‘THEY TRIED TO SEPARATE ME FROM MY NEWBORN SON’

The troubling story of Kayley Hutton in 2013 was described as the “first example” of how the controversial Named Person scheme could have “disturbing consequences”.

Kayley, who already had a six-year-old daughter called Kaiya, spoke of how the authorities tried to present her as an “unfit parent” and separate her from her newborn son, Duncan.

As we approach 2016 and the nationwide implementation of the Named Person scheme in August, we fear more cases like Kayley’s will emerge.

One campaigner warned at the time that “ill-informed opinions” were “putting innocent families under unwarranted scrutiny, resulting in unsubstantiated allegations being kept on file for who knows how long”.

And to date there have been no steps to address this concern in the legislation being rolled out next year.

“Overreaction”

Kayley, a mother-of-two, disclosed during a “risk assessment” process that she, like many others, sometimes suffered from depression and anxiety.

After, Kayley was told she could no longer use her local hospital but instead had to give birth at another hospital – because it had mental health facilities!

Kayley, who was 25 at the time, had previously been praised for her parenting skills by midwives and health visitors and could not understand why staff were treating her this way.

An overreaction from officials you might think… Perhaps not if you’d seen the way information had been mis-recorded about Kayley in an official dossier by ‘named persons’. And of course without Kayley’s knowledge or consent.

After giving birth Kayley was banned from leaving the hospital with her newborn son until she had had a meeting with her support worker, a social worker and health visitor. When Kayley tried to discharge herself, she was told her son would have to stay with nurses.

“Distressing ordeal”

“It was completely over the top”, said Kayley, “I thought I was going to have my son taken away from me as soon as I gave birth”.

“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat and I was phoning up everybody asking ‘Who thinks I’m a risk to my child?’”

After this distressing ordeal Kayley requested to see this 120-page dossier containing notes recorded by ‘named persons’ – the content was truly shocking!

It turns out officials had been secretly recording innocuous incidents as matters for concern.

For example, Kayley had had a casual discussion with her daughter’s nursery teacher about how Kaiya had woken up one morning. She said her daughter had gone into the kitchen and started banging pots together, rather than going into Kayley’s room.

The nursery teacher then recorded this in a database as: “Mother failed to wake with child. Child playing unattended in kitchen.”

Another report by Kayley’s support worker stated: “Kayley was waving off an overnight visitor as I left”.

This guest was actually a female friend who had stayed at her house after a relationship ended.

Furious, Kayley said: “Does that not sound like I’ve just had some sort of one night stand? Why does that need to be written?”

“False accusations”

Kayley believes these false accusations singled her out as a target and resulted in her mistreatment. She said at the time: “This is part of the problem with the [Children and Young People (Scotland) Act], they are making data protection laws even more lax. People can store and share really subjective information that is all out of context about all of us.”

Nick Pickles, of campaign group Big Brother Watch, commented at the time: “This is exactly what we worried would happen. Hearsay and ill-informed opinions are putting innocent families under unwarranted scrutiny, resulting in unsubstantiated allegations being kept on file for who knows how long.

“When it comes to childcare the people who should be making decisions are medical professionals and not state snoopers.

“This scheme is a disaster waiting to happen and risks driving parents away from the entire support system available to them, for fear of being wrongly accused.

“It’s a daft, unworkable policy and it should be ditched before more innocent parents face this kind of distressing episode.”

Source: EXCLUSIVE: State snoopers tried to separate devoted mum from her baby, express.co.uk, 06 Aug 2013

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