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See this post for discussion of the case law which judges have to consider before agreeing to any care plan for adoption. See this post for general discussion of the law around adoption and placement orders.
Forced Adoption | Child Protection Resource
There were increasing concerns about the lack of regulation of this private adoption industry which led to statutory intervention.
Under the Local Government Act , local authorities LA were given powers to remove children from parents, if the LA decided they could not care for them.
See this post from the Guardian giving a time line of the history of child protection. In , 25, adoption orders were made, reflecting a society where illegitimacy was still stigmatised, birth control less reliable and welfare benefits less accessible. In only about adoption orders were made.
Adoptions now rarely involve babies. It is important to acknowledge, however, that, whatever the legal theory, practice has changed dramatically over the 89 years we have had adoption in England. Non- consensual adoption used to be rare, but the position has changed radically. Initially, the courts took a very narrow view indeed of the final limb of section 2 3 of the Act: Much more important, the entire focus of adoption has changed dramatically in recent decades.
Until the late s, the typical adoption was of an illegitimate child born to a single mother who, however reluctantly, consented to the adoption of her child. Non-consensual adoption was comparatively rare. The result of various changes in the system of public childcare, culminating in the implementation in October of the Act, has led in recent decades to a correspondingly dramatic increase in the number of non-consensual adoptions.
The typical adoption today is of a child who has been made the subject of a care order under the Act and where parental consent has been dispensed with in accordance with section 52 1 b of the Act. The court made an adoption order in relation to her child in April The case is here. The Conspiracy Theory and allegations of systemic corruption However, despite the enormous reduction in adoption orders over 40 years, the debate about the entire concept of adoption continues to grow.
There have been serious concerns about the child protection system for many years. See further, this post from the Transparency Project. It is further alleged that family courts are secret and people who try to speak out will be sent to prison. There are many on line groups for parents who are convinced that their children were removed on the basis of deliberate lies.
The view expressed here is typical: UK Family Law Courts a close second. One day, history lessons will describe the horrific details of what is happening to families all across the country.
The descendants of those who have perpetrated this abuse, will be ashamed of their ancestors and try to distance themselves from them…. Worries about social work practice come from a variety of sources. Colin Brewer wrote in the Spectator in the aftermath of the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: This happens despite the fact that social workers have relatively modest case loads, especially compared with doctors.
The sins of our mothers : the story of Emeline (VHS tape, 1989) [luokai.info]
These are not fanciful concerns. We should all be interested in the state of our child protection services. What is clear is that a growing number of people DO believe exactly that. We need to understand why and what we can do about it. How did this belief take hold? Tony Blair had been horrified by the numbers of children who remained in care for long periods of time without a permanent home. As such, it advocated an increase in the use of adoption to provide children with permanency at an earlier stage.
It emphasised that the first choice should always be a return to the birth family, but where this was clearly not an option, adoption should be seen as a key means of providing permanence. Foster care, on the other hand, was viewed as a transitional measure, which should be used only as a temporary option. Following on from this, the government produced a White Paper entitled Adoption: It was in this context that the Adoption and Children Act was introduced, with the explicit aim of promoting the greater use of adoption.
I must explain that there are no targets on the numbers of children in care. In fact the law is clear in that children should live with their parents wherever possible and that families should be given extra support to help keep them together. In most cases, support from the local authority LA enables concerns to be addressed and children to remain with their families. It is plain to me from these documents, that in addition to the allegations set out above, Mr. In my judgment, these comments are not only wrong and ill-informed; the simple fact remains that they have no foundation in the evidence presented either to the Nottingham County Court or to this court.
That they are made publicly by Mr Hemming once again strikes me as an abuse of his position. Wall LJ went on to say at para In my judgment, the arguments advanced by Mr Hemming in this case are ill-informed and tendentious. They are contradicted by the evidence, and must be rejected. I think this most unfortunate. Nobody who works in the Family Justice System regards it as perfect: Constructive criticism, particularly from those in a position to bring about change, is to be welcomed.
