PARENTS

'Social Workers Took My Baby Away At Birth,' Mum Tells This Morning

14/08/2014 16:56 | Updated 22 May 2015

'Social workers took my baby away at birth,' mum tells ITV's This Morning

A mum has gone on TV to describe how social services took her baby away from her at birth.

Kelly McWilliams, 37, opened her heart to This Morning presenters Phil Schofield and Holly Willoughby after reading about the story of Italian mum Allesandra Pacchieri, whose baby was delivered by Caesarean section and then taken into care by Essex social services.

And although Kelly, 37, has now been reunited with her daughter, she decided to tell viewers how her own experience left her bereft.

Kelly had struggled with with depression after the death of her 10-year-old son but recovered after a spell in a psychiatric unit.

She said: "When I left I knew my life had to change. I wanted help and I wanted to get better for my children's sake."

At the end of December 2011, having been trying for a second child, Kelly was delighted to learn that she was pregnant. However when she went into labour and was admitted to hospital in August 2011, she said social workers entered her hospital room while she was in the middle of giving birth.

She said: "They arrived very coldly, knocked on the door and walked straight in.

"They said to me, 'Kelly we're here because you're not very well and we are going to be placing your baby into foster care two hours after you give birth'.

"I thought it was a joke. I stood there with my mouth open. I couldn't believe it."

When she asked why Kelly was told simply that she was 'not well' and that she had failed to attend a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) appointment the previous year. This was despite the fact that the CBT appointment had been booked by Kelly herself in an effort to help her overcome a fear of spiders.

Baby Victoria suffered breathing difficulties when she was born and so was taken straight to Neonatal Intensive Care, from which she was taken by social services.

Kelly was not allowed to leave the ward during this time and didn't see her baby.

She contacted a lawyer from her hospital bed and found herself in court fighting for the right to keep her own child just two days after giving birth.

Ultimately it took Kelly over four months to get baby Victoria back.

She said: "I got her back after four months and even thought that was a very long time for me there are other families out there for who it has taken years.

"It takes time and that is what's so hard. They set the court dates and you can't bring them forward.

"They were worried it would cause my depression again but if anything it gave me more fight; I'd lost one there was no way I was going to lose another.

"They set these timescales but what they don't realise is that when it's innocent people it's breaking the family apart. You can't do it to the parents and you can't do it to the children."

The stress of the separation and fight to get Victoria back caused the breakdown of Kelly's marriage. Despite the devastating effect of the incident on Kelly and her family, she does acknowledge the difficult situation social workers are in.

However she said: "Children can't be put at risk, but innocent people can't be put at risk. There are just too many mistakes happening."

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