Children in care and FASD

This is my first post, although i joined the forum many months ago. There seems to be one very common theme, we are all caring for children from the care system. In my case, my husband and i adopted 2 siblings. (Havent signed the adoption order yet). Local authority did not inform us as to the issues that our son has. They witheld medical information. In recent months it has come to light that he may be suffering from alcohol related issues. After fighting for last 11 months and refusing to sign adoption order the local authority has finally agreed to refer to us to clinic in surrey. We feel that we were deliberately mislead. We have no intention of ginving the children back, however do feel that had we known, we probably would have refused.

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  • We have adopted children and have found the same situation in regard to witholding information. We too would have thought deeply about taking them had we had all the available information at the time (5 years ago). We have requested all information on our children and birth parents under the freedom of information act. Understand from friends that this can take up to 12 months to receive from SS but something they are obliged to do.

  • Hi thank you for your reply. Am i able to request birth mothers medical history whilst she was pregnant? Our biggest hurdle is that social services keep saying that as there is no history of bm drinking during pregnancy it cannot be fasd. Although there is evidence of smoking and drugs. We have had to fight for every tiny bit of information to the extent that they have lied to us about basic information such as pep reports from school. We were told that we were not allowed to see any reports due to confidentiality.

  • Hi, our now 17 year old daughter has all the signs of fasd but as you say we cannot get a confirmation from her birth mother or ss that she drank whilst pregnant . She has seen a peadiatrician who. Would not give a definitive diagnosis due to the lack of evidence but who grudgingly said she was certain she had fasd but wouldn't confirm in writing. Because the dr wanted rid if us she ordered some genetic testing as a last resort which has shown up a chromosome abnormality (but no one knows how this affects our daughter). We have a 17 year old with a probable mental capacity of 7 or 8 years who is struggling through college (and life in general) and no official diagnosis which could provide a huge amount of help to her in the future. Social services who originally promised any help we needed do not want to know. Hope you get the help and information you are asking for .

  • Good morning all,

    We too adopted two children , the first daughter was fine and no problems, the second the half brother is were it began to have problems. When our adopted son was placed with us we noticed issues from day one, my wife even took this child to sure start to say there is something wrong with this child! The SS lied to us with regards to his medical condition, and we even had two medical reports one of which didn't have any record of drinking, the other was more detailed.

    We were then a victim of malicious intent by a group of other mothers at the school, we moved school, then a senco teacher didn't engage with the information with regards to FASD, as she thought, because of his behaviour, that we was harming him! With all these incidences we were reported to social services! We had to involve the police to caution the parents and we are thinking of the same for the school.

    We have learnt a lot from our experience , we still have the children , if anything we can say is look for support from the FASD trust, get a genetic diagnosis first , gather as much evidence about the birth mother with regards to drinking, read as much as you can , read Julie's book by the FASD, even by a second copy and give to the school, read widely, look at information from Canada , USA, and The U.K. Clinical run by Dr Raj Mucherjee (sorry I know I have spelt that wrong).

    These children are hard to look after, but we didn't cause the issues , we are trying to solve and look for solutions . But also remember to laugh , cry and support each other. We are move than happy to share any information we have to help, so please feel to message us.

    Kind regards D ,P.

  • Hello, this is my first post too! I agree with you, this is a very common theme.

    In our case we were told that birth mum had drunk alcohol in pregnancy but this was played down by the social worker. It was presented by her as if it was a small thing and less of a concern than drugs when we now know it has worse affects than other drugs.

    The social worker also said he didn't have FAS, with no reference to the spectrum of FASD. Either she had no knowledge of FASD or was not acknowledging the possibility of the spectrum so that we would agree to the adoption. Either of which is pretty appalling.

    I feel that social workers vary a lot and some are better than others, while some like ours are terrible.

    The general lack of understanding and awareness of FASD and willingness to share that with potential adopters so that they are armed with all the relevant information and know what they might be taking on is something that must be addressed.

    It is easy for the desperation and/or vulnerability of people who so want to become parents to be really taken advantage of.

  • Hello rm7727,

    Your post made me feel so sad; we too are 4 years into caring with 2 children with FAS, it took 3 & 1/2 years for us to prove these children had different needs & obtain an FAS diagnosis & even then it hasn't changed anything with regards to schooling or any other support.

    The biggest thing that has always kept us going is the thought that these children deserve a chance & we are not sure where they would be without us.

