The service had already been criticised over the deaths of seven children and failures that led to the torture of two boys by two brothers who were in foster care.
Her case follows a series of major failings by care bosses. In November, an Ofsted inspection found that children’s care in Doncaster was still ‘inadequate’.
Kelly McWilliams is demanding an apology from Doncaster Social Services after her daughter Victoria, now 18 months, was taken into foster care after her birth.
- Social workers arrived at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary with a court order
- Baby Victoria was taken away shortly after the birth in August 2011
- Kelly McWilliams, 36, is demanding an apology from Doncaster Council
- For four months she was only allowed two hours supervised time with daughter every day
A mother has told how social workers turned up while she was giving birth in hospital to say they would be taking her baby into care. Without consulting her, social services chiefs had decided Kelly McWilliams was unfit to look after her baby because she had suffered from depression five years earlier after her ten-year-old son was found hanged.
The officials arrived without warning to say the baby would go straight into foster care as they were concerned about Mrs McWilliams’s mental health.
But the baby, a girl named Victoria, had serious breathing problems and was transferred to intensive care.
Mrs McWilliams, 36, said she was only allowed to spend two hours a day with her daughter, supervised by a social worker.
She was forced to call a lawyer from hospital and ended up in court two days after the birth to plead her case.
Victoria’s father, who lived apart from Mrs McWilliams, was given temporary custody of the baby when Victoria was discharged from hospital ten days after her birth, and for four months Mrs McWilliams was only allowed two hours of supervised time each day with her child.
Miss McWilliams has since been reunited with Victoria
Last night, the mother of five from Doncaster said: ‘I feel very, very angry and very, very let down because I had overcome my mental health problems and was in a very good place and I was feeling proud and ready to be a mother.
‘Then this came along and crushed me. I lost precious time with my daughter. I missed her first smile, I missed so much.’
The social workers were able to take Victoria into care after obtaining an emergency protection order from Doncaster Magistrates’ Court.
Mrs McWilliams said: ‘They literally just walked in very coldly and said as soon as I had delivered my baby she was going to get placed into foster care.
‘I was in labour when they came in. To be honest I didn’t actually believe them, at first I thought it was some kind of joke.’
When she asked why Victoria had to be fostered, she said they replied: ‘Because you are not well.’
According to Mrs McWilliams’s lawyer, Doncaster social services had gone too far when Victoria was born in August 2011, having failed to carry out a pre-birth assessment or case conference to discuss any possible intervention.
Solicitor Sarah Young said that if proper procedures had been followed, social services may not have needed to take action.
Miss Young added: ‘I think it’s a shocking example of a massive over-reaction by social services in Doncaster.’
Victoria is now 18 months old and happily living with her mother. But Mrs McWilliams is demanding an apology from Doncaster social services, which she fears has not learned from its mistakes.
Mrs McWilliams said: ‘People need to know what Doncaster social services are like, because they make mistake after mistake but they are not paying for it. ‘To me, they have got more power than the police, they can do what they want when they want. ‘Nobody can make up for what they have taken away from me. They need to change the way they work. It can’t happen to anyone else. I was an experienced mum and yet I had to be supervised all the time I was caring for Victoria. ‘I am constantly terrified that there will be a knock on the door and that someone will come to take Victoria away from me.’
Chris Pratt, director of Doncaster’s Children and Young People’s Services, said: ‘It’s inappropriate for us to comment on cases involving individual children. However, when any matter of concern is raised with me I do ask for this to be examined and I have done that in this case.’
Source: Parents Against Justice, March 7 2013
By: Chris Brooke