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1 March 2010, 09:59
A Kesgrave grandmother today condemned social services for splitting up her family by threatening to take her granddaughter away.
Lorraine Coote and her pregnant daughter Megan fled to Spain after Suffolk's social services said that Megan's newborn baby may be taken into care because it could possibly be "emotionally neglected''.
Miss Coote, 21, who suffers from mild learning difficulties and has problems showing her emotions, gave birth to Olivia two weeks ago. Now the three generations live in Spain while grandfather Dale Coote remains in the UK.
"We would do anything to keep Olivia with us,'' said Mrs Coote, speaking to GMTV from Spain.
"Social services did an examination of Megan. It only took an hour to do. Afterwards the doctor and a psychologist came back saying that Megan possibly would emotionally neglect Olivia in the future. "Because Megan has a problem showing her emotions they think that she could harm Olivia when she gets older. "They say they try and keep families together but I have had to split up my family to keep Megan with Olivia.''
Mr Coote said he has been married to his wife for 25 years and this is the first time they have been apart. "It has really taken it's toll on the whole family,'' he said. "They will take Olivia away if she comes back to the country.''
Miss Coote, who was quietly sobbing throughout the interview, said she could not stop kissing her newborn.
Simon White Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Suffolk County Council said, “We cannot comment on individual circumstances. In all cases, Children’s Services work hard to support parents and families so that children can remain in their own families. No decisions can be made before extensive assessments have been undertaken which determine whether the child in question can be adequately cared for by the natural parents or within the extended family. In the vast majority of cases, children remain with their families but where this is not possible an application must be made to the court together with all relevant information. It is then for the court to decide what is in the child’s best interest."