Pregnant woman’s ‘hounded out’ claim
Nov 10 2007 by Paul James, The Journal
A PREGNANT woman last night said she had been “hounded out” of the region by council bosses who plan to take her child from her within 15 minutes of its birth.
Fran Lyon yesterday left her home in St Hilda’s Road, Hexham, after receiving what she described as a “horrific” birth plan for her child from Northumberland County Council social services.
The 22-year-old has been told that her baby must be taken from her as she could potentially suffer from a mental illness that could cause her to harm the infant.
Now, at 32 weeks, she has written to the county council informing them of where she has gone and that she intends to engage with her new local authority, in the Midlands.
Her legal team are due to meet with social services bosses at her new authority in a bid to transfer the case.
Ms Lyon said: “I am really disappointed at having to leave my home and I am really upset with the way this has been handled.
“It is a really sad indictment of a local authority in the way that they have dealt with an expectant mother, who has tried to cooperate, with some of the most extreme measures imaginable.”
Ms Lyon said she made her decision to move to the Midlands after receiving a copy of her birth plan from social services earlier this week.
It outlines how the baby girl, who Fran has named Molly, must not be breast-fed and must have contact with her for no more than 10-15 minutes after she is born.
Ms Lyon said: “I have been told that I am not to breast feed my child in case I try to poison her. As far as I am concerned the birth plan is abusive and I will just not stand for it.
“It would leave Molly isolated from anybody who loves her from the first few minutes of her life. It is barbaric and it deprives her of a basic right.”
The birth plan orders that two midwives are present at the birth, that the child is removed to foster care “as soon as practically possible” and that police will be asked to intervene if Miss Lyon does not co-operate.
Ms Lyon, who suffered from a mental illness as a teenager, claims that the social services decision to take the child into care is based on a psychiatric report from a doctor she has never met.
She has obtained a number of separate psychiatric reports saying there are no grounds to suggest she would be a danger to the child.
She added that the costs she had incurred while complying with social services’ demands had also influenced her decision to leave. She said: “I have spent hundreds of pounds catching trains and taking taxis to psychologist appointments in Newcastle and London that social services said I must attend.
“I have done everything I can to co-operate but have been left with no choice but to leave the county.”
A county council spokesman said: “Legally we are unable to comment on individual cases, and we do not believe that it is in the best interests of any mother or child to discuss personal details through the media, but unfortunately it does mean only one side is being heard.
“We do know that safeguarding arrangements in Northumberland were rated as good in a recent rigorous government inspection.
“It is clear that safeguarding children is our top priority.
“Ms Lyon and her legal adviser have attended all of her case conferences and have been fully informed of the concerns of the professionals involved in her case.
“Unfortunately we cannot comment on what is discussed at such meetings or disclose related documents.”