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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
The Missing Children. Your Comments
A selection of your comments on this programme have been published below.


It makes no logical sense that children can be removed from natural parents and adopted, yet cannot be removed from adopted parents when the natural parents have been found not guilty. I challenge any member of the state apparatus to give a logical answer.
The Family Courts in Engalnd & Wales confirm the truism, spoken by a great man, that the wicked prefer the dark to carry out their acts. That is why the state will not be open them up to REAL public scrutiny.
Alvin Shipperley, Pinner

Just watched your programme on the webster family I must say that social services are quick to defend themselves .Yes of course they do good work I have a friend who fosters children and am all for social services. But what angers me is the fact they just cannot put their hands up and say yes we made a mistake we are really really sorry we are all human and can make mistakes it's what you do to fix them that matters.
If the lady from social services in that area cannot say sorry then she is in the wrong type of job. What puzzles me is how quickly the children were adopted. I know of children that can wait up to two three years before getting adopted. There is something not right with this family court buisness..
Christina Thomson, Perth, Scotland

Surely the adoption can be overturned. This outcome is so wrong, why such a final decision instead of fostering. Social Services don't look at all possibilities. It's so easy for innocent people to lose their children, mine were removed from my care by my malicious ex-husband 3 months ago. Lies were told and a police investigation launched, the decision is still outstanding. Social Services speak to me like I am something beneath them and no-one listens to my youngest little girl who begs to come home and can't understand what is going on. I am terrified that the future of my children may be decided by these people who have not even met me or spoken to anyone who knows me. My heart goes out to the parents and children, lets hope the laws are changed.
Tracy, Birmingham

Thank goodness Panorama has exposed the injustice that can take place in these secret family courts. Those people who have commented and suggested that Panorama presented a biased view of Social Services, must be social workers themselves, given their own biased opinions. Have they not realised that this programme was a report of a particular case, NOT a report on Social Services as a whole. With regard to this case, the programme was not biased. It simply showed that in this case, Social Services failed abysmally and have not the integrity to even offer an apology. Whether social workers do good work in many other cases or not, a system that can cover up such injustice is wrong and needs exposing by the media in order to get it changed.
I have heard of other families hastily accused (albeit with not such serious consequences as the Websters suffered) and subsequently cleared by evidence overlooked or dismissed in early stages of the procedure by the "professionals". I too fear that this case is just the tip of the iceberg and this system of secrecy that assumes parents to be guilty until proven innocent and which keeps the parents at a constant disadvantage needs to be changed - FAST.
Elizabeth, Loughborough, Leics

I watched appalled at the Websters case on panorama this week. Whilst I understand that social services have to act in a responsible way and work with the evidence they have and in this case the adoptions were processed. But how on earth can there be no one to intervene now that the case has been overturned. How can those poor children and poor parents be kept apart because of a piece of paper. There will be someone somewhere, a lawyer, politician or judge that could over turn the results in a land mark case I am sure. Is there anything we can do to petition or appeal as members of the public? Thank you for bringing the case to our attention
Katherine Brown, Mullion, Cornwall

I also watched the Panorama MISSING CHILDREN programme and cried along with the parents at the outcome. To think that they discovered themselves why their child was ill to clear their name and that all those medical professionals just looked at the obvious instead of looking at the cause. I agree with one of your previous letters in that we should not let this slip from our minds as this will happen time and time again.
That is why I have emailed the Prime Minister to make sure he hears what we are all thinking in that they should overturn the adoption decisions in this case and let them have their children back. If everyone starts making a stand then maybe he will hear us all and do something about it.......?? We can hope.
Hilary Robinson, Huddersfield, England

Regarding Panorama's sickening exposure of the Webster case I was further depressed to read the bleating defences of the social work profession on your comments page. "How about there being some good news stories about the [social work] profession for a change?". Well, surely none of us doubt the good work of the majority, but why should we not pursue the inept and unfair with the same dogged [and biased] attitude that has been demonstrably applied in this case. This is an injustice of such magnitude that it must not disappear from our collective conscience. I, for one, would willingly challenge the law to right the moral offences committed by individuals whom should be held accountable for a failure which has caused irreversible harm to innocent children, their parents and to society. Need we all fear attending A and E with our children? Shame on them.
Keith Brownlie, London, UK

I thought John Sweeney's report on the Norfolk case was extremely biased. Social Services must seek and follow medical advice in cases of unexplained injury and it is a brave department which leaves other children in the household where unexplained fractures occur. Once the case goes to Court there are opportunities for numerous independent assessments. The programme made sensational viewing but it was misleading and one sided.
Ruth, Cymru/Wales

