Babies taken at birth for “risk of emotional abuse”, Toddlers taken at 6. am by squads of uniformed police and social workers for “risks that may never happen. Whether those who predict the future use Tarot cards, crystal balls, or tealeaves is immaterial because the fact is that parents lose their children to “care” for risks of events that may never happen but according to government statistics are far more likely to happen under “State Care” than with loving but imperfect parents; Punishment without crime is a disgrace to British Justice but it carries on still unchecked in our UK “family courts”.
The nightmare begins when social workers act like a second police force PUNISHING PARENTS who have NOT committed any crime. They do this by obtaining an emergency protection order “ex parte”( in the parents’ absence)to take away children into foster care. They claim these children have “suffered emotional harm” or worse still are “at risk of emotional harm” ! On this basis an order is nearly always granted without any problem by a “friendly” magistrate. They then pressurise the parents with threats that if they do not “do what we tell you “or if they dare to discuss “the case” with their children or tell them “we love you and miss you” during “contact” the social services will stop contact and maybe never let those parents see their children again etc .Parents are GAGGED when speaking to their own children !
Even worse, when issuing interim care orders the “Family courts” have become “Kangaroo courts” . Interim care orders are issued on the basis of written statements from social workers and “hired experts” that cannot be questioned or disputed because these documents are not shown to the parents and in any case the authors are nearly always absent from court ! The parents’ are rarely allowed to testify as not only the judge but also their own lawyers nearly always stop them from speaking !If they do by some miracle manage to testify, what they say is not only disbelieved it is almost always completely ignored !The interim care orders usually last until a final care hearing is held ,during which time the unfortunate children are isolated from their parents(except for very limited supervised contact periods) wondering what they have done wrong !
”Legal aid lawyers”, known in the trade as “professional losers” usually advise clients to “go along with social services”earning their fees the easy way ! Those few parents who succeed in winning and recovering their children are nearly always those who represent themselves. When this happens however judgements ,court documents, reports from experts, and position statements are often shown to parents at the last moment or not shown to them at all !As a consequence ,when local authorities apply for an interim care order in the family courts only one in 400 is refused !(official judicial statistics), so what chance do most of the unfortunate parents have?
Michelle Freedman; A barrister with 10 years experience representing parents in the family courts writes:-“I told Christopher Booker before the first article that clients are like lambs to the slaughter. Every client I met filled me with sadness (except of course in cases were there was obvious abuse and not in the Local Authorities’ and court’s interpretation of the word). I would sit with desperate mothers and / or fathers with their eyes wide open in worry repeatedly asking me what I thought the outcome to the case would be. How to relay to the client that the reality is that the children will most likely be made subject to care orders and ultimately adopted. How to tell the client that we are merely going through a kangaroo court process whereby the majority of children are taken from loving parents once the machine (i.e. the court process) has been switched on.”
Throughout proceedings clients would genuinely believe that ‘justice would prevail’ and the courts would see that the children are better of at home with mum and dad. As any other barrister, and for good reason, I told parents that there is no certainty in proceedings…. I did not have the heart to crush their spirits from the outset. I truly believe that we are living in tragic times at the moment.
To cap it all social workers only too often, go round schools and friends of parents and, by their loaded questions spread harmful rumours about the parents. The unfortunate parents however are warned (quite wrongly in fact) that they are forbidden to talk to ANYBODY about their case (they actually CAN talk to individuals for advice and support) .Those bold enough to protest publicly are jailed for their impertinence (200+ per year according to Harriet Harman answering a Parliamentary question, when she was minister for children). Yes parents are legally GAGGED yet again, when their babies and toddlers are taken to protect the “privacy “of families and children !Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are excluded from the court in order (believe it or not !) to protect the children’s privacy ! Social services however have no need to respect this “privacy” as they frequently advertise for adoption the children they have taken, with colour photos and first names in the Daily Mirror and other periodicals, much to the horror of parents when they see their offspring paraded for the public” to choose” like pedigree dogs!
Eventually many of these children get adopted (“Forced Adoption”)and their siblings are often split up into different families despite the pleas of their parents who have been judged to pose a “risk of emotional abuse “to these babies and young children. Alone in Europe, only the UK (and perhaps Portugal and Croatia) tolerates forced adoption of children against the wishes of parents in court. In most cases, the parents never see or hear from their children for the rest of their lives, so these children are cut off for ever not only from their parents, but also their grandparents, aunts, uncles,cousins and quite often also from their own brothers and sisters ! The parents (and their children) are in effect punished not for something they have done but for something some so called “expert” (using a crystal ball?) thinks they might do in the future !Babies and young children who have been battered and physically abused (like baby P) are “poor adoption material” and no use to social workers hoping to “hit” their adoption targets,(PAF C23 Ofsted) so they are more often than not left to die alone….Children however, with just ONE unexplained injury such as a bruise, a burn, or a fractured arm but with no prior record of abuse or injuries still make good adoption material and are seized for that purpose even when there is no evidence that the parents were in any way responsible. IT’S “ONE STRIKE AND YOU ARE OUT”. That is the cry of the “SS” and is typical of the way that “justice” is served up at our UK family courts !
This is the REALITY of what actually happens to parents falling foul of the “system”. Is there a conspiracy? No need! Lawyers, fosterers, “experts”, adoption agencies, social workers, and even judges all do very nicely out of the present system and have no need to conspire ,but naturally they do unite to resist, to COVER UP any mistakes they may have made if anyone threatens to “rock the boat” !
What reforms should the government introduce? Well, the social workers in “child protection” must be ordered to pass their enforcement functions back to the police, who should only remove children if crimes have been committed by parents that could adversely affect their capacity to care for the children. The family courts should adopt the rules of evidence that govern procedures in the criminal courts where fair and just rules of evidence now prevail.That is how it used to be before the Children Act 1948 when police and criminal courts(not social workers and family courts) dealt with removal of children from cruel or neglectful parents, and it worked much better !Parents would have the right to question their “accusers”,demand final hearings by juries, and would no longer be gagged.
All I suggest is that parents in family courts should have the same legal protection afforded to murderers,rapists,and terrorists in the criminal courts ! Surely that is not too much to ask?
Click on the link above to hear a young mother tell her sad but true story !
Parents should no longer threatened with jail if they complain publicly when their children are taken,and should no longer be threatened with having their contact sessions with their children in care stopped if they dare to discuss their case with them.The Children Act 1989 should be amended to remove all gagging of parents wishing to discuss publicly matters concerning their children or to talk about their case with those children.Once again in the criminal courts those accused of being paedophiles and child traffikers have the right to speak out to protest their innocence publicly and even go to the media if they wish, without fear of punishment.
I can only repeat that parents should have the same rights to freedom of speech as the worst type of criminal.Surely that is not too much to ask?
The Human Rights Act clearly states that all should be free to enjoy a private family life undisturbed by any intervention of a public authority.This provision was clearly drafted to provide parents with protection from the State.Unfortunately perverse UK judges alone in Europe have twisted this Act into a protection for the State against protesting parents !They actually rule that if parents protest publicly they disturb the privacy of their own children and should be sent to prison therefore if they do dare to protest openly when the State confiscates their children.
HEARSAY evidence should never be preferred to live evidence (from children for instance) when live evidence is available.
There would then at last be an excellent chance that most of these injustices would be eliminated.
Yes family courts should be criminal courts and children should only be taken from parents if they have committed or been charged with a crime.At the moment however babies are snatched at birth from perfectly innoffensive and law abiding parents for “risk of emotional abuse”.This accusation is the social worker’s”favourite”as it is quite impossible for parents to prove their innocence when so called “experts” predict what they might or might not do at some time in the future ! Incredibly,mothers lose their children to forced adoption not for anything they HAVE done but for what some overpaid charlatans (reading tea leaves or tarot cards?) predict they might do ! No you couldn’t make it up !
Yes it’s punishment without crime !!
By numbers: The shocking statistics that show how the care system blights youngsters’ lives
Tom Rahilly, the NSPCC’s head of strategy and development for looked-after children, added: ‘While the continued high level of care applications looks dramatic, we must remember that the majority of children come into care as a result of abuse or neglect.
‘Care provides a safe and supportive environment for these children. This continued rise could simply indicate people are being more alert to situations where children are at risk, which can only be a positive development.’
Did he REALLY say safe ??
Even the actual family court proceedings are fatally flawed . Only too often parents resisting a local authority application for an interim care order are faced with reports from social workers and “experts” who do not come to court and so cannot be questioned.Barristers read these reports as though they are themselves witnesses and present these reports made by absent officials and experts as though they are “gospel truth” . When the parents contradict them with live evidence in court the hearsay evidence coming from the local authority barristers is nearly always preferred !Furthermore,when the local authority employs an “expert” to rule on parents’ mental state,non accidental injury to a child,or parents’ general parenting skills those parents are routinely refused by a judge the opportunity to call experts of their own to counter those “expert opinions” .The result is that parents are then faced with reports by these experts who rarely turn up in court to be questioned. The parents are then informed that they have no qualifications so when the local authority’s expert says they are not fit parents,then that is the evidence that must be believed !
The theory is that “adoption targets”(still very much in force via Ofsted PAF C23) are set to encourage social workers to find children languishing in care for years new permanent homes. The reality however is that adopters want babies not older children so social workers seize babies and toddlers to be put into care and from there into forced adoption with the agreement of compliant judges so that targets can be met !
Disgracefully in our family courts all the rules of evidence are casually “thrown out of the window”. SHAME on our family court legal system and all those who support it !
Lord Justice Thorpe said on Appeal “I am completely aghast at this case. There is nothing more serious than a removal hearing, because the parents are so prejudiced in proceedings thereafter.Once you have lost a child it is very difficult to get a child back.” The hearing above lasted only 15 minutes after a doctor “expressed the opinion” that bruising in the ear of one of the three children looked as though it was caused by pinching .The parents were not allowed to give any evidence!Their three children had all been forcibly removed until they were ordered to be returned by Lord Justice Thorpe on appeal.
The “SS” and family court judges often accuse PARENTS of being paranoid and of believing that there is an absurd conspiracy to take their children. The reply,should always be that in common with so many government employees social workers and experts never like to admit that they were wrong .They therefore are willing to do anything and say anything just to COVER UP the mistakes they have made in nearly every case !Their behaviour is only too often, both dictatorial and shocking as three senior judges confirm !
Extract from “The Times” April 13th 2010 !
“Lord Justice Wall (The Senior family court judge) said that the determination of some social workers to place children in an “unsatisfactory care system” away from their families was “quite shocking”.In a separate case on which Sir Nicholas Wall also sat, Lord Justice Aikens described the actions of social workers in Devon as “more like Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China than the West of England” !
Some will criticise this site for my so called “extreme views”.If the three family judges above desribe the family courts respectively as “shocking”,”more like Mao’s China and Stalin’s Russia,and “prejudiced against parents” who am I to contradict them? !!
Concern: Lord Neuberger said judges should take care when presented with closed court requests
Britain’s highest court has launched a stinging attack on secret justice, saying it is ‘not justice at all’.
The president of the Supreme Court said that other than in exceptional circumstances judges should treat requests to hear cases in closed courts with ‘distaste and concern’.
In a blow to ministers, Lord Neuberger said hearing evidence behind closed doors was ‘against the principle of justice’.
LADY HALE:- Dissenting judgement in the Supreme Court “B” a child.
143. This case raises some profound questions about the scope of courts’ powers to take away children from their birth families when what is feared is, not physical abuse or neglect, but emotional or psychological harm. We are all frail human beings, with our fair share of unattractive character traits, which sometimes manifest themselves in bad behaviours which may be copied by our children. But the State does not and cannot take away the children of all the people who commit crimes, who abuse alcohol or drugs, who suffer from physical or mental illnesses or disabilities, or who espouse anti-social political or religious beliefs
Its been 3years now since I contacted you when I was pregant with my daughter, I left the UK and went to the Republic of Ireland. I just want to thank you for the advice and help you give me at the time. I was in a very dark and scary place with social services plan to remove my daughter from birth. I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Lilly while in Ireland and stayed there for a period of time. Social services in Ireland were amazing to me I had so much help, after a few months I came back to the uk where social services did intervene but as social services in Ireland had already did their risk assesment and I’d been caring for my daughter they were unable to prove me as a risk and I was aloud to remain with my daughter. I wont lie it wasnt easy when I came home I did have to sign my daughter into voluntary foster care with a family member but was able to stay with them and look after her just not take her out as they claimed I absconded and feared I would do it again. I jumped through hoops for a year with social services in my life making me prove I was worthy to look after my daughter which I did I proved them wrong I had my final court hearing and they granted all PR back to me, it felt amazing. I then had a second year supervision order which ended last year in Nov. To date my daughters a happy healthy 2 and half year old and I’m extremely grateful for the help you provided me with if it wasnt for you I think I would of missed the best 2 and half years of my life. I dont regret running because evidently the whole thing was worth it I couldnt be happier. Thank you.
1:- The UK is the ONLY State in the WORLD that gags parents whose children have been taken by social services
2:- The UK is the ONLY State in Europe (except Croatia and possibly Portugal) to permit the horror of “forced adoption”.
3:-The UK is the ONLY State in Europe to allow “Punishment without crime” ie the taking of children by social services from parents who have not committed any criminal offence.
4:- The UK is the ONLY State in Europe taking children for “emotional abuse” and worse still “risk of emotional abuse” (on the basis of predictions from overpaid charlatans that one day parents just might harm their children)
5:- The UK is the ONLY State in Europe to censor conversation between parents and children in care.Children are left wondering what they have done wrong as parents are forbidden to explain the situation, or discuss the court case in any way. Phrases such as “I love you and I miss you” are also forbidden under the threat of contact being stopped immediately if the parents “transgress.” Children naturally begin to think their parents might not love them or want them back anymore.
All this is a disgrace to democracy and a disgrace to freedom that could be instantly rectified by legislation to make all the above five practices illegal and to allow parents threatened with permanent separation from their children to demand a hearing by a jury.
A WORD OF WARNING from Lord Denning, rated (by some) as the finest judge of the 20th century.
“Every court should be open to every subject of the Queen. I think it is one of the essentials of justice being done in the community. Every judge, in a sense, is on trial to see that he does his job properly. Reporters are there, representing the public, to see that magistrates and judges behave themselves. Children’s courts should also be open. Names should be kept out but the public should know what happens to the child and proceedings should never be conducted behind closed doors…… ”
After all can anyone answer this question?
HOW CAN SOCIAL SERVICES JUSTIFY THE REMOVAL OF HUNDREDS OF BABIES AT BIRTH FOR “RISK OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE”, AND AFTER HEARINGS IN SECRET COURTS, THEIR FORCED ADOPTION BY STRANGERS?
You don’t believe this happens? Just read this SUNDAY TELEGRAPH LEADING ARTICLE!!
The unnatural justice of secret family courts
The Sunday Telegraph, 26/08/2007
The Sunday Telegraph highlights today yet another case in which a mother has been threatened with losing her baby to local authority care. The mother had not shown any sign at all of harming her child, for her baby has not yet been born.
The local authority, however, is convinced that there is a possibility that she might harm the child.
To most people, it will seem grotesquely unjust that any child could be removed on such a basis. Northumberland County Council is, however, far from unusual in acting in this way. The courts have endorsed the removal of hundreds of children from their natural parents on the basis that there is a possibility that they might “abuse their child emotionally”.
Some of those forcible adoptions are appalling acts of injustice. How can such things happen in Britain? The answer is simple: the courts that enforce the taking away of children from parents on local authority say-so operate in secret. It is illegal to reveal their proceedings, or even their judgments.
The above extract from the Sunday Telegraph is from but one of many articles from respected journalists confirming what I myself have alleged concerning the “SS” and “forced adoptions”;
Why do the “SS” act like they do? Well like most “public servants” social workers NEVER admit to the public that they have made a specific mistake!.
Once they have decided to take a baby or young child away from its parents and into “care”, no matter what new evidence comes out in favour of the parents, they still stick to their original decision . When possible they pursue their instructions from the government to increase the number of adoptions(in order to avoid the expense of paying thousands of foster parents an average of £400/week per child !).Their prime interest then, is NOT the welfare of the baby or child but WINNING their case in court against parents who dispute their decisions .The sad sequel is that the judges nearly always back them up regardless of the evidence of parents who more often than not, have never been accused let alone convicted of any crime! !
It is true that accredited journalists can now be admitted at the discretion of the judges ,who however ban them from any cases likely to be controversial. Even when they are admitted they cannot print names of witnesses or word for word details of proceedings.
It is however the gagging of parents not the media that is so unjust. Protest can only be effective when like rape victims parents (and teenage children who wish to express their views) can shed anonymity and campaign under their own names The new rules (just like the previous rules) state that parties to a case can give information in confidence to individuals who can offer them advice OR support Despite this judges still regularly warn parents whose children have been removed by their courts NOT to discuss their cases with anybody! They pretend to protect the privacy of parents and children by gagging them both ! You couldn’t make it up !
Yes,they gag parents to “protect their privacy” but allow local authorities to advertise their precious children for adoption in the Daily Mirror,and other periodicals, with first names ,colour photographs,birth dates and ethnic origins rather like pedigree dogs ,who of course do not need privacy ! HYPOCRITES ALL !
These are the ten reforms advocated by the Times newspaper and who could seriously disagree?
WE believe that wholesale reforms are needed, which can be summed up in ten points:
1. Open family courts to the press in all but exceptional circumstances (as recommended by the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee).
2.Let any parent or carer accused of abuse call any witnesses they need in their defence. At the moment, they are routinely refused permission to do so.
3.Give automatic permission for parents who are refused legal aid to get a lay adviser to help them present their case. This is routinely refused.
4.Remove the restrictions that prevent families from talking about their case (as recommended by the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee).
5.Review the definition of “emotional abuse” across local authorities, to make sure that it cannot become a catch-all for overzealous officials.
6.Provide an automatic right for parents to receive copies of case conference notes and all evidence used against them in court, just as they would in a criminal trial.
7.Create an independent body to oversee the actions of social services, with proper sanctions. If that body is to be the General Social Care Council, make it easier for parents to go directly to that body rather than having to face delays from the local authority.
8.Let children in care waive their right to privacy if they wish to speak out. For gagging children is surely not consistent with promoting their welfare.
9.Restructure CAFCASS, the Family Court Advisory Service, from being an organisation that reports on the parents to the courts to one that actively promotes the parenting needs of children. The primary focus should cease to be assisting the court process. It should be diverting parents away from contested hearings into the making of parenting plans.
10.Review the recent legal aid cut-backs that are deterring lawyers from taking on these complex family cases. It is quite wrong that desperate parents are unable to find a lawyer to help them in their time of need.
Child protection: MPs must act on the scandal of seized children
Britain’s child protection system is off the rails, and only the politicians who built it can fix it, says Christopher Booker
By Christopher Booker The Sunday Telegraph 30 Oct 2010
Britain’s social workers took a beating again last week. On the orders of the children’s minister, Tim Loughton, full versions of two harrowing case reviews of the Baby P tragedy were published. They found fault not only with Haringey’s social workers but with lawyers, the police and health professionals, Under pressure from social workers, reviews of two similar cases in Yorkshire are still being kept under wraps. Meanwhile, an Ofsted report found that 119 children died or suffered serious injury last year through social workers’ failure to intervene.
Still largely hidden from view, however, is that other scandal, in its way just as disturbing, in which the failure of our child protection system is the very opposite: the seizure of thousands of children a year from loving homes, for no good reason.
In recent months, as I have followed dozens of these cases and been briefed on many more by such experts as John Hemming, the MP who runs the Justice for Families campaign, and Ian Josephs, the former councillor who has helped hundreds of families through his Forced Adoption website, a startlingly consistent picture has emerged. What follows is not based on exceptional cases but on the typical workings of a system which has gone horrifyingly off the rails.
For parents who fall foul of this system, often on no more evidence than malicious hearsay, the first shock is to find themselves treated like dangerous criminals. To seize children, social workers seem able to enlist the unquestioning support of the police, who arrive mob-handed, six or eight at a time, beating down doors, tearing babies from their mothers’ arms, holding parents in custody for up to 36 hours while their children are removed into foster care.
The parents must then wrestle with a Kafka-esque system rigged against them in every way. They find themselves in courts where every normal principle of British justice has been stood on its head. Social workers may give written evidence to a judge which the parents aren’t allowed to see. The most outrageous hearsay evidence may be accepted by the court without the parents even being allowed to cross-examine on it.
A key part is played by evidence from supposed “experts”, psychiatrists or paediatricians who may be paid up to £35,000 for their reports, and who receive regular work from the social workers involved. Parents are forbidden to call their own independent experts to challenge a case made against them. They are, all too often, pressured into being represented by lawyers who, again, work regularly for the council, who fail to put their case and who turn out to be just part of the same system.
Parents may be forbidden to testify on their own behalf, but must listen for hours, even days, to everyone else involved – including their own lawyers – putting what amounts to a case for the prosecution. The guardian appointed to represent the interests of the child may never have met the child and merely endorses whatever the social workers say.
Not surprisingly, these bizarre practices are so geared to the interests of a corrupted system that, in the latest year for which we have figures (2008), of 7,340 applications for care orders made by social workers, only 20 were refused.
Meanwhile, the children themselves are handed over to foster homes, which receive £400 a week or £20,000 a year for each child, and where many are intensely unhappy and not infrequently abused. Foster carers and social workers routinely conspire to tell bewildered children that their parents neither love them nor want them back. Children and parents meet at rigorously supervised “contact sessions”, where any expression of affection or attempt to discuss why the children have been taken from home may be punished by termination of the session or denial of further contact.
The purpose of all this, funded by hundreds of millions of pounds of public money, is partly to keep in being the vast fostering industry, run by dozens of agencies, often owned by ex-social workers, which also receive £20,000 a year for each child they place. Of course, there are many good and responsible foster parents, but statistics show that children in care do very much worse on almost every count, from health to performance in school, than children living with their birth parents.
Another purpose of the system is to ensure that as many children as possible are adopted (at a cost of £36,000 per placement), in accordance with Tony Blair’s personal commitment a decade ago that the target for adoptions in Britain should rise by 40 per cent. Councils are still receiving millions of pounds a year for meeting adoption targets.
Yet virtually none of this reaches the outside world because the system is hidden behind an almost impenetrable veil of secrecy. The nominal reason for this is to protect the identity and interests of the children, but secrecy has been so extended that its real aim is to protect the system itself and all those who do so well out of it.
Parents are forbidden to talk to the media or even to their MPs about the injustice they are suffering. Several times in recent months, councils have sought injunctions to prohibit me reporting anything at all about a case, even though no person or even the council itself would be identified. More than once, parents have been threatened with contempt of court and prison if they talk to me or anyone else about how they are being treated.
