Families who claim to have had children unfairly taken from them by Herefordshire children’s services plan a demonstration next month.

The county has an abnormally high number of children removed from family homes, some still as babies, and many of those affected contest the grounds on which council social workers have done this.

The demo, which has been given police permission, will be held at the landmark bull sculpture beside the Black and White House in Hereford city centre on September 23, at 12 noon.


It is being organised by Eddy Parkinson and Linda Summers of the Stolen Childhood (Herefordshire) Facebook group, which currently has 76 members.

“The group offers support and guidance on what to do next, including legally, for people who have had social services intervention in their families,” Mr Parkinson said.

Ms Summers, a grandmother involved in a case with children’s services, added: “Parents are scared to come forward, thinking they might end up in prison.”


The department was officially rated Inadequate by Ofsted inspectors a year ago, and placed under Government oversight, headed by children’s commissioner Eleanor Brazil.

But Mr Parkinson claimed that in her reports thus far on the department, Ms Brazil overlooked evidence given to her of wrongdoing.

Ms Brazil has since said: “Where issues are current, these have been brought to the attention of the council and are being followed up.”

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Her final report on Herefordshire children's services is expected shortly. But Ofsted's monitoring visits will continue until it gives the department the all-clear at a full re-inspection, potentially still two years away.

Mr Parkinson said he is also gathering evidence of the health impacts on parents and families of having children taken away.

“Losing a child in this way is like a bereavement,” he said. “But it’s also socially isolating as you can’t talk about it.”

One mother who had two children taken from her said: “It has affected me – psychologically, physically, in every way.

“You get no reassurance that they're even OK.”