A real example has been made of the British couple whose daughter was taken away by social services following fears they had drunkenly abandoned her. The couple have since been cleared of wrongdoing and many would argue the way they were treated was over-the-top, but perhaps it is a good thing that this kind of behaviour has been put under the spotlight.
I think it’s time to talk about the British couple whose daughter was taken away by Portuguese officials because it was feared they were too drink to look after her.
The incident, which saw two-year-old Scarlett taken from mum Colette McPartland and dad Stephen Street by Portuguese social services took place a few weeks ago now, but the couple has been taking to British daytime TV to deny they were ever guilty of ‘abandoning’ their child.
They were initially arrested by Portuguese police following fears they had left their daughter to wander off as they got drunk at a bar in Portugal.
Scarlett was allegedly found some 150 metres away from the bar where they were drinking. Portuguese police claimed the couple were too drunk to talk properly. Scarlett was taken into care by social workers whilst the situation was resolved.
The couple claim they were never guilty of abandoning their daughter or of being drunk. Miss McPartland, who is four months pregnant with their second child, said she had only had two glasses of wine, while Mr Street said he had not had much more. They say there were a lot of children around playing and Scarlett was always in their sights.
They moved to Portugal five years ago but are now thinking of moving back to Britain after the way they were treated.
Miss McPartland claims Scarlett has not been quite the same since spending ten days away from her mum and dad but that she is a resilient child and should bounce back.
The couple have been completely cleared of wrongdoing so the fairest move would be to give them the benefit of the doubt. There is of course the old phrase there is no smoke without fire however, and there are two very simple facts which need to be borne in mind here. The couple had been drinking, how much we will never know for sure, and Scarlett was found quite a distance off from where the couple were – it doesn’t seem anyone is denying this fact – so obviously there was some kind of misdemeanour here.
Whether it was enough for the police and social services to step in is a matter of opinion and can’t be fully judged without knowing the full truth of the situation.
However it is interesting to see how other countries deal with this kind of incident because, let’s be honest, there are so many cases of parents getting drunk in Britain whilst caring for their children which go on without comment, whether out and about or within the home.
I hope if nothing else, this story gives those parents who are guilty of sinking one too many glasses of wine in front of their children some food for thought.
We may not all agree with how harshly the couple in this story were treated but surely it should make a lot of people think about the very real dangers of being drunk in charge of their children.
Published in: Family