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Special Guardianship versus adoption

 

 

 
Ever since Re B-S, there has been a potential issue for the Courts to resolve – given that Re B-S talks about the test in leave to oppose being not about whether a parent might get the child back necessarily but about whether the Court might make an order OTHER THAN Adoption, with the test for making an adoption order still being ‘nothing else will do’ – what happens if a parent invites the Court to leave the child in the placement, but make a Special Guardianship Order rather than an adoption order?

Why does it matter? Well, if you are a prospective adopter about to commit to taking on a child, you might need to know that you might not get to adopt the child after all, if you are someone who already has a child placed with them that you were intending to adopt, it might be that you will end up with an SGO instead, and if you are a birth parent who wants to stop the adoption happening you would want to know whether the Courts are going to entertain (even in cases where you can’t persuade them to return your child) making a less drastic order than adoption. Also important for Judges dealing with those cases, social workers planning for the future for children, lawyers advising clients and politicians making policy about adoption.  As even the President of the Family Division has recently acknowledged, there’s a tension between the direction of travel of Government (social workers should stop thinking of adoption as a last resort) and the Courts (adoption is still a last resort, even way after the Court have already decided it is in the child’s best interests to approve a plan of adoption)

So this is the first case that rolls up its sleeves and gets under the bonnet of the issue, the High Court have just dealt with exactly such a scenario. I wrote about the hearing that decided that the father should be given LEAVE to oppose the adoption order here

https://suesspiciousminds.com/2014/02/14/re-b-s-can-itself-be-the-significant-change-of-circumstances/

And this is now the judgment from the contested adoption case itself.
Re N (A child) Adoption Order 2014
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/HCJ/2014/1491.html

The Judge in this case concluded that an adoption order was preferable for this child than SGO, weighing the pros and cons of each type of order, and bearing in mind that adoption could not be sanctioned unless “nothing else will do”

46. I accept that adoption does have the disadvantage of severing the legal tie between N and her paternal family. In every other respect it is the preferable order to make in this exceptional case. Some of these reasons for adoption are so important that they lead me inexorably to the conclusion that it is the only order that can be made. In any event, the combination of all these factors is overwhelming such that it is abundantly clear that nothing else will do. Notwithstanding the draconian nature of the order, adoption is necessary and proportionate given the huge advantages that it provides to N for the rest of her life.
47. I have formed the view that an adoption order is overwhelmingly necessary. N has only ever known one home. She has significant special needs. She is a vulnerable child. She will become a vulnerable adult. She has received a very high quality of care from the Applicants. She has thrived with them. She now needs the security, trust and confidence of being made a permanent legal member of their family such that the Applicants will be fully and solely responsible for her needs throughout her life.

He sets out clearly that the Court WOULD have jurisdiction to make an SGO rather than adoption order (and to do so even where the prospective adopters didn’t WANT an SGO)
32. the key question which the court will be obliged to ask itself in every case in which the question of adoption as opposed to special guardianship arises will be which order will better serve the welfare of this particular child. It seems clear to me, however, that this must be subject to the law as set out in Re B that an adoption order is to be made only where nothing else will do. In this regard, it is a material feature of the special guardianship regime that it involves a less fundamental interference with existing legal relationships. I further accept that I have power to impose a special guardianship order on an unwilling party to the proceedings if I am satisfied that, applying the welfare checklist in the 1989 Act, a special guardianship order will best serve the welfare interests of the child concerned
I think the most important part of this judgment will be this line from para 48

I have already indicated that this is an exceptional case. If it were not an exceptional case, I doubt whether an adoption order would have been appropriate

 

(If you listen carefully when you read that sentence you can hear the sound of future litigation – and a lot of it)
The Judge goes on to set out what those exceptional circumstances are, and one can readily see that most of them would not arise in a traditional SGO v adoption case

