This is a fascinating case, very nicely summed up by the very sexy UK Human Rights Blog and written, in an engaging and thought-provoking style by Rosalind English and is a Must Read, we would say.
The case centres around a Local Authority’s desire to have two children in care tested for a rare genetic disease, under the pretext ( and we use pretext because we are not sure of their motive in this case) that to find out would increase the chances of having the children adopted, allow them to be taken care of by suitable adopters and help to clarify any future needs for the children. It’s a very interesting case. The outcome was equally interesting: the judges felt that the testing was not necessary in this instance. But the judges left a lot of room for manoeuvre in the future, room that could have disastrous consequences on the commercial nature of adoption.
We read the article in a little bit of a hurry, but you can check out Rosalind’s summary here and our reply to the case below it – do let us know if we’ve been ninnies and misunderstood the case; more haste less speed for us, but we’re knee-deep in flour and icing sugar and red velvet sponge……
Here are our thoughts on the case below. If we’ve misunderstood, do tell us, there are lots of things to digest here and we’re already suffering with red velvet cake mix indigestion….
“I’m a little unsure as to why the Local Authority didn’t first ask the father to undergo testing in the first instance, why the focus was not on confirming his predisposition to the disorder first, if we are to go by the LA’s own reasoning. I think, unless I have misread the case or misunderstood (very possible), this tends to indicate that the LA were not really thinking about the welfare of the children involved but perhaps their perceived liability if, knowing there was a risk as they did, the adopted parents tried to sue the LA for not informing them of this risk. But then I don’t know whether they would do that as of right or whether they are bound by policy and law to do this.
This case makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t think I find it easy to accept that Local Authorities view their function in bringing such cases as altruistic or protective of the Paramountcy principle. I think that would be a naive view. The nuanced reasoning is, to my mind, perfectly rational, but perhaps not offered without agenda. Should that matter? I think it should. The arguments for and against the testing are both valid, but it may be commercially driven and that could have led to highly unethical practice had the judgment in this case been different. It worries me that the commercial element doesn’t seem to have been discussed.
For me at least, the culture surrounding adoption is all wrong: loving a child is not dependent upon their genes, their physicality or their personality and the tension between housing children in care and finding children in care loving homes is all too great and tends to lean in favour of the former, inelegant agenda. I really hope we start to look at these cases differently and focus more on child welfare in the purest sense. And that may be naive, but that’s a silly dream worth fighting for.”
A very big thank you to the wonderful Maggie Tuttle for sharing this case with us.