Mother 'pressured to have abortion'

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The Independent Online
A WOMAN tried to commit suicide after her daughter was taken from her by social workers, according to claims made to the Independent. She says Lancashire social services pressured her into having an abortion with the threat that the child would otherwise be taken away, and then took her away after all.

At least eight other families allege that the same social services department has been in breach of government and legal guidelines on child protection. Lancashire County Council has so far refused requests from families for an independent inquiry.

The allegations include:

One mother put her children into care voluntarily, and was accused of abusing them and told she could not have them back. The children were returned after nine months and social service apologised for making 'mistakes'. The mother is suing the council.

Social services encouraged children as young as 14 to use contraceptives while in a children's home.

Social workers ordered a mother suffering post-natal depression to live away from her children because they decided she posed a danger to them. Her husband, a former police inspector, who is looking after them, was given no right of appeal. His wife's doctors disagree that she is a threat to her children.

Mike Ramsden, a lawyer working with some of the families, said last week: 'It's incredible; you've no idea what people have to put up with in this area.'

The Local Government Ombudsman concluded last year that Lancashire social services were guilty of maladministration after social workers failed to investigate sex abuse claims made by a mentally retarded boy in a children's home.

In response to questions from the Independent, the council issued a statement last week: 'The issues mentioned are, or appear to be, cases involving clients of the social services department, involving children. It is not possible to determine whether any comment can be made on the cases in the time scale indicated. Some comment may be possible in due course following further inquiries.'

Mothers unite, page 4