Ask Sam letter


To Sam


I am 16 with a 3 week old son. I have been told by the baby's social worker I HAVE to live at my mothers or go into care. I moved out of my mums on last October and have lived on my own in support housing for young mums but when he was born social workers told me because I used to run away and put myself in danger when I was 13 i am putting my baby at risk when they can see I have changed since then they've also told me I can't take him out without my mum being there. I can't do what normal mums do I can't take him to meet my family or friends I can't go anywhere with him and because he's breast fed I can't go out I feel grounded and isolated and wondered if the social worker can legally do that ? And if there are any human rights against this as I just want to take my little boy home.
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Social services have a legal responsibility to make sure all children and young people are safe and well. When social services decide that a baby and mother must live in a certain place for their safety or wellbeing, this usual means that they have tried to work out what’s best and safest for both of you. 

I can hear that you don’t feel that they’ve taken into account the changes that you’ve made since you were 13. From what you’ve explained, you’d like to be able to live on your own in supported accommodation, like you were before your son was born. It could help to talk to your social worker to explain that you don’t feel that this decision is right for you or your son.

If you don’t feel as though you’re able to get your voice heard, it could help to get support from an advocacy service. You can take a look at NYAS. You could also ask your local authority about the advocacy service they provide.

If you’re unhappy with the local authority’s decision, you can ask them to review things and explain why. Each local authority has their own procedure around things like this, so it’s best to contact them directly. In some cases you may need to put your concerns or issues in writing. They should tell you how long it will take to respond to you.

If you’re not happy with the local authority’s investigation, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) to investigate.

You asked about your human rights. Under human rights laws you have the right to respect for your private and family life. There are certain situations when public authorities, including social services, are allowed to get involved — for example, when somebody’s health is at risk or when somebody’s else’s rights aren't being listened to. You can find more about human rights on the Equality Human Rights website. You can also read our page about your rights.

I can hear that you’d like to be able to take your little boy out to do things, like meet friends and family. It might help to use the ChildLine message boards Pregnancy and Young Parents section as a way of connecting with other young parents. They could give you some more advice.

You sound as though you’re going through a hard time and it could help to speak to a ChildLine counsellor for more support. They’re always there to listen when you want to talk.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter