A mother-of-six, who had her children removed from her care by Social Services, was made to pay the bill for their care.
Daniele Towers, 32 of Harlow, Essex, started receiving letters from Essex County Council demanding she paid £300 a week towards her six children’s care.
Ms Towers explained: “I was told that if I didn’t pay the money then the visiting rights I had with them would be stopped”.
Ms Towers had her children removed from her care against her will when, in 2008, whilst admitted to Southend Hospital waiting to give birth, her husband Michael died at home after suffering from a massive stroke. He was at home caring for their five children.
Ms Towers states that Social Services took her children into care, without giving any explanation, but only to hold her responsible for the trauma caused to her children, who sat at home with their father’s dead body. Ms Towers also had her newborn baby taken into care.
Understandably, Ms Towers was already suffering the loss of her husband and when Social Services took her children into care, she made an attempt on her own life and only survived by chance. She was later admitted into a psychiatric hospital, where she stayed for two years.
After being discharged from the psychiatric hospital in 2010, Ms Towers continued to have supervised visits with her children, who were living in various locations around Essex.
Ms Towers explains that Social Services are “meant to be there to help families in need.’’ However, she claimed, ‘‘when they took the kids they had no regard as to how it would affect my mental health…they gave my house back to the council, took my kids, and my dog – I lost everything”.
Whilst Ms Towers was receiving the hostile letters from Essex County Council, she told them various times that she could not afford to pay the bill, no matter how much she wanted to. Ms Towers also states that, “I don’t think they had the right to ask me for the money – I didn’t want them to take my children away.”
Essex County Council has now admitted that there was an error from their finance department and a spokeswoman stated: “It appears that we have wrongly requested payment from Ms Towers”.
Although the spokeswoman from Essex County Council admitted their error on the £300 a week bill, they have however disputed Ms Tower’s version of events which led up to the removal of her children, but cannot go into detail on their reasons due to confidentiality. They did state, “However, cases such as this are extremely complex and the care of the children is at the centre of all decisions we make.”
Daniele Towers, now a mother to a 15 month old boy from her new partner, has made the decision to study law with the Open University, in order to help others who have had their children removed.
Written by Sian Spurrier