Very occasionally a judge or senior lawyer breaks ranks by speaking out against such abuse of state power, as when one Court of Appeal judge recently compared the conduct of a council’s social workers to what went on in “Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China”. But in general this cruel, dishonest and venal system continues on its way, hidden from view, accountable to nobody but itself.
The only people in a position to reform this system fundamentally are those who set it up in the first place under the 1989 Children Act – the politicians. But they have, with one or two shining exceptions – notably John Hemming – walked away from the Frankenstein’s monster that Parliament created. It is now up to them to support Mr Hemming and all those horribly maltreated families who are campaigning for one of the most outrageous scandals in Britain today to be brought to an end.
“SOPHIE” has published a book detailing her personal experiences and the link is here !http://www.mediafire.com/?igb0f758y7ed677
The” baby P effect” is a MYTH ! Just look at the nspcc figures for children subject to a child protection plan from 2007-2011.Total for the year 2007 was 27,900 and for 2011 the total was 42700.Physical abuse rose from 3500 to 4500 during the same period,a fall from 12.5% of the total in 2007 to 10.5% in 2011. No rush to save children like baby P from physical abuse then ! Where did the huge increase come from then? Why the easy children to take with little tangible proof needed against parents ,those said to be emotionally abused or even vaguer “at risk of future emotional abuse!Total of children removed for emoional abuse in 2007 was 7100 and in 2011 was 12100 ! An overall increase of over 70% amounting also to an increase as a percentage of the total from 25% to 28.3%. Clearly emotional abuse often decided by highly dubious “experts”(,sometimes without meeting either children or parents !) has become flavour of the month…… Why should things like this happen? Well I will only mention thay one of the many flourishing fostering and adoption AGENCIES founded a few years ago by social workers was sold for the tidy sum of £130million ! Nice work if you can get it !
The following summary of the problems with social services and the family courts together with the remedies that could and should solve them can be read in a short version as follows:-
PUNISHMENT WITHOUT CRIME
The sad fact is that there is NO justice in the family courts at all for parents whose children have been snatched for “forced adoption and who are GAGGED with threats of prison if they protest publicly.It is not a matter of a few isolated cases going wrong. Nearly ALL contested cases go wrong as courts are so biased against parents that only one in 400 care orders are refused ! Legal aid lawyers(professional losers!) “earn” their fees the easy way by rarely contesting interim care orders and telling their client parents not to speak or sometimes not to attend court at all ! That way the children remain in care under an interim care order for about a year and are allowed very limited and heavily censored contact with their parents who are once again GAGGED !
Most of the evidence presented by the local authority consists of written reports from social workers and “experts” who rarely come to court to be questioned and worse still these reports are rarely shown to the parents! If by some miracle the parents do get to speak their evidence is inevitably rejected in favour of that presented by a barrister (acting like a witness instead of a lawyer) on behalf of absent experts !In short all the rules of evidence go out of the window in the family court.
There then follows a final care order and “placement for adoption” The lawyers inevitably tell their distraught parent clients quite untruthfully that they are not allowed to appeal ! Happy healthy children are adopted by strangers despite hopeless protests from bewildered parents in courts where judges treat their protestations with disdain !What happens after adoption?Well mothers who have tracked down their children have been JAILED for sending a birthday card or waving at them in the street !
The sooner criminal courts with proper rules of evidence take over family cases involving forced adoption or permanent foster care the better !
Parents are not only gagged to prevent them protesting publicly ,they are also gagged when speaking to their own children in fostercare during limited contact periods! Parents are regularly told that they are forbidden(under pain of having contact stopped altogether) to tell them the truth ,that their parents love them and are fighting in court to get them back.If they dare tell them even “the half” of the true situation the “SS”do stop contact altogether so that the unfortunate children only hear the “SS” version that their mother is too ill to look after them any more,or does not love them any more, or worse still that “mummy has a new baby now and does not need you any more ,so we will find you a lovely forever mummy and daddy.”How wicked can they get? And what happened to parents human right to “free speech”?
A kangaroo court or kangaroo trial is a colloquial term for a sham legal proceeding or court. The outcome of a trial by kangaroo court is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of ensuring conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all.
A kangaroo court’s proceedings deny due process rights in the name of expediency. Such rights include the right to summon witnesses, the right of cross-examination, the right not to incriminate oneself, the right not to be tried on secret evidence, the right to control one’s own defense, the right to exclude evidence that is improperly obtained, irrelevant or inherently inadmissible, e.g., hearsay, the right to exclude judges or jurors on the grounds of partiality or conflict of interest, and the right of appeal.
ALL the above applies to family courts when the “SS” apply for an interim care order to remove children from their parents and family to place them with strangers in fostercare !
YES UK FAMILY COURTS ARE KANGAROO COURTS!!
I was sent the following by a distressed parent !
“The beginning is a referral. It can be annonymous or non existent but that will start the process off and the social workers will want to come round. Referrals are routinely made by any government establishment, schools, nurseries, libraries and can be for all sorts of small things. Often referrals are made by people you have asked to help you, like domestic violence help lines, child obesity help centres, counselling services, alcoholics annonymous etc. Every government agency has had Child Protection training to help them look out and record anything such as a child wearing old shoes or a child being quiet or disruptive.
They will tell you that they believe you and your child will benefit from being on a child protection plan and they will arrange a meeting. The child protection plan will aim to have you taken off the plan after you have been checked every couple of weeks, had a core assessment and had core meetings. A bunch of people you don’t know will be there and they will have privately (without you being there) been told that you are a risk to your children.
Once the plan is agreed they will start calling the police to make daily spot checks. The police will comment on your demeanor – were you under the influence, crying, is your house tidy etc. They will come round several times a day to check. Eventually you will get annoyed with this and tell them to go away. They will then say you are not cooperation with professionals and are preventing safety checks so they will apply to the court for a care order.
At the first hearing you will be asked to sign a Consent Order to produce all your medical and criminal records, allow the Social services to speak to any professional about you or your children (including your bank manager or anyone they want) they will insist on the children staying with a foster carer a couple of nights a week to give you respite where they can have access to the children while you are not there. You will also have to consent to a psychological assessment. You will be told that if you don’t consent then the judge will make an interim care order and you won’t get your children back that day, they will be collected from their school or nursery immediately after the hearing and taken to stay with strangers. So you sign the Consent Order.
A few days later you will be back in court for another hearing. This time the court will order the children be taken into care as a precaution because they need to draw a line in the sand! Now they have got the Consent Order they can start digging into every aspect of your personal life. They will get healthcare records, school records, hospital and doctor records, old care records if you were ever in care. They will discard everything positive in the records and make a note of anything negative in their Statement to Support a Care Order. Alot of the things noted you will never have known about previously and will never have had a chance to challenge.
You will be offered a contested hearing and you will be told that you will get the Local authority statement for you to respond to in time for the hearing. While waiting for the hearing the foster carer will quiz the children on whether they have ever been punished by you or if they have ever felt unhappy or scared. The children will think hard and might come up with examples which will be noted down, notwithstanding that these examples may have been from years before and from the perspective of a very small child. eg. Yes, once my mum smacked me and my mum shouts at me sometimes. Once she told me she would cut my hair off if I get headlice, once I saw her cry etc. These will be noted in the foster carer’s daily logs and given to the Local authority to be added to the evidence against you to support the claim that you emotionally abuse your children.
On the Friday before the Monday hearing you will be sent the statement from the Local Authority. There will be so many allegations pulled from all your records and you will be in utter shock because it will make you look like an atrocious parent. You won’t be able to get legal advice before the hearing cause it’s a weekend. You might try to write a statement in response but you are likely to be in a very distressed and nervous state, not know what is going on and in utter shock.
At the contested hearing they will say the threshold has been met and therefore only a change in circumstances will get your children out of care.
Once the Court has given you an ICO every 28 days you can oppose the renewal of the Interim Care Order. The ICO is normally renewed automatically by consent on the basis that your circumstances have not changed and therefore the threshold is still met.
The Judge rarely accepts any submitted change of circumstances as adequate and submitting changes of circumstances is one of their scams to get you to admit that there was something wrong that you need to change. This is normal practice although precedent says that the Judge has to test whether the threshold has been met every 28 days – this NEVER happens. You are able to ask for a hearing every 28 days in which case to present your change in circumstances in opposition to the renewal but the Judge usually just asks you to write in and state what your changes are and then says that it is not enough to justify a hearing! Totally unlawful and illegal if you ask me but that’s what happens. You can’t appeal an interim Care Order usually because they only last 28 days and it takes longer than that to get to the appeal hearing so by the time you appeal the order has expired and your appeal will fail. I do believe though that you should be able to argue in your appeal that you should still be able to appeal an expired order because the future orders all depend on the threshold being met for the expired orders as the threshold is not freshly tested.
As the threshold is so low any child on this planet will pass it. Ie on the balance of probablity is the child at risk of emotional harm. Of course it is. We live life on Earth. It is an evil destructive place to live. Every child is at risk of emotional harm on the balance of probability. Especially where balance of probability means that any allegation made by a social worker will be fact unless you have evidence to prove it is not fact. How can you get evidence to prove your child will never suffer from emotional harm!!
So then they proceed towards a final hearing and send you to all sorts of dodgy corrupt psychologist who is guaranteed to say you are incapable of caring for your child. You will go because you don’t know your rights and no one is explaining them to you.
You will at first have been offered contact with you children at a rate of 3 hours per week. At the contact your older children will be looking to you to tell them what is going on. You will try to tell them that you are fighting for them but you will be told by the supervisor that you are not allowed to discuss adult issues with the children and are not allowed to tell them anything about the proceedings or show any emotion. The contact sessions are for you to enjoy and if you don’t get on and happily enjoy them then you will lose them. Your children will be totally distressed and pissed off and will want to know why you seem so emotionless and happy when they are stuck with strangers. Your younger children will scream uncontrollably whenever you leave after the hour and the supervisor will make allegations that you squeezed or pinched your younger child to make them cry. Then the Local Authority will reduce contact, at first because they haven’t got any supervisors available.
They will reduce contact to 1 hour a week as soon as possible. This will have a devastating effect on the children and the children will start playing up. you and the children will be under so much pressure to enjoy that one hour a week that it will become impossible, especially when that one hour is the same day you have a court hearing, a solicitors appointment a meeting with the local authority or cafcass where you will be told even more false allegations and so you will go to contact feeling totally wound up and scared about what is happening to you and your children.
The LA will then apply for a S34.4 Order because you can’t behave appropriately (like some CBBC presenter) in contact. They may make an allegation that you abused your child or the social worker because they know that on the balance of probability you are guilty unless you have evidence to prove your innocence and as it is their contact centre you won’t have any evidence. they also won’t let the children give evidence because this is considered to be emotionally abusing the children.
You will also be prevented from seeing the children because you have been telling the children you love them and miss them. If your children or you cried or showed emotion during contact this will also be considered to be emotionally harmful/neglectful to the children.
You may have shown elements of anger at the social worker in your tone of voice for lying and being abusive but this will show YOUR unstable mental state and therefore your risk to the children so you will be prevented from seeing the children at all by the S34.4.
While you were allowed contact the times of contact will have been determined by social services. The times are likely to be in the middle of the day during the week and never on weekends or bank holidays. If you normally worked or studied at those times before the children were taken you will have to give up your job or your studies because if you don’t you will lose your children. the Local Authority will not arrange contact at your convenience. It is when they say or not at all.
Once you have lost your job and your income you may then lose your house, your car, get into serious debt and this will start allsorts of new problems. If you are lucky to keep your home you may find it difficult to live there because it will be so distressing to see all the children’s toys, clothes and empty beds around you. You will miss your children terribly and feel an overbearing sense of loss.
You will become depressed and you won’t want to associate with your old friends because they all have children and they just want to go to the park and do child orientated things which you will now find heartbreaking, without your children. People that didn’t know you will have labeled you as a child abuser and won’t be able to look at you or talk to you. Neighbours will think you are trouble because they will remember the police always coming round your house shortly before your children were taken. Your family will have turned against you because the Local Authority will have contacted them in their duty to consider family and made many unfounded allegations against you and presented them with their statement showing you are an atrocious parent.
You may have by this time got so depressed and distressed that you have either gone to the doctor for some mind numbing drugs or maybe you will turn to alcohol. You will feel isolated, a failure, empty, depressed and you will be desperately missing your children.
The the Psychologist appointment you agreed to will come through and you will be Psychologically examined. The psychologist will ask you allsorts of questions based on the information provided by the Local Authority and the Guardian. You may show that you are upset about all the false allegations. You might say you think you were treated unfairly. You might cry. Whatever you do the Psychologist will say you have no insight and you are emotionally unstable and recommend that your children are found a permanent placement.
Then there will be a final hearing. Anything that has happened over the previous 9 months or so will be added to the social services statement to show that you are unable to care for your children. They will then make a final care order.
Once they have a final care order you can only apply to have it discharged on the same impossible change of circumstances every 6 months. But as soon as they get the Care Order they will start adoption proceedings. (the children may have been with prospective adoptive parents under the interim care order as a foster adopter) The children need to be placed for I think 10 weeks before the LA apply for an adoption Order. You can oppose a placement order and an adoption order on a change of circumstances but the change does not need to be significant. However the Judge will ultimately say that the welfare of the child is their priority and go through the welfare checklist. They will always find that it is not in the child’s interest to be returned.
The LA and guardian will have written a report saying the children have settled with the adoptive family and praise the adoptive family as if they are perfect people from another planet and at the same time they will say that the children have lost their bond with you and repeat all the allegations they made of you. Some of these allegations you will have admitted to under duress because they will have told you ‘If you admit to this you can have your children back, or if you admit to this you can see your children’. These allegations will all be fact now because you didn’t have the evidence to disprove them and then they will arrange a goodbye contact with clowns and balloons and you will wave goodbye to your children forever, and you will never know what happened to them. Many of these children will then be trafficked to paedophile rings and used in medical experiments.
So that’s a summary of how it all works. Your job is to stop it!! Don’t expect your solicitor to stop it. Your solicitor will always tell you this is normal practice and you don’t have grounds for appeal and you won’t get legal funding to appeal. You solicitor will always be too busy to make any enquiries and will take a week or more to get back to you.
If you tell your solicitor that you expect them to fight for you because you need justice and there must be something wrong with what they are doing because you love your children, they were healthy, happy, thriving in your care. They were top of their class. Their first health assessment said they were perfect in every way. You solicitor will say you are being unreasonable and will write to the court to come off the court record and discharge your legal aid certificate. Leaving you to fight this horribly unjust system on your own. ”
Sunday Telegraph:-Christopher Booker Column 16 July 2010
Never in all my years as a journalist have I felt so frustrated as I do over two deeply disturbing stories of apparent injustice which cry out to be reported – but which, for legal reasons, I can refer to only in the vaguest terms, This is because to report them as they deserve, and as the victims so desperately wish, would challenge a part of our legal system which has been deliberately shrouded in an almost impenetrable veil of secrecy.
Two weeks ago I described four examples of what I described as one of the greatest scandals in Britain today – the seizing of children by social workers from loving families, on what appears to be the flimsiest and most questionable grounds. The children may then be handed on to foster carers, who can receive up to £400 a week for each child, or are put out for adoption by strangers, in a way which too often leads to intense distress for both the parents and the children involved, One case I referred to concerns a north London couple whose five children were in April seized by social workers from Haringey council and sent into foster care. The mother was pregnant and her baby was born last month. Shortly afterwards, at 3 am, according to her version of what happened, nine police officers and social workers burst into the hospital room where she was lying on a bed breastfeeding, to wrest her baby from her arms with considerable force. They then discovered they had nowhere to take the baby, so it was put in another part of the hospital, where the mother was taken under escort four times a day to breastfeed her child until she was discharged four days later. She has not seen her baby since.
Having talked at length to the mother, I found this story so shocking that I put a series of questions to the council, to get their side of the story. The response of Haringey which, since the national furore over its social workers’ failure to prevent the battering to death of Baby P, has been somewhat sensitive on such matters, was to ask the High Court to rule that I should not be allowed to write about the case at all. Although the court did not go so far, the Sunday Telegraph was reminded of the comprehensive restrictions on reporting such matters, Last week, after spending several hours with the parents, looking at their neat home, the little beds where their children used to sleep and the cot prepared for the baby, I came away more convinced than ever that something had gone very seriously amiss. I found the wife impressive in her detailed account of all that had happened, clearly a devoted mother who feels herself and her children to have been the victims of an extraordinary error – the nature of which, alas, I cannot reveal.
This week two days have been set aside for the mother at last to put her case to a judge, Despite the tragedy that has torn their family apart, the parents have never previously been given any opportunity to challenge the council’s version of the story, I only hope the court takes particular care to check out the evidence put before it’ and that in due course I can report the full story of a case which sheds instructive light on the workings of a system supposedly devised to protect the interests of the children but which too often seems to result in the very opposite, Also this week the fate of another family hangs on another court hearing. This is the story of a couple who last January were rejoicing at the birth of their first child. Some weeks later, concerned by a floppy arm and faint bruising , they took the baby back to the hospital to seek medical advice, This proved to be the start of a nightmare, which led to them being arrested, handcuffed and driven off separately to a police station, where the mother was held for nine hours without food. The father was imprisoned overnight, It emerged that the doctor they saw had reported her suspicion about the child’s injuries to Coventry social workers. The couple were put on police bail, ordering them to surrender their passports and only allowing them to sleep in one of two named houses (the other being the father’s family home). But because no charges had been brought, the social workers allowed the baby into the care of its Irish grandmother, a respected primary school headmistress. To avoid the baby being seized, she took it to her family home in Dublin, where it is supported by a band of relatives with the approval of Irish social services, Determined not to be thwarted, Coventry’s social workers then asked the Irish courts to rule – in a case to be heard this week – that the baby must be sent back to them in England,. The hospital doctor has meanwhile contacted the Irish medical authorities demanding that in no way must they carry out specific medical tests on the baby which might account for its minor injuries.
On Thursday I spoke again at length with the mother, who reported that her own police bail had been lifted and that she was therefore free to travel to Ireland. But the child’s father has been told that he may face criminal charges for injuring his son, a possibility they find incredible. This will be reported to the Irish court, leading them to fear that their child may be deported to England and that they may never see him again. This kind of thing is now happening so often that another meeting I had last week, in the House of Commons, was with the one politician who has done more than any other to expose what is going on. John Hemming, the Lib Dem MP for Yardley, Birmingham, not only set up the Justice for Families website, which contains details of many similar cases, but recently assembled an official All-Party Group of concerned MPs to campaign for the radical overhaul of a system which seems so horribly off he rails, and too often to be betraying the very principles it was set up to uphold. Not the least startling feature of this system is the secrecy with which it has managed to hide away from the world almost all it gets up to, As is confirmed by Ian Josephs, a remarkable businessman who runs the Forced Adoption website and has helped hundreds of families in similar plight, one of its most glaring flaws is the extent to which aggrieved parents are deprived of any right to put their case, not just to the courts but to anyone who might be able to help them. It is a system hermetically sealed off, in which the fate of parents and children can be decided by an incestuously closed community of social workers, police, lawyers, doctors and other professional ‘experts’, who all too often seem to work together in an alliance which seems ruthlessly oblivious to the interests of the families who fall into its clutches. Again and again I have heard of the misery of children torn from their distraught parents, forced to live unhappily in the hands of inadequate foster carers, and whose only wish is to be returned to those they know and live. The more I learn about this scandal, the more I understand why in April an Appeal Court judge, Lord Aikens, savaged the actions of Devon county council social workers in a forced adoption case as having been ‘more like Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China than the West of England’. The council’s lawyers were told to read a judgment by Lord Justice Wall, now head of the High Court’s Family Division, which condemned Greenwich social workers as ‘enthusiastic removers of children’. It is high time the veils of secrecy were ripped from this national outrage, that politicians intervened to call the system to order and that the press was free to bring properly to light family tragedies such as those I have only been allowed to hint at above.
Forced adoption is doubly wicked because it is a “life sentence” where the adopted children are permanently deprived of contact not only with their parents but also with their adult siblings, grandparents,aunts, and uncles . The parents are ruthlessly jailed by secret courts (more than 200 per year) if they dare to protest publicly or reveal identities of any witnesses.
Worse still blameless brothers and sisters are more often than not adopted separately and are forced to lose all contact with each other as well as with the rest of their families(grandparents etc) at least until they are 18 and usually for the rest of their lives.The damage done to these children by heartless judges is simply horrendous……
“What about Baby P? ” I hear you cry !Well, physically injured children like baby P,Victoria Climbé,and others are not good adoption material .They are in any case avoided like the plague if there is a brutal and often drunken boyfriend or stepfather on the premises to intimidate the social workers. Such children are more often than not, callously left to die !Meanwhile social workers move on to easier targets and accuse respectable and more compliant parents (especially single mothers)of posing a “risk of emotional abuse” to their children, and even to their unborn babies !That is how the “SS” work now .
Sunday Telegraph, May 10th 2010 Christopher Booker writes…..
Mother in court over a birthday card
Next Wednesday, Maureen Spalek, a spirited and loving mother, will be in Runcorn magistrates’ court to face a criminal charge of having sent a birthday card to her eight-year-old son – having already been arrested and held in a prison cell for 24 hours for the same offence.
Mrs Spalek is charged with breaking a court order forbidding her to have any contact with her three children, even though she has an order from another judge explicitly permitting her to send them birthday and Christmas cards. Yet a few days after she sent her younger son the card, on April 15, she was visited by two police officers who threatened to beat down her door unless she gave them entry. She was then taken to one of Runcorn’s 30 police cells where she was held in very unpleasant conditions for 24 hours.
Mrs Spalek, the former wife of a naval officer, lost her children some years ago after one of her sons was taken to hospital with a broken leg from a bicycle accident. When she complained about the attitude of a doctor who was treating her son, social workers were called in. When she then, in turn, complained about the “hostile” attitude they had shown to her, the affair escalated to the point where her three children were taken away, on the grounds that she had “problems working with professionals” – even though it was agreed in court that she was an “excellent mother”, that the children were well-behaved and well-looked-after and that they had suffered no physical or emotional abuse. Two were adopted, one lives with their father.
One of the many serious issues not raised in the recent election campaign, because all three parties have agreed not to discuss it, is the growing scandal of the abduction by social workers of children from responsible and loving parents. In too many instances, this gives the impression of a tightly closed system, in which the social workers, who have in the recent past been set “adoption targets” by central government, are aided and abetted by the police, by certain family court judges and even by those lawyers supposedly acting on behalf of the parents. I shall return to this very disturbing issue after Mrs Spalek’s case this week.
