Who Is There For Them?
It’s all too easy for parents who have gone through care proceedings to be forgotten about. When I went through it myself, I didn’t feel like there was anyone on my side. My solicitor was cold and void of empathy. There was no advocate for me. Nobody there to stand in my corner and tell me what the best way forward was. I had a lot of people telling me what I was doing wrong, and a whole lot of nothing in the way of help to rectify this situation. I was barely 18, much younger mentally with previous mental health issues and I’d given up on life the second that my son was removed from my care. There are people out there who might go into ‘fight’ mode when their child is taken from them. Like Liam Neeson, they might go all out in their pursuit to be the best and do whatever it takes to get their child back. Unfortunately, not everyone has that ability to carry on in the face of such overwhelming adversity. Sometimes, when we lose something we love, we break; and that’s okay.
So many people are lacking the support to get themselves to a position where they are able to even think straight after losing their child. The need to get themselves into a better mental and physical state after such a profound life event should not be looked down on. It should not be used as a weapon against those who don’t have the necessary experience or mental tools in their armoury to keep going even after grief has torn them down. Loss begins the second you remove that child from their arms. While the child is the priority, always. They are not the only one that matters. The onus is on social services to take the entire picture into account when dealing with childcare proceedings. They can’t expect a parent to act the same way after they have taken away the one person that means the most to them, as they did last Wednesday when playing in the park on a beautiful summer’s day, with not a care in the world. The very least that a parent needs in care proceedings is someone to be there and simply ask ‘how can I help?’. The very best that can be done, is for you to give them that help without asking because every parent in child proceedings cases deserves advocacy and wellbeing support from the start for it to be a fair case. It should be provided throughout the entire process with diligence and an ownership on social services to also see that the welfare and wellness of the parent is vital to a just assessment.
During the course of my son’s proceedings, there were several agencies involved in the best interests of my child. I was fine with that, the more the merrier. I wanted what was best for him just as much, if not more than any person in that courtroom. But other than my aloof solicitor, who was there for me? Who is there for the parents? Who has been by their side ensuring that they are eating and sleeping as well as possible? Who has helped them to stay on top of the case and track their court dates, assessment dates, and any other appointments they have? Who is coming to see them to make sure that their mental health isn’t travelling down a rickety, broken track on a steep hill to a bottomless pit of despair? Who is there to help explain things for them when they don’t understand enough to fight their corner? Who is there, not to be the parents voice for them, but to help them find their own? Who is there for the parents in all of this, both during and after the care proceedings? Who is there once the gavel has smashed through their hopes of bringing home their child and they are left with a crumbled hole where their heart used to be and a head full of what if’s, self-blame, and self-hatred?
Who is there for them?