I am myself in no doubt that the system must change and adapt, and I have spoken many times in public in support of my belief that there needs to be greater transparency in order to combat the partial, tendentious and inaccurate criticisms made against the system. I therefore welcome the opportunity provided by this case to demonstrate that the system has operated properly, and that the criticisms made are unfounded.
Mr Brennan has written to two national newspapers to say there has never been any financial incentive for councils to meet national adoption targets. The claims surfaced over the case of a baby in Nottingham placed into care just hours after being born. In a letter to The Times and The Daily Mail, Mr Brennan says there were national adoption targets designed to place more children in care into loving, family homes.
While national adoption targets were set for some years, these ceased in The government emphasised that targets were intended to make sure more children who had been adjudged to need an adoptive placement were found permanent homes.
They were not intended to affect the judgment of whether the child was in need of an adoption. As such, an excessive focus on adoptive placements can mean that these others do not receive sufficient attention. So what is really going on? There are a number of elements we need to look at to try and work out whether assertions about a deliberately corrupt system contain any truth. Without doubt, the child protection system is not working well. We need to think more deeply why that is.
The continuing and repeating pressures on the child protection system which lead to growing distrust between parents and professionals ; The cost of care proceedings — why would a LA bear these costs without very good reason? What do the statistics tell us about adoption rates for babies or very young children? A system under pressure Helping children is a human process. When the bureaucratic aspects of work become too dominant, the heart of the work is lost.
In brief, it seems that for very many years the system has become overwhelmed by the demands placed upon it. Excessive bureaucracy, dangerously high caseloads and low morale amongst social workers combine to work against good decision making and protecting children.
The fact that the system is under considerable strain and pressure is a serious problem for us all — but it is not evidence of deliberate malignity on the part of those decision makers. Research from the University of Bristol in said this: Bringing care proceedings is a costly and time consuming business for local authorities.
In addition, the local authority will have to contribute towards independent assessments ordered by the court and may need to instruct barristers counsel to represent it at court. In order to ensure that proceedings are used only where the local authority can prove its case and court orders are required, as well as to control expenditure, local authorities have established internal procedures for approving court applications.
Legal advice and senior management approval are generally required even where an application if made for an order to remove or detain a child in an emergency Masson et al ; DCSF , para 3. So if the financial burden on the LA does not reassure people that care proceedings are not taken lightly, what can we see from the statistics about children taken into care?
If Hemming and others are right, we should see a clear rise from in the number of babies or very young children taken into care and then adopted. There is now considerable interest in the statistics around adoption and placement orders, so we consider this in detail in another post. Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
The court judgments, culminating in Re B-S that have so concerned Martin Narey were right to point out the dangers of sloppy analysis.
But why had some cases got into such a mess? It is thought to be an easy matter to distinguish between fact and theory, between perception and interpretation.
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In truth, it is extremely difficult. What is our reality? But that of course does not mean the system is perfect. We agree with that justice needs to be seen to be done and there should be as much openness as possible about such serious matters.
We accept that there can be serious consequences when a system is overwhelmed by cases; individual practitioners may lack support, and there is a risk of bad or even no decisions getting made. Sometimes mistakes are made because lawyers and doctors got it wrong about the medical evidence.
There is no doubt that the Government wishes to speed up the adoption process and there are legitimate concerns about how the new Children and Families Act will operate. The tension and difficulties inherent in this dual role are obvious. We should always be open to more discussion and debate about what we should be doing to secure the welfare of children. You may also be interested in this article by an adoptive parent in the Guardian from , discussing the difficulties caused by lack of post adoption support.
We agree that everyone who works in the system should be aware of the dangers of an insular or paternalistic approach to child protection issues. We agree that adoption may not be the best plan for every child and there should not be an automatic assumption that adoption is best.
However, we think for many children subject to a final care order, it will represent their best chance of achieving a stable and loving home throughout their childhood. We agree that placements with family members should continue to be investigated thoroughly.