This case illustrates a colossal loophole in the family court “secrecy and gagging system” !Any parent that like Maureen commits a minor criminal offence (usually breaking an injunction thus committing contempt of court !) If that parent pleads not guilty and represents him/herself the whole lot can come out in court with no reporting resrictions and can be debated openly !It takes guts to do this but look at the publicity and public outrage that Maureen garnered to help her get contact with her state stolen children !
Are there any “quick fix” solutions that could stop these injustices?There are at least 10 vital reforms needed that are discussed later(see my reform section) but for now I will name the two most important….
NO CHILD SHOULD BE FORCIBLY TAKEN INTO CARE FROM A PARENT UNLESS THAT PARENT HAS COMMITTED or HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME AGAINST A CHILD. All such cases would then commence in the criminal courts WITH THE RULES OF EVIDENCE AND STANDARDS OF PROOF OF THE CRIMINAL COURTS including the right to ask for a hearing by jury if the possible sentence was severe.If the verdict returned is “not guilty” or if charges were dropped the children should be returned immediately. All I ask is that we give imperfect parents the same legal protections that we at present give to murderers but deny to all those unfortunate enough to appear before the UK “family courts”.
Meanwhile however civil courts decide………..
Any parent who is threatened by a care order or adoption for their child should have the right to a hearing by a jury.Any burglar facing a possible 6 months or more in prison can demand a trial by jury but mothers who risk losing their babies or young children for LIFE to forced adoption are denied this right.No jury would take a newborn baby from a mother for “risk of emotional abuse”.
At present juries in civil courts decide complicated cases of libel,slander and even city fraud.They would be more than competent to decide whether or not a child should be removed from its parents and they would not be so ready as “establishment” judges to side in nearly every case with social services against parents desperate to keep their beloved children. In 2007 the “SS” applied for 8173 care orders and only 21 were refused !Rubberstamping by “establishment judges”!Time to bring on 12 men (or women)good and true!
2:- Parents and their teenage children are ruthlessly gagged to prevent them revealing their own names, or names of witnesses in the family courts.It is indeed wicked that mothers whose babies are snatched at birth by social services for “risk of emotional abuse ” are jailed if they protest publicly and the press are restricted in the same way. Surely parents who have had their children removed should, like rape victims be free to waive anonymity and go public if they so choose?It is outrageous that in our “democracy” hundreds of babies are taken from their mothers at birth and if these mothers identify themselves by public protest they are jailed.(Harriet Harman admitted in parliament to at least 200 parents per year imprisoned by judges at secret family courts. )Not only are parents gagged when children are taken they are gagged again at “contact” visits when they are forbidden to tell their children they love them and miss them or to discuss their court case .If they do not obey contact is cancelled immediately and sometimes stopped permanently.The threat of stopping contact is a weapon that the ss exploit ruthlessly to subdue “difficult” parents.
The UK is the only EU member to allow “forced adoption”, and the only EU country to gag parents and jail them if they protest publicly.Both “forced adoption” and “the gag” must go !
The imposition of criminal procedures when matters of “public law” are decided in the family courts,including the right to hearings by jury and also the removal of the gag would not need complicated legislation and would prevent at least 90% of the present injustices.
Mark Harris waved to his daughter; he was handcuffed and jailed!
Maureen Spalek sent a birthday card to her son; she was hancuffed and jailed!
Sarah white sent an email to her children; she was handcuffed and jailed !
For these so called “serious offences” defying the family courts ,three parents were jailed,but was justice really served?
Adoption Targets still exist ! Local authorities are still urged by Ofsted to arrange as many adoptions as possible so as to hit their targets ! See “Early Day Motion” 958 by John Hemmng MP.
Hemming, John That this House notes that the Government abolished the adoption target BV163 in April 2008; considers that the Government should have abolished PAF C23 at the same time, a performance indicator that has the same definition; is concerned that Ofsted continues to put pressure on local authorities to increase the number of adoptions; recognises that the only significant way in which this can be done is to increase the adoptions of babies and toddlers; notes that the disparity between Scotland and England in respect of this issue is blatant; and calls on the Department for Children, Schools and Families to stop pressurising local authorities through Ofsted to increase adoptions and to abolish the performance indicator PAF C23.
Adoption system is UK’s shameful secret
Britain is the only country in Europe where children are routinely removed from their parents without consent, says Christopher Booker
By Christopher Booker Sunday Telegraph 10 Oct 2009
This 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 Adoption 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.
Britain’s forced adoptions: the hidden scandal we can’t ignore
Our social workers normally hit the headlines when some Baby P-type horror story comes to light, showing how they failed to intervene when a child was so maltreated by its parents that it died.
By Christopher Booker Daily Telegraph 7th Aug 2010
What don’t usually make the news, however, are the hundreds of cases when the social workers’ failure is the very opposite: where, aided by police and courts, they seem determined to remove children from responsible parents, to consign them to an often miserable life with foster carers or to adoption.
Having examined many such cases in recent months, some in exhaustive detail, and spoken to experts who are deeply disturbed by what is going on, I have no hesitation in describing this as one of the worst hidden scandals in Britain today.
It is clear that the child protection system created under the Children’s Act 1989 has gone horrifyingly off the rails, leading one High Court judge recently to compare it to the kind of thing which went on in ‘Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China’.
Two general aspects of this system failure are particularly shocking, One is the callous disregard the system shows for both parents and children in failing to uphold the central principle it was set up to protect: the interests of the children.
The other is how the system is shrouded in such secrecy that its workings remain almost entirely concealed from public view.
What is remarkable is how consistently this system displays the same fundamental flaws. From the moment social workers intrude into their lives, the parents find themselves treated like criminals, plunged into a Kafka underworld.
When their children are seized, on suspicions which too often turn out to be unfounded, this is almost invariably with full support from the police. When one mother was recently breast-feeding her newborn baby at 3 o’clock in the morning, no fewer than nine police officers and social workers entered the hospital room to wrest the baby from her.
The parents then find themselves caught up in a court system which seems almost entirely geared to taking their children away. There seems no one outside the system they can turn to. The judges seem predisposed against them, Even their own lawyers can seem as much part of the system as those acting for the other side. When independent experts wish to put their case, their evidence is often ignored.
As parliamentary figures show, the number of applications for care orders averages around 8,000 a year. Of these only between 0.1 and 0.2 per cent are refused.
Often just as evident as the distress of the parents is that of the children, who find themselves placed in the care of strangers for reasons they cannot understand. Where ‘contact’ is allowed with parents this is ruthlessly supervised by the social workers, so that if a mother speaks ‘inappropriately’, as by showing any sign of affection to her child, the contact may be instantly terminated.
All this appears to be in flagrant breach of the original Act, which purports to put the interests of the children first, not least in prescribing that wherever possible if they are taken from their parents they should be kept with their siblings – as so often they are not – or placed with relatives.
Yet Parliamentary figures show that only in one per cent of cases are children placed with ‘kinship carers’ – whereas in Denmark the figure is 45 per cent.
Part of why social workers seem so zealous in seizing children on the flimsiest of evidence is that until recently councils were given ambitious ‘adoption targets’ by central government, rewarded with funds running into millions a year. Huge sums of public money are still available to fund this system. Social worker-approved foster carers can receive up to £400 a week for each child, and not a few social workers are foster carers themselves.
Almost as alarming, however, is the way the system manages to blanket its operations in such secrecy. Nominally to protect the interests of the children, it is forbidden to report anything which goes on in court or which might identify them. But this often goes so much further, as when social workers instruct parents that they must not talk about their case to any outsiders, that the secrecy seems designed to protect not so much the children as the system itself.
Ian Josephs, a businessman based in the South of France, first became concerned about this issue when he was a county councillor and has helped hundreds of distressed families through his Forced Adoption website. High on his list of recommendations as to how the system could be reformed is that parents who find themselves victims of the system should no longer be gagged from speaking to outsiders.
There should be an end to Britain’s system of ‘forced adoption’, almost unique in Europe. Instead of judges deciding behind closed doors, parents should be allowed to put their case to a jury. Contacts between parents and children should no longer be controlled by social workers but by a judge.
Family courts should no longer be allowed to accept mere ‘hearsay’ evidence, Social workers should no longer be allowed to snatch children simply on vague suspicions that they might suffer ’emotional harm’. Finally, the courts should no longer be allowed to exclude evidence from independent experts just because this might challenge the social workers’ case.
With these reforms, says Mr Josephs, much of the rampant injustice of this system might be removed. Since Parliament gave social workers such extraordinary power over other people’s lives, politicians have by and large stepped away from the hideous abuse of that power which has resulted, Only the politicians can now get this tragically corrupted system back on the rails.
And if FOUR articles from the Sunday Telegraph are not enough read two from the Times !
Family Courts are the B-side of the Law
Camilla Cavendish, The Times December 26 2006
What a strange, fumbling kind of justice system it is that condemns a woman as an unfit mother for the heinous crime of trusting her husband. Yet this is what seems to have happened in a recent case that I feel compelled to write about, even though legal restrictions force me to leave out much of the detail.
The nub of the case is this. A woman, let us call her Janie, gave birth to her first and only child a year ago. That baby was taken away from her and subsequently put up for adoption. Not because of her own failure to care for the baby — her own love and care never seem to have been in question. No. She has lost her baby because of a suspicion that her husband John may have injured another child in his previous marriage almost ten years ago.
The suspicion was no more than that. John was never charged with anything, let alone convicted. Social workers were never sufficiently worried to take that first child into care. Since his divorce John has shared custody of that child perfectly amicably with his ex-wife. Yet the same local authority which left the first child with him has forbidden him to see this new baby. And his new wife, despite having nothing to do with the first case, may never see her baby again.
Unless this case is overruled in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, where it is now heading, it will set a peculiar precedent. For it implies that any British mother could be penalised for choosing a partner to whom the State has taken a dislike: penalised with the loss of the thing that is most precious to her in the world.
It cannot be this simple, you are thinking. Well, not quite. The child of the first marriage is disabled, and did seem to have suffered an injury — I am not permitted to say more. But no one knows how. Both John and his first wife have always protested their innocence. They had a second child who came to no harm. No court will ever truly know whether John was innocent. But the fact is that he was never found guilty. For the local authority to leave him alone with a child that it thought he had harmed, and to take away another that had not been harmed, is utterly hypocritical. No court should be able to punish you for a crime you may commit, when there is no evidence.
It should, surely, be a crime to remove a newborn baby from a mother who has never harmed it.
For that in itself is a form of abuse. Yet the secret State often chooses to abuse the children itself, rather than let them run the risk of staying put. They are at least alive, it calculates, even if it is a diminished kind of alive, deprived of the mother bond. And too often, it strikes the wrong balance. In 2002, the ECHR ruled against the British Government for removing a new baby from its mother in hospital and refusing even to let her cuddle it under supervision, when there was no evidence that the baby faced a serious risk at that time. The judgment came too late, though. The baby had already been adopted.
This is what Janie fears. The ECHR has agreed to hear her appeal and to consider whether the English court ruling breached Janie and John’s right to family life, to freedom of opinion and to freedom of expression. That is quite a ticket. But even if the ECHR finds in Janie’s favour, it may be too late. The local authority is already seeking families to adopt her baby. Her only hope is that prospective adopters will be put off by knowing of her appeal.
Any lawyer will tell you that family courts are the B-side of the legal system. The majority of judgments will never be read outside the courtroom. Perhaps judges fear the consequences if they do not support social services and social services are later proved right. They seem to start from the assumption that children are de facto wards of court who need protection from their parents.
Even then, Janie’s case seems extraordinary. Certainly the parents are not the brightest people in the world. They are not perfect. But the more I learn about it, the more I believe that Janie and John’s biggest mistakes were emotional. Janie seems to have been very co-operative. However, John has been irritable, even aggressive, which would support the view that he has a violent nature. But can you really convict on that basis? Which of us could control our temper if faced with losing a child to a bunch of hypocrites? In a Hollywood movie, anger is a natural reaction to injustice. In an English suburb, defiance makes you guilty. The legal system wants “remorse”. But how can you show remorse for something you haven’t done?
Until this case I had tended to be sceptical about the claims that the Government’s targets for adoption were leading to miscarriages of justice. I still feel that ministers were right to want to speed up adoption and to release more children more quickly from the hell of care. But I have now started to take more seriously the argument that these targets have created a perverse incentive for local authorities to take more babies into care. Babies are, after all, more attractive to prospective adopters than older children and therefore an easy way to reach those targets. In Janie and John’s case, you do have to wonder why the authorities have rushed to take away a healthy baby, when they did not take away a disabled one.
Janie’s case seems to me to make a strong argument for introducing juries. Why is a burglar facing six months in jail allowed to ask for a jury trial, but a mother facing the irretrievable loss of her only child is not? Mistakes will always be made when the ordinary, imperfect citizen is judged by the imperfect and powerful. Personally, I would rather face 12 men good and true.
The parents asked judge Munby to stop any adoption of their daughter until the European court at Strasbourg until a verdict had been given by the European Court in Strasbourg.Exceptionally Judge Munby published his refusal for all to see !
As Camilla Cavendish writes in the Times article above,a burglar facing the possibility of 6 months or more in prison can demand a trial by jury ,and quite right too !On the other hand, a mother whose baby has been snatched at birth by social services for “risk of future emotional abuse” can lose that baby for the rest of her life to FORCED ADOPTION but cannot demand that her case be heard by a jury.Judges in family courts nearly always side with social services in such cases ,probably out of caution as just one mistake could mean severe public criticism. This however is no justification for refusing a hearing by jury in which the mother would at least have equal chances with the social services.Juries already pass verdicts in civil courts in complicated cases of city fraud and also libel cases so would have no difficulty in deciding whether mother and child should be separated.
Nearly all the injustices that are reported every day by parents whose children are confiscated in the “family courts” would be eliminated and Britain would be a fairer place !
Camilla Cavendish, of the Times replied to judge Munby as follows:- !
The Rank Hypocrisy of Family Court Judges
by Camilla Cavendish, The Times, May 24, 2007
I was gratified this week to find that an article I wrote in December has been quoted in full by the Court of Appeal. (I only hope there were no typos.) It is flattering that Mr Justice Munby takes The Times seriously. It is of more import that he decided to publish his judgment on the case that I wrote about six months ago. For it is only when judges make their reasoning public that we can start to debate the grounds on which children should be taken into care.
A few long-suffering readers may remember that this peculiar case concerns a woman whose baby was removed by social workers, not because the child came to any harm but because there was a suspicion that her father might have injured a child from his previous marriage. That suspicion was never proven, no charges were ever brought and the child of the earlier marriage was never removed. But a woman who everyone agrees is blameless has lost her only child – for ever – because she is deemed to be besotted with a man who may pose a danger.
As so often in these situations, there are complex allegations and flawed characters. In my view it is questionable whether the father’s inability to conceal his loathing of social workers makes him unsuitable for parenthood. Mr Justice Munby has decided on several grounds not to grant an appeal. The case may still go to Strasbourg, but it will be too late: the child will have been adopted.
This couple have become a cause célèbre for campaigners who fear that the Government’s drive to get more children adopted is having a perverse effect on some local authorities. For the same local authority to leave a man alone with a child that it thought he had harmed, but to take away another that had not been harmed, does seem bizarre. Until you realise that the child from the first marriage was disabled, and older, and would have been hard to place with an adoptive family. The child from the second marriage was a healthy baby, just the kind of “adoptive commodity” that local authorities find relatively easy to place.
I still believe that ministers were right to want to speed children out of the hell of care. But they have put social services departments in a strange position. We now expect them to combine three contradictory roles: to protect children, to keep families together and to meet adoption targets (which bring financial rewards). Under pressure, in situations that are not clear-cut, those roles are bound to conflict.
What is the evidence? Government figures show a significant jump in the number of babies being taken into care, from 1,600 in 1995 to 2,800 in 2005: a 75 per cent increase in ten years. While there has been an increase across all age groups, it is much, much greater for babies. More 10 to 15-year-olds are removed, but the rate of increase was only 21 per cent.
One possible explanation is that the authorities are now monitoring pregnant women, especially teenagers and substance abusers. But there are also numerous examples of relatives being turned down by local authorities when they offer to take the children of a family member. Some of them may indeed be unsuitable. But the turning-down sometimes seems very peremptory. John Hemming, MP, who follows these issues closely, believes that “the [hard-to-place] children the targets were established to get adopted are not getting adopted; instead a completely new group of children are being taken into care, then adopted”. Ministers should be seriously alarmed if a failure to help difficult candidates find homes were being masked by a zealous pursuit of babies.
This case has also brought something else home to me: our hypocrisy about privacy. It is illegal for me to write about most care cases, or to read court papers, even when the parents involved beg me to. I can generally only write when judges go public. Yet I have discovered that even as I was writing about this case last year, painstakingly omitting much of the detail to ensure that no one could identify the child, her picture, real name and age were being published in a national newspaper. Not by a journalist, who would have been in contempt of court. But by an adoption agency, advertising for adopters.
Agencies have to find good homes for needy children. Many do a great job. But for parents who are routinely told that they will be in contempt if they dare to reveal the legal proceedings to anyone outside the court, or even to talk about the child by name, because his or her privacy is paramount, it is staggering to see their children being advertised like pets.
Contempt of court is a serious matter. Last year Harriet Harman, the Minister for Justice, admitted in Parliament that in 2005 “200 people were sent to prison by the family courts, which happens in complete privacy and secrecy”. Family court judges can send parents to prison for up to six months for contempt. Two hundred people is about four a week. That is far more than the number of suspected terrorists we have locked up without a fair trial. So where are the civil libertarians? One young woman was recently sent to Ashford prison for kidnapping her child back from social workers and trying to flee the country. Others seem to be committed for minor breaches of contact orders. The threat of jail is made time and again, and it is real.
The main justification used for keeping family courts secret is to protect the identities of children. It is the argument used to gag parents and the media. How strange that seems when a little girl, whose family struggled to get the right legal advice to keep her, can be paraded around the country.
Every judge in these adoption cases can decide to make their judgment public. Until they do, the pretence of privacy will be nothing but rank hypocrisy.
Read the latest cases!
I repeat my earlier suggestion that in discussions, you quote this extract from “The Times” article above dated Apri13th 2010 !
“Lord Justice Wall (The Senior family court judge) said that the determination of some social workers to place children in an “unsatisfactory care system” away from their families was “quite shocking”.In a separate case on which Sir Nicholas Wall also sat, Lord Justice Aikens described the actions of social workers in Devon as “more like Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China than the West of England” !
The rationale had been said to be that the cases involved truly private affairs, and that the court was not so much deciding contested questions as exercising what was best described as a paternalistic, parental, quasi-domestic and essentially administrative jurisdiction.
Lord Justice Munby went on: “Now that may be so of what we would today call private law cases but it surely cannot be said of public law cases, where, to make an obvious point, the State is seeking to intrude into family life and, indeed, very frequently is seeking to remove children from their families.
“Indeed, where the State is seeking to exercise such drastic powers as are engaged when it seeks a full care order or a placement order, it might be thought that the arguments in favour of publicity – in favour of openness, public scrutiny and public accountability – are particularly compelling.
“I have previously said in public that, viewed from this perspective, our present system is indefensible. I do not shrink from repeating that.”
, our rules and practices were having what I fear was a damaging effect on public confidence in the family justice system
Britain’s child snatchers are a scandal The UK’s system of forced adoption requires the Government’s urgent attention, says Christopher Booker
By Christopher Booker Daily Telegraph, 15 May 2010
Is any human instinct more fundamental than the love of a mother for her children? Last week I reported how Maureen Spalek from Liverpool had been arrested and held in a cell for 24 hours for sending a birthday card to her son, one of three children taken away from her by a family court, despite its agreeing that she was “an excellent mother”.
In Runcorn magistrates’ court on Wednesday Mrs Spalek was told she must return for a pre-trial hearing, before her criminal charge of sending a birthday card goes for trial at a Crown Court. Last month, Mrs Spalek was one of 200 mothers who gathered in Stafford to set up a group known as Child Snatching by the State. They were addressed by Ian Josephs, a businessman based in Monaco, who has championed the cause of parents whose children were unjustly removed by social workers ever since he was a Tory county councillor in the 1960s.
As Mr Josephs describes on his Forced Adoptions website, he has dealt with hundreds of such harrowing cases (always being careful to check that there was no evidence of physical or emotional harm to the children). One is that of Sarah White, repeatedly arrested for attempting to contact her “stolen children”, including an instance when she was jailed for a month for waving to her son when she unexpectedly saw him across the street. Two weeks ago, she was again held in custody for five hours, after her brother posted a YouTube video describing her plight.
Julie Cipriani is another mother arrested for waving to her child in the street and forbidden from further contact after reading out in court her daughter’s loving birthday card.
When another mother threatened with having her baby abducted recently fled to Ireland, her family were repeatedly visited by police, demanding to know her whereabouts. She is now receiving much more humane treatment from Irish social services. (Britain is almost the only country in Europe that permits forced adoptions against the wishes of loving parents.)
In the Commons last October, the Tory MP Tim Yeo described a case where Suffolk social workers waited until the father was out of the house to snatch an 11-week-old baby from the arms of its distraught mother, in order to put the child out for adoption. Until recently social workers were set “adoption targets” by the government, as part of a system where it seems they, the courts and the police are too often conspiring to abduct children from loving parents in the name of what amounts to heartless “social engineering”. Few scandals call for more urgent attention by our new Parliament than this.
I want you to imagine that after many long years of searching Mrs Kate McCann finally found her daughter Madeleine living with a family in some primitive country that had no extradition treaty with the UK. I then want you to imagine that the judges in that country ruled that the child had been found in the streets and been subsequently adopted by that well meaning family, so that even if there was an injustice the adoption could never be overturned.They ruled furthermore that Mrs McCann would be put in jail if she destabilised the adoption by trying to contact her daughter,waving at her in the street or even sending her a birthday card ! There you have an exact parallel with the cases of the three mothers named in Christopher Booker’s article !
Now listen to a prominent Member of Parliament:
———— Want to track down your adopted child or missing parent?
Don’t forget you can use facebook,twitter,genes united,friends united and countless other similar sites.
If you need help some of the following organisations might be able to help you.
www.dadpeter.co.uk (Help parents trace their forcibly adopted children !) or
Big money to be made in the adoption trade
by Christopher Booker Daily Telegraph, 19th June 2010
If ever there was a scandal which called for the full glare of publicity it is the highly secretive system which allows thousands of children to be sent for forced adoption, writes Christopher Booker.
