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Kerry And Mark McDougall Forced To Flee Fife With Third Unborn Son Leaving Two Sons Behind

March 23, 2015

Proud Kerry McDougall is looking forward to the birth of her third son – but fears she may have a tough battle to keep him.

Kerry, 22, deemed by social workers to be “too dumb” to be a mum, has left her home and her two young sons 200 miles away in the hope of preventing her new baby being taken into care at birth.

She and husband Mark say leaving Sean, five and William, three, with the foster family they had been handed to was “the hardest thing”.

But Kerry added: “They’d already been taken from us. The social workers think because I can’t spell long words I’m incapable of love or caring for children.

“I can’t describe how it feels to know your children are somewhere else and are unhappy. I just have to trust one day we’ll get them back.”

The couple fear that if they return home when their son is born they will almost certainly lose him too. Born with a cleft palate, Kerry could not speak properly until she was six.

Her learning difficulties were termed “mild to moderate” by specialists. And she admits her reading and writing are not as good as many adults.

But her difficulties are largely academic. She cooks, and looks after the Belfast terrace house she has now made home – and is determined to have a career.

She is shy and speaks slowly but it’s clear that despite her mild speech problems, Kerry is kind and switched on. She rattles off her sons’ dates of birth and reads, then files the household bills.

The young Scottish mum even used to have a voluntary position as a ­childcare assistant for Fife council but had to leave when she first fled in 2010, when she was pregnant with Sean.

Kerry claims the couple were “tricked and trapped” by social services into returning to Scotland, where the two boys were taken from them last June.

She said: “It’s been proven time and time again that we’re good parents. Our children were happy and healthy.

“We’d been living happily in southern Ireland for three years and the authorities there thought we were good parents.

“We were led to believe that was proof enough for us to be left alone if we moved back. But Fife social services betrayed us.”

The couple had ­gathered up a few belongings and left for Ireland after social workers in Fife ordered registrars not to let Kerry’s wedding to Mark go ahead – with 48 hours’ notice – saying she lacked the mental capacity to marry.

And they were told their first child would be taken into care within hours of his birth, and could be put up for adoption.

Instead Sean was born in Waterford in the Irish Republic, followed two years later by brother William.

Social workers there monitored the family and, they say, had declared Kerry and Mark, 31, to be fit parents.

Kerry said: “We moved to Ireland because we knew we’d have a better chance of keeping the boys – they don’t have forced adoption.

“When we got there, the social workers ­monitoring us couldn’t understand why Fife had such a problem.

“They gradually withdrew their involvement and then left us alone to look after our boys. We were happy and healthy – all of us. Mark had a job and I would take the boys out every day, to the park, ­swimming, or for walks.

“Come rain or shine, we got our wellies on and went jumping in puddles. Life was everything we wanted, except we weren’t back home.”

Missing their families, the young parents contacted Fife social services and asked if they could go back without fear of losing their family now they had proved themselves. The answer, they claim, was a resounding yes.

And when hard-working Mark was offered a well paid job at Amazon in Fife, they decided to test the water.

But in what they claim was a ­devastating betrayal they were confronted again the day they moved back and the boys were put on the “at risk” register.

They say social services began to hound the family, in what MP John Hemmings later said had the appearance of a “vindictive settling of scores”.

Social workers claimed Kerry should not be alone with the children for longer than two hours, which she admits she did not adhere to.

And after sending a letter stating the child protection unit was withdrawing involvement last June, the boys were taken away days later.

The authorities maintain their ­decision was for the safety of the children.

Kerry, who says she watched her boys kick and scream as they were dragged off, said: “I felt I was letting them down because there was nothing I could do.

“I did my best to be a good mum. I never smoked, drank or did drugs. They were always clean, never hungry and were happy, happy boys. It wasn’t enough.

“For weeks before they were taken Sean begged for us to move so the social workers couldn’t take him away. I feel we failed him by not doing so sooner.”

At one meeting, four social workers claimed Mark had intimidated them and he was arrested for a breach of the peace.

He was cleared months later after CCTV footage showed no such incident.

But while on bail, he was under orders to keep away from the social workers in ­question – yet he claims child services scheduled access visits at the office where they worked. He is still awaiting a court hearing for allegedly breaking bail conditions.

The couple decided their only hope to get Sean and William home was to have a third child, moving back to Ireland to again prove they were capable parents.

Kerry said: “The Irish authorities have promised to help and we have to trust them because we have no one else on our side.”

Mark admitted: “I’ve been low – there have been times I didn’t think I could go on.

“The only thing that keeps me going is being with Kerry, and hoping we’ll get the boys back where they belong.”

As they try to plan their future, the couple can only cherish the hundreds of photos of their times as a happy family.

Kerry said: “Sometimes they’re hard to look at because they make it even harder to understand how this happened.

“But they make me smile, too, and remind me why we can never stop fighting.”

MP John Hemming’s view

It’s clear to me that Fife social services have acted vindictively against this young family.

They were living happily in Ireland and Mark and Kerry were considered to be suitable parents.

There has never been an incident to suggest they are not suitable parents.

Taking any child into care is extremely disruptive and traumatic and it should be done only when essential for the safety and well being of the child.

Fife social services’ view

We are not legally in a position to give details of individual cases which might help to give a fuller picture of the situation.

However, we do not recognise the description of our involvement as presented by the family.

Social workers do not have the authority to remove children from their parents. This is granted by a court or by the children’s hearing system.

Social work services try to support families to stay together wherever possible.

Belfast social services’ view

Due to issues of confidentiality Belfast Health and Social Care Trust cannot comment on individual cases.

We do everything we can to ensure the safety of children and try to keep families together wherever suitable and possible.

