Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The adoption scandal

Charles Pragnell on 6 December 2016

"Very serious concerns first arose regarding British Adoption Laws and practices in 1976 with the passing of an Adoption Act pressed by David Owen, on the singular basis of one case where the parents of a child who had been placed for adoption sought the child’s return and the potential adopters protested very loudly and it became a `Tug-of-Love’ case as the media reported it. What David Owen’s Act achieved was to begin a process of diminishing the rights of natural parents in favour of the rights of foster carers and adopters, with Custodianship Orders and increased grounds for Courts to override the wishes of natural parents and remove their parental rights in adoption hearings."

"This process of removing parental rights in favour of adopters was reinforced and further developed in the 1989 Children and Young Persons Act, which also increased the grounds for the removal of children. At the same time social work practice with children underwent a significant change in that social workers virtually abandoned any form of Family Preservation work and restoring children to their natural families where removal had become necessary. Such work is immensely demanding on workers and resources and naturally local authorities very greatly favoured the speed and efficiency of adoption. At this time, voluntary adoption agencies were the major placement agencies of children for adoption and local authorities were solely engaged in the latter part of the process in steering matters through the Courts. But the 1989 Act changed that and allowed the local authorities to become adoption agencies as well as the child removal agencies. In effect, children came in one door of Social Services Departments and out through another the heads of the child protection services very often had offices adjoining the offices of the adoptions managers. It became therefore a morally and ethically corrupt system of child trafficking. Many such senior managers had beliefs in their rights to act as social engineers and to decide which natural parents were `deserving’ of not having their children removed and in favour of socially respectable adopters."

"In 1997 the Blair government were falsely informed that there were thousands of children in the State care system who were awaiting adoption. This was untrue because the vast majority of children in local authority care were aged over 10 years, had serious emotional and behavioural disorders from their years in care and had experienced the damaging effects of numerous foster homes. They were therefore entirely unsuitable for adoption as adopters mainly wanted small babies and infants (preferably with blue eyes and fair hair) and would not consider such older emotionally damaged children and young people. Nor did those children want to be adopted after their negative experiences of family life in foster care."

"So armed with this misinformation the Blair government placed a bounty on the heads of children in care with targets for the numbers of children successfully placed for adoption by local authorities and social workers were instructed to achieve those targets, in order to attract the financial rewards for the local authorities. I recall that Kent C.C. were top of the league table for the largest sums allocated for such achievement."

"But the small number of children in care under 5 years were very quickly placed for adoption and this represented an immense problem for local authorities, as to how they could continue to gain such financial awards and thus the focus turned onto how to remove babies and small children for the most specious and dubious reasons and force the matters through the adoption processes and the Courts."

"Ms Philimore claims that the financial incentives for placing children for adoption, `its more complicated than that`. Yes, but it is now hidden within the financial support given by Central Government to local authorities, but it is basically the same. Financial rewards for child trafficking."

"The removal of children at birth and even in labour wards by social workers in Britain was roundly condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in P,C, & S. 2001. Yet such practices by social workers continues unabated."

"Ms Phillimore seems more intent on attacking the personalities and experiences of those who have brought this scandalous situation to public attention , so I will add that I was engaged in child protection social work in England for over 30 years most of which at a very senior level. The last two decades I have spent as an advocate for children and families, an Expert Witness in criminal and civil Courts in England, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia, and for the last six years as the Executive Chair of the National Child Protection Alliance of Australia. Several articles I have written n child protection work and social work are available on line."

"If there is any desire in England to bring an end to this child trafficking then it must begin by detaching adoption placements from local authority child removal services, and secondly to re-direct local authority resources into supporting families "to keep children with their families’ and to diminish the need for them to be removed into State Care and to restore them to their families as soon as reasonably possible (Such provisions are still a key part of the law relating to children, but are ignored by local authorities.). Thirdly, the rights of natural parents in such matters must be fully restored and not simply `dispensed with` at the whim of Courts presented with biased and fabricated, embellished, and distorted evidence."


In response to the Transparency Project


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