(a) N’s serious disabilities require a lifelong order rather than a special guardianship order that expires on her 18th birthday. I am satisfied that, regardless of the excellent progress that she has made, she will still be dependent on the Applicants, probably indefinitely and certainly well into her adult life. Many of her disabilities (such as her autism and development delay) have not altered and will not alter notwithstanding her progress in other areas. I am not going to consider in detail the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection after her 18th birthday. The simple fact of the matter is that she needs to have as her legal parents at that point the people who will by then have cared for her exclusively for over 17 years of her life. This is what makes this case so exceptional. Special guardianship simply does not fit the bill in this regard at all. Adoption does. It is necessary and required.
(b) The only home that she has ever known has been with the Applicants. She is embedded emotionally into their family but she needs to be embedded legally there as well. This is as important for her as it is for the Applicants and their son. I accept that she does not and probably never will understand the legal concept of adoption but she does understand the concept of being a full member of a family. It is overwhelmingly in her interests that she is a full member of this family as a matter of law. In short, she must have permanence and total security there. Adoption is the only order that will give her that permanence and security.
(c) Whilst I look at this entirely from the perspective of N, the position of the Applicants is a very relevant consideration. They have invested an enormous commitment into N. They need to know that her presence with them is complete and not susceptible to challenge. If that were not the case, I consider there is a real possibility that it might have an adverse impact on the welfare of N. This would not be because the Applicants would not remain fully committed to her but the uncertainty and potential concerns as to what might be around the corner and what problems they may encounter when she attains her majority have a real potential to cause difficulties for N herself.
(d) I am very concerned about the litigation that has taken place in this case. Litigation is a real concern for carers at the best of times. This litigation has been going on for over five years at an intense level. I have not heard oral evidence from the Father and Paternal Grandmother but I do have a real concern that a special guardianship order would not be the end of the battle. The Father’s statement talks about unsupervised contact, staying contact and even contact in Nigeria. In one sense it is understandable why he makes such comments. I am, however, concerned that he has not fully come to terms with being ruled out as a carer. Mr Macdonald’s submissions reinforce that concern in so far as they repeatedly refer to there being no threshold findings having been made against him. The risk of ongoing continuing litigation with no understanding of the effect of that on N’s carers is something that this court must consider in deciding on the appropriate order.
(e) N has never lived with her Father or her Paternal Grandmother. There is no family member available to care for her. The Father and Paternal Grandmother have been ruled out and their appeal in that regard was dismissed. N has only ever had supervised contact to them. This is not to downplay their importance. It is merely a fact. It is accepted by the Applicants that the Father and the Paternal Grandmother are a vital part of N’s heritage. They are committed to contact. I accept the evidence that this is a genuine commitment that will not be reconsidered once they have adopted N. They have shown their attitude clearly by setting up contact with N’s mother’s other children. It follows that adoption in this particular case will not stop contact from continuing with the parental birth family. This is important.

 

Breaking them down, the 5 exceptional factors here were

1. The child has serious physical disabilities that will require lifelong care, not just until her 18th birthday
2. The only home she has ever really known is with the prospective adopters
3. The enormous effort and commitment that the prospective adopters have put into the care of this child
4. That this child has been the subject of intense litigation for 5 years and making an SGO would probably see that continue in the future
5. That the father has never cared for the child and that the evidence is plain that he would never be able to

But even in this case, the Court was plain that ongoing contact (four times per year) would be necessary, though the Court declined to make a contact order on the basis that the adopters were in agreement with that plan for contact.

It seems, therefore, that in a contested adoption hearing where the parents have as either their primary position or a fallback position – there should be an SGO rather than an adoption order, there is a live issue to be tried. (and if that’s the case, if a parent actually puts forward that argument rather than straight ‘give me the child back’, their application for leave to oppose must surely have some solidity and the prospect of being granted?)

Most parents, of course, will want to oppose the adoption order on the basis of the child coming back to their care – obviously that’s what they want. But those who take up the fallback position of “Even if not, an SGO is better than adoption, because adoption is the last resort” have a case that would be tricky to throw out at leave stage.

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

34 responses

  1. Ashamed to be British

    I can totally see what happened here … the social workers made sure the paternal family were in supervised contact then ruled them out as carers for the child, that’s the case against them built and the judge blindly follows it. Grr!

    Why does the child NEED to have legal adoption, there is a lot of emphasis on this, she doesn’t understand the concept of the SGO, only the fact that she has a loving family who she has been with for a long time. If she doesn’t understand either way, why the NEED for adoption?
    If this family are so special and caring and look after her for 17 years, why the NEED for adoption?
    They’ll either continue to care for her or not, adoption will neither ensure or force that issue at any time in the child’s life

    • Agree entirely – in the circumstances there is NO OBJECTIVE NEED whatsoever [for adoption] – merely a pleasant legal fiction being projected by the judges.