    Like Dave (above) we are happy to share info / advice / anything that can help anyone else - we are all in for a similar journey!

  • Well said and you are so right! Where would these children be without us as parents.

    Stay strong , remember to laugh at times , the journey will testing .

    Regards Dave

  • Thank you Dave.

  • Hi All,

    Thank you so much for your replies. I have been reading alot and have contacted FASD trust, all of which has kept us going. I just feel that it is so unfair of local authorities to do this to people who just want to become parents. We were very vunrable, and the LA took full advantage. Everything was rushed, because they said otherwise we may have to wait much longer. I have submitted a complaint and feel that LAs should not be able to get away with misleading parents, just because these children are harder to place. Had they given us the full information, we may have refused, yet had they given us the full information and offered to support us and provide training we would have gone ahead. Something needs to be done to stop local authorities lying to parents. I dont know what. However i intend to take my complaint all the way, not just for me but for all the other children that will be placed with parents that have no clue about how to bring up children with FASD. Its the children that suffer along the way, first from their biological parents then by the local authorities and then unknowingly by the adoptive parents. In our case the LA neglected the needs of our children just as much as their biological parents.

  • We too are in this situation. We adoped 3 children 15 years ago. Absolutely no mention of alcohol consumption until last year when our eldest daughter becam a safeguarding risk to herself. She is now sadly back in the care system and had just spent 3 months in a secure unit. In the meantime we have been accused of being harmful parents as we were given "perfect babies" according to a senior SW. We were taken to CP conference but it was thrown out as the sws did not follow procedures and there was absolutely no evidence. We have been to hell and back. Still we are waiting for anythy resembling useful help from SS. We have a formal complay in process. Social workers cannot be trusted.

  • Hi Everyone,

    Similar to everyone else here, we had information witheld for 6 years by the LA. We knew, as parents DO know (supervising their children 24hrs a day), that something was not right. The extreme meltdowns were highlighting that fact to us, pretty much every day!

    We got nowhere with the LA when we highlighted these problems to the SW's, only blame. Over the years, we did all the research ourselves and it was not until we came into contact with the FASD Trust, did all become abundantly clear.

    Unfortunately, In order to get hold of our children's files, we had to go via our MP. After 2 years of battling, 3 (A4 copier paper sized) bundles of information came back (including lots of other information, apart from FADS, that we did not know about either!)

    Therefore, I would urge anyone on this site, currently experiencing similar problems to do the same, to contact their local MP, as things only changed for us and other families that we know, when we all got the support from our local MPs. Also, invite your MP to sit on the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) for FASD, this is where the progress for FASD diagnosis and support is formally being made. Read the APPG report on FASD.

    NOT ONLY did the the LA withold information about FASD from Adoptive Parents/Foster Carers, and paediatricians, school and all the other professionals involved, NOT ONLY did they refuse to listen when reports of the children's physical, cognitive and behavioural symptoms were being reported, NOT ONLY did they not train their SW's in FASD, they instead resorted to blaming parents, which as you can see from the responses here, caused further stress and disablement of the carers trying to advocate and support these children by getting their needs met.

    That is not good enough. It needs to change, and if it hasn't already done so within your LA and for your family, then don't hesitate to involve your local MP, because there isn't time to waste when your children's key developmental years are flying passed!

    Also, remember that If you have a lack of information, it is pretty clear that all the other professionals involved with your children also have a lack of information, so it is important they you educate others whilst your are awaiting the information/files.

    It is imperative that you involve your school SENCO and ensure that your school is adequately meeting your childs needs. Most children with FASD have good IQ levels, it is their social and emotional problems which impact upon their learning, so they are often overlooked and left struggling in school and having meltdowns when they get home! (Mainly due to being sensorily overwhelmed in school).

    I hope this helps.

  • I agree things have to change. I have involved my MP and things started to move a little. I am getting more information now. However, still feel that LA's seem to do this to lots of families, withold vital medical information, then release the information after a complaint, by which time it is too late for the children to be moved again. The family has bonded and the adoptive parents feel it would be morally wrong to send the kids back into care. The LA have once again achieved their target of placing difficult children with a family, without really caring about what happens after adoption. We all know that raising a child with FASD is not only very challenging but costs far more than raising a normal child. If these children remained in care it would cost the LA thousands, yet they are sent to adoptive parents without any cost implications on the LA.

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