In Loving Memory of Seren Bernard Died while in care of Social Services Seren Bernard age 14 RIP
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"I should have been keeping her safe, I'm her mum – I feel I should have been the one protecting her and they have taken that away from me. Now my little girl isn't here. All it would have taken was for somebody to listen.
" (Seren's mum).
’I fought to get Seren help for two years... now it’s too late and I want some answers’
THE mother of a 14-year-old who apparently killed herself while in the care of social services is demanding answers as to how her daughter came to die.
Police are making inquiries as part of the coroner process into the death of Sarah Pollock’s daughter Seren Bernard, who would have turned 15 next month. She was found dead in Milford Haven on Monday, April 2.
Ms Pollock claims the authorities disregarded her warnings that her daughter needed counselling and said she appealed for help in a meeting with social services just a week before her daughter’s death.
The tragedy comes seven months after Seren hit national headlines when she went missing from her grandmother’s home for 11 days.
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Ms Pollock said she has spoken out in a bid to raise awareness and prevent another family going through a similar tragedy.
She claims her daughter wasn’t given counselling that she had requested from Pembrokeshire’s social services department.
The tragedy came weeks after the teenager was admitted to hospital after using alcohol and her mother asked for help.
“My daughter was 14 and in local authority care against my wishes,” she said.
“She was a troubled teenager who refused to live with me but my son has always remained in my care.
“Essentially social services accepted her wishes but I was fighting to get her counselling and help. I’ve fought against the local authority for two years but they didn’t deem Seren to be at risk and didn’t set up any counselling. Now it’s too late.”
Ms Pollock said her daughter, who had also been in the care of other family members and foster carers for around two years, had been in need of psychiatric assessment.
Describing a meeting with social services, just a week before Seren’s death, Ms Pollock said: “I was very outspoken and made my feelings clear. I asked: ‘Am I the only one here concerned about her welfare?’They told me to compose myself or to leave.
“I asked for extra vigilance because I knew my daughter better than anyone and knew she was crying out for help. If I wasn’t allowed to be with her then I wanted her to get the proper support I felt she needed.
“Now my daughter’s dead, nothing’s going to bring her back and I want answers.”
Ms Pollock, from Haverfordwest, said Seren’s older brother remained at home as an grade A student, as Seren was before her troubles began.
She was also keen at sports, something as a mother she tried to encourage.
“Seren was a bright girl and in may ways I feel she ran rings around social services. I could see what was happening but felt no one was listening to me. To say I was frustrated was an understatement.”
Ms Pollock, a community support worker, said her decisions had been “overruled” by social services, even though she knew best for her daughter.
“My daughter had a perfectly good home; it was the underlying mental issues that needed addressing
“I should have been keeping her safe but I wasn’t able to. I feel I should have been the one protecting her and they have taken that away from me.”
Pembrokeshire Council said Seren’s case has been referred to the Pembrokeshire Local Safeguarding Children’s Board and it was unable to comment.
“The death of a child is obviously a matter of great concern and sadness no matter what the circumstances in which it occurred.
“Every child’s death in Pembrokeshire is referred to Pembrokeshire Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.
“The board will examine all the issues surrounding the death which is currently under the jurisdiction of HM Coroner.
“It is therefore inappropriate to comment any further at this stage.”by Rachael Misstear, Western Mail