PROBLEMS AND REMEDIES
1:- Problem:- Judges who “play it safe” by going along with social service requests to allow thousands of children to be adopted against the will of parents who have never harmed them.
Remedy:- Allow parents in family courts to opt for decision by jury as few juries would agree to “forced adoptions” unless parents were proved to have been physically abusive.
2:-Problem:– Children taken from parents because they are “at risk” or have suffered “emotional abuse”. Parents cannot defend themselves against such non specific accusations. Contact between children in care and parents is usually left to the discretion of social services and is often used as a weapon to enforce obedient cooperation. Phone contact is usually forbidden.
Remedy: Social Services should only be allowed to take children who have actually suffered significant physical damage through the fault of their parents (established by a criminal conviction)such as broken bones cigarette burns, sexual abuse, malnutrition, drug or alcohol addiction. Contact arrangements should be specified in court for children in care, and phone contact should always be allowed, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
3:-Problem:- Newborn babies are taken from mothers because they have already had children taken into care and they are thus prevented from making a fresh start in life.
Remedy: As 2 above. Unless a mother has harmed her baby physically it should never be removed at birth and deprived of breast feeding.
4:-Problem:- Family Courts are secret and parents and the press are forbidden to publish names and details of injustices even at the request of the parents concerned.Hearsay evidence that cannot be questioned properly and the absence of the children themselves from the court make it difficult for parents to present their cases effectively.
Remedy:- Family courts should be open to press and public but names should not be revealed. Nevertheless, parents should be allowed to waive their anonymity (in the same way as victims in rape cases) and go to the press openly if they feel their children have been unjustly taken from them.Hearsay evidence should NEVER be admitted in the Family courts, and children should come to give evidence in court if the parents so request.
Local authorities should not be allowed to anticipate the decisions of the courts by “advertising” in magazines and on the internet, photos and descriptions of children who are still under interim or full care orders but who have not yet been freed for adoption.