What really should happen:
More than 200 MPs have called for the abolition of all secrecy in family courts: Working of the Children Act 2004
There should be no gagging orders on parents who should be free like rape victims to waive anonymity and go to the press with their history, their identities, and their complaints (including details of the court proceedings, the witnesses who testified, and the judgement) if they believe their children have been unjustly taken.
These children are routinely advertised for adoption like pedigree dogs by social services in magazines “Adoption UK” etc., on the internet and even in the Daily Mirror! All with full colour photos, first names and birth dates, allowing easy identification by the neighbours!
The secrecy exists to gag protesting parents not to protect the identity of the children and should be scrapped! Also abolition of “jail with no public hearing” (a parliamentary question revealed that more than 200 persons were sent to prison in secret last year by family courts!)
2. HARM & RISK
The notion of “emotional harm” is a vague concept impossible to either prove or disprove and should be scrapped. Most important of all however is “RISK”. Parents and children are split up, and in effect punished not because of anything they have done, but only for what the “professionals” think someone might do in the future!
Perfectly happy and healthy children are declared to be at risk of harm at some time in the future by social workers and hired “experts” (psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists and the like!) who base their opinions very largely on the reports from social workers which are always so thoughtfully provided for them! Parents are asked how they can possibly know better than these highly qualified (and very highly paid!) professionals!
In fact the answer is both simple and financial. In the Louise Woodward case for example, top experts disagreed about a possibly shaken baby but each expert gave evidence for the side that paid them!! Some supposedly “top experts” like Professor Meadows, Professor Southall and Dr Marietta Higgs, caused literally hundreds of children to be legally kidnapped on evidence based on their crackpot theories that have now been thoroughly discredited!
In any case, the experts hired by social services always tend to take the side of their social service or family court paymasters so children and worse still, newborn babies, are then sent for adoption. This is said to avoid any more risk from parents who are naturally angry and upset that their children have been removed and who can then be declared to be emotionally unstable. A result as unjust as it is absurd! Would any genuinely loving mother be able to remain calm and cooperative with those who had taken her children or worse still, her newborn baby?
On the continent in France, Spain, Italy etc. children are only taken from parents, if they have suffered severe physical harm. The concepts of “emotional harm” and “future risk” quite rightly do not exist there! Children from these countries are only taken, if a parent has committed or at least been charged with a CRIME against their child.
“NO CRIME NO CARE ORDER” should be the rule also in the UK. The simple fact that “other children from the same mother have previously been taken into care” should no longer be considered an adequate reason for removing children, and ESPECIALLY NEW BORN BABIES from parents.
Circumstances can and often do change, and it is wicked to ignore such changes. To take a baby from a mother of sound mind who has never in any way caused it harm must be a CRIME (as an article in The Times clearly states). Every completely blameless mother in the UK is at risk of having her baby taken at birth because the father has merely been “suspected” (not charged or convicted) of some violent incident in his distant past.
“Too bad you chose the wrong man to father your baby and he/she will now be adopted by strangers” the distressed mother is told!
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/camilla_cavendish/article759348.ece The perpetrators should be punished!
Decisions in contested cases in family courts THAT INVOLVE LONG-TERM FOSTER CARE OR ADOPTION must be decided by jury. Any burglar or other criminal facing a possible 6 months or more in prison has the right to demand a jury; so why not a parent facing the loss of a child to adoption? In effect a life sentence!
A jury would be less likely to “rubberstamp” demands of social services than “establishment judges”, who inevitably take what they often describe as “the safe option” and agree with highly-paid experts who foretell that children are at risk of emotional harm!
It is very rare that any judge will restore children or babies to parents against opposition in court from social services.
THESE JUDGES ARE THE REAL VILLAINS AS THEIR JUSTICE SHOULD PROTECT THE WEAK NOT OPPRESS THEM. I believe (like The Times article) that these establishment judges commit a wicked crime every time they condone the taking of newborn babies from sane mothers that have never caused their babies harm.
At Nuremburg after World War II, the Nazi judges were condemned to prison as criminals and many of our family court judges deserve the same fate. Most of the decisions that now divide children from loving parents would be decided quite differently by a jury! This would soon reduce the number of cases brought by social services before the courts!
Telephone contact must never be forbidden between parents and children. Letters and conversation between parents and children must NEVER be censored or restricted by the social service “thought police”. Frequency of contact visits between parents and children in care should be decided specifically by a court and NOT left to the discretion of social services who sometimes use their discretion as a weapon to subdue “difficult” parents.
