A SOUTH Yorkshire mum is taking legal advice after social workers from under-fire Doncaster Council arrived to take her baby into care while she was still in labour.
Mother of five Kelly McWilliams, 36, today broke her silence over what her lawyer is calling “a horrifying bungle” when she gave birth to her daughter Victoria in August 2011.
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Ms McWilliams, who says she is still shocked by the events, said: “I couldn’t believe it when two social workers turned up and said that as soon as my baby was born she was going to be taken into care.”
Her solicitor Sarah Young said: “During the night, without any warning to Kelly, Doncaster Council obtained an emergency protection order from Doncaster Magistrates’ Court.
“This is a clear case of a local authority wrongfully taking a child away from her parents, given the lack of social services’ involvement before Kelly gave birth”.
Victoria was not allowed to live with her mother until more than three months after her birth.
Ms McWilliams had been referred to social services while in the early stages of pregnancy. She said: “Shortly after that I had a meeting with someone from social services and everything seemed to be fine.”
She added that she was offended at how she was treated. “I was an experienced mum and yet I had to be supervised all the time that 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.”
Ms Young, of the legal firm Ridley and Hall, said: “No one disputes that the referral to social services should not have been made. Kelly and her family have had difficult times.”
But she added: “There was no pre-birth assessment or initial case conference commissioned by the local authority in this matter. Had there been these proceedings may not have been initiated.”
Last November a highly critical Ofsted report said Doncaster had inadequate arrangements in place to protect children.
The service has been criticised in the past over the deaths of seven children and failures that led to two boys being tortured in Edlington.
The council said at the time that it was dealing with an “overwhelming” number of children and struggling to get experienced staff.
But Ms Young said: “In 2009 I acted for the family of a little boy who died in respite care in Doncaster and was the subject of a serious care review. At that time it was clear that Doncaster Social Services was in crisis.
“Nothing seems to have changed and I believe that if radical steps are not taken soon there will be another tragedy in Doncaster”.