Churches should be aware of the threat posed by social workers steeling children from their parents, Christian Voice has warned.
Secret family courts continue to forcibly remove hundreds of children from their parents throughout the
every year. The children are then put up for adoption and prevented from seeing their biological parents, many of whom have not committed any abuse.
Last June Christian Voice reported on a number of cases of children being ‘freed for adoption’ in order to meet targets. (Read the June report HERE.)
Freeing for adoption was first introduced in
under the Adoption Act 1976, following the Report of the Departmental Committee on the Adoption of Children chaired by Sir William Houghton in 1972. The Children Act 2004 later established secret family courts to oversee the removal of children from their birth parents. These courts use contempt of court laws to prevent parents going public with their stories.
In addition to the thousands of children removed from their parents every year, the family courts also send parents to prison for contempt of court because of breaching a contact order. A Parliamentary question last year revealed that the judges in family courts regularly send more than 200 people a year to prison, in strict secrecy with no public hearing at all.
The secrecy of the family courts means that if an MP does his democratic duty to check out a constituents’ heart-rending tale of social service child-snatching, he will be held in contempt of court, as would the parent approaching their MP for help. Nick Cohen reported in the Observer that in one case a judge’s ruling ‘meant that it was a contempt of court to tell the solicitor general, who is responsible for the honest functioning of the legal system, and the Minister for Children, who is responsible for the welfare of children, about an alleged miscarriage of justice involving a child.’
The secret courts also prevent parents who are accused of abuse from calling in witnesses in their defence. Parents who are unable to afford a lawyer, or who are refused legal aid, are prevented from asking a lay adviser to help.
Ian Joseph, Ex-Kent County Councillor and author of the book Forced Adoptions, reported on his website that, ‘A couple I helped recently had their baby removed the same day it was born! The distraught mother was told that she was blameless, but that her partner, the baby’s father, some years previously had been accused by his ex-wife of violence towards her in a custody dispute. No charges were ever brought by anyone but this unproved accusation was enough for the horrified mother to see her baby taken by social services with a view to adopts. After several court cases a second baby was born and threatened with the same fate…’
Official figures show that in 100 cases, low family income was the main justification for removing children from their parents. Newspapers have also reported on cases where social services targeted children because the parents are were ‘not clever enough.’ In some cases, a mother’s ‘troubled childhood’ has been used as evidence that her children should be removed.
In 21% of all cases where a child needs protection, the reason is allegedly because of ‘emotional abuse.’ While emotional abuse is on the rise (in 1997 it only accounted for 14% of cases), no one quite understands what it actually means. According to the
local authority, emotional abuse includes ‘swearing’, ‘conditional love’ or ‘discriminatory remarks’. The
council defines it as ‘an ingrained pattern of interaction . . . which it is essential to observe and understand over time’. ‘Right now, it looks as though around 6,000 people stand accused of abuse, or potential abuse, that no lawyer can even define’ complained Camilla Cavendish in The Times.
‘From the time’ wrote Sue Reid in the Daily Mail, ‘a child is named on a social services care order until the day they are adopted, the parents are breaking the law - a crime punishable by imprisonment - if they tell anyone what is happening to their family. Anything from a chat with a neighbour to a letter sent to a friend can land them in jail.’
READ: Deut. 1:17; Lev. 19:15; 1 Sam. 2:10; Prov. 24:23-25; Is. 5:20-23; 10:1-4; Mic. 2:1-2; Jn. 7:24 1 Tim. 5:21; James 3:17.
PRAY: Pray for the numerous families being torn apart to satisfy Government’s adoption targets. Pray this issue remains high profile in the media, despite all the social services and secret courts are doing to keep it quiet.
WRITE: to your MP and make any of the following points
- The family courts should be opened up to trial by jury.
- The laws should be changed to remove the gag currently placed on parents who have suffered in the family courts. Only the workings of the homeland security service, MI5, are guarded more closely than those of the family courts. As High Court judge Mr Justice Munby told MPs last year: ‘It seems quite indefensible that there should be no access by the media, and no access by the public, to what is going on in courts where judges are, day by day, taking people's children away.’ In any organ of a democratic society, transparency not secrecy is the key to positive reform.
- Social workers should stop targeting parents with learning difficulties. According to a BBC News report, ‘It is increasingly common for people with learning difficulties to have children. However, researchers found that in 50% of cases [where parents had learning difficulties] children were being taken from their natural parents.’
The family courts should no longer allow alleged cases of ‘Manchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy’ to count as evidence against a parent. The controversial disorder allegedly compels mothers to make up illnesses in her child, or even to purposely harm him to attract attention to herself. MSBP was first ‘discovered’ by Professor Sir. Roy Meadow, a controversial paediatrician who was later struck off the medical register for giving ‘misleading and incorrect’ testimony in the case of Sally Clark, a mother wrongly jailed for killing her two infant sons. Professor Meadow was found guilty of serious professional misconduct. However, Dr. Meadow’s scientifically unproved theory continues to be the basis by which scores of mothers have been sent to prison while hundreds more have had their children removed for adoption. Some doctors question whether the syndrome even exists. Nick Cohen wrote in the Observer, that ‘One case [of alleged ‘Manchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy’] involved a couple in Essex who had taken the baby to hospital because of a bump on his head. They were accused of attacking him. They managed to find medical evidence which proved their innocence, but it was too late: the boy had been adopted. No appeal. No redress. The child was lost.’
ADVICE FOR CHURCHES
Churches should be aware that if they call or alert social services to a problem in a family, the parents are very likely to lose their children and any future children as a result. Criminal activity should be reported to the police, but for anything else, consider how you can best support the family within the church.
If children within your church are targeted by social workers:
- Urge the parents contact Christian Voice immediately. We can put them in touch with others who have been down this road and won and who are only too happy to offer advice to those in a similar plight.
- If parents within your church are asked to take their children to the hospital for a ‘checkup’ on Friday afternoon, never agree. Social workers arrange that intentionally to keep the parents waiting until 5 or 6 pm so they can remove the children after it is too late to seek legal help until Monday, by which time it is often too late.
- If a family within your church has been threatened with having their children removed, the parents should teach their children to make reverse charge calls at public phone boxes and the parents should help them to memorise their phone number. That way, if they are taken away, contact will never be lost.
- Parents within your church should be advised to never sign any documents social workers present to them, even if the social workers say they have to. Many people don’t realise it, but social workers have absolutely no power unless they are working specifically under a court order issued by a judge. Parents always have the opportunity to contest such orders in court either before or after they are given.
- Parents within your church should be advised to never agree for their children to go into foster care even for a temporary period, because in the eyes of the courts this is equivalent to admitting abuse.
- Parents within your church should be advised to never give social workers more information than the bare minimum. They will use any information they can against the parents. This means that parents should avoid writing letters to social workers, even when they are very upset and feel like they have to.
- Parents within your church should be warned that if social workers ask to look at medical records, the parents should always write to their doctor and request that the records be kept strictly confidential.
- If a family within your church is having problems with social workers, they should be advised to obtain copies of social services’ records about your child. Instructions about how to request the records can be found HERE.
Click HERE to read Government’ own figures for children looked after in
(including adoption and care leavers) covering the period 2005-2006.
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