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'We want our son back' Merkinch family plea for son to come home to them after he was placed in care by Inverness social work


By Louise Glen

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A Merkinch family are making a plea to have their son returned home to them after he was taken into care.

Sharon and Kenneth Stewart say their son, who has severe problems in putting on weight, should be with them rather than a foster carer – and more research should be done into his serious condition.

Ms Stewart (37) said she, her partner and three other children – aged 14 months, nine and 11 – want their 10-year-old son, home after a 44-day compulsory care order, which ends on September 15.

She said: "Social workers are blaming us, his parents, for him not putting on weight.

"He is thin, he is around 22kgs and he is 135cms tall and he has struggled to put on weight. He has had four admissions into hospital, and on his last admission I slept on a chair beside him for a month.

"He does not like the high-calorie drinks that they give him, and he struggles to take them. But we are constantly worried about him."

Ms Stewart said that she and her husband were both small. She said: "Kenneth's dad says that he was very thin as a child and had problems putting on weight. I am a size six, and we are not big people.

"Our son is a happy boy and he loves his family. At the moment he is living with a foster carer and he is still not putting on weight. More than wonder - he has been moved about and is being kept in care where he doesn't want to be. He is not coping at all.

"He still goes to school and he has time with his brother and sister after school one afternoon a week. We also see him in supervised visits. We are heartbroken without him.

"We want him home with us."

She continued: "We have taken the matter to our lawyers, and we are waiting to hear the outcome of that.

"What I don't understand is why social workers think that we are doing something to harm our ten-year-old child, we have three other children and we are not being accused of not feeding them, they are all fine.

"He was taken into care without our consent, and while he is there he is still not putting on weight. We want him back home and we want the hospital to make sure he has had every test that makes sure he has not got another condition.

"We have asked for blood tests but we have never been given them. We feel really let down by the social work department and we have called to have our case reviewed.

"Our real concern is that after 44 days, he will be kept in care and we will not be able to get him well."

The family are working with charity Who Cares? Scotland who will work with their son as an advocate with social work.

Ms Stewart said: "We feel that everyone's voice is being heard in our situation, but not our son's voice. Give us our boy back."

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “The Highland Council cannot comment on individual cases.”

A spokesman for Who Cares? Scotland said: “Who Cares? Scotland provides professional, independent advocacy services. We work one on one with a young person to help them have a say in what is happening to them. “

“We strive to provide advocacy that helps young people feel respected, included, listened to and understood. We’re independent to any care services a young person receives – this is crucial because we want young people to be supported and understood with no conflict of interest. We cannot comment on individual cases and whether or not individuals are accessing advocacy.”

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