On June 3, a 17-year-old Staffordshire girl, living with her parents and seven months pregnant, was horrified to receive a letter which began: “Dear Corrinne, I am the new allocated social worker for your unborn child. We have serious concerns about your ability to care for your unborn baby. We are so worried that we intend on going to Court to apply for an Order that will allow us to place your baby with alternative carers.” This so shocked the family that they raised what money they could and, like many others faced with similar threats, escaped abroad, where they now live in circumstances hardly conducive to a happy delivery of their new child.
Staffordshire social workers were also involved in the tragic case of Maureen Smith, the mother so desperate at the prospect of losing her two children that she fled to Spain, where she killed them before attempting suicide. As she wrote in her suicide note: “Social Services In Staffordshire and their policy of forced adoption are responsible for this.”
These are just two instances of the vast, long-running tragedy which Bob Geldof, launching a report last December on the “barbaric” chaos of our family law system, called “state-sanctioned kidnap”, whereby social workers, abetted by family courts and an army of complicit lawyers and “experts”, routinely snatch children from loving parents to feed the maw of the adoption and fostering industry.
Yet contrast this with last week’s report exonerating Kirklees social workers from any failings in the case of Shannon Matthews, the Yorkshire girl made subject, after years of neglect and ill-treatment, to a fake kidnap by her mother (described by local police as “pure evil”). Even though no fewer than 22 agencies had been involved with this dysfunctional family over many years, the report found that Shannon’s treatment did not justify taking her into care.
If ever there was a scandal which called for the full glare of publicity it is the highly secretive system which allows thousands of children to be sent for forced adoption, often on no proper pretext. Meanwhile the list of cases where social workers ignore all evidence in allowing the abuse of children to continue, grows ever longer.
It is not generally appreciated how adoption and fostering, organised by social workers, have become big business – quite apart from the fees charged by those lawyers and experts who are part of this corrupt system. Adoption payments and access to a wide range of benefits can provide carers with hundreds, even thousands of pounds a week. Still to be found on the internet (see the Forced Adoption website) is an advertisement by Slough Family Placement Services headed “Balloons and family fun to promote fostering”. This promised that Slough’s town square would be “bustling with activities including face painting and balloon modelling”, complete with a “David Beckham lookalike” (“bring a camera”), to launch “a new fostering allowance of £400 a week”.
I have recently reported the harassment and repeated arrests of Mauren Spalek, the devoted Cheshire mother whose two younger children were taken from her in 2006, and who faces trial on June 29 on a criminal charge of sending her son a birthday card. Last week it emerged, from an official register, what the occupation is of the woman who adopted her stolen children. She is a social worker.
Forced adoption is a truly dreadful scandal
Social workers are removing children from loving families without proper justification, says Christopher Booker
Daily Telegraph, 3 July 2010
In recent months, I have been reporting on what is one of the most alarming scandals in Britain today – the secretive system that allows social workers to remove children from loving families without any proper justification, and to send them for adoption or fostering with no apparent concern for their interests.
Four more examples have come to light in the past week. The first came to my attention via Lynn Boleyn, a former councillor from Dudley, who first became concerned about “forced adoption” when she sat on various committees concerned with child care. Last week, she was in court with a mother of five girls, whose family tragedy began when her partner was sentenced to 14 years for abusing the eldest girl, who was sent to live with a relative. Although there was no evidence of their mother harming them in any way, the other four girls were seized by Dudley social services and placed in foster care. Three were kept together, separated from their two-year-old sister whom the council now wants to put out for adoption.
The three girls, aged 11, 10 and 7, are desperately unhappy, constantly asking to be reunited with their mother. But on Friday, a judge said he had no power to stop social services summarily withdrawing them from their local school to be sent to a new home. The 11-year-old was looking forward to being in the school play and the end of term Leavers’ Service. She has now been torn away from friends she has known since she was four, the nearest thing to stability left in her life. The children’s wishes were not taken into account.
A second case concerns another woman, for 20 years an NHS nurse who served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in the first Gulf War. Until recently, she was a semi-professional dog breeder, living happily at home with her eight-year-old son (his father having walked out when she was pregnant).
In March, their home was raided by two RSPCA officials and five policemen, complaining she had too many dogs in the house. Her home was untidy because she was clearing an attic, but the seizing of the dogs (breaking the leg of one of them) left it a befouled mess.
Acting on a tip-off from the RSPCA, Leeds social workers then intervened, and expressed surprise that the house was tidier than they expected. Nevertheless, they told the mother to bring her son’s clothes to school, from where he was taken into foster care.
After three months, during which he has only been allowed short supervised “contact” with his mother, the boy is miserable, constantly asking when he can return home. His mother has repeatedly had to draw the social workers’ attention to various conditions, such as head lice and threadworm, which indicated that he was not being properly cared for. Last week they announced that they were moving him to another foster home.
Although there was no evidence that she was anything other than an admirable mother, apart from the temporary mess made of the house in March, the social workers say her son cannot be allowed home until they have both undergone “psychiatric assessments”. These cannot be arranged until October. Nor has the boy yet been given a guardian to represent him, as the law lays down.
My other two cases come from Ian Josephs, the former county councillor and businessman who runs the Forced Adoption website and has helped hundreds of families in a similar plight. When, in January, a couple brought their newborn son to hospital with a fractured arm, Coventry social services were called in on suspicion that the child might have been injured by his parents. After the mother had been arrested, handcuffed and held by the police for nine hours, the couple were terrified that their baby would be taken from them. Although not charged with any offence, they are on police bail, which prevents them from leaving the country.
The child’s Irish grandmother took the baby to Ireland, where he is now surrounded by a large, supportive family. Social services are attempting to get an order through the courts for the grandmother to return to England with the baby.
My last case is so shocking that I will return to it in more detail at a later date. It centres on a London couple who, earlier this year, had their six children seized by social workers on what appears to be flimsy hearsay evidence (I have seen the court papers).
The mother was pregnant again. Last month, after the boy was born, three social workers and five policemen entered the hospital ward where she was breastfeeding at 3am, wresting the baby from her by force. They then discovered that they had nowhere to keep him. The boy was put into intensive care, where his mother was taken to breastfeed him for four days, until she was fit to leave the hospital. She saw her baby for the last time two weeks ago.
I will return to this story when I have had some explanation from the council responsible.
MYSELF, MY SITE and WHY I DO THIS.
I live and work in Monte Carlo where I own and run a language school. I have an Oxford University law degree but I am not a solicitor or a barrister. So. . . Who am I really? And why do I do what I do?
I am NOT repeat NOT another “Mother Teresa” and I rarely give to charity (in case I end up paying for the director’s Rolls Royce!) but fighting the often brutal actions of Social Services is a cause very close to my heart. Social Services have never hurt me, my family or anyone close to me so I have no personal axe to grind but I HATE THE ABUSE OF POWER and particularly the way the bullies in social services ruthlessly destroy the very families they are supposed to protect. As a matter of principle I never charge a fee and never accept any money whatever for any expenses. Anything a parent tells me is strictly confidential but if parents do want me to involve the press by way of protest I also solemnly undertake that if ever I get offered a fee by a newspaper for introducing a family or writing about parents whose children have been taken then I promise to give 100% of any money received to the family concerned and keep nothing myself. I have no wish to imitate those disgusting people who make money out of the misery of parents who have had their children snatched by Social Services!!
I get two or three new calls from parents nearly every day and advise each one as best I can. Forgive me if I ask you to repeat details and phone numbers each time you telephone or contact me as with around 100 cases going on now, at the same time, and literally thousands of cases since I began giving advice in 2005, I need reminding of the basic facts to avoid confusing one similar case with another! I have businesses to run so can only spare the time to fly over to the UK and go to court for parents as a “Mckenzie friend” in the very worst cases(free of charge) for mothers with no criminal records, drug or alcohol problems who have had their babies snatched at birth by Social Services. This happens more often than you would think !!I will however always find the time to give my advice by email or telephone to ANY parent who contacts me concerning a problem they have with the SS (social services)!
My site is different because it takes the form of a personal message from me to you, the reader and my promise to help you personally if it is within my power to do so! In exceptional cases I have personally refunded the travel expenses to Ireland of pregnant women(not addicted to alcohol or drugs and with no criminal record) who have been told by UK social services that their babies will be taken from them at birth. So far I have helped at least 20 avoid the horrors of forced adoption of their newborn babies.
The public find it hard to believe what is happening to THOUSANDS of parents in the UK.
6 Facts worth noting !
1:-The following extract from a judgement in the House of Lords confirms that alone in THE Council of Europe (except possibly Portugal) the UK CONTINUES to allow and encourage the barbaric practice of taking children from loving and desperate parents and giving them to strangers for closed and secret adoptions without parental consent.
House of Lords – Down Lisburn Health and Social Services Trust. Baroness Hale of Richmond. Judgement
There is, so far as the parties to this case are aware, no European jurisprudence questioning the principle of freeing for adoption, or indeed compulsory adoption generally. The United Kingdom is unusual amongst members of the Council of Europe in permitting the total severance of family ties without parental consent. (Professor Triseliotis thought that only Portugal and perhaps one other European country allowed this.) It is, of course, the most draconian interference with family life possible.
2:-Although the Children Act 1989 specifies that kinship placements(with relatives) are the preferred option in this country:-
The UK has a significantly lower proportion of children ‘in care’ or ‘looked after’ in kinship care than in other countries, with approximately 12 per cent, as compared to New Zealand’s 75 per cent, and Belgium’s 33 per cent
3:-Two children in care die of neglect each week The People, 22 June 2008 By David Collins
Children placed in care are three times more likely to die than others, a shock report has revealed.
In one year, 16 in 10,000 vulnerable youngsters died in care. The national death rate for children was five in every 10,000.
The study by the Department for Children, Schools and Families showed that 800 youngsters have died in care over the last ten years – an average of two a week.
The “risk” of a baby or young child being emotionally abused by a parent at some future date pales into insignificance when compared with the horrors and terrible risks that await every child taken into care by the State !
4:-Extract from The Times, Aug 23 2007: “Emotional abuse” has no strict definition in British law. Yet it now accounts for an astounding 21 per cent of all children registered as needing protection, up from 14 per cent in 1997. Last year 6,700 children were put on the child protection register for emotional abuse. compared with only 2,600 for sexual abuse and 5,100 for physical abuse. Both of the latter two categories have been falling steadily. Meanwhile emotional abuse and “neglect” – which replaced the old notion of “grave concern” in 1989 – have been rising. Both are catch-alls. But emotional abuse is especially vague. It covers children who have not been injured, have not complained, and do not come under “emotional neglect
How can forced adoption by strangers of hundreds of babies said to be “at risk of emotional abuse ” be justified? These babies and young children are permanently deprived of their parents and immediate families not for something that their parents have done but for something that a “hired prophet”(expert) thinks they might do in the future !
5:-In answer to a parliamentary question Harriet Harman (then Minister for children) admitted that more than 200 parents every year were jailed in complete secrecy in the family courts (probably for breaking gagging orders ).
Immediate release – 8th February 2013
Care application levels continue increasing
January 2013 statistics from Cafcass
In January 2013, Cafcass received a total of 960 applications. This is a 4% increase on January 2012 levels and is the fourth highest level of applications recorded in a single month this financial year.
From April 2012 onwards:
- Between April 2012 and January 2013 Cafcass received a total of 9,112 applications. This figure is 7.8% higher when compared to the same period last year.
- The 991 applications received in July 2012 were the highest ever recorded for a single month.
- Applications received during all months bar June this financial year have been the highest ever recorded by Cafcass for these individual months.
- The comparatively lower demand in June 2012 is believed to be due to the lack of working days available due to the special bank holidays this year.
April 2011-March 2012:
- During 2011-12, Cafcass received 10,244 new applications.
- This figure is 11.2% higher when compared to previous financial year.
- Applications received between May 2011 to February 2012 during this year have been the highest ever recorded by Cafcass for these individual months.
April 2010-March 2011:
- During 2010-11 Cafcass experienced a 4.2% increase in care applications with 9,204 new applications up from 8,832 in 2009-10.
- The 8,832 figure for 2009-10 itself saw a 36% increase in the number of applications received compared to 2008-2009.
Please click here to view the spreadsheet, which in addition to the monthly national stats, has a tab displaying a breakdown of application and children numbers by Local Authority for each complete quarter from April 2011.
Cafcass homepage: www.cafcass.gov.uk
Christopher Booker Column 5 Nov 2010
There was a time when Britain took pride in offering a safe haven to the victims of vicious tyrannies in other countries. Today we see this in reverse, where scores of families each year are forced to flee this country as the only way to escape a vicious system bent on seizing their new-born children for no good reason. Last week I heard two more such horror stories and here is the first, in which I am legally compelled to disguise the names, Roger and Carol lived happily in Doncaster with their five-year old daughter. One day last November they had a marital disagreement, involving no more than raised voices. They were overheard by a neighbour who called the police, The couple were arrested and held for nine hours before being released without charge, But the police had summoned the social workers to remove the child, who had not been harmed in any way other than hearing her parents having a row, as countless children do every day, The social workers obtained an interim care order, on the grounds that the child was ‘at risk of emotional harm’, and gave her to Roger’s parents, both of whom have worked for the police, Although relations remained amicable, the grandparents insisted on working closely with the social workers. The parents were only allowed contact with their daughter in a filthy little ‘contact room’ in the local social services office. The social workers were constantly late in bringing the child to these meetings and, as is usual, the parents were told that if they showed any emotion their contact would be stopped, Under this strain, Carol in February had a miscarriage. Last June, puzzled at why the interim care order had not been renewed as the law requires, Carol called the court to be told that the order had lapsed three months earlier. When her husband confirmed this by a second call to the court, Carol drove to her parents-in-law’s home to explain that there was no longer any legal reason why her daughter could not be returned to her. Her mother-in-law protested, but the child was so overjoyed that she was free to go home that she ran to get into her mother’s car. The mother-in-law stood in front of the car but Carol reversed and drove off. When her daughter said she was hungry, they stopped at a motorway service station, The grandmother had alerted the police, the car number was picked up by a camera and before long Carol, now again pregnant, was being arrested, handcuffed and pushed into a police van, On entering the police station, she collapsed and was taken to hospital, Next day she was driven back to Doncaster and interviewed four times. The police confirmed there was no care order in place, but to her astonishment Carol was told she would be charged with assaulting her mother-in-law, although there had been no physical contact between them. After midnight she was released.
When the social workers applied for a new care order, the judge reprimanded them for their ‘slipshod work’ but granted the order on the grounds that Carol had taken back her child ‘without thought’. Before the next hearing, the parents’ solicitors advised them to undergo psychological assessments. The psychologist found there was nothing wrong with Carol, but that Roger was ‘narcissistic’. They then underwent a second assessment, based on giving ‘true or false’ answers to 170 questions, such as ‘Last week I flew the Atlantic eight times’. This time the verdict was that Roger was normal, but that Carol showed ‘high probability of being a borderline alcoholic’, although she hardly ever drinks at all. They could have no further contact with their child. In September Carol was in court to face the assault charges, By two to one, the magistrates found that, although there was no direct evidence she had assaulted her mother-in-law, she had been ‘emotional’ in court which indicated the ‘possibility’ that she might have been similarly emotional during the confrontation. They therefore found her guilty, ordering her to return for sentencing in October.
Two days later, it transpired that the hospital she had visited for ante-natal tests had told the social workers she was pregnant, Her daughter’s guardian told her that, when the baby was born, the social workers would seize it. At this point, Carol decided she could take no more, ‘I had already lost one child’, she says,’I had suffered a miscarriage of justice, After all I had been through, there was no way I was going to lose another child’. She carefully did her homework on the internet, not least through the Forced Adoption website run by Ian Josephs, a businessman living in the south of France, where she read many similar stories to her own. She discovered that a possible escape route was northern Cyprus, which has no extradition agreement with the UK. Without telling her husband, she sold one of her cars to get money for the journey, and travelled overnight in a coach down the motorway, passing the place where her daughter’s last sight of her mother had been of her being bundled into a police van. At Heathrow she waited hours for her plane, terrified she might be arrested. Twenty four hours after leaving home she arrived in the middle of the night in Cyprus, all alone in an unknown land. But she had made it. The following day, being a resourceful woman, she soon began to find her feet, amazed at how friendly and helpful everyone was, including the authorities. Two days later, after she had managed to tell her husband what she had done, he flew out to join her. Today, a month later, set up in a spacious villa, surrounded with friends, they cannot believe their good fortune. A scan in the efficient local hospital confirms that they can expect the birth of a healthy son, As they begin to build a new life, Carol told me last week ‘we feel we have escaped from hell into heaven, The only thing which matters to us is that we have managed to protect our baby and future children from an outrageous, heartless business, bult round treating children as a commodity. Any other family in our situation really needs to take heed and get out. I don’t feel proud to be a British citizen any more because of what happened to us’. Meanwhile, back in Britain last week, the Sun and ITV’s This Morning show were celebrating ‘National Adoption Week’ by advertising a row of children for adoption, complete with names and winsome pictures. What neither would be allowed to do, however, is report the story of how those children came to be taken from their parents in the first place, In some cases this may genuinely have been in the child’s interests. But in too many others the story of how cruelly children in Britain today can be snatched from loving and responsible parents might make those Sun readers very angry indeed.
This mother went on the run across Europe after social workers tried to snatch her son. Her crime? Letting him see her husband shout at her…
By Sue Reid Daily Mail 16th August 2009
Angela Wileman never thought this day would come. She wraps her arms around her seven-year-old son Lucas, as if she cannot let go. ‘I have fought to keep him and I have won. At last we can stop running away,’ she says with relief in her voice.
Sitting in the garden of her home, with toys strewn on the lawn, this English mother is still stunned that earlier this week she eventually triumphed against social workers planning to seize her son and hand him to new adoptive parents.
For two years she has played a cat-and-mouse game as the British authorities spent thousands of pounds chasing her around Europe, decrying her as a bad mother and threatening to put her in prison. An MP is now demanding an investigation into the waste of taxpayers’ money by Devon social services.
Terrified of losing Lucas, Angela fled first to Spain and then Sweden. She now lives in County Wexford, Southern Ireland. The authorities in each of the countries deemed her a perfectly good mother to her son and let her keep him.
But it had been a very different story back in Britain, where Angela, 33, fell foul of a disturbing new tactic by social workers.
In the past ten years there has been a 50 per cent rise in the number of parents who, just like her, have been accused of ’emotionally harming’ their children. A quarter of forced adoptions happen after social workers allege that the child has been the victim of emotional abuse – far more than instances of sexual abuse or cruelty.
Last year, 6,700 ’emotionally harmed’ children were placed on the protection register. There were 2,600 registrations for sexual abuse and 5,100 for physical abuse.
Parents who social workers say might shout at, or even loudly reprimand, their children in the future have been branded as potential emotional abusers and had their toddlers or newborn babies removed from them.
‘Emotional harm’ is the latest buzz phrase in the social workers’ lexicon – one that can condemn almost any family. Yet it has no strict definition under British law.
This sorry story dates back to the six years 1960-1966 when I was a Kent County Councillor and a mother came to me for help because social workers had taken away her son, Trevor, aged 12 (and of near-genius IQ) because he got bored at school and played truant! She was denied all contact and when I asked where he was and if, as the mother’s elected representative, I could at least see him myself I was told to mind my own business! I found him at a special private school (owned by the deputy leader of the Labour Party at the time) that was charging exorbitant fees more than 3 times those charged at ETON or HARROW! Young Trevor informed me that the boys were paid the sum of one shilling (5p) when required to sleep with any of their ‘over affectionate’ teachers at this very ‘special’ children’s home! Eventually after acrimonious debates in the Council chamber and a court action he was returned to his mother and I was asked to help many other parents whose children had been removed for absurd reasons.
I applied in court for the discharge of care orders. I called the parents and sometimes the children themselves as witnesses in court against my own Council and I never lost a case so I was not best popular with my colleagues and the social workers! However after 6 years of neglecting my language school (then in Ramsgate) I decided not to stand at the next election as I really had to earn my living and look after my family so I reluctantly gave up the battle for a time.
In 2004 there was suddenly a lot of publicity when it was admitted that thousands of children had been wrongly taken from mothers who had been diagnosed with Munchausen’s Syndrome, meaning that mothers who took their children to hospital too often were deliberately hurting them to draw attention to themselves. This was one of the absurd notions of the now discredited Professor Meadows which had no scientific basis that could possibly justify attributing the syndrome to so many unfortunate women. Worse still was his completely unproved theory that two cot deaths in the same family were 70 million to one! Hundreds of women were condemned for murder. Their surviving children and babies born subsequently were taken away and given for adoption by strangers. Only later was it realised that genetic factors made it far more likely for cot deaths to repeat in the same family than elsewhere and odds reduced to about 60 to 1.
These cases were in the Criminal Courts so they got fully reported and this provoked me to write to the Daily Mail detailing some of my experiences on Kent County Council all those years ago. They published my letter and I was surprised subsequently to receive several requests from mothers and parents trying to recover – and in some cases just to contact – children snatched from them by Social Services. I am now comfortably off, my 7 children are adult and I am in my seventies, with the time and still with the energy to once again take up the battle with Social Services!
Couple who fled UK after social workers took their child are declared fit parents by Spanish officials and reunited with baby No2
By Sue Reid, Daily Mail Last updated at 12:11 PM on 18th December 2010
A baby boy who was snatched from his parents on the authority of social workers has been returned after tests showed the couple are perfectly capable of caring for him.
Ten-month-old Daniel was back home with his parents last night after spending most of his young life in an orphanage.
The smiling boy was cuddled by his father and mother, Jim and Carissa, whose names we have changed for legal reasons.
The couple had fled to Spain, where Daniel was born in February, after their other child, Poppy, now two, was seized by Suffolk social services and put up for adoption.
They had deemed the couple ‘unfit’ parents who might emotionally harm their daughter in the future.
This decision was roundly criticised in the Commons by local MP Tim Yeo as ‘tantamount to child kidnap’.
Daniel was still being breast-fed by Carissa in hospital when Spanish social workers, acting on a tip-off from Suffolk, took him and placed him in an orphanage in Valencia.
Now, in a snub to their UK counterparts, Spanish social workers say Jim and Carissa are no danger to Daniel.
Jim, a 42-year-old legal adviser, and Carissa, 32, plan to sue Suffolk social services for breaking up their family.
They are also taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights claiming their family life has been destroyed, as they prepare to fight a High Court legal battle to get Poppy back next month.
Last night Jim said at their home in Spain: ‘The Spanish social services say we meet all their criteria for being good parents and we’re delighted.
The authorities here did extensive psychological tests on both of us and found we are normal, and capable of caring for our children. We passed the six tests with flying colours.
‘We hope this will lead to our family being reunited with Poppy at last, and the four of us being left to get on with our lives together.’
