Adoption drive ‘punishing’ lower income families

Family Law|January 18th 2017

Poorer parents have born the brunt of the government’s drive to increase adoption, a charity has claimed.

Legal Action for Women is an international organisation which, as the name suggests, helps women in need of legal assistance. In a new report, it cites research by social work professor Dr Andy Bilson of the University of Lancashire. He found a 65 per cent increase over the last 15 years in the number of children adopted from the care system or living with special guardians – from 87,090 to no less than 143,440.

Adoptions have increased by 40 per cent in just five years, the Professor added – but the number of children in care also went up by more than seven per cent over the same period, reaching 70,440.

These findings indicate, the professor claims, that the government’ focus on adoption over the last few years has not cut the number of children stuck in the care system but has instead simply increased the number separated from their parents.

He said:

“This is very unlikely to be due to an increase in abuse. The vast majority of this is about neglect or emotional abuse, often through witnessing domestic violence. Both of these can be better dealt with through family support and responses to poverty and deprivation.”

He added:

“We are more willing to spend money on someone else looking after these children than in making sure the parents make a good job of it.”

Bilson’s research and related material will be presented to MPs later today at an event in the House of Commons entitled Suffer the Little Children:  Stopping the forced separation of children from their mothers & the privatisation of child protection.

Legal Action for Women will argue that the adoption drive disproportionately affects women in lower income households and urge an end to the “the unjust separation of children from their mothers.”

Statistics cited by the campaigners include that the fact that the number of children in the care system is now the highest it has been since 1985; that one in five children under the age of five will be referred to children’s services; and that more child protection investigations take place in Britain than anywhere else in Europe.

The vast majority of adoptions – more than 90 per cent – take place without the consent of the family.

Report author Anne Neale said:

“Charges of neglect are used to punish, especially single-mother families, for their unbearably low incomes. The fundamental relationship between mother and child is dismissed as irrelevant to a child’s wellbeing and development, and the trauma of separation, and its lifelong consequences, are ignored.”

Photo by Christian Scheja via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

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  1. Belinda says:

    Of course they are- going after families who cannot afford to fight back – lumbered with counsel unwilling to make the efforts required to defeat SS. Counsel mindful of the risks if they become too aggressive, that they won’t get SS work in the future, work that sees them through periods of non private work.
    For those who can pay make it so expensive they run out of money before the SS lot do

    • keith says:

      absolutely right Belinda.
      this is whats going on so why no investigation from the legal aid dept into Solicitors/Barristers taking money when they know they will not be representing the parents properly and not fighting to win. its all false and justice is never done and costs the tax payer a fortune for the pleasure.

  2. Family Court Reporting Watch: Weekly Round Up | The Transparency Project says:

    […] The Transparency Project (Family Court Reporting Watch) will comment in detail as soon as possible. (There is a brief summary of the Legal Action for Women report at the Marilyn Stowe blog here).  […]

  3. Winston Smith says:

    Yes, Belinda’s comments is absolutely correct.

  4. Transparency Project: Family Court Reporting Watch – Weekly Round-Up | Inforrm's Blog says:

    […] Children unnecessarily removed from parents, report claims  The Guardian reported on a report by Legal Action for Women entitled Suffer the Little Children and their mothers: A dossier on the unjust separation of children from their mothers. It was launched at an open meeting at the House of Commons on Wednesday called ‘stopping the forced separation of children from their mothers and the privatization of child protection’. The dossier has provoked discussion of its claims and the limits of research by Professor Andy Bilson quoted within it.  The Transparency Project (Family Court Reporting Watch) will comment in detail as soon as possible. (There is a brief summary of the Legal Action for Women report at the Marilyn Stowe blog here).  […]

  5. Jane Hand says:

    So terribly sad. And I wonder how many kids were callously left without vital support and assistance whilst these other cases were investigated.

  6. Nan says:

    Absolutely correct. The last resort is the first the one and only,proper representation,is impossible,due to the cuts, and such high numbers of cases that solicitor has often not leaving the family courts!! “However what’s happening to the money as no support is offered to families!
    Another point is roughly 1,000 children turn 18 in foster care each year to keep the money wheel going those numbers have to be met,the target has to be met for adoptions many international. Where families weren’t told of hearings by LA there Babies were lost putting in paperwork parents failed to attend/parents unknown by social services and cafcass. The poorer families are robbed of there babies and children to provide for the rich.
    The heading is exactly what it is today “after all a sw wouldn’t lie would they “ or a solicitor! Even though some have evidence of the parties “culuding with each other “ . First time parents having babies stolen from hospitals and accommodation under section 20 and refusing to tell parents until the twin track is in place,without being told of hearings and consent is depensed with. A lot would agree there is a agenda,many will say injustices ,personally I think it sick and abuse and the 2 above.

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