The judge’s view

Responsibility for the care of the children has been moved by Dunfermline Sheriff Court from Fife to Dundee City Council.

The judge ruled this was, to remove any problems which may arise from social workers being biased against the family due to historical events.

The parents’ view

We’ve never done anything to put our children at risk of cruelty or neglect. We love them and have only ever wanted the best for them. That is to be with us.

We have been made to make a decision no parent should have to make – to chose between
our two sons and our unborn baby.

We will fight until we are back together as a family.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. patricknelson750 permalink
    March 23, 2015 3:00 am

    A very sad story. Progressivist micro-management and tyrannical interventions gone mad.

  2. March 23, 2015 3:50 am


    In the UK, politicians have passed law that means parents have no rights against the state in guardianship of their children or elder parents.

    The one thing a new party might be petitioned to do, with brand new MPs never before in parliament, is to end the state intervention into child and elder care in the UK.

    The state is no better than parents, with all the scandals surfacing over the years.


    What is the point of Social Services who can demand a forced caesarean and take the baby immediately into custody, even if the mother is not a British citizen.


    Another example of the draconian laws under Court of Protection
    Of foreign national children forced adoption in UK.

    Another foreign national harsh policy:

    …Last week, I spoke to an anguished Russian mother who recently escaped to Germany with her young son, because British social workers were threatening to take the boy into care.

    …Until last month, they lived happily together here, but one evening the mother, temporarily depressed for work reasons, poured out her troubles to a stranger she met in a park. Next day, this well-meaning lady contacted the local social workers, hoping they might be able to help the family. Within hours, social workers were at the house, coldly suggesting that it might be best for them to draw up a “care plan”. …

    …Alarmed at their tone, the mother fled with her son, to stay with her mother in Germany. In her absence she was summoned to court and threatened that, unless she brought her son back, her assets might be seized (she owns a house) and she might even be imprisoned….

    And another foreign kid:

    Latvian child taken into care without the knowledge of his father


    That ‘sinister court’ mocks justice again
    The workings of the mysterious and ultra-secretive Court of Protection are a national scandal

    …My report centred on the astonishing treatment of Kathleen Danby, a 72-year-old grandmother, who first hit the headlines last year when it was revealed that – two months earlier – she had been sentenced in her absence to three months in prison by Judge Martin Cardinal, for breaking an injunction by hugging her granddaughter who had run away from “care” 170 times. …

    …This concerned an 80-year-old who, after a complaint from a man who lived close by that he was being “neglected”, was in 2010 taken by Essex social workers to a care home, not only against his wishes but also initially without court permission. To the fury of his son, who had been abroad at the time, Essex was then authorised to take control of his father’s home and all his assets, including valuable family heirlooms. …

    Such a blanket of secrecy was thrown around the case by Judge Anselm Eldergill in the Court of Protection that it was virtually impossible to refer to it at all. The father, miserably imprisoned behind locked doors, was only allowed occasional visits from his son, and even these were eventually suspended.

    Meanwhile, the council set about selling the father’s family home (to someone who had originally reported him to the social workers) and all his prized possessions to defray the costs of his “care” and ever-mounting legal fees. …


    A voluntary advocacy charity for those whose children forced adoption
    by this Court of Protection with all the power, and people with none


    John Hemming MP’s meeting in the House of Commons with representatives from 30 Embassies resulted in (foreign governments are incensed by what the UK is doing)…

    his Early Day Motion International Concerns about UK Law

    Forced Adoptions are unique to the UK


    Over 1,000 children per month are put into ‘care’ in the UK.

    Generally against the will of parents and grandparents.

    Most of them are foreigners. Only a small percentage actually gets adopted.

    The UK is the only country in which parents are ‘gagged’ and threatened with prison, if they speak out. In 2006, 200 prisoners were in prison due to the family courts. Hearings are carried out in secrecy, at times not even open to the media.

    Although ratified on paper, the UK does not implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child or Article 8 of the European Human Rights Act, the right to family life.

    More on what’s unique in the UK on “Punishment without Crime”:


    Are the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards working?

    Not according to a recent report of the House of Lords Select Committee involved in the post-legislative scrutiny of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

    This Committee reported that “thousands, if not tens of thousands, of individuals are being deprived of their liberty without the protection of the law…”.

    The Committee went on to suggest that, “Worse still, far from being used to protect individuals and their rights, they are sometimes used to oppress individuals, and to force upon them decisions made by others without reference to the wishes and feelings of the person concerned.”

    It is difficult to think of more damning criticism.

    The full extent of the Committees views became clear in its recommendations when it demanded, “the only appropriate recommendation in the face of such criticism is to start again.”

    Deprivation of Liberty and the Supreme Court

    Less than a week after the House of Lords Select Committee Report the Supreme Court delivered its judgement in two cases that involved the question of what exactly constituted a deprivation of liberty.

    In a nutshell the Court seems to have decided that an individual is deprived of their liberty if two conditions are met. Firstly they must be unable to leave their accommodation and secondly they must be under constant supervision.

    We say that the court “seems” to have decided because there remains considerable uncertainty over many of the comments that the Judges made.

    In fact, in one of the two cases, the Court held that there was a deprivation of liberty only by a majority of 4 to 3. If the highest Judges in the Country are unable to agree on what amounts to a deprivation of liberty it seems that the problems for those dealing with difficult cases on a day-to-day basis are unlikely to dissolve.

    What is clear from the Supreme Court’s decision (and this is something that has been acknowledged by the Court itself) is that a much greater number of individuals than had originally been thought are being deprived of their liberty

  3. March 23, 2015 5:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  4. lassy permalink
    March 23, 2015 5:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Will the real reality please stand up!.

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