His parents had moved to Spain when Carissa became pregnant with Daniel and received warnings from Suffolk Council that he might be taken away when he was born.
Their daughter had been torn from Carissa’s arms at 12 weeks old in October 2008 when social workers and police arrived at the couple’s home in East Anglia.
They were acting on unproven allegations about Carissa from her ex-husband after a difficult divorce.
They refused to believe evidence to the contrary provided by the couple. But the brutality of the snatch led to the intervention by Mr Yeo. He said: ‘Suffolk Council actively seeks opportunities to remove babies from their mothers.’
Meanwhile, Poppy is living with foster parents who hope to adopt her.
Suffolk social workers are not allowed to rubber stamp the adoption while Jim and Carissa fight the plan in the High Court.
The crucial test results on Jim and Carissa have been examined by the Daily Mail. We have changed their names and Daniel’s because, under British laws, the identity of the family cannot be publicised while Poppy is up for adoption.
The return of Daniel is a breakthrough for scores of families who have fled overseas to escape the clutches of British social workers.
In a separate move, Jim and Carissa, along with 35 families, have launched unprecedented legal action against UK family courts which have taken 50 of their children for forced adoption. All were deemed at risk of ‘future emotional harm’ from their parents, a condition unproven in science and often used as the premise to remove children from families by social workers.
Jim said: ‘To find our son had gone as she lay in the hospital was cruelty beyond belief.
‘She could not bear to face the heartbreak again of having yet another child snatched from her. So she decided to be sterilised there and then.’
They saw Daniel on nine occasions after he was taken to the Spanish orphanage 10 months ago. ‘He recognised us every visit and since he arrived home he has never stopped smiling at us,’ added Jim.
A family that made a successful escape would like to give others some helpful advice !
I would like to thank you for the advice you gave me, it was the best think we did in coming here.. We found a lot of help and support from the entire community here and our case ended last fri after only meeting with irish social workers once.. There are so many ways that the people here help and guide you through, they also will willing speak up for you if needs be..
My advice to all parents who come is is to declare yourself and become an active member of the community, not to hide as i did for the 1st 3 weeks we where here, if i had my case would of ended 3 weeks earlier..
So once again thank you for your help and advice
If you put my other email which is firstname.lastname@example.org that would be the best one for me to use and my number is +353894486572.. I hope I can help others to get out of trap they set for us in the uk.. Many people here in Ireland help willingly, police, solicitors and even social workers here do all they can to help put you back on track and stop the kidnapping
March 21, 2010…5:17 pm
UK DV victims fleeing their abusers (ex partners,social services,family court judges,Cafcass etc..)- A survival guide
The truth of the matter is since emotional harm was added into the children act as a form of abuse, UK government departments have branched out in all areas of emotional welfare concerning children and child protection.
Marco born in one of Malaga’s hospitals
As with my own story one of the saddest situations for women today are those who are or have been involved with reporting domestic violence are at serious risk of losing their children. From the moment a mother picks up the phone to the police and reports her partner or ex partner for domestic violence her children are ear marked for removal and adoption. Brutal you say? yes the law is brutal unless you can prove you can protect yourself and your children from the abuser…but of course you say ‘is’nt it the police and criminal courts job to do that’..well erm actually according to the social services and a family court judge no injunction will protect mother because either father will not take notice or mother will break the order herself because she is weak and in love with him.
If you report DV more than once YOU WILL be branded weak and EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE putting your love interests before the interests of your children (apparently). Social services will also throw in a few bits about the children being untidy or aggressive for good measure in their reports be it true or in most cases NOT.This is how social services persuade a judge to put a care order on your children so they can be removed from you and taken into foster care. Anyone who has read John Hemmings or LyndaMac blogs will know that doctors who are appointed by the family court otherwise known as ’expert witnesses’ are in a league of their own. These doctors are paid for by the social services, Cafcass and your legal aid (if you represent yourself no wonder the court want you to get a solicitor asap or the expenses is down to everyone else!).
Now i am not saying all doctors are total quacks Mystic Meg’s ‘ I know it all’ types, but I would say in their own ‘field’ they most certainly think they know it all otherwise they wouldn’t be on the expert witness panel of Court certified Doctors would they? (you can find these just google expert witnesses). I wont go into the Psychobabble of expert witnesses who are used as a weapon of mass destruction against you in court as I want to save this topic for the future and in great detail in my book. For now I want to concentrate on where does a woman who is in the situation where she is on the brink of losing her children? Ok please take note of the following..
Republic Of Ireland
Is classed as the ‘common travel area’ and the social security system is linked with the UK’s. If you are unemployed you can claim your benefits in Ireland just as you would in UK, what you cannot get away with is claiming in both countries, it is LINKED!. Emotional harm does exist in Ireland’s child protection (although only extreme harm and with EVIDENCE of such not like in the UK where it is on ‘possibility) but from my experience and knowledge they DO NOT take children from a parent who has suffered and/or reported domestic violence. So if that if your problem then go and build your children a new life away from your abuser. If you choose not to keep your abuser away then repeated DV will not go un-noticed and you may well both be pulled into court and have exclusion orders slapped on you, break these and your children will be at risk of going into care but not adopted as it is illegal to adopt a child against the parents wishes here. You will need in order
1) PPS number from your City social welfare/tax office (take as much ID as you can for you and your children) you can get your PPS numbers by ringing up after a few days ,quote your reference number)
2)Take your PPS numbers to your LOCAL social welfare office and apply for single parent whilst you find a job or not depending on what you want to do.
3) Go to http://www.daft.ie and find a landlord/property who will accept rent allowance
4) Find your local ‘Clinic’ this tends to be a doctors and in there will be a supplementary welfare officer for you to claim weekly money and rent allowance whilst your single parent claim goes through.Register at the doctors whilst your there and apply for a health card and the health nurse. If you feel it necessary approach social services as i did and tell them why you are here they maybe able to offer you some assistance in a good form and not one that is intrusive or threatening like what you have experienced with British social workers.http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Schemes/SupplementaryWelfareAllowance/Pages/RentSupplement.aspx
5) Apply for child benefit, to get this you must provide a letter from the local school confirming the attendance of your child or if child is under 5 a letter from your doctor confirming registration.
Do not go to Spain if you need to rely on the benefits system (unless you are a pensioner of course), this is most unfortunate for people with disabilities but i will find a solution eventually! To survive in Spain you must work, here is a quick survival guide.
1) Emotional harm does not exist in Spain so unless you have been accused of physical ,sexual or neglect against a child you WILL keep your children. For domestic violence issues it is pretty much the same as Ireland except they may well throw the woman into prison if you continue to break any exclusion orders against your partner purely because you are wasting police and court time reporting your abuser! In the high-profile cases of Megan Coote and Sam Hallimond and partner Vanessa both concerning Suffolk social services here is the difference…http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255458/British-parents-fled-Spain-stop-social-services-kidnapping-baby-week-old-son-taken-Spanish-authorities.html
The Spanish Authorities say Megan gets to keep her baby as it was future emotional harm that the UK were seeking to remove the baby for (doesn’t exist in Spain at the moment). Regarding Sam and Vanessa’s 1st baby ‘Daisy’ initially removed also on the basis of future risk of emotional harm, baby number 2 was removed by Spanish Authorities because Suffolk decided to change tactics from using emotional harm to at risk of physical harm. A risk and accusation Suffolk cannot prove according to the parents paperwork, so lets hope that if it is the case of Suffolk being liars the Spanish see this and return the baby. The problem UK fear with this case is if the baby is returned to Sam and Vanessa the 1st baby Daisy will surely have to be returned to the parents, if not there is a case for the courts of European rights if one country orders a child for adoption and another leaves child to stay in the birth family! The tax payer would be looking at paying a 6 figure sum for a case gone wrong like that as in my own case (I’ll get there).
2) After finding accommodation http://www.enalquiler.com go to your main police station with ID and apply for your NIE numbers (this is for residence the same as Ireland’s PPS) It is preferable to get someone to look after your children to do this and then present your children to the officer at the end. I paid someone 200 euros to queue for me (these people are easy to find) queuing starts around 3am to be guaranteed a ticket as the police only give out a certain amount a day.
3)When you have your NIE after about 7 days take this to the town hall along with your tenancy agreement and get your empadronamientohttp://valencia.angloinfo.com/countries/spain/empadronamiento.asp
4) When you have your empadronamiento take this paperwork to the social security office (Seguridad Social) and apply for your tax number. Apparently if you have a national insurance tax contributions certificate (E301) makes life a lot easier for the Spanish otherwise register as self employed for the minimum tax to pay a month or if you are lucky enough to get a job with an employer that will pay your tax you have things much simpler! As a single mother you can apply for 100 euro a month childcare if under 3 yrs of age and 100 euro a month child benefit but i think this is per household? someone please correct me. Also there is a new scheme where the housing department (find out at your town hall) where they will pay 258 euros a month towards your rent. There is also a payment from social security for mothers who can receive 2500 euros when they give birth but i was unable to get this as i had not been living in Spain for more than a year. I do understand however you might be able to claim this up to 2 years after giving birth if you continue to live in Spain.
Lucas holding Marco!
5) Take your social security number with your empadronamiento to the doctors to register you and your children for free health care and a health check which is needed to get them into state school. You can register with a european health card and get your child’s health check this way but most doctors will only issue you with a temporary card, if you do it this way you will have to say you are living temporary in Spain for a year maybe. 6)Get your children into school, you can put children in from age 3 but it is compulsory to have them in school full-time at age 6.
Finally i would like to thank the kind people who have helped me from Catholic churches in Spain and in Ireland, from having baby items such as blankets, carry cots, car seats, children’s clothes bought and even made with their bare hands. I once wrote a prayer whilst on the ferry over to france on June 27th 2007 asking if their was a god to protect us from the British authorities and let there be people during our time on the run who would be kind enough to help us survive..and there was. Although a warning to people who are adamant on crossing boarders into other countries not everyone is so kind and there are people who will use your weaknesses to their advantage because they also need to survive. Just be careful who you tell your life story to because no matter which way you look at it you become even more vulnerable away from friends and family and your priority is to keep safe, survive and surround yourself with good people and the church is a good place to start to connect with.
Another successful escape !!
hello my good friend, friend of humanity! Me and Amaani and Daddy have finally made it to Dubai! Got here last night, thought i will let you know. We were in France, yesterday, had taken a ferry to Cherbourg from Ireland drove to Paris, Paris to Bahrain, Bahrain to Dubai.My God it has been an adventure and tiring too! we are celebrating parental love my god how cheeky are the British Authorities to infringe on something so natural,pure and perfect, we will love our daughter, we will cuddle our daughter till earths end. My friend thank you, thank you for all your help and a cuddle for you too
AND AGAIN !This time escape to N cyprus!
i wonder if you rember me? i am abby ozari and you graciousely helped and advised me in january of this year on my alful fight with brighton social services with regards to my three small children. i had moved town to get away from an abusive ex husband and suddenly social sevices were in mine and my childrens lives, acusing me of infliecting emotional halm as they had witnessed thier farther and i argue, yes just that! my children were put on brightons child protection list after my ex had left the family home in november 2009 and so begain the most helish two months of my life. let me just say that my childhood was horrific. i was a child carer to my mentaly ill mother, missed years of school and was in and out of care. dispite all of this nuthing could prpere me for the emotional termoil that ss in brighton in flicted on my family. as you often say ian, you couldnt make it up! thier farther cem stayed away as instructed by ss, i went to thier pointless dv classes, i enroled in parenting classes although my parenting of the children had never been in question. yet all the time, day by day i had this mounting uneasyness inside, as if something truely terrible were about to happen. i lost my first born son back in 2000 and since then have not been able to face the fear that something alful could happen to any of my three beautiful children. at one social worker visit, i came down with a miagrane, a condition i havdnt sufferd from in years, i belive due to the deep fear i had of my childrren being taken from me, and put into care. i didnt for a second want them to experance what i had 20 odd years back, especialy as the uk ‘care’ system seem to be 100 times worse these day. my children are very beautiful and bright. they stood out in the thier local state primary and witout sounding boastful, people in brighton would often stand and stere at them. i now belive my children were definatly ear marked for forced adoption by brighton ss, this was the source of my mounting fear though i could not articulate it properly even to myself until i thankfully stumbled apon you wonderful forced adoption site late one night. oh, what a help and a god send it was! each night as my children slept i read your site, over and over until i realised, along with a talking to you on the fone that ss did indeed want my babies and i had to get them out of england if at all possible.
in many many ways i was very lucky, the farther of my children cem is terkish cypriot and his family have quite a big property out there. as you know british law has no bearing in north cyprus, so if i could just get to cyprus before a care order was issued, my children would be safe! i worked closely with my mother inlaw, who in a bid to isolate me and the children, had been forbiddern from brighton ss to visit us, even though she had come from cyprus at christmas time just to see them! together, we got the childrens passports, packed and with in about three weeks had tickets and were ready to get the children out of the country. all this time thier farther cems supervised visits with the children had been rearanged and canciled i belive in a bid to make him flip and lose his rag with ss which to his credit he did not. i had been presured by a wicked solicoter who was obviously in bed with brighton ss to get an injunction against cem although thier was no real violence in the relationship and he had never hurt his kids. this same soliciter told me that there were MORE CHILDREN TAKEN IN TO CARE FROM MY TINY COUNCIL ESTATE OF WHITEHAWLK IN BRIGHTON than the whole of london! if this didnt ring alam bells with me than i dont know what did! at your advice i did not get an injunction against cem, althought i stalled and led ss in to beliving that i would. im so glad i did not as if i had cem would not have been able to take the children to cyprus with his mother and i would have been in prison for braking the injunction no doubt! things had been bad between thier dad and me for some 2 years and we had just got a lovely council house in brighton with enough room for the children that we had been doing up. as a child i dreamed of living in a 3 bed house with a garden when i grew up as my family life was non existant and i was reluctant to just up and leave the home id got for my children, they adored the house, every night my doughter mia thanked god for it in her prears. i also know my family would be very hard up in cyprus as no benifit system, if i stayed and worked for a while i could at lest send money. i also was afraid that ss would somehow follow us and take the children any way and as im bright i felt i could fight any care ordes issued win and at some point bring my children home to england if i stayed behind for a while. brighton ss did issue a care order, issued by none other than the wiked judge coats herself! someone i know youve come across before. i rember at the first hearing she orded tipstaff and all sorts of legal cloat to go afer my children although they were in north cyprus! i rember standing up, represning myself saying, ‘my children have not been kidnapped your honour.’ maybe i should not have said that because i belive that gave the alful women idears. i am not stupid and had given thier farther a letter signed by me stating that i fully agreed for cem to take his children to cyprus for as long as we both sor fit. i stated as we were still married he and i had full parental authority to do this. even so, british ss promptly contacted the british embassy in north cyprus saying that I had complaned to british ss that thier dad cem had kidnapped them! again, you couldnt make it up! what a wicked bareface lie. i knew that brit ss wanted my children badly! i emailed my mother in law and thier dad, this very fact, they had to go to brit embassy and present my email and the letter i had given them the next day. if they had not i belive bitish ss would have gone to cyprus to try and snach my children! luckily they belived us and not brit ss. a childs gardian went to cyprus to see the children and reported that they were doing very well and brit ss should drop the care order against my children which thnakfully they did. i had hoped that i could join my children abroad but it wasnt to be. i had got a job and was sending money but i didnt realize we had to put my kids in private schools in cyprus as normal schools are not tought in english, at first i was happy as my kids are very bright and private schools thier are much cheeper than in the uk. also my relatiship with cem had sufferd terribaly through all the stress of ss, they had really set us up against eachother, and what with our previouse problems soon he emailed me stateing that he wanted a divorce. i was to lose my children, not to ss but to thier farher. i am still living with this alful knowledge and pain and its crippling me. whilst im so greatfull that the children are safe and well, and i speak to them on scipe most days, i cant be with them everyday, and its aln alful greaf. they left in jaunuary and i havnt been out to see them yet as thier farther insists on a divorce before i go out to see my childen, also as i am sending most of my money to support them in thier private schools, i havnt had the money to go yet. even so i am so greatful that they are not in care, we get on ok and thier farther and i agree we will never bring them back to the uk for fear of ss trying to take them again, we just cant risk it. i have met a new patner who is a business man and we have talked about bying a small property in cyprus so that i can spend evey holyday with my children. this would be a god send and its something we are working towards. i want to thank you ian so much for all your help and insight and i really want to help other familys like mine fight british ss. iv read the uk collum and belive brian garrish is a god send. the new acadamy schools will be used in the uk to brain wash our children and i am so thankfull in many ways that my childrern will not have to experance that as they will grow up in cyprus now. if you would like to print any of my story or put my contact details on your website i would be very honnerd. the care order has been dropped and i have not been gaged! i would love to become a mcenzi friend or write a book about my experances with child social services to help others and i wonder if you have any advice on this? please email or call me any time. my number is 07577889711. thanks again for all your help and kindness, please give my deltals to other familys who might need advice from someone whos been where they are. i look forward to hearing from you.
from abby ozari
Don’t just take my word for the rest of my allegations.Please read the following articles from the Daily Mail,and the Sunday Telegraph as they very accurately depict the mounting and highly justified public disquiet over the secret family courts and the “adoption industry”.
Courts won’t reveal rulings in adoption cases
By Ben Leapman, Home Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph Last Updated: BST 08/08/2007
Pauline Goodwin’s baby was taken from her but she was denied a copy of the judgment. The court service has now apologised
Family courts are refusing to tell mothers why their babies are being taken away and put up for forced adoption.
Two mothers have told The Sunday Telegraph that their pain at losing their children was made worse by not knowing the grounds on which judges took the decisions.
Both women had their requests for copies of the judgments turned down repeatedly. As a result, they were prevented from launching legal battles to win their babies back, because appeals cannot be lodged without -written judgments.
Critics claimed that the cases are an extreme example of the secrecy that runs throughout the family court system. Earlier this summer, the Government abandoned plans to open up hearings to the media.
John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP and chairman of Justice for Families, said: “It seems quite strange that somebody can have their child removed and adopted, and the system will not give reasons.
“This arises from the secrecy of proceedings and the fact that people are allowed to misbehave professionally in the family courts without any fear of sanctions against them.”
The cases are the latest in a series highlighted by this newspaper which have raised concerns about the workings of the family courts and social services.
It included a professional couple who had their daughter taken away because the mother has a history of mental illness and the father was “confrontational” towards social workers, while another couple were told they cannot have their two daughters back despite being cleared of allegations of abuse.
Last year, 2,120 babies were taken for adoption before their first birthday, almost three times as many as a decade ago. Adoptions leapt after councils were offered cash incentives to increase the number.
One of the latest cases involved Pauline Goodwin, 39, from Merseyside, who suffered a breakdown after her marriage ended. As she struggled to cope, her baby girl, born in 2005, was taken away by social services at birth.
At a court hearing in June last year, held at a time when she was temporarily homeless, Judge Wallwork ruled at Liverpool Family Court that the baby should remain in foster care.
The mother says she was told that despite the outcome of the case, the judgment would not be critical of her. However, in the 14 months since the hearing, her repeated requests to obtain a copy of the judgment have proved fruitless. She has been told by social workers that her daughter has now been adopted.
She said: “They had my baby adopted, then they said they make no findings against me, but they won’t give me the court order. I need the judgment because I want to lodge an appeal. It’s supposed to be within 28 days but it has been more than 12 months.
“If they give me the transcripts I can prove the whole thing was wrong, and my baby wouldn’t be where she is now, she would be with me.”
Sharon Harkness, 37, also from Merseyside, won the first round of her courtroom battle when social workers tried to take her baby son away. In August 2005, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Holman turned down a bid by a local authority to take the boy, then only three months old, into foster care.
However, at Liverpool Family Court in November, Judge Roddy reversed the earlier decision and granted the council a care order. The baby was removed from his family and is now living with prospective adoptive parents.
In the intervening 21 months, repeated requests by Mrs Harkness for a written judgment have been refused or ignored. She said: “It’s within my rights to at least see the kind of care order they’ve put my son on. It’s like they’ve taken my baby and forgotten to give me the receipt.”
At one point she tried to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, only to be told that the court could not consider her case because she had no written judgment on which to base it.
At the end of last week, after The Sunday Telegraph took up the cases with the Judicial Communications Office in London, officials issued an apology within hours and finally pledged that both women would receive the vital documents within days.
In Miss Goodwin’s case, a spokesman said: “Her Majesty’s Court Service would like to apologise that in this case, the transcripts were not provided as requested. There appears to have been a breakdown in communications. The transcription company will prepare the transcripts next week and once they are approved by the judge, the court will send them out.”
Regarding Mrs Harkness, the spokesman said: “There was an ambiguity in the original order which had not been corrected and caused a delay in the process. The transcript has now been produced and is with the judge, prior to being sent to the family next week.”
Pauline (story and photo above) has learned a lot during her 3 year struggle with the “SS” .She now helps and advises other parents in distress and also organises demonstrations.
My baby will be taken from me the moment it’s born
By HELEN WEATHERS Daily Mail 6th September 2007
The link below connects to a video of a very informative itv programme:-
The daughter of teachers and with a glittering academic future, Fran was delighted when she became pregnant. But social services discovered the illness she thought she’d put behind her – and will confiscate her daughter when she is born…Fran Lyon is due to give birth to her first child – a daughter she has already named Molly – on January 3. But the prospect, far from being one of joyous anticipation, fills her with a dread that keeps her awake at night.It’s not because Fran doesn’t want the child. She does. Desperately. And not because she is frightened of the pain of labour. She is prepared for that.
It is what happens afterwards that fuels Fran’s anxiety. And there can be no preparation for that pain.
For within 30 minutes of birth, barring any medical complications, Molly will be handed by doctors to social workers. They have instructions to take away Fran’s newborn baby and place her in foster care.
The 22-year-old will then be transferred from the maternity wing to a gynaecological ward, because Northumberland Council has decided that Fran – who has never harmed anyone in her life – is potentially a risk to other mothers and their babies.
Fran has no idea if she will be able to touch her baby, even for a minute, before leaving hospital alone, or if she will ever get her daughter back. Her biggest fear is that she won’t, and that Molly will be put up for adoption.
‘It is incredibly upsetting not knowing if I will be allowed even to hold my baby,’ says Fran, a charity worker. ‘Until social services became involved in my life, I was having a normal pregnancy and was full of excitement.
‘They have taken away what should be the most precious time in my life – and I will never get that back. I’m already in love with my baby. I can feel her moving, I talk to her. I’ve bought her baby books and clothes. You just can’t undo that attachment.’