      • That may be partially true, but only if the State persuades all of the people who go through a long, arduous and stressful process of being approved as adopters that what they really want, if only they had known, was to become Special Guardians.

        Otherwise, the current pool of adopters that we have (who are already 1/3rd of the size that is needed) are going to go off and adopt children from overseas, or get into a surrogacy arrangement.

        I do agree in part that there is a need for a long hard look at how the State cares for children is managed overseas and whether we could import those models (which don’t have non-consensual or ‘forced’ adoption) and whether that might be better for children, but it might take many years to persuade prospective adopters that what they want is for children who DO retain a legal connection and contact with their birth family.

        [I happen to think that adoption is neither the magic bullet for all children in care, nor the worst outcome imaginable for all children in care – it has something to offer some children but it isn’t going to work for all of them. It would be nice if we stopped lurching between the Gove image of adoption and the Booker image of adoption and found something that wasn’t so polarised]

  2. forcedadoption

    It seems to me that for most parents anything is preferable to adoption;and even the judges now recognise that adoption is a last resort when nothing else will do.I shall advise all parents in future who are resisting the adoption of their children to agree to a “special guardianship” if it seems clear that the children will not be restored to them.Anything is better than forced adoption by anonymous strangers with contact lost for ever.

  3. Jerry Lonsdale

    I have been waiting a long time for a debate of this type to cross the path of the courts, when I deal with cases of Placement Order applications I have found that the ‘fall back’ position of an SGO is something that should be thrashed out in the early stages of a placement order applications, well, in reality SGO’s should be in the pot of possibilities post Re. B and Re B-S.

    With this case however, the conclusion was still Adoption, I feel that while the judgement is one of value and is beneficial in the argumentative stages of SGO v Adoption the case would stand the test of time more robustly if the judge declined the Adoption Order and made the SGO.

    I get lost in the translation when court use terms like “Exceptional Circumstances” I personally feel that for any parent who is about to loose their child potentially for “Ever” the case and matters at hand do not become any more Exceptional, all cases where adoption is considered could not be any more exceptional.

    Because the child has lived with the Prospective adopters that should not make it a point of exceptional, it just means stability has been had for the child for a significant period of time.

    It seems that from what once was a rare situation when adoption orders were sought it feels like we have simply come to accept that Adoption Orders are just as common as care orders or others, I have become so disheartened of late when for the last few years there has been such a marked increase in all types of orders for children, whether its Adoption or other, no one seems to question that in society we are not one to question why is there such large scale occurrences of “Bad” or “inadequate” parenting.

    I, like many would agree there are some parents whereby court intervention is necessary and some parents lack the basics needed to parent a child, however, when will the time come when the all important step back is taken and those who make the policies and changes look in depth at this and think hang on, are we saying 100,000 + parents cannot look after or care for their children, or more so why is there such heavy state involvement in family lives, the influx of applications does not shift the pendulum like one would have thought post Re.B and Re. B-S, those in effect have changed nothing and the status quo remains the same, only now the speed of proceedings makes one feel that it is not for the benefit of the children or parents more so to finalise the case asap in order to have the next case to come along, sadly that’s how I see these things at the moment!

    • Ashamed to be British

      Well said sir.

      I feel you’re being a little pessimistic (or impatient) in terms of change, obviously we’d all like to see an instant change, but personally I’m seeing more parents being granted leave to appeal and even some winning their children back. This surely has to be the result of Re B and Re B-S

      My personal thoughts are, that the Local Authorities have been so out of control, and getting away with it for such a long time, that judges had no guidance other than what they’re being fed by the so called professionals, this leads to childless parents with too much time on their hands researching, LIP, and now, speaking out. It also helps that the press are also able to speak out..
      They thought the death of Baby P would justify any removal, and it did, however, these things always turn full circle.

