I am often fascinated by comments on social media pages and will read through hundreds of comments. I find it educational to get others opinions and views, it can be a good gauge of public opinion, not forgetting that half the population are not on social media and usually hold a differing opinion.
This morning I am watching a video of Facebook of a young boy, about 10 years old, being dragged crying, kicking and screaming from his home to be taken back to “Care”. As ordered by a judge. I don’t know if you can see the video from this link without a Facebook account, but no matter, I will describe the scene for you.
The comments seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Police and against the mother. To give you a sampling;
- Children are only removed after social workers have exhausted all other possibilities.
- The Police were acting on the orders of the court, they don’t take children away without good reasons.
- Bad parenting is to blame.
- The mother is a bad parent for not telling her son to leave quietly with Police.
The Police in this case had a job to do. Their job is to enforce the orders of judges. It’s not the job of Police to question judges, just follow orders, (Nuremberg Defense). I have talked to many Police over the years about removing children. In many cases they were very proud of their actions because they saved a child. They had no hesitation or regrets, neither would you or I have a problem removing a child in danger, when the actual danger to the child has been established.
I have also talked to Police in situations where they were “just following orders”, and were perplexed by why the child needed to be removed. I know 2 Police officers who went to their superior and expressed concerns over the actions of a social worker who removed 3 children but were dismissed as they were “Thinking above their rank”, and had no right to question the actions of the social worker. As it turned out, the social worker had fabricated evidence and essentially kidnapped 3 children and the officers were unwitting pawns who were “just following orders”.
I don’t wish to draw any parallels here between the action of the Police Officers in this video and the actions of Nazi’s. I believe it is important however to mention how people blindly use the “Nuremberg Defense” to justify the actions of some people. In the Nuremberg Trials some Nazi’s used the defense; “I was just a soldier following orders”. As my friend and colleague Ian Josephs has said many times; “I’m sure there were nice guards at Auschwitz, but if you are part of a wicked organization that does wicked things, you are just as complicit”.
The Police did their job here, as per orders, but could they have done any better? I have no opinion of the capacity of the parents to care for their child, the parents are not my concern and I know nothing about their situation.
The facts that I have gleaned from the case, is that the child was placed in “Care” and ran away. This happens far more often that most people believe, if you ask children in “Care” what they want, in 99.99% of cases the answer will be; “I want to go home”. Obviously this child wants to be at home or wouldn’t have run away. I know of a child in Ireland who has attempted 3 times to commit suicide because his “carers” try to keep him away from his father. I fear that soon he will succeed in committing suicide, but despite our best efforts, no judge will listen to the child.
It is highly likely (70% chance) that the boy in this video was removed on the basis of nothing more than; “Possible Risk of Future Emotional Abuse”, I honestly don’t know. My observations here would be that if the parents had abused their son,
- Why aren’t the parents in jail?
- Is child abuse or neglect not a crime?
- If the child had been abused by his parents, why would he go running home?
- If “Care” is a safe place for children, why did he run away?
Far too often in these cases, judges “rubber stamp” decisions of “Professionals” without any evidence or scrutiny. The secrecy is such that Police Officers are told to mind their own business, follow orders and don’t get involved. The judge doesn’t get their hands dirty, they issue orders and almost never get to meet the child they are making decisions for. In an alternate universe I would have called the judge to the home and made the judge face the child and explain their decision. I would have made the judge physically drag the child to a vehicle. Why should judges be allowed to keep their hands clean and expect others to blindly carry out orders? Many senior Nazi officers never killed anyone or ever fired a weapon. In other atrocities since WWII, too many to mention, senior leaders were held accountable and many given the death penalty for their orders. While I don’t advocate killing judges, or anyone for that matter, why is it that children who are victims of judges decisions cannot sue them for their actions?
For me, what is overwhelmingly apparent from the comments, is that everyone wants to make decisions for and about this child, but nobody is listening to the child. The child wants to go home. If this child were given the opportunity to speak, I’m sure he would say; “No decisions about me, without me”.
I’m sure everyone feels they are acting in the “Best Interests” of this child, but nobody is listening to him. Many misinformed and misguided people believe the child belongs in “Care”, I might add without knowing the facts of the case. Many believe the system is competent because to think otherwise would mean that Family Courts and Social Workers sometimes make horrible mistakes and children die as a result, which of course happens all to frequently, but with such secrecy that the public will never hear about it.
What do these people seriously think what will happen to this child? I can, in all probability predict that;
- This child is not going to graduate from Oxford or Harvard with a Doctorate in Science, Law or Medicine.
- He will not become a Police Commissioner and probably will never trust Police or Judges again. He may even blame his parents for not fighting harder for him.
- He will likely suffer from PTSD, long-term health issues, homelessness at age 18, jobless, he will oppose authority figures, not trust anyone, on drugs, in prison or dead. He is not likely to have a good outcome in life.
I can make these predictions with about 80% certainty because this is the future for many “Cared For” children. I wish him every success in life but I despair that the odds are stacked against him. His parents may indeed be unfit to care for him, I don’t know, but I do know that “Care” will not benefit this child. And I also know that the vast majority of children should not be in “Care”, ethically or legally. Naturally he will be shuffled off to a Residential “Care” facility, too far away for his parents to visit as no other facility could offer him the “security” he needs, as in locked doors and high fences so that they can “Care” for him.
Was the Police Officer wrong to threaten the mother that she should tell her child to cooperate and leave quietly? If the mother had told her son to leave, what message do you think the child would have taken from this? Is the mother a bad parent for not cooperating? You can clearly see the thinking here, everyone wants to decide for the child, but nobody but the mother wants to listen to him. He wants to go home.
In a few days this case will be forgotten, I might even get a court order to remove the story from my page. I can guarantee that the parents will be jailed this week in a Secret Court and nobody will hear anything about this child again. All the strong opinions of the keyboard warriors will amount to nothing as the video will quickly disappear from Facebook and this child will quickly be forgotten about like all the children in “Care”. Maybe in 10 or so years if you see a homeless youth begging on the streets, you could ask them if they were in “Care”? Of course you can ask any beggar on the street that question now…..