Following from my last post I have had a number of people enquire about the historical events which have brought us to where we are today. Kim was referred to me by a colleague who wasn’t able to continue the work. When I first met Kim she was a shy, guilt-ridden woman whose self esteem was so low that she found it difficult engaging in conversation. She found it difficult looking me in the eye. She had witnessed domestic violence when she was a child and had been made to feel responsible for her mother and younger brother. Kim came to me with some very dark writings and drawings which indicated that she was not in a very healthy position mentally.
She had contacted FamiliesSA because she was suffering from Post Natal Depression and was finding it difficult coping with her newly born daughter so in her effort to keep her daughter safe she sought help from a department she believed was suppose to offer her support. She was offered some assistance in terms of a live-in program for mothers who are struggling. The child was eventually returned to her and her partner but their daughter was a very restless child who needed Kim’s constant care and attention. There is no disputing that Kim was able to provide this but what has happened by now is that the department had identified this child as being a child at risk.
I have read the court documents around this case many times and it is difficult to identify what eventually brought about the second removal of their daughter. Some of this story is quite complicated but what is important is that during the first twelve months of the initial order Kim had made significant changes in her life. I have worked as a therapeutic counsellor for many years and rarely have I found someone who was able to make the changes evidenced by Kim. Social Workers failed to see any of these changes.
The Kim I first met is not the same person I experience today. There is still a long way to go for Kim but she now has a determination and sense of purpose. The loss of her daughter has caused her immeasurable distress but Kim has been able to find a way to work through all the demons which accompany such emotional pain. Regardless of the negative and unhelpful statements made about her by Families SA and others she is able to continue the fight. Together, Kim and Shane have been able to redefine themselves and construct a new meaning in their relationship and a wonderful resilience which would put most of us to shame.
I can remember when my children were removed from me by their mother and the depth of pain I felt at that time. I cried every night for six months. I didn’t have physical contact with them for many years. Perhaps I was able to reconcile this because I was the cause of the relationship breakup and my children were with their mother. I don’t know how I would respond if there was not reason that my children were taken away and that I had done all that I could to have them returned to me. I certainly wasn’t as powerless as Kim and Shane. I didn’t have a whole legal department working against me. I didn’t have a series of government workers parading a range of theories and confusing language which was beyond my comprehension.
I am so angry at those people who practice a bastardised version of Social Work which embodies the antithesis of what I believe. I find it hard to believe that a group of professionals couldn’t see that this woman and her partner were working hard to improve their circumstances and when they did so they were further punished. It is unjust that a person such as Kim can travel so far and then not be rewarded.
Within two years most of these Social Workers and Psychologists would have left he department. By the time this child is 18 none of them will be present to welcome her back to her mother and father. None will be present to take responsibility for any of the potential damage they may have caused. Who is going to be around to say that “we got it wrong concerning the attachment therapy stuff”? Kim and Shane are going to be there. Who is going to be there over the years to care for this child’s needs – the aging carers – probably not – the department – definitely not – her parents – if they are allowed?
Why can’t we make the next 13 years of this child’s life the best they can be by having her grow up with the people who love her the most? What makes this so hard to understand and comprehend particularly when her parents are going to provide her with a caring and nurturing environment?