Well, I'm always hearing about how us common folk just don't 'get' the intricacies of the subject of child-protection; how we can't possibly appreciate the hardships & horrors faced by those working in the field & how only those with experience can truly be qualified to make decisions about such matters... So I figured I needed to get some hands on experience!
I feel qualified to call myself a 'Professional' in this situation, as I have, afterall, had 17 years intensive experience of child care, am a full time educator of three, plus have academic qualifications in the fields of Health & Social Care, Sociology & Psychology- I've got letters after me name & certificates dontcha know!... Besides which I am pretty sure that my social conscience, moral scruples & ability to assess what is best for a growing child are far superior to most... & other people that I mix with agree with me that Im a bit of an expert!
To the casual observer the family was functional, happy & loving... but since I am a 'professional' observer in this case, an expert decision maker, I feel I have an obligation to assess any family that comes into my scope with a much more rigid set of criteria than one would apply in everyday life & take action if all is not as I feel it should be... Ultimately the buck stops with me- I'm "damned if I do & damned if I don't"!
I first became aware of the family concerned when my own children became friends with one of theirs... That youngster did not get along with the Mother (they suffered a clash of personalities I think) & chose to leave home as soon as she was able & came to live with us.
I tried to make contact with the family, have a chat with Mum... but she refused to engage. In fact she was outwardly aggressive at my approach & the other family members also seemed un-inclined to communicate in the way I would have liked. I found this challenging & somewhat suspicious & it set alarm bells ringing... Maybe this family had something to hide? Maybe there were other issues, things 'going on' that I was not aware of?
I decided to delve deeper into this family's day-to-day living arrangements & see what I could uncover about them.
My initial assessment of the family occurred over a short period of time... I watched how the Mother interacted with her offspring- feeding them, washing them, cuddling them, teaching them. I observed the extended family whom they lived alongside also performing the same acts of nurturing & care-giving with diligence & affection. The Aunts & Uncle seemed very involved in the child rearing process & were frequently left in charge of the young ones whilst the Mother went out.
I would make it my mission to pop in unannounced to the family home so as to catch them unawares. Follow them when they went about their daily routine so as to make judgements upon their behaviours & make inquiries to any persons who knew the family about the way they lived their lives. This way I could be sure of building a case against them that would warrant my involvement.
I spoke to *The State & inquired as to what services it was providing to this family. I was informed that they were in receipt of of some benefits which afforded them food each day & a roof over their heads...
However, they were living on the breadline. On the 'means tested' minimum. On that which The State deemed essential & no more.
The BMI of the youngsters was on the low side, & tho they were not 'starving' they definitely looked like they could be fattened up a little. The food they ate each day was poor quality, unvaried & the youngsters had been allowed to breast feed for an extended period of time which was, seemingly, for it's nutritional value- but I suspected that the Mother was dis-inclined to wean them because she was either too lazy or had some other, more sinister motive.
Their home was adequate but meager. There were few luxuries around. Just the basics. The building they inhabited was sometimes cold & frequented by visitors, who often stayed over, sometimes for days or weeks at a time.
The youngsters were being home educated & attachment parented. They seemed happiest to be by the side of family members & refused to be separated for any length of time.
Their play appeared somewhat on the wild side- involving lots of time outdoors. I frequently observed the boy rolling around in the dirt of their yard & playing with sticks & other 'natural' items but there was no evidence of other kinds of toys being provided for them.
I saw no evidence of what I would deem 'an education' occurring, past the very basics of survival and in fact, the children were frequently left to entertain themselves whilst the adults merely sat around... or sometimes the young ones would be left completely unsupervised whilst the Mother & other family members went out for a meal or to engage in other 'adult only' activities.
The paternity of the children could not be ascertained... but the Mother was seen with at least two different males over the time I was observing her. There was a rumour that the Father of the young ones might well have also been their Uncle- & tho this was never proven, it was another factor to be considered. The Aunt's sexual liaisons were also scrutinised and found to be somewhat morally questionable.
Based upon all I had discovered I felt that indeed my attention upon this family was justified & that an intervention was definitely required.
Despite how happy the children seemed within the family environment I personally felt that their situation was far from optimal... & knew from other such cases that there could be opportunity for them to have a more luxurious & 'middle class' existence with the right intervention.
The children were both cute as buttons. Lively, attractive youngsters, still young enough to adapt to a new situation. I felt that they would make perfect candidates for adoption provided they were removed from the family at the earliest opportunity.
