Welcome to another week.

A petition calling on the government to investigate forced adoption and fostering in the UK, created by David Alexander has gained momentum after the media broke a story about the death of a toddler at the hands of her adoptive father.

Elsie, whose real name is Shayla, was killed by her adoptive father after the local authority placed her in his care. Shayla’s grandmother has also signed the petition.

The petition has gathered over 4,000 signatures and calls on the government to carry out an independent review of both forced adoption and fostering. The petition calls these practices a form of child abuse, and suggests they are tantamount to child abduction. It also highlights the ‘risk of future/ significant harm’ test under S.31 of the Children Act 1989, which allows social workers to remove children on the basis that harm to a child could take place in the future, often with very little evidence to support the view. The petition also calls out the lack of transparency in the process.

Forced adoption is a controversial practice which allows government agencies to remove children from parents without their consent, if they believe the child in question is at risk of harm. The UK is part of a small number of countries which engages in forced adoption, and sits at the far end of the practice, employing what are viewed as extreme policies in this area. World wide, forced adoption has seen a sharp decline, with fewer and fewer countries including it as part of their child protection policies.

Fostering, though seemingly less controversial, raises similar questions about the benefits of removing children from vulnerable parents and the effects of separation on both the children and their biological families.

Those in favour of forced adoption and fostering take the view that it is better for children in the long term to be placed with families who can offer them a childhood free from the difficulties that can arise when living with vulnerable parents.

Those against, believe that children are always better off with their biological parents and that the government should offer families any kind of support needed as of right, in order to keep children and parents together.

Our question to you this week, then, is just this: do you think forced adoption and fostering practices should be banned in the UK?

If you’d like to know more about forced adoption, from the legality of the practice, to developments surrounding the policy, you can access articles on the subject by clicking on our Forced Adoption link in the categories section.

FA Petition