It’s not that uncommon to see grandparents raising grandchildren. But in the UK, some social service workers would prefer that children go elsewhere, as is evident here:
I was at a meeting ten days ago that reminded me of the Soviet Union at its most obstructive, bureaucratic and inhumane.
I was there to support two friends, Gail and Graham Curlew, who had been summoned by Norfolk Social Services to be told why they were being allowed no further contact with their two adored grandchildren, a girl aged eight and a boy of six, who are in council care.
Mr Curlew, a builder from Sheringham in Norfolk, and his wife, a seamstress and chambermaid, had been intimately involved in their grandchildren’s upbringing since they were born.
The Curlews’ daughter Claire, a drifter since adolescence, and her then partner – a heavy drinker and drug taker – had often had an unstable, volatile relationship.
Even they accepted that they struggled to look after the children properly and the Curlews began the process of trying to adopt.
Everyone agreed (apart from the local authority) that it was for the best.
And yet, for two years, without publicity until now, the Curlews, an ordinary working class couple, have fought a battle of attrition with Norfolk Social Services.
Far from being able to offer the children a little emotional consistency in the form of an adoption, the Curlews have found themselves being allowed less and less contact.
Although they’re loathe to admit it, Social Services’ problem with the Curlews is their religion:
The Curlews are members of the Salvation Army and the children attend Sunday school when they stay. But the Curlews believe their faith is another obstacle between them and Social Services.
Another accusation against them is that they’ve told the children they can have ‘secrets’ from their foster carer.
This may sound incriminating – until you hear what the secret is. The children have been told by their foster carer that they can’t say their prayers: ‘We don’t do God in this house.’
They were upset and Gail reassured them: ‘You can pray in your head. God still hears. It can be a secret.’
As Graham says, if anyone treated Muslim children with such discrimination, there would be an outcry.
And bringing in their Liberal Democrat MP hasn’t helped either.
And it stands to reason that, if the left swept into general control of our government, you will get the same results.