Research conducted by the Nuffield Foundation has confirmed that removing children at birth in child protection cases causes families acute and ongoing distress.
The Foundation’s Family Justice Observatory will now develop guidelines to help steer newborns away from care proceedings.
The news comes after the Foundation published reports which showed unprecedented numbers of newborns in England and Wales being taken at birth and placed into care.
While the finding is not groundbreaking – bodies of research have already confirmed that separating mothers and their children leads to a spike in maternal suicides – it is an important first step in showing the government what needs to change in child protection, and why.
Researching Reform was encouraged to see that the Observatory had taken on some of our recommendations in this area, including recording families’ voices and experiences in newborn removal cases, as well as fathers’ experiences, and the need to develop best practice in this area.
The research combines a literature review and a review of case law, and offers five key messages:
- Short time frames for assessments before the birth prevent parents from being able to make any necessary changes and improvements, placing them in an impossible position
- Trust, honesty and openness are vital for ensuring that families don’t feel stigmatised and judged, and enabling truly supportive relationships between families and child welfare professionals
- Separating a child from his or her mother, father and extended family members is deeply traumatic and should be done only in the most urgent of cases and in the most supportive and sophisticated way possible
- Child protection professionals need much better training in this area
- A lack of understanding from a family perspective needs to be addressed through research and establishing best practice guidelines
- UK Family Courts Are Harming Children’s and Parent’s Mental Health
- Children Suicidal After Being Denied Access to Birth Parents by Family Courts
- Suicide Rate Up To Five Times Higher Among Mothers With Children in Foster Care
- Child Protection Sector Harms Children’s Mental Health.
- Babies Taken into Care More Than Doubles, National Study Of Newborns Reveals.
- Number of Newborns Going Through Care Proceedings in Wales Doubles
Spot on. These children who return home can have suicide ideation, struggle with identity as they try to make sense of what has gone on re serious procedural errors where they occured, they can doubt who they are even at times and for both natural parent(s) and child, it’s as though the trauma will never end. Not being supported with knowing the whole truth to unanswered questions from authorities make it that much worse for both said child and parent(s) xx
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…but it still goes on….who will legislate to outlaw this barbaric inhuman atrocity.
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Dr. Manhattan. said:
The Nuffield Foundation concentrating on the removal of Newborns as being a problem is not good enough. but i suppose its a start that could lead to the wrongful removal of all children being prevented.
in my view those lying LA staff who steal children from loving homes are no better than Cockroaches that deserve to be stamped on.
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Louise S said:
No **** Shirlock. Did they really need to carry out a study to point out something so glaringly obvious? Not only that but nearly every case that is mentioned within these studies involves some form of substance abuse or at least some identifyable problems within the family structure. Where is the mention of all the families who had their children permanently removed because there is apparently a risk of future emotional abuse or there have been spurious neglect allegations because the local authority seems to have a vendetta? It seems like these cases are conveniently glossed over by all the relevant literature and they certainly do exist. Where are the cases where there has been serious domestic violence but women have left and stayed away, but local authorities have proceeded to have the infant adopted anyway? Where are the cases when a parent has a condition like high functioning autism and is able to function adequately as an adult but local authorities remove their children anyway because they just don’t want autistic adults having children? (Of course this is all done underhandedly). Where are the cases that are just an endless rhetoric filled, character assassination of the parents? Because none of these are ever mentioned anyway and are thought to be nothing but a conspiracy.
Publications like this are worthless. They don’t serve to make much of a difference, if at all. We need to replace the children act 1989 with another more rigid and specific legislation that does not allow removal based on future risk and relies on evidence of physical or sexual abuse or serious neglect for an interim or emergency care order to be granted. The new act needs to be very clear about what the threshold should be. For example, deliberately depriving a child of food to the point where said child is underweight/malnourished is serious neglect, but allowing a child to watch late night television or play video games so they don’t get up for school is not. It might be irrisponsible parenting, but shoddy parenting shouldn’t be grounds for a care order. We as a society should only remove children who are in significant danger. However, according to society that would be going backwards.
I would even go so far as to say that we should abolish contested adoptions, but that will never happen.
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