Legal Action for Women (LAW) are organising a demonstration this coming Wednesday to demand that the UK puts an end to its forced adoption policy.
The UK is one of a minority of countries around the world which allows governments to remove children deemed to be vulnerable from parents without first getting parental consent.
The demonstration is part of LAW’s Support not Separation campaign, which highlights racial and gender bias inside the UK Family Court.
The charity offers the following information:
- Women are primary carers in 90% of households. 28% of children live in poverty.
- There are more children ‘in care’ now than at any time since 1985 – 75,420 by 2018. Children from poor areas are 10 times more likely to be taken. Of families whose children are taken, 75% are single mothers.
- 90% of adoptions are without parental consent.
- While mothers are denied support, it costs £56k p.a. to keep a child ‘in care’.
- 70-90% of court cases feature domestic abuse yet less than 1% of child contact applications are refused – violent fathers nearly always get contact.
- Courts and social services must prioritise the welfare of the child by keeping children with their mother or other primary carer wherever possible.
- Section 17 of the Children Act (1989) instructs local authorities to assess what resources they should offer ‘children in need’, including what support (financial and other)mothers need to keep children safe in the family. This should happen BEFORE any care plan. If it doesn’t, a lawyer can challenge it (by judicial review).
- Disabled mothers are entitled to further help under the Care Act (2014).
- Victims of domestic violence have a right to be protected in court and NOT to be cross-examined by their abuser. Lawyers and judges should follow the guidelines in Practice Direction 12J.
- Mothers have a right to REFUSE to sign a Section 20 allowing their children to be taken into care. S20 is ‘voluntary’ but once signed it’s very hard to get the children back.No one should sign ANYTHING they don’t agree with.
- Children in foster care are entitled to an Advocate (and possibly their own lawyer). There should be review meetings at least every six months which mothers have the right to attend to discuss how the children are doing.
- Mothers denied contact with their children by Children’s Services, the special guardian, or other parent/carer have the right to go back to court.
The demonstration takes place on Wednesday 3rd April, from 12.30-1.30pm, at 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NP.