'Let us keep our baby'
PUBLISHED: 08:31 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:58 15 June 2010
A LYME Regis couple are fighting social services to keep their one-year-old baby, insisting they are good parents.
A LYME Regis couple are fighting social services to keep their one-year-old baby, insisting they are good parents.Gareth Mills, 22, and Celia Cooper, 35, of Queen's Walk, said they were sickened when a social worker visited them with adoption forms and are refusing to sign them.And seven-months pregnant Celia now fears their unborn baby will also be taken from them.Mr Mills was moved to call the Herald's newsdesk last week, hoping that by sharing his story he would gather support for their case."I'm very upset and can't get on with my life," he said. "It's exhausting for Celia - the last thing she needs. "There's no reason our child should have been taken in the first place and we're not going to sign any adoption papers."We have done everything that has been asked of us."Gareth denies accusations he is violent or that the child is at risk, and says he has done everything in his power to prove himself.He said: "They said I was violent, but I am not. "I completed an anger management assessment - as requested - and the team said there was no sign of violence."While he admits he has a criminal record and has done things he is not proud of, he says he would never harm a child."It's all hearsay," he said. "There's nothing on my record to indicate I'm violent. "I used to work for an education centre, looking after children with special needs, aged from three to 18."Mr Mills said anonymous phone calls were made to social services and is convinced it is someone holding a grudge against him.At present Gareth can only see his child once a week for a couple of hours. Celia visits the child almost daily but has a 90-mile round-trip.Gareth, who has a four year-old-child from a previous relationship, said his father was interested in adopting the baby in care but was told by social services he was too closely linked to the couple.Dorset County Council policy manager for children's services Peter Dodd said: "DCC is not in a position to comment on individual cases such as this."Any actions to remove a child into local authority care are carried out with the authority of the courts and all decisions are scrutinised through proper legal processes."The county council has to consider all possible options that are in the best interests of a child.
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