Parents accused of neglect that has not endangered the life of the child (absences from school, dirty or cluttered house etc.) should be given a written warning to put matters right, and a chance to do so before children can be taken.
The Government’s own research in 2001 already showed “concern that the needs of the children were being overlooked because of the struggle to meet adoption targets”.
The first step should be abolition of “closed adoption” i.e. where the baby or child is given to new parents whose names and addresses are wrongly kept strictly secret from the birth parents.
As a second step, abolition of forced adoption, i.e. when a parent who has not been convicted of any crime that might affect the child opposes adoption in the family court.
Adoption targets and large government rewards for achieving those targets (under public service agreements) should be scrapped:
- Kent got £21million (!),
- fosterers get as much as £400 per child per week,
- Special Schools up to £7,000/week per child,
- adoption agencies around £18,000/placement,
- lawyers as much as £50,000 per case,
- “experts” up to £4,000 for a 3-hour interview with a parent.
Without these rewards, social workers and others might be more motivated to keeping families together instead of splitting them up!
Over 60,000 children are in care and more than 3,000/year are adopted, of which over 700/year are taken after hearings contested by distraught parents who nearly always lose!
These figures are extremely disturbing. 24 MPs from all parties have signed early day motion 626 deploring the way social workers take babies and young children into care NOT for the benefit of the child but to meet the adoption targets set by the Government.
So-called “experts” and “professionals” should no longer be allowed to make “prophecies” and “risk assessments” in court, but should confine themselves to what has happened not what might happen! Gypsies often claim to foresee the future using a crystal ball and maybe one or two actually do have a gift of sorts!
What is certain is that social workers, and their hired and very highly paid psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists do NOT have that gift and these so called “experts” and “professionals” should stop demanding that the courts authorise the removal and possible adoption of babies and children purely on the basis of their unreliable future predictions!
It is incredible that in the UK families are ruthlessly split up NOT for events that have happened, but for events that so called “experts” think one day might happen! As already stated, the Louise Woodward case demonstrated the fallibility of “professionals” when the most distinguished experts in the country disagreed about a “shaken baby” case.
Each expert by hazard testified in favour of the side that paid their fees! “Experts” that are selected by social services or by “the court” unsurprisingly almost always end up by deciding that the hapless parents are “in denial”, suffer from “paranoia” or have a “personality disorder”, simply because like many journalists, from The Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail, broadcasters of programmes like “The Real Story” and thousands of other people, they see social workers as “childsnatchers” rather than kindly helpers devoted to the public good!
No more forecasts of “risk” from hired experts should be considered in family courts. Parents are rarely allowed by their lawyers to call their own “experts” and if they represent themselves they cannot afford to. Most legal aid lawyers are widely known as “professional losers” because they collect large fees for simply advising parents to give up the fight. They almost never win cases in the civil family courts, as they rarely call all the witnesses and often forbid parents to say anything in court at all!!
Parents should be able to testify and to call their children, their family doctor, and other family members as witnesses. According to the UN convention on children’s rights, to which the UK subscribes, children capable of understanding the nature of a court have the right to testify in proceedings that involve them, and the right to an undisturbed family life, including contact with their siblings. These rights are normally completely disregarded by the secret UK family courts. Both parents’ human rights and their children’s rights should be respected at all times. Hearsay and recorded or video material should no longer be allowed as evidence in family courts.
8. EMERGENCY PROTECTION ORDERS
These must be abolished as parents have no opportunity to oppose them or defend themselves. The police have authority (police protection) to remove children they believe to be in danger and they alone should decide if any immediate danger really exists.
A McKenzie Friend (parents’ lay advisor) should be allowed to present the parents’ case and cross-examine witnesses. This clause is doubly important when parents have been refused or are not eligible for legal aid. Such a person would usually stand a better chance of winning a case for parents than most of “the legal aid lawyers” (PROFESSIONAL LOSERS) who collect huge fees for advising hapless parents not to fight social services, but to go along with everything they say.
Parents have no need for lawyers to do that, but how those legal sharks must laugh as they cash in! Parents who represent themselves and who wish to appeal should be supplied by the court with a copy of the judgement within 7 days so that they can put the appeal into court before expiration of the time limit
A parent who loses custody of children to an ex-wife, ex-husband, or ex-partner should have an enforceable right to such contact as the court awards. If such contact is denied or persistently prevented by one parent, the court should warn the offending parent that if there is any more refusal to obey a court order for contact, then the court will transfer custody to the parent that has been deprived.