Fran is an intelligent and articulate woman. She has nine A- starred GCSEs, five grade A A-levels and is in the third year of a neuroscience degree at Edinburgh University – which she is completing at home in Hexham, Northumberland.
However, what concerns Hexham Children’s Services, which is part of Northumberland Council, is Fran’s medical history.
Having had a difficult relationship with her parents, who are teachers in good state schools, from the age of 15, she started selfharming. Fran spent three years – on and off – in psychiatric hospitals.
Her problems appear to have begun when she was raped by an acquaintance at the age of 14. Diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, she was discharged from a therapeutic facility in 2002, where she had spent 13 months, and spent nine months as an outpatient.
Today, she needs no medication and, according to her former psychiatrist, Dr Stella Newrith, ‘has made a significant recovery to the point where her difficulties are indistinguishable from those of much of the general population’.
In a letter to Northumberland Council, Dr Newrith, who treated Fran for a year when she was 16 and has known her for many years, stated: ‘There has never been any clinical evidence to suggest that Fran would put herself or others at risk, and there is certainly no evidence to suggest she would put a child at risk of emotional, physical or sexual harm.’
Furthermore, she said: ‘I would view the removal of Fran’s baby as an extraordinarily heavy-handed gesture. It is also my professional opinion that doing so would be an infringement of Fran’s human rights, as it would be much the same as removing a child from someone from the general population.’
Yet on August 16, a child protection case conference recommended that Fran’s baby should be taken away at birth – a decision based in part on the contents of a letter from consultant paediatrician Dr Martin Ward Platt, who has never met Fran and could not be present at the meeting.
In his letter, Dr Ward Platt states that ‘even in the absence of psychological assessment, if the professionals were concerned on the evidence available that [this woman] probably does fabricate or induce illness, there would be no option but to put the baby into foster care at birth pending a post-natal forensic psychological assessment’.
However, he warned that it was necessary first to establish as far as possible whether or not Fran does suffer from this illness – something Fran claims they have failed to do.
Fran has never been diagnosed with this condition, yet she has nevertheless been deemed by Northumberland Council as someone likely to suffer from Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, a controversial and unproven condition in which a parent – usually the mother – makes up or induces an illness in her child to draw attention to herself.
And so, unless a judicial review next week rules in Fran’s favour, her baby Molly will almost certainly be taken away at birth.
‘I can understand why they might have concerns about my past, but the speed with which they have come to this conclusion, despite the evidence of my own psychiatrist, is terrifying,’ she says.
‘I was at the case conference and it lasted just ten minutes.
‘This letter from Dr Ward Platt was given to me just five minutes before the meeting started, and when it was produced, the chairman said there was no point – in the light of what this letter stated – even considering the other evidence which I wanted to present, which was letters of support from psychiatrists.
‘I think they simply panicked, and when people panic they make, in my opinion, bad judgments. I left that meeting numb with shock. I’d had absolutely no time to digest the letter or argue my case, and I was so horrified at what they’d said that I just couldn’t even begin to respond to it.
‘I have never harmed anyone in my life. I have no criminal convictions. I believe I can be a good mother to Molly – but they are not even prepared to give me a chance to prove that.
‘I have offered to stay in a mother and baby unit after Molly’s birth for as long as they want, and to be monitored. I would be prepared to stay there for 18 years if it meant I could be with my baby. But that, it seems, is not even an option.’
Fran’s case is far from unusual. Two thousands babies under one year old were taken from their parents last year by social services – three times the number ten years ago. Critics believe councils are doing this to help meet government adoption ‘targets’.
Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, chairman of the Justice for Families campaign group, certainly thinks so.
‘How can it be in the child’s best interests to take a baby away from its mother at birth? The reason why they do it is because it’s much harder to take away a baby the longer it spends with its mother, and a healthy newborn baby is so much easier to find adoptive parents for.
‘It is estimated that 97 per cent of babies taken away from their mothers at birth, on the basis that the mothers are “capable of emotional abuse”, are never returned to them – and that is simply scandalous.
‘Of course, there are cases where it is right to do so, but the whole public family law system is corrupt because of the secrecy which surrounds it. Decisions are based on opinion and conjecture, rather than fact and evidence.
‘What does Fran’s case tell us? That no woman who has been raped or had mental health problems can be allowed to have a baby, even years later?
‘What could be more traumatic than for a mother to have her baby taken away at birth? It’s monstrous. That, in itself, can cause mental health problems, which is then used by social services against the mother as a reason not to return the baby. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
‘There has been a massive increase in younger babies being taken into care, before there is even any evidence of harm – and you have to ask why that is.’
Despite her own troubled past, Fran Lyon is convinced she can be a good parent, and is desperate to prove that. From the start, she has been open and honest with social workers about her medical history, but she feels this has been used against her.
Although she describes her childhood as ‘difficult’, she refuses to elaborate, other than to say that she is close to her mother and younger brother, but has no contact with her father.
The catalyst for her severe mental health problems was, she says, the rape she suffered when she was 14.
She told police that she was attacked while working as a Saturday volunteer in a charity shop in Northampton, when the shop’s founder – a middle-aged man – drove her to an empty warehouse supposedly to pick up supplies for the shop.
When Fran reported the rape, he was interviewed by police. Three more women claiming they, too, had been attacked came forward and agreed to testify against him. However, in 2001 the man killed himself before the Crown Prosecution Service could decide whether to proceed.
‘After the rape, I became clinically depressed,’ says Fran. ‘I lost a huge amount of weight and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after trying to kill myself with an overdose of tablets. It wasn’t a cry for help; I wanted to die because of what he had done to me.’
She spent the next three years, on and off, in residential psychiatric hospitals in Oxford, Nottingham and London after being diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, in her case characterised by self-harming, instability and suicidal tendencies.
For the final 13 months, Fran went to a therapeutic residential clinic, where she attended individual psychotherapy sessions and group analysis before being discharged as an outpatient.
By the time she was 18, she appeared to have put her problems behind her.
She started to flourish, taking five A-levels at Orpington College in Kent and applying to study neuroscience at Edinburgh University.
At the same time, she worked for two mental health charities, Borderline and Personality Plus. It was through that job, two years ago, that she met the man who is the father of Molly.
‘Of course, I was worried when I fell pregnant. I wondered how we would cope as a couple, because we weren’t living together,’ says Fran.
‘But once that wore off, I was excited. I would go shopping with my mum to baby departments, buying books and looking at prams.’
But a few weeks ago, all normality ended. Social services suddenly became involved when Fran phoned the police after what she describes as a ‘disturbing incident’ with her partner. Fran’s relationship with him ended immediately.
‘The case was referred to social services and I was interviewed by two social workers, who said from the beginning that they would have to look at the whole family, not just one person in isolation,’ says Fran.
‘At that first meeting, they asked about my concerns regarding the baby’s father, but then it became clear through their questions that their investigation was centred on me. I have never made a secret of my mental health problems. I felt I had nothing to hide.’
Fran was co- operative, she says, because she naively thought children’s services would offer her help and support. She was stunned when she received a letter informing her that a child protection case conference would be held on August 16.
‘That’s when I became frightened and thought for the first time: “Are they going to take my baby away from me?”
‘I couldn’t believe how everything had happened so quickly. When you are up against a big system such as social services, it is very easy to feel overrun and overwhelmed.’
Realising the seriousness of the situation, Fran instructed a solicitor and contacted her former psychiatrist, Dr Stella Newrith, who offered her full support.
A second psychiatrist, who Fran knew through her charity work, offered a character reference stating: ‘I have no doubt that her diligence and capacity, particularly in dealing with complex emotional situations, will stand her in good stead for the rigours of parenthood.’
Yet these testimonials, Fran says, were never even read out at the conference after Dr Ward Platt’s letter was produced.
Northumberland Council insists that two highly experienced doctors – another consultant paediatrician and a medical consultant – attended the case conference.
Neither they, nor anyone else present – including Fran solicitor – made any objection. Feeling stunned and intimidated by what she had heard, she felt unable to speak out.
Everything she wanted to say will now be heard – with the help of a new solicitor who specialises in such cases – at appeal.
According to MP John Hemming, Fran should win her case; but there is no guarantee that she will. Both he and Fran are particularly concerned that last week social workers contacted the psychiatrist who provided a character reference for Fran. They believe this was done with the intention of ‘pressurising’ the witness into withdrawing his support, and undermining Fran’s appeal.
It was seemingly suggested by a social worker to the doctor in question that Fran had given incorrect details about her health to hospital staff: in short, doubt was cast on the reality of an ectopic pregnancy Fran suffered on Christmas Eve two years ago.
‘Is it ethical for social workers to go behind my back and speak to my witnesses, discussing my private confidential medical history and suggesting to them that I might have made things up?’ says Fran.
‘I did have an ectopic pregnancy, and I have the scars to prove that I had abdominal surgery.’ Mr Hemming goes further, describing such behaviour as akin to witness nobbling. He also claims it is not uncommon for social workers to pressurise witnesses – a punishable practice in the criminal courts.
‘There is a culture in which the end is seen to justify the means, and sometimes the means employed would not be tolerated in any other court of law,’ he says. ‘Yet if anyone tries to speak out, they are guilty of contempt of court. The whole family court system, because of the secrecy which surrounds it, is vulnerable to bad practice. Social workers are under pressure not to lose cases.’ Northumberland Council, while legally prevented from speaking about individual cases, insists there is nothing sinister in their actions.
A spokeswoman said it was the court whichwould make the ultimate decision, after hearing legal representation from both sides. ‘Safeguarding children is our top priority,’ said a spokeswoman. ‘We speak to all sides without bias or pressure. ‘We would welcome a review of the family court arrangements, and support transparency, as long as this is in the best interests of the children.
‘Safeguarding arrangements have been praised as good following a rigorous inspection by a number of Government departments. It was specifically noted that “good action was taken to enable parents to keep their children safe in the home and the communityî. Our duty to safeguard children is our only motivation, and we strive to keep children with their families wherever possible, or extended families if that is not possible.
‘We do not have numerical targets for adoption; nor have we received any financial rewards in relation to adoption figures.’
As for Fran, the final four months of her pregnancy are filled with stress and uncertainty, and the nagging terror that her worst nightmare will become a reality and her baby daughter will be snatched away from her. ‘Some days I feel positive,’ she says quietly.
‘But others I feel totally overwhelmed. All I am asking for is a chance to prove that I will be a good mother.’
Sadly, that wish may not be granted her.
IMPORTANT! The miserable wretch who was chairman of the so called “Case Conference” that lasted 15 minutes should be dismissed in disgrace. His name is BOB HILL and he should never be allowed near any case conference ever again !
AND THEN? Fran flees the country, see the link below!
|Download Form N434, Notice of change of solicitor, Court Service Forms, Administrative Court.Just to emphasise important guiderules…..Remember that social workers ARE NOT POLICE and cannot give you orders or forbid you to tell your children that you love them,miss them and are fighting to get them back! It is absolutely essential that you blurt out “I love you and want you back but wicked childstealers have kidnapped you and these horrible thieves are stopping you from coming home !” Say this or words to that effect before anyone can stop you as SS nearly always tell children “mummy does not love you or want you any more” and the children MUST know the truth. Only a court can legally give you orders so do not be bluffed into signing documents or obeying orders from the SS !Social Workers have a statutory duty to try and keep families together not split them up ,so they should be asked in court just what attempts they made to keep YOUR family together before taking the baby or the children !QUOTE THE “HUMAN RIGHTS ACT”section 8:-
Article 8: Right to Respect for Private and Family Life
This guarrantee applies also to the rights of grandparents,siblings,aunts,uncles,and cousins to remain in contact with each other contrary to the forced adoption of a child by adopters whose names and locations are kept secret!
Article 10, European Convention on Human Rights
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to freedom of expression. Before the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force, the right to freedom of expression was a negative one: you were free to express yourself, unless the law otherwise prevented you from doing so. With the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into English and Welsh domestic law, the right to freedom of expression is now expressly guaranteed.
BUT see how they break the law by censoring what a mother can say to a 12 year old child! Most parents have to sign something similar or contact is stopped !
Supervised contact will take place three times a week. Currently there are two regular sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays, between 3;30 and 4;45pmLukes Social Worker will make arrangements on a weekly basis in regards to the third supervised session until a contact supervisor can be allocated.
Contact betweenLuke and his mum wll be supervised by a contact supervisor at all times. The contact sessions will take place at the West Area Duty and Family Support Teams offices.
Telephone contact is to take place only under Lukes foster carers supervision.Telephone contact is to only last five minutes and is to be initiated by Luke only.
Ms Marques is expected to end the telephone conversation herself in an appropriate way once the five minutes have lapsed.
Luke will be transported from school and to the foster placement by a professional appointed by the West Area Duty and Family Support Team.
Ms Marques is expected to support Luke while he is staying with his foster carer.
She is not to encourage Luke to have any other form of contact with her apart from what has been officially agreed with the Local Authority. The Local Authority is worried that ms Marques has limited insight into how her functioning impacts upon Luke and that there is a risk that Lukes placement will be de-stabilised and Luke experience further emotional harm as a result of this.
Ms Marques is strongly advised ; to engage with Luke in a child centered positive way during contact. If she finds this difficult she is encouraged to request support/advice from the contact supervisor.
The contact supervisor will from now on make activities available during contact. Ms Marques is advised to engage with these activities and encourage Luke to do so aswell.
Ms Marques is encouraged to bring board games with her etc that she and Luke might enjoy playing during contact.
Ms Marques should not discuss issues relating to the ongoing court proceedings. If in any case Luke brings up the subject himself she is to encourage him to discuss these issues with his social worker and/or guardian.
Ms Marques should not make reference to herself and her current situation if this will result in Luke feeling worried/guilty about ” mum being on her own”.
Ms Marques is to make reference to Lukes father and paternal side of the family in a positive way at all times.
Ms Marques is expected to make reference to all professionals involved with Luke in a positive way.She is to encourage Luke to be open and trusting of these professionals.
If Ms Marques feels anxious/unwell she is expected to seek help from her GP and /or her mental health key-worker. Lukes social worker is to be notified of this as soon as that is possible. If in any case contact is to be affected, then Ms Marques is expected to make contact with Lukes social worker immediately.
Ms M is expected to keep to all the points made in this written agreement.
If Ms Marques fails to keep to any of the expectations as set out by this written agreement; it is made clear that the contact supervisor has been instructed that contact is to be stopped, and Ms Marques will be asked to leave.
The Local Authority will also review the contact arrangements and amend them as necessary to promote and ensure Lukes welfare and safety.
This is not a legally binding document and all relevant parties are encouraged to seek legal advise if they wish to do so.
Any changes to contact will take place only once an updated written agreement has been drafted and signed by all relevant parties.
Article 12 (child’s right to participate in decision making)
NEVER,NEVER lose contact with your young children,just read the paragraphs below !! Send them your phone number buried in the middle of a cd rom (disc),written on a doll,written in invisible ink on a seemingly innocent postcard,or simply whispered in their ears at a suitable moment.
Alternatively if your name is Jane for example,register an easy email address (eg) email@example.com Any child old enough to send an email will then be able to contact you no matter where you are or where they are! If the child has no easy access to a computer ,then a visit for “study purposes’ to any public library will also allow free use of one of their computers to send emails free of charge !
If on the other hand your baby or toddler is being snatched insist on breastfeeding a baby as this gives you extra contact.
Citation: BLD 160403280;  EWHC 850 (Admin). Hearing Date: 15 April 2003 Court: Administrative Court. Judge: Munby J.
“Per curiam. If the state, in the guise of a local authority, seeks to remove a baby from his parents at a time when its case against the parents has not yet even been established, then the very least the state can do is to make generous arrangements for contact, those arrangements being driven by the needs of the family and not stunted by lack of resources. Typically, if this is what the parents want, one will be looking to contact most days of the week and for lengthy periods. Local authorities also had to be sensitive to the wishes of a mother who wants to breast-feed, and should make suitable arrangements to enable her to do so, and not merely to bottle-feed expressed breast milk. Nothing less would meet the imperative demands of the European Convention on Human Rights.”…
Published Date 16/04/2003
This case establishes the right of the mother to breastfeed,and is often ignored both by SS and judges!
Fight for parents,grandparents,aunts,uncles,and cousins all to have contact under the Human Rights Act. (see section “get your children back”)
Children of all ages even those as young as 6 or 7 years old for example ,can go to any public phone box and call parents reverse charges if they are quietly told how to do this,explained as follows:-
Dial 100 from any private phone or public call box and you will be offered 4 options(choices) Choose option4 which asks if you want to speak to an operator.You then ask the operator for a call reversing the charges. The operator will then ask you for your name and the number you are calling.(this must be to a fixed line not a mobile)Your mother or father will then say ok they accept the call and no money is needed from you, the child who is calling! If your children are still with you or at least in contact get them to practice telephoning you reverse charge so that if the worst does happen and they are removed then contact is NEVER lost !! Remember also that if no court order forbids you expressly and specifically from contacting the children there is nothing to stop you seeing them when they come out of school (even nursery school!).
Remember that all children “in care” have “personal education plans”that the SS are supposed to share with you.If you know where the school is you know where your child is !Ask the local education authorities(NOT the SS !) for a copy of these plans and ask also to be put on their mailing list so you can continue to follow your children’s progress even after they have been snatched !
What are the timescales for dealing with requests?
Requests for information from pupils, or parents, for information that contains, wholly
or partly, an educational record must receive a response within 15 school days.
Unless a parent simply asks to see the official educational record under the
Regulations, schools and authorities are entitled to receive any fee first (see below).
Most requests for information are likely to ask for at least some information in the
educational record. However, should a subject access request be made just for
personal information outside the educational record, a response must be made promptly and at most within 40 calendar days.
YOU MUST BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK IN COURT AND TO SAY ALL YOU WANT TO SAY,CALL ALL THE WITNESSES YOU WANT TO CALL,AND MAKE ALL THE POINTS AND ARGUMENTS YOU WANT TO MAKE ! Sack any solicitor or barrister that refuses you these very elementary legal rights OR worse still who advises you to surrender and go along with everything the SS demand.You do not need a lawyer to earn easy money by arranging your surrender !
Baby P was 17 months old when he was tortured by his mother’s boyfriend in spite of 60 visits by social workers and 3 visits to hospital. It all culminated with a visit from a specialist paediatrician who failed to notice that he had a broken back, 2 finger tips sliced off, several finger nails pulled out, 12 broken ribs and bruises all over his face and body concealed by chocolate. He would still be alive today if someone just once had given him a cursory physical examination but this was not done, probably because as usual Social Services etc. were intimidated by this brutal child abuser living in smelly and sordid surroundings with his sluttish partner and his Rottweiler dogs so they left the horrible family alone to look for easier prey; mostly amongst respectable and responsible households.
Most people seem more intent on wreaking vengeance on the murderers of Baby P than preventing the same situation occurring again; may I therefore make a suggestion?
Social Services plead shortage of staff and financial resources as excuses for overlooking torture of children (even after 60 visits to Baby P). In other European countries they take children from parents only if they have been severely physically or sexually abused but in Britain we waste most of out valuable resources fighting cruel cases in secret and costly courts to remove children and even new born babies at “risk of emotional harm” and for similar lesser reasons. The parents of Baby P would never have gone to court to fight for his return if he had been taken earlier as parents that violently physically abuse their children avoid courts like the plague!
Physical torture KILLS KILLS KILLS!!! Emotional abuse does NOT Poor school attendance does NOT A cluttered house does NOT Witnessing domestic violence does NOT Hostility to the “professionals” does NOT A parent with learning problems does NOT
Where therefore should the “SS” priorities lie?
I’m only asking!!
I would have thought myself it was MORE IMPORTANT to concentrate on preventing babies being tortured rather than the more common rush to remove babies AT BIRTH from mothers whom some highly paid psychobabble merchants have decided may at some future date emotionally harm their babies!Crystal ball gazing?
If all the resources of child protection were used to examine thoroughly (looking for visible bruises and burns) say once a month, all those children suspected of having been seriously physically or sexually abused thousands of children’s lives would be saved. At present our resources are wasted fighting in courts to remove happy healthy children from their parents for risk of emotional abuse and similar non life-endangering symptoms. Only parents that truly love their children fight through the gruelling ritual of the secret family courts and against all common sense they nearly always lose. If they dare to protest publicly more than 200 parents a year are jailed (answer to a parliamentary question) for breaking the “omertà” wall of secrecy!! If only mothers facing a life sentence by losing children to forced adoption had the right to a hearing by jury most of the present injustices would disappear. In short, what is needed is simply concentration on eradicating physical child abuse and then introducing hearings by juries who would rarely take children in other cases such as “emotional abuse”, cluttered dwellings, poor school attendance etc.
‘Evil destruction’ of a happy family. A system involving social workers, police and courts took a child away from loving parents for no apparent reason, writes Christopher Booker.
Daily Telegraph, 18 Jul 2009
Two weeks ago I reported as shocking a story as this column has ever covered. It described how a loving family was torn apart when the parents were arrested by police on what turned out to be wholly spurious charges, so that their three children could be taken into care by social workers. As reported on another page, it now seems this awful episode has come to a happy ending.
However a new case has lately been surfacing, if anything even more shocking. This also involved the arrest of two parents and the abduction of their child by social workers, in a story so bizarre that, at last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Gordon Brown was asked about it by the family’s MP, Charles Hendry, who has long been concerned with the case because the mother is a vice-chairman of his local Conservative Association. The family’s horrified GP says that, in 43 years of medical practice, he has never “encountered a case of such appalling injustice”.
I first planned to describe this case in April, but was pre-empted by the draconian reporting restrictions on family cases, which, for reasons which will become tragically clear, have now been partly lifted.
The story began in April 2007 when “Mr Smith”, as I must call him, had a visit from the RSPCA over the dog-breeding business he ran from the family home. He had docked the tails of five new-born puppies – a procedure that had become illegal two days beforehand. Unaware of this, he promised in future to obey the new law.
Three days later, however, at nine o’clock in the morning, two RSPCA officials returned, accompanied in cars and riot vans by 18 policemen, who had apparently been tipped off, quite wrongly, that Mr Smith had guns in the house.
Armed with pepper spray, they ransacked the house, looking for the nonexistent guns. The dogs, released from their kennels, also rampaged through the house. When Mr Smith and his wife, who was three months pregnant, volubly protested at what was happening, they were forcibly arrested in front of their screaming five-year-old daughter “Jenny” and taken away. Two hours later, with the house in a shambles – the dogs having strewn the rabbit entrails meant for their dinner across the floor – social workers arrived to remove the crying child.
Held for hours in a police cell, Mrs Smith had a miscarriage. When she was finally set free, she returned home that evening to find her daughter gone. It was the beginning of a barely comprehensible nightmare.
