1) We became involved with social services when our niece was suddenly widowed leaving her with the care of 8 children ranging from 1 year to 15 with the youngest having special needs. My niece Joanne was unable to cope with the demands of the children and still grieving for her husband social services became involved on the basis of emotional and physical neglect the children being unkempt, clothes dirty and inappropriate clothing for the weather.
2) We totally appreciate that social services should be involved however rather than supporting her through this process; my niece was left to flounder without the support to ensure the children remained with their mother. They provided action plans with guidance for her to address failings in her care which she was unable to sustain, but without any thought that she was still grieving for her husband who had died only weeks earlier. She was provided no practical support to help with the daily care for children but rather pressured to address failings and co hersed into placing children voluntarily into care.