kids, and it is crystal clear whom they consider as their protector.
As I have written before, it is easy for employees of a government child-protection department to be able to “destroy” a good parent, and I have lost count as to how many times I’ve been told about the resulting isolation, financial loss, emotional abuse by the departments, and court-bullying that would be not be tolerated in any other sector or sphere of society.
But now a protective mother in South Australia is taking legal action against her daughter’s case manager for not fulfilling her Duty of Care as expected from a social worker. The mother apparently gave the social worker 7 days to explain her actions — which she declined to do — and so the mum is claiming three counts against the social worker.
The first count is for the Tort of Defamation, for making false accusations and thereby damaging the mother’s reputation and standing in society.
In January this year (2019), the social worker said to the mum that they, the Department for Child Protection (DCP), had privileged information that the mother suffered from “serious mental health” issues. And indicated that it was for this reason that her daughter was removed and could not be placed back in her care.
Considering the mother had passed and had been cleared in numerous mental health assessments — two with a forensic psychiatrist, plus others — she challenged the social worker to produce anything contrary from a psychiatrist or medical professional that demonstrates serious or long-term mental health issues.
Of course, there are plenty of hearsay notifications saying that she suffers delusions, etc. But it is more than suspicious that these were only called in IMMEDIATELY after occasions on which the child spoke out about abuse. A known tactic of deflection. And the more the child spoke out, the more outrageous became the hearsay claims of psychosis.
It’s one thing if your neighbour shouts over the fence “You’re a nutjob.” And if it happens at a workplace, this kind of accusation could have extreme consequences on the accuser — it might foreclose a career. But it is an entirely different matter when social workers make that accusation against a protective mother — and then use that to justify court-ordered removal and then eventually guardianship.
Both lives are instantly changed, and all sorts of family connections become severed. I can’t imagine the humiliation and distress the child must suffer from being COACHED that her mum is a mental case — with probably, “You’re mum’s not well. She’s very confused, and we’re trying to get her help,” or “You’re safer not being with her,” etc.
And for the parent, well, no longer can they participate at their child’s school, or at school plays, sports days, play dates or holidays. They become ostracized from their own society and world. People start looking at Mum strangely, and teachers treat her with antipathy. The repercussions of such a statement have potentially life-destroying consequences for both child and parent.
Now the mum wants the court to order the social worker to say why she made these claims, and if anyone instructed her to do so.
The second claim against the social worker is for failing to execute or perform an act or Duty of Care, with this resulting in distress and harm.
The several social workers originally involved in this case know that the child was exceptionally distressed when removed from the home. The child was beside herself — and it was noted that, at her first supervised visitation, the child was overwhelmed with grief.
Everybody was aware the little girl wanted to come home, and as guardianship orders rolled out, the girl’s pleas to her mum continued in scribbled notes that she wanted to go home. It is recorded in the documentation that the first preference of the child is to be home with her mum. Law requires consideration of the child’s wishes.
As the months stretched into more than a year, I believe social workers, and potentially others, “coached” the child into believing her mother was uncooperative or mentally unwell, or unstable so that she, the child, wouldn’t be going home. I believe the social workers also “groomed” the school and the extended family to this end.
With regard to this case, there was a day earlier this year that a DCP worker asked the child whom she would like to live with: the kid replied ‘with Mum’. On this SAME day, a social worker asked the child to complete a ‘My Care Questionnaire’. The questions are confusing and convoluted, and the child filled in much of the form on her own. The kid answered that there was nothing she wanted changed in her “family arrangements.” Was this referring to whom she was placed at the time? Was this asking who she wanted to live with? Would she consider ‘mum’ as ‘family’?
However, this questionnaire was put forward to the court as a claim by the social worker and the DCP that the child was happy in Kinship care — and okay with not going back to her mum. But, hang on, the child had just said, that same day, that she wanted to go home — and on the days before and on the days after.
There are huge consequences to the child’s life when the social worker supported a further 12-month guardianship.
In mid-2020, the child will have been under guardianship for two years. Recent legislation gives the Guardian (known in South Australia as “the Chief Executive of the DCP”) untrammeled powers. Just like in the old days, parents had control of their child’s fate, now it is the state. The new 12-month guardianship period will put the kid into the “two-year” category in which the mum can lose all contact.
The CEO (the minister no longer has any powers) can even change the name of the child, so Mum won’t be able to trace her. This has happened to many parents already. In essence, the state rolls into “full-ownership” of that child very soon.
So the mum is claiming that the social worker acted wrongfully when she misled the court into believing the child was happy to not go home. She acted against the ‘best interests’ of the child — which is against the law — and the mum wants to know who instructed the social worker to do this.
The child, in this case, disclosed to a number of mandatory reporters, over a period of three to four years, a variety of abuses. Many of these disclosures were made when she was not with her mum — at school, with her grandmother, or with her psychologist.
Considering the sheer number of disclosures and the horrific nature of the abuses, one would have thought that the child’s social workers would be trained to consider options — the main option being to keep her away from the violent abuser and send her back to Mum where she naturally belongs.
But no, the social worker in question then participated in the reunification of the child with the very person that the child said abused her.
The mum finally got to see a police interview of her daughter in which various forms of egregious abuse are innocently and distressfully described. (The interview had been conducted 18 months before.) The mum immediately alerted the social worker and the department as the DCP was seeking a further 12-month guardianship in the upcoming trial.
The social worker in question said she probably should watch it before the case went to trial, but the social worker’s superior, the team leader, said to the mum that they had absolutely no interest in watching the video.
In court, this social worker claimed there was no evidence of abuse. She had not watched the video and maintained her support for the reunification of the child with the person the child claims abused and threatened her. Why hadn’t the social worker viewed critical evidence — the video? Now, the mum is hoping a court will order the social worker to disclose who, if anyone, instructed her to act in this way, against the child.
It seems quite extraordinary to see this unfold — that a department supposedly caring for a child can act so maliciously against that child — essentially discrediting every abuse experience she has described, and labeling her a serial liar. (She had earlier been deemed a credible witness by CPS investigators.)
And don’t forget the findings of the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.
The police, too, have tossed this kid to the curb — refusing to reinvestigate (or even watch) the 9-year-old’s interview. If they have not watched the interview, it could be considered negligence. But if they have watched it, then it’s a cover-up.
I am inundated with similar accounts, and it seems this is “business as usual” in child protection departments across the Western world. And what about this social worker? In a way, I feel for her. Was this her training? Or was she coaxed and groomed to act in the way she did by her superiors?