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.