"Bringing Families Together"

"Bringing Families Together"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adoption system is UKs shameful secret.

Adoption system is UK's shameful secret

See also
'Social workers took away my twins after I'd joked that birth spoilt my body'
More children in care go missing
What is being said in the Care Profiling Study
Investigators: Grandparents passed over in favor of foster care
Surge in children taken into care as recession stress takes toll on parents
The Lost Children
Bitter legacy of separation
Children left in misery because state care is so poor
Families Torn Apart:
Courts won't reveal rulings in adoption cases

Britain is the only country in Europe where children are routinely removed from their parents without consentBy Christopher Booker October 10, 2009 / Telegraph.co.ukThis week I return to one of the most disturbing stories this column has ever reported. It began on a morning in April 2007 when the home of a respectable middle-class family in Sussex was overrun by 18 policemen and two RSPCA officials, supposedly looking for guns. When the father, a professional dog breeder, volubly protested, he and his pregnant wife were arrested and handcuffed, to the horror of their watching five-year old daughter (whom I call, for legal reasons, "Jenny").East Sussex social workers were then called to remove the little girl. Her mother had a miscarriage while in custody and returned to an empty home, left in chaos. Jenny has remained in foster care ever since, and despite her parents pleading for her return through 74 legal hearings, the ruling by a family court judge last March that she be put out for adoption was upheld in July by the Appeal Court.

Having now seen further documents relating to this saga, I can understand why the family's GP wrote that in 33 years as a doctor he had never come across "such an appalling case of injustice". The first document was her parents' careful chronology of every step in the story, including transcriptions of many of their telephone conversations and meetings with Jenny, invariably under strict surveillance by social workers or the foster carer.The dominant impression from these recordings is of Jenny's desperation to be reunited with her parents, and of an increasingly distraught child who cannot understand what has been done to her. The parents claim that pressure was put on her constantly to say that she didn't want to see them again. Why did the family court judge not allow this evidence to be heard in court, although she did admit accounts of these "contacts" by the social workers?A second document is the judgment by Mr Justice Bodey in the Appeal Court confirming that Jenny must be put out for adoption. No evidence had been produced that her parents ever caused Jenny physical or mental harm. His ruling centred on two points. One was evidence that her home was a mess on the day of the raid, although those who knew the house well testify that it was normally clean and tidy. The other was that, when the family's home was invaded by 18 policemen (a figure confirmed by one policeman in evidence), the father verbally abused them in colourful fashion (but didn't attack them physically). Are these really adequate grounds for tearing a child and her parents permanently apart?A third document is the book Forced Abduction by Ian Josephs, a businessman who has taken an active interest in the removal of children from their parents by social workers ever since he was a Tory county councillor in the 1960s. He acted in part of the Jenny case as a "Mackenzie friend", that is, an informal assistant and adviser.

Mr Josephs shows that Britain is almost the only country in Europe which routinely allows children to be separated from parents without their consent. Indeed, he reproduces a press release put out in 2003 by Hammersmith & Fulham Council boasting how, under a Local Public Service Agreement, it had received a reward of £500,000 from central government for hitting its target of 101 adoptions in the year. This particular, highly controversial scheme of cash bonuses has, thankfully, since been abandoned.The impression given by these documents supports the GP's view that this is an "appalling case of injustice". Social workers, lawyers and judges seem enmeshed in a system heavily skewed towards putting children out for adoption – by a process so shrouded in secrecy that it seems designed more to protect the system itself than the interests of the child. Most alarming of all is that there seems no one with the authority to intervene in cases such as Jenny's, where that system appears to have left both a loving family and justice horribly betrayed.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jimmy

    I am awfully sorry to know of your story. On the one hand - SS - did not look underneath the chocolate paste of the baby "P" and all his broken bones and burnt skin - while on the other removed children from parents and sends those away. It is difficult top be judgemental - but I am certain - judges frequently make errors - often due to negligence. And once a misjudgement is set in - on an erred endorsement of misstated primary fact - the higher courts do not want to know about the primary facts and hence - the law would be applied on the wrong facts by the judges higher up and what hope would you have to challenge the wrong decisions on the cases. To change that you need money like AlFayed's to reopen by use of high profile barrister - Nigel Mansfield, when the media hears of it and the judges agree to hear, even the primary facts put in an acceptable packet of law - to maintain the pretext of administration of law and justice. But that is not affordable to practically any of us.

    I send my deepest sympathy to the parents and most importantly, to the child who is prevented from rejoining the parents.
    I am sending this to my MP - as the law needs to be changed - in respect of revisiting of primary facts, in respect of costs against people who do their own case against mighty publicly funded bodies - who are frequently mismanaged. It is a common problem that many victims of miscarriages of justice are let down by their own legal teams, at a time when such victims are most naive about what legal curse had befallen them. I do not think the story you tell me had been acknowledged in the case records.Imagine a mother telling this story to a Judge in the high court - on her own or through a friend like yourself - and the judge having the duty to look into this story. To rectify injustice on facts must be a part of the law, as case precedents say ' justice and law go hand in hand' The practice at the Courts is different for those who cannot afford the costs.

    I cannot imagine a parent - who would harm their own children. I have not seen any. So, before such drastic actions are applied and thereafter continued - there should be serious accountability on the parts of those who are involved in imposing those and revisits. I cannot dissociate myself from what I or any of my friends would feel - if such curse like things fell on any of us.
    My only hope is that when the child grows up - he could seek justice for his/her sufferings.

    I am sending a copy of this to Times Law - who are generally unresponsive.