IN 2005

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The group is aimed at parents who have been, or are going through the child protection system, where the child has, or may possibly have OI, (Brittle bones). Due to the diagnostic complications that can sometimes arise with OI, diagnosis can be very difficult to achieve. Accusations can be direct or indirect, each being equally harmful.

The OIAP is a voluntary group run by Maggie Eaton, who has a daughter and granddaughter who are both affected with OI, Maggie was herself accused of NAI (Non Accidental Injury) for over three years before a diagnosis of OI was found. The group offers a confidential, non-judgemental service, Maggie is there primarily to listen, offer emotional support, and advice on good legal and medical contacts.

To offer support to parents and family’s in their hour of need. To raise awareness of OI within the public sector, and within communities, so that misdiagnosis may become a thing of the past.

The group was initially set up in 1994 by Maggie Eaton and Rosemary Neary, two mothers who had been through the child protection system. Both children were eventually diagnosed with OI. It became apparent that so many children were being placed into local authority foster care, and adoption following child abuse allegations, when in fact they had OI. So we set up the Brittle Bone Society Accused Parents Support group, this group ran for almost 12 years, and supported over 150 families. Because of constitutional issues, the BBS can now no longer support parents who do not have a definite diagnosis, so Maggie and other parents set up the OIAP support group to help those families who don’t yet have a definite diagnosis.

Many professionals in medicine and social services seemed to immediately suspect NAI instead of looking at the whole picture; family history, signs and symptoms, full medical assessments. Many parents are accused of child abuse based on plain x-ray, when other testing should also be obtained; many parents are denied further testing. Some senior Radiologists even describe in vivid detail how the injuries have occurred, yet some of these children show no outward or internal sign of abuse.

The manner in which parents are treated by social services can be questionable, the way forward has to be to change the way in which child protection is handled by the professionals. Social services often tell parents that if they admit to harming the child, they will work with them and get the child returned to them, if not, they will lose the child. These are practices that we deal with everyday, until we change the way in which the social services and family court system works then hundreds of family’s lives will continue to be destroyed, and parents will continue to be wrongfully accused.

We know that there are many child abusers out there, and children need to be protected, but over zealousness on the part of the professional’s is destroying loving innocent families. We are not ALL child abusers; some of our children have a medical condition. It seems that all too often the one person that is being “protected” by the system is the one person that is being harmed the most, THE CHILD. If you are going through child protection investigations, and your child has fractures and you know you haven’t harmed your child, then please call or e-mail us.

Some important links that are related to several health conditions:
Baby's parents under a microscope BBC News

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