Her husband was charged with various offences connected with the dogs, including the tail-docking, but was eventually given a conditional discharge by a judge who accepted that he was “an animal lover” who had not been cruel to his dogs.
Far more serious, however, was that the social workers seemed determined to hang onto the child, now in foster care, on the sole grounds that they had found the house dirty and in a mess (the “animal entrails” played a large part in their evidence). This was despite the testimony of a woman Pc (who had visited the house a month earlier on a different matter) that she found it “clean and tidy”. Two hundred horrified neighbours, who knew the couple as doting parents of a happy, well-cared-for child, were about to stage a protest demonstration when they were stopped by the police, on the social workers’ instructions that this might identify the child.
For more than two years the couple have been fighting through more than 100 hearings in the courts to win their daughter back. From a mass of evidence, including psychiatric reports and tape recordings made at meetings with her parents (only allowed in the presence of social workers), it is clear she has been desperate to return home. It is equally clear that considerable pressure has been brought on the child to turn her against her parents,
One particularly bizarre psychiatric report was compiled after only an hour-long interview with the little girl. When she said she had once choked on a lollipop, this was interpreted as signifying that she could possibly have “been forced to have oral sex with her father”.
After Mrs Smith alone had been subjected to four different psychiatric investigations, which came up with mixed findings, she refused to submit to a fifth, and this apparently weighed heavily with the judge who last December ordered that “Jenny” should be put out to adoption.
In the Appeal Court 11 days ago, Mr Justice Bodey ruled that, because the mother had refused that fifth test, indicating that the parents put their own “emotional wellbeing” in front of that of their child, the adoption order must stand. When this judgment was reported, an independent social worker, who had earlier been an expert witness in the case, wrote to Mr and Mrs Smith to say he was “horrified” to learn that Jenny was “not back in their care”, having assumed for over a year that “she must have been returned home”.
Their equally horrified GP, saying that he had never “encountered such a case of appalling injustice”, wrote “the destruction of this once happy family is in my opinion evil”. So shocked was their MP, Mr Hendry ,that he last Wednesday took the highly unusual course of raising the case with the Prime Minister at question time. Numerous others who know the family well have expressed similar dismay. One neighbour, herself a former social worker, whose own daughter often played with “Jenny”, said: “I worked with children in social services for 25 years and I have never seen anything like this. It is disgusting.”
What is clear in this case, as in so many others, is that a system involving social workers, police and courts in what is an obviously very close alliance should yet again have left a happy, loving family destroyed for no very obvious reason, Almost equally alarming is the way that system manages to shield itself from the world, through reporting restrictions which it claims are designed to protect the children but which too often end up by protecting only the system itself.
Telegraph View: Child abuse won’t be overcome until we define what it is Ed Balls will fail unless he gives guidance on what social workers should be doing. 10 Jan 2009
The horrific accounts of errors and incompetence by social services officials that we publish today will generate outrage and despair: outrage that officials could leave children with parents they know to be violent, criminal and addicted to drugs; and despair that despite the hundreds of inquiries, the hundreds of inspections, despite the repeated promises from the Government that things are getting better, nothing changes. The same mistakes are consistently repeated, with fatal consequences for children.
The persistent failure of social workers to protect children who are in very serious danger is made even more outrageous by the profession’s propensity to remove children from parents who are manifestly no danger at all to them. Of the 35,000 children who are taken into care every year on the recommendation of social workers, a large proportion are removed on grounds of “emotional abuse” – a category so broad and ill- defined that it can include both praising your children too much and not praising them enough, or feeding them too many vegetables or too little fresh fruit. It appears that social workers, aware of their inability to intervene in cases where children really are at risk, compensate for that failure by intervening in families where they are obviously safe.
There is no doubt that those two bad practices are connected. The resources of social work departments are, as directors of those departments frequently point out, strictly limited. Time spent investigating parents who do not threaten or endanger the children in their care is time not spent investigating, visiting or intervening in the cases where there is a threat. If genuinely at- risk children are to be protected, resources have to be targeted at cases where parents pose a clear and present danger.
It is, in a literal sense, true that social workers do not know what they are doing. That is not their fault. Government “advice” on what they should do is, quite correctly, centred on ensuring that children are protected from “significant harm”. But, in all the many hundreds of pages that both Labour and Conservative governments have issued on when social workers should intervene, the notion of “significant harm” has never been defined in a meaningful and precise way. The result is that it is left to officials to interpret the term as they see fit. And that means “significant harm” has as many interpretations as there are social workers: one can conclude that a child whose parents are violent drug-addicts is not at risk of “significant harm”, while another can claim that a parent who “plays too often and too long” with her is so dangerous that the child should be taken into care.
The first step the Government needs to take in order to stop this malpractice is properly to define the notion of “significant harm”. That will not prevent fatal misjudgments being made. But it will make those misjudgments less likely. It will save the lives of many children, and also prevent forcible removal from parents who love them and protect them, and who would provide them with a far better start in life than the dismal future that awaits those who are taken into state care. It will also make it possible for the inquiries and inspections that take place after a child dies to say something useful, instead of merely reporting (as they do at present) that “no one was to blame”. So long as inspectors do not work with a clear and fixed notion of “significant harm”, they are in exactly the same position as social workers: they cannot identify the kinds of practice that they ought to prevent.
Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, has insisted that he will take steps to end social services’ persistent failure to protect seriously at-risk children. He will fail unless he gives clear guidance on what social workers should be doing – and he can only do that by defining the notion of “significant harm.” We await his proposals.
Social workers are still too keen to split up families, says Christopher Booker. Daily Telegraph 4 July 2009
One of the most disturbing features of life in modern Britain has been the extraordinary powers given to social workers to seize children from their parents, too often – when those powers are abused – supported by the police and family courts. What makes this still more alarming is the legal bar on reporting these episodes, supposedly to protect the children, which again too often works to protect the social workers themselves at the expense of the children.
Details of yet another shocking case, which comes to its climax in a county court in eastern England this week, have recently been placed in the House of Lords Library. This follows a comprehensive investigation carried out on behalf of the family by Lord Monckton of Brenchley, who, as a hereditary peer, does not sit in the Lords, but has passed his dossier both to an active life peer and to this column.
Until six weeks ago, Mr and Mrs Jones, as I must call them under reporting restrictions, lived happily with their three young children, two sons and a daughter, aged under 13. Mr Jones, a business consultant, is related to various European royal families and his brother is a senior Army officer seconded to the UN. If he has one weakness, as he admits, it is to refer to these connections, as he did to the heads of the schools attended by his two older children, saying that he was particularly concerned for their security. He asked that he could be allowed to drive into the school grounds when picking up his daughter, because he did not want to leave her waiting, potentially vulnerable, in the road outside.
The headmistress agreed to this, but, concerned about other children’s safety, contacted the local police, who in turn passed on their concerns to social services. The result of this was that, on May 18, when Mr and Mr Jones, accompanied by their younger son, arrived at school to pick up their daughter, they were met by a group of strangers, one as it turned out a female social worker. She asked, without explaining why or who she was, whether he was Mr Jones. When she three times refused to show him any ID, he was seized from behind by two policemen, handcuffed and put under arrest.
He was driven by a policeman to a nearby mental hospital where he was told that, because of “a number of concerns”, he was being detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and “sectioned” under S.2 as of “unsound mind”. His wife, it turned out, had been similarly arrested, for loudly protesting at the handcuffing of her husband and the forcible seizing from her arms of her young son. The three children had been taken into care by social services.
Mrs Jones was allowed to return to an empty home that evening. Mr Jones was permitted to attend court two days later, to hear the magistrates grant an interim order for the children to remain in the care of social services. Because he was “sectioned”, he was not allowed to speak. The chief magistrate, it later emerged, was chairman of the trustees of the mental hospital in which he was being detained.
On May 28, Mr Jones appeared before a mental health tribunal which, after hearing all the facts relating to his case, gave him a complete discharge. He returned home to his wife and immediately contacted his MP, a local MEP, lawyers and others he thought might be able to help, one of whom set in train the investigation by Lord Monckton that led to this story appearing here.
Despite the finding of the tribunal, the social workers have remained determined to hold on to the children, with a view to their care being determined in a county court on Wednesday. The voluminous dossier setting out this extraordinary sequence of events not only includes lengthy statements from Mr and Mrs Jones but copies of detailed statements by the social worker and policewoman most closely involved in the case (along with a good deal more circumstantial evidence).
The only reason offered in these documents for the abduction of the children is Mr Jones’s “delusional belief system” that special care should be taken of his children because of their elevated family connections. The only harm done to the children is their very evident unhappiness at being separated from their parents.
It must be hoped that the court this week recognises how grotesquely this tragic case has been blown out of all proportion, and rules that a loving family should immediately be reunited.
Wronged parents need the oxygen of publicity We hear the tragic details of children left in danger. But we must not silence the families of those removed unjustly
by Camilla Cavendish The Times March 6, 2009
“They’re ripping lives apart and no one knows,” says one kind colleague who has rashly offered to return some of the phone calls I get from people trying to get their children back from social services, or to stop them being taken away. She is staggered by the volume of misery, powerlessness and desperation that this issue provokes almost every day. And that it is almost invisible outside.
We all see the tragedies that go the other way. Baby P is imprinted on our minds. When the Audit Commission warned yesterday that thousands of children may be at risk of neglect and abuse in parts of the country because of shambolic child protection systems, we all have vivid images of the horror that can result if social workers do not intervene.
Yet we have almost no idea of what happens when the same shambolic systems intervene in the wrong lives.
When children die, they have no “privacy” left, so the media tell their story. But if children are taken from loving families and placed with strangers, their “privacy” makes their views the property of the State, to be translated only by the State.
I know one child, now back with his mother, who was told by social workers that she didn’t want him any more because she had a new baby. I have heard others say, on reaching 18, that they had assumed they were in care because they were evil. Many suffer the cruel ratchet of family contact visits being relentlessly reduced from maybe a few hours to an hour a week, to an hour a fortnight – awkward meetings in municipal rooms. This is done to wean children from their parents, for ostensibly good reasons but it also helps the State to claim that the “family bond” is weak and that the child would be happier with strangers. Of these things done in our name, we know almost nothing.
When we do find out, it is often too late. On Tuesday I went to the Court of Appeal to observe a strange case in which two teenage boys are protesting that the State is punishing them by keeping them in care.
The council apparently became concerned that the boys had refused to see their mother after she left the family home. A judge decided that their father was poisoning the boys’ minds, encouraged by a psychiatrist who, it was said in court, had exceeded her remit. They were taken into care. The boys have since run away from two foster homes, repeatedly stating that they want to live with dad, not mum. The system has deprived them of both.
The mute expression of disbelief and fury on the face of the older son on Tuesday, when the judges dismissed the appeal, was eloquent. By that stage, my feelings mirrored his. But it was hard to be sure. This was the first time any of the evidence had been made public, because only now has it gone to appeal.
We need proper regulation of the care system. The Audit Commission report demonstrates that regulators are too weak to improve performance in children’s services. We need a regulator who can spot problems early and make social workers accountable.
I am a social worker, I’m really very nice. I help you loving mothers, And give you good advice!
Your partner has departed Your income is too low. I’m really very sorry, All your kids will have to go!
Your partner is abusive? He beats you black and blue? We’ll soon be there to help you, And take your children too!
You have a learning problem, You’re really not too clever We’ll get your kids adopted When can you see them?? NEVER!!
Your son is hyperactive? You need a brief respite; We’ll soon take ALL your children Give up the hopeless fight!
Your child was taken into care, So many years ago If now you have a baby That too will have to go!
Foster parents love your kids To get some more they seek, For each one brings a tidy sum £400 per week!!
Children’s homes are run by us, Where paedophiles abound Each time we cover up abuse “The gutter press” come round
“They” said adoptions worked the best We soon proved that they would Fathers shout and mothers cry Their kids are gone for good!
What happens in our special courts? Our experts they will say “You’re a danger to your children, So we’ll take them all away!”
Your children may be healthy, Happy and well fed But one day you might hurt them That’s what our experts said
The judges know that we are right, With us they will agree They dare not risk another course You have no chance you see!
Our special courts are secret, So don’t you breathe a word Of what goes on inside those walls No matter how absurd!
We’ll get your kids adopted, And don’t you dare complain! Or you’ll end up in prison And I won’t say that again!
We have adoption targets, They must be met you see, Failure means a reprimand, So spare a thought for me!!!
by IAN JOSEPHS (a very social worker!)
British justice: a family ruined
A chilling example of our secret State where a mother and child are forced into hiding
by Camilla Cavendish,The Times, February 21, 2008
Last autumn a small English congregation was rocked by the news that two of its parishioners had fled abroad. A 56-year-old man had helped his pregnant wife to flee from social workers, who had already taken her son into care and were threatening to seize their baby.I will call this couple Hugh and Sarah. Neither they nor their families have ever been in trouble with the law, as far as I know. Sarah’s only fault seems to have been to suffer through a violent and volatile first marriage, which produced a son. When the marriage ended, the boy was taken into temporary foster care for a few months – as a by-product of the marriage breakdown and against her will – while she “sorted her life out” and found them a new home. But even as she cleared every hurdle set by the court, social workers dreamt up new ones. The months dragged by. A psychologist said the boy was suffering terribly in care and was desperate to come home. Sarah’s mother and sister, both respected professionals with good incomes, apparently offered to foster or adopt him. The local authority did not even deign to reply.Many people would think this man a hero. Instead, he received a far longer sentence – 16 months for abduction – than many muggers. This kind of sentence might be justified, perhaps, to set an example to others. But the irony of this exemplary sentence is that no one was ever supposed to know the details. (I am treading a legal tightrope writing about it at all.) How could a secret sentence for a secret crime deter anyone?It won’t do that, of course, because to name the woman and her children would be to tear a hole in the fabric of the secret State, a hole we could all see through. I would be able to tell you her side of the story, the child’s side of the story. I would be able to tell you every vindictive twist of this saga. And the local authority knows perfectly well how it would look. So silence is maintained.Can that really be the way we run justice in a country that was the fount of the rule of law? At the heart of this story is a little boy who was wrenched from the mother he loves, bundled around in foster care and never told why, when she appears to have been perfectly capable of looking after him. When she had relatives who were perfectly capable of doing so. In the meantime, he was becoming more and more troubled and unhappy. To find safety and love, that little boy has had to leave England.
We need these people to be named, and to hear in their words what happened. We need to open up the family courts. We need to tear down the wall of secrecy that has forced a decent woman to live as a fugitive, to save her little boy from a life with strangers, used like a pawn in a game of vengeance. Even if the local authority were to drop its case, it is hard to see how Sarah could ever trust them enough to return. At home, for their God- fearing congregation, the question is simple: what justice can ever be done behind closed doors? And in whose name?
Jailed: The man who helped his wife flee abroad as social workers threatened to take their baby
By FIONA BARTON, Daily Mail 7th Feb 2008
The businessman’s wife was heavily pregnant with their first child – and was terrified the baby would be taken at birth by social workers – when he drove his family to Dover, and then on to Paris.Her 56-year-old husband was arrested on his return to Britain, and later jailed for 16 months for abducting the eight- year-old, known as Child S.Her plight raises further disturbing questions about the secret family courts which only last week were in the spotlight when social workers illegally snatched a newborn baby from its mother.But the story of the father and his family in hiding can be revealed for the first time because he appealed in a criminal case – which can be reported – begging for his 16-month jail sentence to be reduced.A teacher friend of the father was also in tears.The three appeal judges were told yesterday how Child S’s parents had separated in 2004 after a volatile and violent marriage.But when she asked for his return, social services refused.A friend said: “She was led to believe by social services she would have no chance of keeping the child she was carrying, which is outrageous. She was in despair.”In the early hours, Child S “crept out” of his foster home to meet his mother and stepfather and the escape plan was under way.Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Bennett acknowledged the “powerful emotions” involved, but said: “Such proceedings taken by a local authority must be respected by parents.The judge expressed his disbelief that the father did not know the whereabouts of his wife.She added: “He is absolutely shell-shocked by the actions of the courts. Basically, they have said you are not allowed to be human in your responses.
Free the ‘Grandfather One’ Is it really in the public interest that a grandparent is jailed for not avoiding his grandson?
Camilla Cavendish, The Times, December 13, 2007
Charles Roy Taylor is a 71-year-old with a heart condition. He knew that a jail sentence was the penalty he might pay if he did not take steps to avoid his stepgrandson. But this seems desperately unfair. The teenager, whom we shall call John, has been in care since his mother died of an overdose. He has been phoning his grandparents and running away to see them for some time. In the end, social services became concerned that the grandparents were “undermining the care plan” by continuing to see John. It does not appear to be clear to the grandparents what the care plan is. But it does not seem to include them, even though they could presumably be John’s first port of call when he leaves the care system at 18.After a great deal of argy-bargy that I cannot go into for legal reasons, Mr Taylor last year gave an undertaking not to communicate with John until he was 18. But asking a man not to pick up the phone to a child, not to take him in when he turns up at the front door, is a harsh demand. It is tantamount to asking him to deny that the child exists, when what that child may need most is attention.When I first learnt of this case I felt that there must be more to it. That perhaps the grandparents were suspected of abuse. I can find no evidence of any such allegation. Indeed, the authorities initially seemed happy to leave them in contact with John. What appears to have happened is that the exchanges between the family and social workers became increasingly bitter, all of whom no doubt believed themselves to be in the right.There is a growing campaign on the internet to release Mr Taylor. This has two parts. The first is that a 20-month jail sentence is preposterous when the prisons are so overcrowded that dangerous criminals are being released early. The second is that Mr Taylor was allegedly committed to jail in a “secret court”. This seems unlikely. But it is an allegation that is made frequently. Legally, you cannot send someone to jail in a secret court. In practice, it is questionable whether a judge sitting in a family court from which press and public are excluded, who declares the court open for a few minutes to pronounce sentence, is really “open”.In the past month, one court has ruled that the defendants in a witchcraft trial, who were alleged to have done unspeakable things to children, could not be named in case this led to the identification of their victims. Another court banned publication of anything about a mother accused of poisoning her child with salt, in case the information affected her surviving child. The Times has recently succeeded in overturning yet another ruling, that a man who pleaded guilty to making indecent images of children could not be named in case his relatives might suffer. The Court of Appeal found that the man should be named, and that the attempts to restrict the proceedings were invalid.What is sad is that our elaborate system of child protection, which is designed to put children first, has sometimes become a way of avoiding accountability. The two MPs are right to ask whose interests Mr Taylor’s jailing serves. Presumably, the last thing John wants is for his grandfather to be in jail. They are both victims of a system that asks us to take on trust that it knows best. But prison is surely the wrong place for Charles Roy Taylor.
How social workers took away our children for 11 months without a shred of evidence
By SUE REID, Daily Mail 9 May 2008
For an interminable 11 months, Jodie and Luke were removed from their home because their parents faced accusations from doctors of the most hideous crime imaginable: sexually molesting their own daughter.What’s more, they were cruelly ordered not to say “I love you” to either boy or girl. Throughout this ordeal, the couple always protested their innocence and were relieved beyond belief. When Mr Justice Holman cleared them of any wrongdoing. He ordered the children’s return, insisting that his ruling be made public so lessons are learned by doctors, social workers and lawyers working in the child protection service.The Cleveland controversy was Britain’s biggest and first mass child abuse scare.The parents were often wrongly condemned – just like the Astons today – without their children being listened to or their family background being taken into account.Last year, the controversial sign was condemned as unreliable by the Government’s chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, who admitted that its use had led to mistakes in Cleveland.Mr Justice Holman said it was inevitable that Jodie was now “emotionally damaged” by her experiences.He said: “I hope the judge’s words will rein in doctors, and help other parents accused of sexually abusing their children without any real proof.” What happened to the Aston family seems incredible in 21st-century England. They are now seeking legal advice in the hope that the General Medical Council, the doctors’ disciplinary body, will investigate their case.Officials said it was too early to reveal how many other children have been taken into care or even adopted, as a result of suspected sexual abuse over recent years.The Astons’ nightmare began when they took Jodie, then aged eight, to Leeds General Infirmary’s casualty department on a Monday evening in August 2005. She had scraped her groin on a small wall while playing with friends.The girl was referred to the community paediatrics department at the city’s St James’s University Hospital on the following Thursday. Nothing was found to be amiss after an intimate examination. But two months later, Jodie was changing into her pyjamas after school when her mother saw a spot of blood on her pants.The hospital has a busy child protection team, overseen by the respected paediatric consultant Dr Christopher Hobbs.By looking at and probing a child’s bottom, the paediatricians claimed they could see if there was reflex anal dilatation and – therefore – abuse.However, 80 per cent of the “victims” were later returned to their parents because they had not been hurt at all.According to some paediatricians – notably an expert named Professor Astrid Hegar from America, where RAD has been abandoned in some states – half of all children who have not been sexually abused show the same “tell-tale” sign when their bottoms are examined.Yet in Britain, many child doctors – including Dr Hobbs – rely on the technique as an important piece of many pieces in the jigsaw of diagnosing child abuse.According to the doctors’ research, published in the medical journal The Lancet, 94 boys and 243 girls were diagnosed as sexual abuse victims in a previous two-year period. The paper – still quoted in medical literature – says that eight in ten of the boys, and a quarter of the girls, had “anal signs”.Although he did not physically examine Jodie, at the end of the appointment he and a fellow paediatrician said that they suspected child abuse. It was a terrible moment for Jodie’s mother, Donna.”I asked Jodie if her Daddy had done anything to her. She said “no” and I believed her. But when I got in the car, Craig saw that I had been crying. He asked me what was wrong and I just mumbled something about child abuse because I didn’t want to upset Jodie.” At home, after the children had gone to bed, Donna had to ask her husband a question that no wife should have to. Craig said he had not touched his daughter.”From that point, we began to watch the children like hawks.The following March, Jodie faced another assessment with Dr Hobbs. Just a few weeks earlier, she had again come home with a small blood spot on her pants.The family were trapped. The doctors ignored Donna’s suggestion that eczema might be the cause of the blood spots. Meanwhile, social workers began visiting the family regularly.Dr Skelton had been trained by Dr Hobbs. As Mr Justice Holman commented in his judgment: “In my view, the selection of her was deeply regrettable. Dr Skelton lacked the complete independence that is required for a second opinion in these sorts of circumstances.It emerged that Dr Skelton had discussed Jodie’s case with Dr Hobbs before the so-called independent examination took place in March last year.She says: “The social workers came at 9.30am to tell us they wanted to remove Jodie and Luke. It was a Thursday. Jodie and Luke were at school. They never came home for almost a year.”Craig was in a worse state than me. I thought he was going to harm himself. We woke up in night crying. We hugged each other because it was as if the children were dead.”Craig’s lawyers had instructed the American paediatrician, Professor Hegar, to give her views. She has examined 40,000 children for suspected abuse during a 28-year career. She believes that a family’s history – and a host of other factors – are vital when deciding if a child has been molested.”This is a common finding in up to 49 per cent of children who have not been abused. There is no research … that supports the use of RAD as a sensitive or specific finding for sexual abuse.”Her crucial views were also heard by video link during the hearing into Jodie’s case. Afterwards, Mr Justice Holman said Donna and Craig Aston are intelligent, responsible parents.Jodie told him that no one had touched her at home, or at primary school. Her brother Luke declared, quite spontaneously, that it was “all a big mistake”.Both of the Aston children said they loved their parents dearly and only wanted to go home. Now, at last, thanks to an enlightened judge, they have finally got their wish.