Many thanks for highlighting the plight of Mark and Nicky Webster. I have followed this story from the minute it was brought to public attention. I would like to say how brave I think this couple have been in the face of everything that has happened to them. Baby Brandon is clearly a loved and very well cared for baby. How unfair on this couples other three children who are clearly the victims in this case. They should be apologised to, compensated and be reunited with their parents to continue with their lives and put this horror behind them.
Sarah Edwards, Lincoln

I watched the Panorama programme about the Webster family last night (2nd July 2007) and want to thank the BBC for making this programme.
I am having my own six-year battle with the secret Family Court at the moment, and know many other people who are in a similar position. I do not know one woman who has been through the Family Court system who has not been intimidated and threatened with prison.
The Webster's story is only the tip of the iceberg. I am convinced that my family and many other families have become tangled up in something very sinister, something fraudulent. We are being treated worse than terrorists. Barbara Richards
Staffordshire

I think that the so called social services requires serious shake-up. What happened to being innocent until proven guilty? I can understand that there are a number of children that are being abused, but not every child is. We have people that are to quick to jump to the wrong conclusion. They condemn without proper human investigation.
What happened to working with the family on a daily basis before they traumatise the child by taking them away from their family. Of course any child will have anxiety problems, if living with strangers for months.
I fully support the Websters with their fight for their son. I hope someday they will see their other children.
L Holmes, Colchester, Essex

I'm numb. Just watched tonight's Panorama, cannot believe what I've seen. How can those people in authority, shrug their indifferent shoulders at those poor parents, I did not know such a system existed for the legalised abduction of children, all those involved should be ashamed.
Peter Paul, High Wycombe England

I have just watched tonight's programme about Nicky and Mark Webster and their 3 eldest children, A, B & C. I am the mother of 4 young children and am absolutely horrified that those 3 children have been taken from their home and put up for adoption on such a weak basis. I think I am most shocked by the fact that despite a ruling admitting a miscarriage of justice these adoption orders have not been overturned. Why not? If this was addressed during your programme I must have missed it whilst making a cup of coffee!! Are the parents attempting to overturn those orders. I cannot imagine what each member of the Webster family has been through but surely, the only right thing is to reunite this family.
Vanessa Moloney, Belper, England

I am writing to complain about your Panorama programme tonight. The bias in what is meant to be a factual programme was deliberately obvious towards the family involved. Social Services again were the butt of any complaint even though in this case they simply acted on the information they were given by other professionals as you would expect them to do.
When is the BBC actually going to do a news report or programme that really shows the work that Social Services have to do every day, the vital support they give to families and individuals of all ages the help that they provide and the lives they change for the better.
I am disgusted at the way that the BBC is jumping on the national bandwagon and slamming social services at any opportunity without properly looking at the facts involved and the work that these people have to do everyday. I wont be watching again I thought I could trust the BBC to be impartial I was obviously wrong.
Heather Wingrove, UK

Tonight's Panorama programme was an outstanding piece of journalism. Also one of the most heartbreaking stories I have ever heard. The parents courage brought me to tears. Well done Panorama.
Michael k foster, Manchester England

After watching Panorama on Monday 2nd July 2007, there are a number of unanswered questions; one, no apology has not been given to the family concerned, two as a mother I feel extremely strongly as to why the parents will not have their children back, as the children have been adopted illegally due to the miss charge of justice and three, each so called expert and court should think about medical information and the precise condition of the child/children with detail of diet, family history and environment.
Claire Butler, Winchcombe, Gloucesterhsire

My wife and i have just watched The Missing Children in absolute horror and disbelief that such a gross mis-carriage of justice can occur in the UK and that no-one seems to be held accountable nor willing to accept that a horrific mistake was made.
Above all else we cannot understand why steps are not being taken by local and central government to reverse the adoption and re-unite these children with their birth parents. I would be interested to know if there is any action that taken or help that could be given to the Websters to allow them to be re-united as a family as is so obviously their right.
Mark Franklin, Harpenden, Herts

I have never written to any programme before but this has so outraged me - the sheer injustice of it - and the unbelievable smugness of that red-haired woman who could not even give an apology when all the evidence pointed to their (the welfare agency) incompetence and unfeeling attitude of superiority. Those poor Websters - to have 3 children so unfairly taken from them.
I sincerely hope that the Websters can now find some peace in their life, and they surely deserve some retribution. Sack that moron who heads the service!
Professor Annmarie Surprenant, Sheffield UK

