A French documentary produced by media outlet Le Monde En France revisits the lives of children who were forcibly removed from their parents in the UK three years after being separated from their families.
The programme, “England’s Lost Children” aired on French news channel France 5 on 16th April. It is the second instalment of a series which offers a deeply critical look at forced adoption in the UK.
The first programme, called “England’s stolen children” was aired in 2016, and won an investigative award in 2017 (Figra), and was also selected as a finalist at the Prix Europe in Berlin that same year. Researching Reform shared details about the programme in English for anyone with an interest in the subject matter unable to speak French.
“England’s Lost Children” features individuals who will be familiar to child welfare professionals and campaigners in Britain. The programme’s reporters spoke with Vicky Haigh, whose case made the headlines in the UK after she lost custody of her daughter in 2012.
Journalist Florence Ballone was also interviewed for the programme. She spoke to Researching Reform about the programme and the debate which followed the documentary’s premier on France 5 last week:
“During the debate Hynd Ayoubi-Idrissi, from the United Nations Children Rights committee, confirmed that transferring children from their natural family environment to the child protection industry is a trend spreading around the world. The difference is that most countries do not have a forced adoption policy, choosing voluntary adoption practices instead,” she said.
Florence added, “This means that, as in France, middle class parents who challenge care orders, including those involving babies and toddlers, have a chance at re-unification. Of course, it’s much more difficult for isolated single mothers and socially precarious families.”
“We are now very used to fighting for oppressed minorities. That there is a major battle ahead for children and families who are neither hungry or excluded, or living in conflict zones has yet to be acknowledged,” she noted.
The second programme is in French and does not include subtitles, however we’ve added a translation of the programme’s press release below. Some parts of the programme also include interviews in English.
ENGLAND’S LOST CHILDREN
Le Monde En Face, hosted by Marina Carrère d’Encausse, presents the documentary “England’s Lost Children,” directed by Stéphanie Thomas and Pierre Chassagneux.
The documentary will be followed by a debate. France 5 rebroadcast the first part of this series, “England’s Stolen Children,” on Sunday, April 14 at 23.30.
The documentary England’s Lost Children is the second instalment of a two-part series devoted to British social services and more particularly child protection in the UK.
The first documentary, England’s Stolen Children, was rebroadcast on Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 23.30, and tells the story of the thousands of children unjustly taken from their families. A system where the absurdity and consequences of a law called the Children Act 1989 makes suspicion of child abuse enough of a reason to remove a child from his parents, a system which also takes the view that couples or single mothers in poverty cannot be good parents.
In this second instalment England’s Lost Children, broadcast Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 20.50, the filmmakers retrace the steps of thousands of children, who, once permanently removed from the custody of their parents, were either adopted when very young, or in foster care if they were older at the time of separation. In the United Kingdom, this part of the child welfare system has been entrusted to the private sector for many years. As a result, neo-liberal policies prevail over the idea of a public service supporting the most vulnerable.
After the broadcast of this documentary, Marina Carrère d’Encausse will host a debate with several guests:
Alice, who is French, was a witness on the programme “England’s Stolen Children” in November 2016. At the time she was fighting against British social services to get custody of her cousin’s 5 year old son who had been placed in foster care. She recovered the little boy in July 2016.
Vicky Haigh, a British national, has been living in France since 2014. She lost custody of her daughter to her ex-husband after being accused of emotional abuse for saying that the father had sexually abused their daughter. After social services threatened to take her second child by her current partner, she fled to Ireland where she gave birth. She was subsequently imprisoned for nine months in England with her baby daughter for speaking out publicly to British parliamentarians about her history and how she had been treated by social services.
Florence Bellone, a journalist, was the first to publicize the problems within British social services, and is a winner of the special radio prize Lorenzo Natali of the European Commission in 2011.
Jean-Luc Rongé, a lawyer and publisher of the Youth Law Journal, was particularly interested in how child protection operates in Great Britain.
Hynd Ayoubi Idrissi, an expert and member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child of ONU is also a panel member.
You can watch the documentary below.
Many thanks to Flo Bellone for alerting us to the programme.
Ann Noble said:
It is a national disgrace what is happening to children in this country
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Portia Barrett said:
The movie Oranges and Sunshine comes to mind.