My baby had cancer but social workers falsely accused me of child abuse and took all three of my children
By SUE REID Daily Mail, 22 February 2008
One November afternoon at just after two o’clock, Louise Mason stood in a hospital ward and kissed her 11-week- old baby goodbye.On that day five years ago, Louise felt as though her heart would burst.”I said she had colicky attacks at six in the evening, and should be rocked until she slept. I said she needed to be coaxed to take her milk.”Louise, 32, then returned to her house, with its empty cot, in the seaside city of Derry, Northern Ireland. It must have been one of the loneliest journeys of her life.This week, though, a High Court revealed there had been a terrible miscarriage of justice, and ordered that Louise must be reunited with all her children.In a statement he said: “The workings of the family justice system in this case are matters of public interest, and do merit public discussion. Public confidence in the process is necessary, and the emergence of the changing circumstances of this case merits an open discussion.”These shocking details shed light on a family justice system normally hidden from view.But in the family courts, thousands of children are removed from their parents to adoption or foster care in deeply dubious hearings which never become public.Crucially, the courts’ culture of secrecy means that if a social worker lies, or fabricates notes, or a doctor makes a mistake, then no one finds out, and there is no retribution.Louise was born in Northampton, the youngest of three. Her father had a plastering business, and her mother raised a close, caring family.Louise says now: “I came here in 2001, thinking Derry was the perfect place for children to grow up.””I was quite able to cope with the toddler and the baby, who was very placid,” explains Louise. “I was a full-time mother and proud of it.”In fact, it is now known that without medical care she would have died within an hour.”The baby was taken off me in the children’s ward. I next saw her five hours later, at 7pm.”The next morning, they again said cancer was suspected.”But further investigation had showed that the left kidney and the area around it was swollen, and among medical staff there was a wide variety of opinion about the cause. Before long, doctors became highly suspicious that this was, in fact, caused by an injury.”He asked me if I had done anything to hurt my baby. He said he had called the social services and the police. I promised him I had done nothing to my child.”Yet still the trusting Louise thought it would all be sorted out in a few days. How wrong she was.”They asked me to attend the police station for an interview under caution. They said I was suspected of grievous bodily harm with intent.””I was frozen with fright,” she recalls.Four days later, worse news followed: her baby daughter was to be taken into foster care, too.From then on, she was allowed to see her children at a special supervised centre for only four-and-a-half hours a week.”The eldest one could remember me,” says Louise, “but I had hardly had a chance to bond with the new baby before she was taken from me.”A leading member of the social work team told her: “I do not think you are safe to be left in a room alone with any boy or girl.”The medical evidence given by five doctors from the hospitals was damning. They said Louise had deliberately hurt the baby girl with great force.That autumn, Louise was brought before a criminal court in Derry facing two charges of causing grievous bodily harm to the baby girl.In an emotional outburst, she blurted out to the jury that she wanted to take a lie detector test to prove that she had done nothing wrong. It was the turning point. The jury believed her, and in November 2004 she was acquitted of the charges. However, her children remained in care.He remembered the case and the wide divergence of medical opinion, yet had never known that Louise was under suspicion or that she was to have been prosecuted. He was convinced then that the child was suffering from a rare form of cancer of the left kidney, called neuroblastoma, which could have caused the bleeding.”It was a miracle,” Louise told me.Even though she had been acquitted, the social workers appeared to ignore the verdict.He offered to help, suggesting that a team of independent paediatricians, including experts on kidneys, cancer and non- accidental injury, should be asked to give their own opinions on the findings of the five hospital doctors.As a result, in June last year the Foyle Health and Social Services Trust, which covers Derry, said it no longer intended to pursue their action to keep Louise’s children in care or have them adopted. It was an almighty climbdown.In 2005, a year after she had been acquitted, Louise had became pregnant for a third time.”I couldn’t believe my ears,” says Louise.The baby was born early in 2006. True to their word, Louise had just given birth and was trying to breastfeed when the social workers arrived at Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry.It was five hours before the baby was returned to Louise in the maternity unit.Only recently – following the collapse of the Social Services Trust case – has Louise been given back the baby, and her eldest child, too.But perhaps the saddest thing of all is that the little girl who was so sick as a baby may never return home again. She has known no mother or father apart from her foster parents, and has bonded with them very closely.But she is happy with the couple whom she calls her Mummy and Daddy.”She cried terribly for her foster parents all the evening – it made us all unhappy,” says Louise, sadly.”She may never come home and live with me again because she wants to be with the only people she has ever recognised as her parents. It may be cruel to take her back now.”
It is, by any standards, a tragic indictment of the child protection system.
What do our MPs who represent us in parliament think about all this?
Prime Minister Responds on Adoption Q6.  John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): In England in 2006, 4,160 children under five were taken into care and more than 60 per cent. of them—2,490—were adopted. However, in Scotland 574 left care and 373, roughly 64 per cent., went home to their parents. Can the Prime Minister explain why in England children under five who leave care get adopted, while in Scotland they go home to their parents?
The Prime Minister: Social work legislation in the two countries is, of course, different. I shall look at the figures that the hon. Gentleman has put before me. But as is known, we have made strenuous efforts to try to ensure that children in difficulty are given the proper upbringing, whether that is by returning to their parents or, where it is essential, by being fostered or adopted. I will continue to look at the matter, but the hon. Gentleman has to understand that social work practice in the two countries is different.
Early Day Motions
EDMs are motions in parliament. Normally they don’t get debated. However, they are a sort of petition signed only by Members of Parliament. You can ask your MP to sign an EDM. You need to say which number EDM it is. MPs who are members of the government cannot sign EDMs, but you can ask them to write a letter to the minister in support of the EDM.
That this House notes that local authorities and their staff are incentivised to ensure that children are adopted; is concerned about increasing numbers of babies being taken into care, not for the safety of the infant, but because they are easy to get adopted; and calls urgently for effective scrutiny of care proceedings to stop this from happening.
That this House believes that mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed as this is in the interests of the long-term health of babies; recognises that for newborn babies this means breastfeeding on demand; further believes that newborn babies in care should also be breastfed on demand where this does not result in any risk to the baby; and calls for the Government to introduce guidelines to ensure that facilities are provided to ensure that newborn babies can be breastfed on demand.
That this House notes the comments of a senior social worker that meetings have been held during which solicitors acting for parents have discussed how to undermine the cases of their clients; further notes that there are many odd cases in which solicitors fail to oppose care proceedings or accept that the section 31 threshold has been met notwithstanding the opposition of their clients; recognises that reporting and obtaining the investigation of such behaviour outwith parliamentary proceedings remains a contempt of court for hon. Members; and asks the Solicitors Regulatory Authority to review the implementation of the new solicitors’ code of conduct and how this relates to conflicts of interest in the Family Court.
Download Form N434, Notice of change of solicitor, Court Service Forms, Administrative Court.Local solicitors and barristers often already enjoy a close and friendly “working relationship” with the local authority.These legal aid lawyers are widely known in the trade as “PROFESSIONAL LOSERS !” and justifiably so as they make a point of losing every single case they undertake when opposing social services! You cannot win if you have “enemies in your own camp” so if your lawyers start conceding every point to the opposition and stop you from saying anything in your own defence ,then be brave! Get rid of them !In many courts if you represent yourself you can get technical help with documents etc from the PSU (PERSONAL SUPPORT UNIT).In London they are to be found in room M104,Royal Courts of Justice,the Strand tel 02079477701/7703 or 4th floor Room 408,first avenue house,high holburn, Principal Registry of the Family Division Tel 02079477737.
That this House regrets the Government’s proposals to retain secrecy within the family courts; believes that this secrecy permeates bad practice throughout the whole system of children services; feels that it is possible to protect the identity of the child while allowing parents to talk and seek advice publicly about their treatment in the family courts, and that professional witnesses should be uniquely identified to monitor consistency; further believes that every case should have an anonymised judgement handed to the parents that they can discuss publicly; and calls on the Government to recognise that there are very serious problems in the system that have been postponed rather than resolved by the limited proposals contained within the consultation document.
That this House notes that in an email dated 24th October 2000, John Radford, Doncaster’s then Director of Public Health, described the issue of research on babies by Dr David Southall at Doncaster Hospital in the late 1980s as `potentially a hot potato as to my recall the intervention resulted in increased deaths and didn’t have proper consent’; expresses concern that the details of this research and its outcomes have been covered up by the health authorities; expresses particular concern that the research protocol specifically required that no action be taken to prevent cot death in the children selected until sufficient data had been collected; notes that the inquiry into CNEP ignored CNEP in Doncaster; and calls for a public inquiry into this and other research managed by Dr Southall to identify why the checks and balances in the system failed.
That this House notes that it is common practice for a firm of solicitors to perform outsourced work for a local authority and also to represent parents when parties in cases against the same local authority; notes and is surprised that this conflict of interest is acceptable under the professional conduct rules; understands that some parents would be surprised to find that this is the case; and calls for the Law Society to require that parents be asked to confirm in writing that they recognise that the firm they are instructing is conflicted in this way as part of the client engagement process.
That this House notes that from time to time the advice given by an expert appointed by one party to a court case is used to permit the exclusion of capacity of a further party to that case and then the Official Solicitor is brought in to act on behalf of the latter party; believes that it is an unacceptable conflict of interest; and calls, notwithstanding the duty of experts to the court, for the Government to introduce legislation to prevent this from occurring.
I try to help parents who are desperately trying to recover or at least make contact either with their children or worse still with “newborn babies” snatched by social services from mothers that have never caused them harm.Those social workers who snatch, and those lawyers, “experts” and especially the “ESTABLISHMENT JUDGES” who combine to help them should all be sent to prison for “CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY” for a very long time! I will explain and justify this later on. They can be beaten, but only if you fight from start to finish as the following shows!
Damages win for Tim and Gina Williams – falsely suspected of abusing their children
The Times, Dec 23, 2008 by Simon de Bruxelles
A couple whose three children spent two years in care because social workers wrongly believed that they were at risk of abuse have been awarded a “six-figure” sum in compensation.
Tim and Gina Williams’s son and two daughters were taken from them and placed with separate foster families. The couple, from Newport, South Wales, received an undisclosed sum yesterday in an agreed settlement at the High Court in Cardiff and were given a full written apology from Newport City Council.
The court was told that there had never been any evidence that the children, now aged 14, 11 and 9, had been abused. As a result of the social workers’ actions, the Williams missed their children’s birthdays, Christmases and their first days in new schools.
A judge completely exonerated them at the High Court in October 2006 and the children were returned to them.
The couple, who waived their right to anonymity, began a compensation claim against Newport City Council and Royal Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust soon after. Robin Tolson, QC, for the couple, said: “This settlement brings closure, at least of a kind, for Tim and Gina Williams and their children. The effect of what happened will continue to be felt for a long time but at least this now marks the end of four years spent fighting for their children and their rights before the court.”
Mr Williams, 39, and two of his children sat at the back of the court during the brief hearing.
In August 2004 Mr Williams called the police after finding his youngest daughter naked from the waist down with an 11-year-old friend. The girl was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up and the doctor who carried out the examination claimed to have found evidence of longstanding abuse but by an adult, not an 11-year-old.
Mr Williams and his wife were told that they were under suspicion and the children were taken into care. A second doctor confirmed the evidence of abuse and the couple were restricted to supervised weekly visits to their children.
There were exonerated after a US expert in child abuse examined the evidence and disputed the claims by the British doctors, who subsequently accepted that they had been mistaken. The council conceded that the children should never have been taken from their parents on the basis of the evidence.
Giving his judgment, Judge Crispin Masterman said that the children’s names were never put on the child protection register and it was simply decided to remove them from the family home. He said that the criticisms were coupled with an acknowledgment that all professionals involved were acting for the good of the children.
“It is undoubtedly true that social services departments have in recent years operated with inadequate resources and under immense stress and run the risk of attracting equal criticism whether they remove a child or whether they do not.”
A Newport council representative said: “A settlement has now been reached which will support the children’s future. The wellbeing of the children has remained paramount throughout this case. While the local authority has offered sincere apologies to the family, our priority was always the safety of the children. The court concluded that the council acted in good faith given the strength of the medical evidence presented.
“The council, together with other members of Newport safeguarding children board, has embraced the recommendations of the multi-agency review.”
Under the terms of the settlement, the family are banned from talking about it.
Sue & Tess
Dear Ian, we hope you are well,we took your advice an left for Eire ,an have a beautiful baby son named shay ,who is now 2 months old, he has come to no harm whatsoever and is highly unlikely to suffer any emotional abuse as ss stated,as we are both intelligent caring loving well balanced individuals, it appeared that Bury ss were allowing us to keep our son, however this all changed once i made contact with my local mp,the amusing thing is we didnt actually get to eire untill Shay was 1 week old,we lied through our back teeth to get him out of the uk hospital ,and it worked a treat,its amazing how the nhs panic when threatened with a lawsuit by two new age travellers,the bad news is they now appear to be going after my kids from a previous relationship but they havent a leg to stand on,in any case they would be moved to ireland at the first sign of any court action.We fully intend to make public our situation once things have cooled a little,removing kids for a likelihood of emotional abuse should be a criminal offence could you imagine the consequences if the criminal courts locked people up for a likelihood they may commit crime,the government would be bankrupt with compensation claims.babys removed from parents for eighteen years of there lives,murderers only serve half of a 30 year sentence any way take care and thanks for your advice regards Mr A Galligan Miss Tracey Mcgee
From Catherine Sara
I am posting this as asked by members whom you have worked day and night to help in every way possible.
I know you are very modest and expect nothing in return for all your help.
Day and night you answer the call.
If only all Social Workers, Lawyers, Judges, etc were as dedicated to the higher good as you are,
Then oh what a world we would have of happiness and joy and light for ALL OF US.
May your light shine ever brighter and may all our lights shine like beacons until all our lights touch and spread to cover
OUR MOTHER ….EARTH.
THE ONE MOTHER WE ALL SHARE.
Thank you Ian.
We salute you.
All it takes for evil to succeed is that good people do nothing.
Hello Ian,I know that so many parents contact you everyday and as a matter of natural fact, you might not remember everyone that has contacted you.I have contacted you several times with my husband and your genuine and honest advise has helped us. we had a social service issue in which our children were all taken, after a very lenghty court battle and your numerous advise, we won them in a civil high court, they dragged us to a criminal Court, both of us were charged, I was charged with child neglect and abandonment (as they met my 12 year old daughter and her siblings home alone and a family friend was outside my house who was keeping eye on them) I was only away for 5 to 10 minutes, that was the big issue, police was called,all the children were taken and they refused to acknowladge the presence of our family friend, claiming that he was not inside the house. my husband was charged with our younger children’s abduction from care.In the Criminal Court, they tried to force me to plead guilty to their charges on the ground that they will drop my husband’s charges, even my barrister encouraged me to do so. I nearly did, it was your advise that encouraged me not to do that, when I refused, both trials went ahead, I and my Husband’s, they manufactured so many lies upon lies in order to find both of us guilty and come back for the children, after a two week trial, the jury found both of us ‘NOT GUILTY’, the judge commented that:the case has been dealt with in a civil Court and that there is no criminal aspect or intent in it,5 to 10 minutes is not enough for any mother to be guilty of child neglect and abandonment.In my husband’s case, they did not have any order when they took the children and that our children were not subject to any careorder when my husband took them from the school. Our case is finally over.May I use this opportunity to say a very Big Thankyou, You have really helped us a lot, if not for your kind advise, we would have lost our children just like that, the advises you gave us, our own lawyers could not even give it to us, Thankyou so many times.
The contact details are as follows,We will help and advise any other parents with similar problems.our telephone numbers for me or my husband are,07503583592,07963999116.
Dave and myself would like you to know all the mothers and people we have spoken too. All agree that you are one of the few genuien persons we all know. I dont think you quite realise the hope and the determination that you give to us when we feel like giving up you have a certain power that gives us all insperation to keep fighting you are very special to us all, and we won,t forget you I will still be contacting you when this is all over with. I will even bring Connor to see you and tell him of all your support and insperation that you gave to us I will tell him you are the main man the one we first found when you was snatched from our arms.
Know this Ian because it is the truth when I say to you that you live up to more than our exspectations your an angle a bright light in a very dark wicked world showing everyone the truth about the ss,lawyers, and the evil judges we were all lost until you showed us the way to fight.
Dear IanI thought I should just write to you to advise you that after great effort on my part and after following the excellent advice you gave me I can now report that my daughter has been returned to my care.I cannot thank you enough for the advice you gave me and which I took. It was from your advice that I decided to stand up for myself and sought advice from another solicitor who was willing to give me her assurance that she would fight my case every step of the way.Needless to say I had my day in court and although the final hearing is still to happen in July 08 my daughter has been returned to me and the care plan is for reunification. Thank you so much. Please keep up the good work. If you would like the name of the solicitor I used I would be happy to pass it on to you so that others may take advantage of having good legal representation in court.Kind regards and God bless you.Mandy Price
Good Morning Ian,This a little update, Since we have been recording the Social Workers and they keep refusing to come into our home, Our Solicitors have been informed by them that they will no longer be seeking a supervision order,Which I have you to thank for all your help and support, Thank You Friend!I would also like to let you know last night i tore Stand Together down and redone it with a totally cool new look and feel about the website, Now all we want to do is Start to rebuild our life’s back, And use our website to help and support other family’s That are going through what we went through and to help support other websitesPlease have a look and tell me what you thinkRegards
Court orders return of new baby
A teenage mother has been reunited with her baby after the child was taken by social services without a court order.
The boy was taken two hours after he was born to the 18-year-old, who had just left the care of Nottingham social services.
Hours later, Mr Justice Munby at the High Court said no baby could be removed “as the result of a decision taken by officials in some room”.
The woman’s solicitor Stuart Luke said she would lodge a claim for damages.
He said she faced the prospect of “an application by the local authority social services for an interim care order, which will be vigorously contested”.
Mr Justice Munby said that without the appropriate order and given that the mother was still in hospital, mother and child should be reunited.
Describing the situation as “most unfortunate”, he said officials involved in the case “should have known better”.
The boy was born healthy and taken from his mother about two hours after his birth without an order having been made.
Mr Luke, from the firm Bhatia Best, said: “Mother and child were reunited 46 minutes after Mr Justice Munby’s order at 1209 (GMT).”
Hospital staff were apparently shown a “birth plan” prepared by local authority social services.
The plan said the mother, who had a troubled childhood and suffered from mental health problems, was to be separated from the child, and no contact allowed without supervision by social workers.
The judge said the removal of a child could only be lawful if a police constable was taking action to protect a child, or there was a court order in place.
Mr Luke said the mother would be making a claim for damages against social services officials “arising out of the unfortunate removal of her child without lawful authority shortly after his birth”.
The judge ordered the council to prepare a comprehensive plan setting out their proposals to assist the mother as she had recently left local authority care, by no later than 8 February.
Baby ‘snatched’ from mother minutes after birth is ordered BACK into foster care
By DAVID WILKES Daily Mail, 2nd February 2008
A mother who had her baby son taken illegally by social workers wept yesterday as a court ordered he should be put in care after all.
The 18-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, broke down in tears and had to be supported by two relatives as she received the devastating news.
It has been a three-day rollercoaster for the young mother. Her son, known as Baby G for legal reasons,was snatched from her in hospital by social services two hours after birth.
Family courts decide on children’s lives behind closed doors
Then the infant was returned to her later that day after a High Court judge ruled the officials had acted illegally because they did not have a court order.
Yesterday, after a further hearing before the Family Proceedings Court over two days, district judge Richard Inglis upheld an application by Nottingham council for an interim care order.
The mother attended the behindcloseddoors hearing yesterday but did not give evidence.
“It has been a thoroughly traumatic few days for her and she is devastated and drained,” a friend said afterwards.
The case highlights the lack of transparency in the family courts, with the reasons behind the decision will not be revealed to the public.
Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who campaigns for greater openness in the system, said: “If they are going to take such draconian action as to separate a newborn baby from its mother, they should be willing to justify it in the open.
“What worries me most about these types of cases is they do not explain what they are doing or why.
“There are other options, like a mother and child foster placement or an assessment centre so that they do not have to be separated.
“But they almost seem to revel in separating newborn children from their mothers in this country.”
Baby G was born in hospital in Nottingham at 2am on Wednesday and social services took him around 4am. His mother, who has mental health problems, has just left local authority care.
The baby was taken after staff at the hospital were shown a “birth plan” that was prepared by social workers.
The plan said the mother, who had a troubled childhood, was to be separated from the child, and no contact would be allowed without supervision by social workers.
Mr Justice Munby made an order in the High Court in London that the baby should be returned to his mother, which he duly was.
In his ruling, he said that “on the face of it” social services officials had acted unlawfully because they had not obtained a court order.
Giving his decision at the Family Proceedings Court in Nottingham yesterday, Judge Inglis said: “The court has decided that the welfare of G requires that he lives in local authority foster care on an interim basis.
“His mother will have frequent periods of contact with him.
“When further inquiries have been made the court expects to be in a better position later this year to make a decision about who should care for G.”
Afterwards, Nottingham council said that the interim care order “enables the council to provide appropriate protection for the baby, whilst continuing to support the mother, who is also our concern”.
It added: “The council and a range of other partner agencies had enough concern for the baby’s welfare during the pregnancy to believe that action would be needed to protect the baby when it was born.”
The decision was made at a case conference in December 2007 at which the mother and her legal representative were present, the council said.
“The law does not allow application for a court order before birth. The protection plan made in advance included the intention to apply for a care order immediately following the birth of this baby.”
Margaret McGlade, chairman of Nottingham’s safeguarding children board, said there will be a review of “the communications between all parties, particularly following the baby’s birth to see if there are any lessons to be learned”.
Last night the mother’s solicitors, Bhatia Best, said they are considering a renewed application to the High Court under the European Convention on Human Rights.