Emma, 14, had sex and drugs in care

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The Independent Online
In 1992, Deborah Calvert turned to Lancashire social services department for help in coping with her daughter, Emma.

The 14-year-old girl was running away from her home, staying out all night and playing truant.

Social workers suggested that she went into voluntary care. "I thought: `Oh well, good, perhaps we will get some help,'' Mrs Calvert said.

Her daughter was first placed in foster care and then in a children's home.

To Mrs Calvert's dismay, Emma's behaviour deteriorated in care.

She was able to drink, to take drugs and to have sex inside the children's home.

Emma herself said: "I didn't have any restrictions . . I didn't improve - I just got worse.''

In December 1992, after Emma was moved to a second home, social workers went to see her mother.

They wanted her consent for Emma to be put on the Pill. She was 15. Mrs Calvert refused.

Emma claims that social workers nevertheless allowed her to go on the Pill.

Mrs Calvert then complained to the local authority.

It replied that if Emma had become pregnant, she would "have every right to complain vociferously''.