“Set in 1980s Nottingham, social worker Margaret Humphreys holds the British government accountable for child migration schemes and reunites the children involved — now adults living mostly in Australia — with their parents in Britain”
The children were told their natural parents were dead etc. In truth children were snatched from the streets- hence the phrase Child Snatchers.
Having worked on cases over the years, I have seen that removing children from loving families is the done thing as loved children are easier to place.
Considering the stats that “looked after children” are 6.5 times more likely to be abused than children in natural families, then why are so many children adopted and fostered? Adoption and Fostering are massive money making businesses.
If natural parents received the same money as foster carers, holidays etc, there is likely to be a massive difference in outcomes.
Most social workers and other so called professionals in the business I met were clueless to real life.
How many times have we read about children placed with known paedophiles for PC reasons, and
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Ian Josephs said:
Britain has become a “Paedo’s paradise” ! Children are FORBIDDEN to mention abuse suffered in care when parents visit them .
Innocent children are served up on a plate to wealthy child abusers to take their pleasures and jail awaits any “whistleblowers” who dare to reveal what goes on.
The courts are secret ,the names of the children and those who abuse them are secret ,Fostering and adoption agencies make millions out of the misery of children and their parents…………
This believe it or not is rife in our “green and pleasant land” Great Britain.
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Dr. Manhattan. said:
They need to do a English version for UK viewers.
[Name Withheld] said:
I lost custody of my daugter in Uk because 4 years old girl told me,police,doctors that her father sexually assaulted her.My daugter and I we were victim of domestic violence and emotional abused from my ex husband.Then I was left homless alone with 8 months old baby.I am a polush but I was not allowed to go to Poland.SS in UK prefer I was homless as I ho home.Horrible country.I lost my case because of terrible lawyer who act against my intrest.I have to pay to see my daughter£120for 2 h.SS social eorker is an rasist and her behaviour towards me is disgratful.She is horrible, dishonest person.The world should know what UK are doing ,especially Teresa May.
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Ian Josephs said:
Do not hire a lawyer ,especially if advised to do so by “helpful social workers”! They want to WIN in court and they can only do that if they make sure that YOU LOSE!Solicitors and Barristers in the family courts are known in the trade as “Professional losers” because they work with the local authorities and gag parents in court to stop them making any useful points. They then agree to care orders and anything else the social workers want !If you do not engage a lawyer you will automatically represent yourself and can prepare a statement in advance(I can help you with this ) that you can read out loud to the judge !You do NOT need a solicitor or barrister who will just surrender to the “SS” !
I say again “BEWARE ,BEWARE ,BEWARE !!”
Most family lawyers are crooked solicitors or bent barristers who will betray you as they work for the SS not for you ! They are NOT on your side !
HOW DO YOU TELL WHO THEY ARE????It really is very very easy !!!These treacherous scoundrels gag their own clients and tell them to “work with social services” !(the very same people who make their living taking children and who perhaps took your’s) Yes they stop parents defending themselves and then agree with everything the “SS” demand !Sack on the spot,any lawyer that tries to gag you by not calling you to speak in court.
Yes there are a very few “honest lawyers” ;How do you tell who they are? Well, if they promise you to fight the social services every step of the way to keep your children or to get them back and also if they promise to let you speak so that you can make all the points you like (not just let you answer questions!) then you might have hit on a good’un !
Also BEWARE of friends and other non lawyers who offer to advise you but demand money for their services.They are probably scammers!Anyone capable of giving you legal advice should NOT need to take money from desperate parents though repaying reasonable expenses such as travel is acceptable.If their advice is Worth listening to they should have made enough for themselves so as not to need any from you !
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Dear readers, please note that any advice given on this site by third parties does not constitute legal or formal advice.
Maureen Jenner said:
The current record of social services in UK is questionable and must be considered unfit for purpose. Politicians are not prepared to discuss anything but Brexit at present, but this has left the whole country in a state of paralysis regarding the more important day to day matters of ordinary existence.
Social services and the laws appertaining to family courts and the legalities (or crass illegalities) practised within them, have been the cause of much human misery. It is time all these matters were discussed at local and national levels by politicians, bureaucrats and brought into the open by the media, but since it does not suit the purpose of those who have most to lose, justice and honour stand little chance of being heard in the current clamor at Westminster.
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