I have just watched Panorama this evening about Nicky Webster and Mark Webster and I would like to express my deepest sympathy for these loving parents. I am outraged on how the system has destroyed this family and no apology has been given to the parents. Why have these children not been returned to their parents when medical evidence strongly states the parents were not abusing their children.
How many more times is the system going to fail parents and children?
Emma Metcalfe, Leeds, West Yorkshire

I was appalled, distressed and angry watching this programme. The adoptions should not be irreversible, they should not have taken place at all! These children should be gradually introduced back to their parents and eventually returned to them and may God forgive those who have allowed this to happen in the first place.
Ann Parker, Leeds England

I've just seen the 2nd July programme concerning Nicky and Mark Webster, who lost their first three children to forced adoptions. Although I am not a father myself (not yet), the mistakes made by the local authorities are enough to make me supremely concerned as to the momentum that these accusations can take, but the fact that the forced adoptions cannot be reversed was probably the worst issue. However it was not fully explained in the programme why is this, especially as a more accurate explanation for child B's injuries has now been found. Nor is it clear if changing this legal point is under consideration.
Steven Hemsley, Manchester

My wife and I have just watched your programme The Missing Children and after 41 years of never voicing our opinions to anything we are both sat here in a state of shock and tears. We both lost family in the 2 world wars, family fighting for this little island and our freedom and justice. I fear all those brave people will be turning in their graves if they could see the shambles this great country is in right now. Lets all say a pray for the Websters !! God help us ...and God do we need it.
Paul Oldham, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

I have just watched your programme this evening regarding the family who had lost their 3 children following action by the family court system and Norfolk Social Services. I was appalled at the way in which the reporter set out to make this very complex and sad situation yet another witch hunt for the social work profession. Social workers have an extremely hard task and this type of reporting sets out demonise the professionals involved and completely disregard what excellent work does go on.
Whilst i believe it is right to highlight miscarriages of justice i would expect, especially from the BBC a fair and balanced report. The social work profession has been at the brunt of ignorant reporting for too many years, and is damned for acting and damned for not. How about there being some good news stories about the profession for a change , or doesn't that make such good news.
Michelle Woodward, Hythe Kent

I have just watched Panoramas 'The Missing Children' and would like to say how disgusted I am at the way this family have been treated. I believe there should be a change in the adoption laws for cases such as these. These poor parents have been tortured by a biased and discriminatory hearing which ultimately led to an ILLEGAL adoption taking place. Mark and Nicky should be given back their children and be allowed to have a normal life with them in accordance with the Human rights Act.
To Mark and Nicky, I would just like to say my heart goes out to you. Ignore what the law says, these laws can be changed, fight for your babies!! All the best for the future.
Tracy Rimmer, Gloucester, UK

we wish to comment on the programme screened on Monday 02/07/07 featuring the couple who were wrongly accused of child abuse and had their 3 children taken away from them. It is the most vile case of injustice we have seen and were deeply moved by it. we fail to see why the children can not be returned to their parents! what about the long term effects on the children etc etc...!!! is there any action that is or could be taken? deepest sympathy look forward to receiving a response
Miss Tracy Rowlands and Miss Caroline Smith, Hereford UK midlands

Your Missing Children Panorama is the best I've seen for ages. Proper investigative journalism with no unnecessary sensationalism or topping and tailing by a "celeb presenter". Great programme.

i spoke too soon. Jeremy Vine has just popped up to "add credibility??" I have nothing against him but his topping and tailing is so unnecessary and patronising to the audience - and an insult to the reporter... he didn't need jazzing up!
Charlotte Russell, London W11

I have just watched Panorama & the report by John Sweeney of the missing children of Nicky & Mark Webster. I am a new mother to a 5 month old baby girl & to think something like this could happen has really, really upset me. Now that we all know that Nicky & Mark Webster are good parents PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE is there no way the adoption of the 3 children can be reversed? Something must be done. I'm sure the children have been placed with very loving & caring families & some might say to take them away & put them back would be traumatic, however it's going to be far more traumatic in the future when they realise they were placed up for adoption & had good parents & a baby brother they all missed out on. The Websters have been through enough already for Nicky & Mark to live each day knowing they can't see their children, I just can't even imagine what it must be like. The children must also wonder about their parents & why this has happened. I'd like to pass on my admiration to the Websters & hope one day the family will be re-united.
Di Toms, West Sussex, England



SEE ALSO
The Missing Children
02 Jul 07 |  Panorama


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