Initially I attempted to encourage the Mother to bring the children to meetings with myself & fellow 'concerned' individuals, in the hope that she would be convinced to give them up of her own accord... but she continued to be evasive & I could see that she was inciting the children to treat me like the enemy... She would not be persuaded that I had her children's best interests at heart... & I was not convinced that she understood how she was damaging them in the process... After several weeks I came to the decision that it would be best to completely remove the children from the family, so as to begin the rehabilitation process forthwith.
Removal of the youngsters happened in the early evening, as they were having their dinner... this meant I caught the family when they least expected it. It was surprisingly swift & simple- I distracted the Mother just long enough to make a grab for the kids & before they or she knew what was happening they were in my custody.
As is to be expected in such situations the children were extremely distressed by the sudden separation. They cried & tried to run away. Scratching at myself & others. Looking wide eyed & frightened. Shaking & wetting themselves. It was awful to see... But I consoled myself with the fact that I knew best. That I was in a better position to provide for these youngsters than their natural parent... and that eventually they would forget their biological family.
The little ones have now been in my care for 4 days.
Their initial fear has subsided only a little. Tho the boy seems more accepting than the girl of his change of home circumstances.
They have adapted to a diet of processed food quite quickly & do not seem to miss the more natural, biologically appropriate, organic foodstuffs which their mother used to feed them. I have given them cows milk in place of the breast milk they were getting from her & tho they do not like it as much they have had no choice but to accept in as the only available alternative.
The little girl still spends a lot of time hiding, cowering from touch & wets herself frequently. But her brother has mastered use of the toilet facilities & I am hoping she will eventually follow suit.
He has started to come out of his shell a little & even dared to play with another of my little ones last night when he thought no-one was watching, she however prefers to cuddle up to him at every given opportunity & continues to see myself & my other family members as a threat.(I blame the Mother for this, it's a shame we didn't take them away from her sooner.)
I have taken steps to ensure that the young ones do not have any communication with the biological family as I feel that doing so would only make the separation process harder for them all to accept. As there will be no going back I feel that this is the best course of action...
You may be asking yourself whether I feel guilty for the actions I have taken against this family... especially in light of my own recent dealings with others who would seek to behave in such a way against my own family... The answer is unreservedly YES!
The sick irony of my having done to another Mother... to someone else's children... the very same evil act that others might have done to us, does not escape me.
Observing these youngsters I cannot fail to imagine what must be going thru their heads. How they must be missing their Mum so much. How they must be wondering what they have done to deserve such cruel treatment. How they must miss her cuddles, her love & affectionate touch.
I cannot fail to recognise the fact that I cannot give them the same familial care that she would have done. That I lack the biological imperatives & abilities in which their Mum would naturally have engaged with them...
...but oh well! What's done is done. My opinion was, at the time, that I could give to them a life of luxury & social acceptability which far surpassed anything they would have gotten with her... & besides which I thought they were cute, hence the reason why I have chosen to keep them for myself & not have them adopted out. (Perk of the job)
If I hadn't removed them from the family who knows what kind of life they might have had... Home educated & 'Unseen' by The State or a 'professional' such as myself they could have been being taught any manner of things which might have been different from 'the norm'... that would have been 'socially unacceptable'... that Joe Public might not have approved of...
... they could have had an accident. Gotten pregnant whilst quite young. Learned to be part of some kind of sub-culture or parallel society. Not learned to bow to authority. Lived a basic & wild lifestyle. Continued to rely upon State handouts to get by. Spent their days lazing around instead of providing service to others.
The Mother will now be able to go out & sustain herself without the need for State support, should she so choose... tho I suspect that she will continue to live a life of frivolity & I would not be surprised to discover that she is pregnant again in due course, especially now she does not have the contraceptive benefit of breast feeding & because she seems the promiscuous sort!
I can justify my actions in myriad ways & ignore all the negatives because I:
(a). am sanctioned by 'The State' to do so....
(b). have professional credentials & experience in the field...
(c). allow myself to feel morally & intellectually superior to everyone else who isn't of the same mind as I.
It's been a busy few weeks but ultimately satisfying. The job got done. I have been paid & have what I want. I do not have to ever look in the eyes of the Mother again if I shouldn't choose to & have a plethora of excuses & moral justifications for what I have done..
All I need now is to appoint myself with an important sounding job title & I should be set for a career in this kind of work...
What does one call oneself when one has made work for themselves performing a task of social engineering.... hmmmmmm?
I think I'll call myself a 'Social Worker'.
Since the details of these youngsters never made it to the pages of some tabloid newspaper I thought I'd post a picture here of my new charges.
*'The State' = The Farmer.