Please don't remove children because their mother owns a music video

  • by: Phillipa Watson
  • recipient: Robyn McSweeny, Minister for Child Protection Western Australia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Taste in music doesn't indicate parenting style, or competence, nor how much or little a child is loved. This is no reason for Child Protection to commit character assassination and hold "concerns" as to any mother's parenting ability, yet this is what they did to me and my children. My children have suffered immensely due to this act, yet nothing in their behaviour is any different to normal effects of separation, and they chose to deem their distress as "evidence of neglect", despite knowing otherwise, and have built an entire case around this. They KNEW my children were not neglected, they had documented evidence clearly indicating they were not neglected, my children showed no sign whatsoever of being neglected - case workers were actually impressed by how happy, outgoing, sociable and healthy they were - yet concerns about me as a person have somehow meant to them that I'm possibly an incapable mother. I want them to come home and they want to come home. It's breaking all our hearts, and has caused so much trauma and damage it's indescribable. If you can't rectify our situration, can you please ensure nothing like this ever happens to anyone else? It would be nice if they were more forthright and put an end to the perception they can refer you to services available and give advise and provide assessments and opinion - following their removal I was told that that isn't their job, and the sole focus of their work is to determine what is concerning them, and concerns mean removing children, and returning them after a period of time. I approached them for assistance and legal advise, and instead had my children removed, and have since been told "If you want your kids back stop fighting us in Court". More information included in the petition letter

Owning music videos should not be a reason to have children removed

Such action is nothing more than kidnap, and sadly the perpetrators, the DCP, are under no obligation to state the cause of their concerns. In my case, I was today informed that the reason my case has been handled as it was (including falsifying medical evidence, testimony, perjury, omitting information relevant to our case) was due to my taste in music. For some reason owning a music video was seen as grounds for me to be seen as a "concern" as a parent and my children removed, and the Court was told and accepted they remain in foster care primarily due to concern that I don't sufficiently discipline my children, and they hold concerns about me being mentally and psychologically being a mother, despite clearances by nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, Social Workers, midwives and all this despite the fact no-one reported me, but I approached them for assistance and advise and possibly a referral to a Family Service due to a possible custody battle between myself and my daughter's father. And by the way, my children had never even seen said videos. 

The office making the allegations (which they did later state in Court weren't allegations, but "concerns" to be investigated) has already come under investigation for false reporting. It's time Cathy Robinson (Regional Director) was stood down. Repeatedly the DCP chooses a carer and the favoured one is the one they know to bring harm to children, and they get their way with shocking lying to the Courts and misleading each and every professional involved in the case - remember, the only people who's opinions are valid to the Court are absolute strangers to the people they are in power of deciding lives and so have little idea as to the validity of anything they hear. 

For such horrible things to be said about a mother and to find out it's all due to a belief that I believe they're suitable for children is definitely reason for a call for Cathy Robinson to be stood down. For nearly 3 years lawyers, Judges, State Administrative Tribunal staff, my family, and I have been trying to work out what my case was all about. The only hint I've received is that "They must think something about you", although she was also in the dark and at a loss to explain what, or get an answer, for that matter. And now I've been informed what that something is - they accused me of thinking the videos for a particular band are suitable for children and have been standing up in Court repeatedly trashing me, giving false medical evidence (even my daughter's birth weight - it took over a year to have the chance to show a Judge her true birth weight and pregnancy records) lying about my psychiatric history and what they believed it was and to date have not yet accepted paperwork from Mental Health services which clears me, they lied about how untidy my house was and even made allegations which aren't even physically possible despite me having paperwork from my landlord showing that was NOT the case (she offered to come to court with me and clear that up but after 6 weeks had passed without the opportunity arising her boss said too much time had passed and so I would just have to rely on the paperwork), they used my children's distress at being kidnapped as evidence in Court of neglect. After tearing my children off me (they were holding on very tightly) as they screamed and cried, which my daughter did for over 3 hours at a time, which they still do, they in Court stood up and said that they felt contact with me was bad for them (that failed), being removed triggered developmental delays which did not previously exist, and this was treated as evidence of neglect. And repeatedly they have failed to answer a single question as to why they are behaving in this manner. They reported I have very little furniture in the house and none at all for my children, save for an old cot. Both have a bed, and we also have a toddler bed, and I have not used the cot or had it set up since 2 houses ago. They claimed that when my children were removed they were covered in feaces - when in fact they were freshly bathed, my son in brand new clothes my daughter in second-hand clothes from London and we had been to the Court where many people commented how cute they were, the shopping center and then their office. And I got told by a manager they were "dirty". And later in court when I had expressed frustration that after almost 2 weeks of speaking to the DCP and being sent to talk to other people I could not yet get an answer to the question I was asking was written up as "evidence Phillipa is not coping with motherhood". And my children removed after I was sent back to the office to get an answer to my question by someone who could not answer it. Despite numerous hospitalizations for illnesses and injuries, the Court believes that they are better off in foster care, despite the fact I have medical records showing that none of this "evidence of neglect" existed while they were in my care. And my distress at them being in foster care has been repeatedly used, and still is, as a reason to keep them there, despite what Mental Health services have put in writing. They reported a domestic violence situation not as it happened, and they did not report my concerns about his parenting (which is what I felt was the major issue) in an accurate manner at all (they reported I was sustaining broken bones and feared for my life etc) and called my failure to get a VRO being me being unable to protect my children and then later decided they were willing to award HIM full custody. I did try to get a VRO and after describing the situation to the Court for that I was not even given paperwork to apply for a hearing and told in no certain circumstances did the situation even warrant it. They stated my children were removed due to a concern about drug use despite the fact that on 2 occasions drug tests were carried out (1 to determine whether or not my daughter's dusky episodes and episodes of bradycardia, as a newborn baby could have been drug related when they were caused by lactose intolerance and improper care in hospital by their staff- they did not happen when I was caring for her and it got to the point where one nurse even tried to "reassure me" by telling me they really did happen even though I didn't see them as they sent me home or back up to the ward). 

Since they have been in foster care I have been told to stop buying them clothes, toys and care products on the grounds that they have "too many", just as prior to them being removed I had been told that the amount of toys and baby products and linen etc was too much to have the house not look too cluttered and so to get rid of a lot and give them to charity. Yet having no toys nor blankets (they even said lack of heating despite there being 3 heaters in the house which their worker called "impressive") and so were in a "dire" situation. And the fact that on my computer I did not have a flat-screen monitor was mentioned in order to show I did not spend enough money on furniture and house items and so was under suspicion. Later they explained that because I was washing when they came and the beds were unmade that gave them justification to report my children had no beds or bedding. 

And I yesterday found out it all comes down to that they feel the fact I own a music video that means not only must I be a bad parent because it's black metal, but the fact I own it means I have no idea about children's developmental needs and what's suitable for children. They've never even seen it. Given that the DCP essentially answers to no-one, and the courts can only accept or reject (when they reject the hearing is adjourned and children cannot be returned home) and can not order anything of them, no agency has any power over them, they do not comply with submissions by lawyers or Judges to produce paperwork supporting their claims and their workers face no consequences for anything they do or don't do as there are statutes protecting them and all investigations are internal until they go to the Ombudsman who has no power whatsoever over them, this puts the DCP staff in a position of trust to report accurately. Yet there is no onus on them to do so. And when questioned, indeed, the laws allow them to act on their "feelings" and "concerns" and their "feelings" and "concerns" become fact so long as workers such as social workers and psychologists who's OPINION is treated as fact, and no actual facts are required for the removal of children. 

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