A mother with lived experience of Britain’s child protection system is calling for a government inquiry into whether family court decisions are breaching children’s and parents’ right to family life.
A sharp increase in recent years in the number of children being removed from parents and placed in state care in England and Wales in the wake of government figures showing that maltreatment and abuse have plateaued for decades has caused concern among human rights experts.
The Human Rights Act, ratified by the UK, includes Article 8 which protects a person’s right to and respect for their private life and family life, and their ability to live their life privately without government interference.
Victoria Hudson, who campaigns to raise awareness about the way women and children who suffer domestic violence are treated in the family courts, asked the Joint Committee on Human Rights to launch an inquiry into current-day family court decisions to investigate whether the judgments and orders are breaching families’ human rights.
The call includes a request to the committee to look at current forced adoption practices in Britain, alongside its recently launched review into forced adoptions which took place between 1949 and 1976.
Victoria is also asking the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to review her own family law case.
The call has been published on FiLiA’s website, a charity which promotes the women’s liberation movement. The web page invites readers to support Victoria’s campaign by emailing Harriet Harman MP, chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and requesting that she undertakes a review of recent family court decisions and their impact on the rights of children and birth mothers to family life.
Additionally, supporters have been invited to email Lord David Wolfson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the MOJ, to ask for Victoria’s case to be reviewed.
The page offers lots of useful links, and includes letter templates for readers who want to support one or more of the calls to action, which you can access here.
It’s about time the child protection system was put under a microscope. It simply doesn’t work. New solutions should be sought. We have had since 1889 to get it right but it’s still failing the children & their families, who’s human rights are ignored.
At one end of the scale children are needlessly removed from their homes, put into
foster care/SGO’s or forcibly adopted with no hope of returning or seeing their families again. Suicide/accident rates are rising for parents who children are removed. When they leave care as adults, many have mental health issues not from their parents care but from being taken away from them. Prisons have a high proportion of ex foster care kids or they find themselves in low paid jobs due to an erratic education.
That is quite apart from the shocking fact that people who spent time in care as children are almost twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did not. 350,000 people were tracked over a 42 year period & researchers found 70% were more likely to die prematurely. It’s now believed to be twofold. (The deaths were attributed to self harm & accidents or related to mental illness). It could be partly explained by difficulties faced by former care children entering the labour market after the 2008 crash. An observation that should prompt concern when evaluating the current coronavirus downturn.
At the other end of the scale, we read the headlines of children murdered by their parents/carers. Whilst in low figures, a high proportion of these children were known to social workers & despite being alerted by other peoples concerns, were ultimately let down by them. To add further insult they never take responsibility for their part in the death of a child. Lessons are never learnt & the same scenario repeats time & time again. Unfortunately these headlines incite more children to be taken away from their families, just in case.
Research suggests maltreated children are better off left at home. Many children don’t grow up in idyllic circumstances but are still better off at home. Instead of taking them into care maybe social workers would be better off doing what the majority of the populace think they do, actually help support families when in need.
It’s been stated there is an expectation of 100,000 kids in care by 2025, ramped up from 69,000 currently. While that’s a financial bonus for all those involved, it’s a portent of doom for those families affected & society as a whole.
Apart from the staggering legal costs involved in taking a child away from its home & the subsequent taxes going back to the government, a lack of foster care, (approximately £28,000 pa per child plus perks) means children end up in residential care which has risen to £4,165 per week in 2020 from £2,915 per week, a staggering £216,580 per year. Who is running these places to justify these costs? If that money was spent on helping children stay safe with their families it would be much better. As an alternative, Children’s fees in a boarding school are £11,000 per term. Prep fees £9,000 per term. The children would be better off a a boarding school, coming home for holidays. At least they would get a decent education & still be with their families, at least part of the time.
The government have announced £500 million, to give kids in care the best start in life but local authorities have reduced preventive services & focus on intervention in crisis situations. If the recent headlines are anything to go by this isn’t a constructive strategy as their failures are stacking up. The £500 million has to be paid back by the populace so they should be accountable. It should provide the best solutions for the child & family. It should be noted that the governments austerity measures resulted in reduced quality of care for looked after children affecting their mental health. Families outside of the care system are struggling too so preventive care is necessary.
It’s time new solutions were sought that really did help the children & their families rather than line the pockets of those who prosper from children taken away from their homes. I’ve no doubt the Human Rights of all those families involved are breached all the time.
LikeLiked by 1 person
keith brettwood said:
“It’s been stated there is an expectation of 100,000 kids in care by 2025, ramped up from 69,000 currently”.
I often wonder if those figures are just for Children in state care or does it include all those children who were adopted and those living in a SGO placement.
Reblogged this on tummum's Blog.
LikeLiked by 1 person
David Anderson said:
What about fathers rights to see their children and form a healthy bond/relationship. It’s all too easy for a bitter ex to use spurious “domestic abuse” allegations to stop contact between the father and his children. It’s the “go to” accusation needing no proof or evidence. It is now the easiest way to alienate the father and in itself abuse.
LikeLiked by 1 person