      Judges are now aware their judgements are going to end up on Baillii, that parents will go to a higher court, then a higher court and maybe a higher one than that! (Ms Morris certainly brought some attention in the Supreme for example, Toni aka as Stella had her case taken to parliament)

      We have discussed in the past, who is watching the watchers? They’re time is up, they are being watched and no-one’s impressed, largely thanks to Sir Munby who doesn’t seem overly keen on corrupt Local Authorities, but imho, the downfall will come from Facebook, whether it was set up as ‘THE’ watcher or not, the plan has backfired, all it’s done is bring parents closer together who share the knowledge, work together and sink the system (looking into the future) – even in this blog, which is available for the world to see, the general public are questioning the motives.

      Gagging is virtually a thing of the past, parents can apply for post adoption contact, appeals are going in like never before, adopted children can find their birth parents, birth parents often find their adopted children, most importantly, parents can easily and cheaply afford recording devices, then ultimately, the truth comes out and someone sues.
      No-one wants to be sued or land up in Jail.

      Take heart dear Mr Lonsdale, the tide is definitely turning

  4. Jean Robinson

    Yet another sign that the direction of the wind is changing – at long last. But with more babies being placed with prospective adopters from birth, judges (and social workers) will be able to say that they have “never known any other home”.
    Jean Robinson
    Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services

    • Ashamed to be British

      There are hospitals/midwives/consultants out there who refuse to co-operate with social services because they think they’re scum, one recently is Alder Hey and in my grandchild’s case, Darent Valley Hospital, ha!

      • Ashamed to be British

        I would like to add an annotation to my statement, the hospitals concerned did not personally tell me they thought they were scum, but they did refuse to play ball with social services and both children were discharged home with their mothers

  5. I’m struck that the anti-adoption comments focus almost exclusively on the needs of the parents as opposed to the children.

    My wife and I have fostered for many years. Most of the children we’ve cared for go back to their parents after a period with us and it is clearly for the best all round. Of the minority that are adopted, almost all are escaping terrible situations (violence, abuse, drugs, neglect). While they are in our care, the children frequently come back from contact deeply traumatised. We’ve seen a fair number of the children years after adoption and almost all are clearly better for a clean break.

    The true crime in most of the adoption cases is the way the birth parents treat their kids…

    Having said that, we’re very much in favour of more openness, both on judgements and the evidence. Too often we hear the birth parents claiming to be misunderstood saints, when their records (and the children’s behaviour) say something very different. To have everything out in the open would be much better.

    • Jerry Lonsdale

      Could I just ask that you clarify that your suggesting in your comment that you have seen Birth Parents ‘Records’?

      ‘Everything Out in the Open’ is something many birth parents have wanted since time immemorial

    • Ashamed to be British

      A couple of points to make here:

      Do you KNOW the child’s background or are you told by social workers? The same ones who lie and lie and lie to build a case against families who’s faces don’t fit

      Who is showing you the files? This is a breach of the data protection act

      How many children have you seen years later who are better for being returned for their families? Statistics clearly show that children are better off remaining in even the most dysfunctional of families rather than become the product of the care system, again statistically children who have been in care end up in jail, committing crime, depressed, doing drugs, prostitution and suffer mental health issues

      • I am offering my observations based on my personal experience. Take it or leave it, though your tone suggests you already know “the truth” and my comments must clearly therefore be from someone who is “part of the system” rather than a caring individual who has real world experience of some dreadful cases.

        In terms of background, we always take what we are told by children’s services with a pinch or two of salt, because we rarely get a complete story (for good or bad). We get to see limited amounts of history (in compliance with a whole raft of regulations), but the state and reaction of the children themselves say much more than the records.

        I have received children who are virtually skeletal through under nourishment, are wearing clothes many time too small, who are withdrawn to the point of virtual silence (not a sudden thing due to being taken into care, but from talking to the school long standing), and who obviously live in fear that they are going to be hit Slipping down at night to steal food from the refrigerator and hoarding under their beds for fear of not being given food is not uncommon. Severe attachment problems are also far too frequent, with the whole idea that someone might care for them being totally alien..

        Having helped out at a residential children’s home I can confirm that a child going there is rarely a good thing (they are terribly impersonal places which often reinforce problems), but my strongest impression is that the biggest issue is that with many older children intervention comes far _too_late_, with problems as a result of abusive parenting far too deeply embedded. This stops them joining “normal” families and curses them to homes. In my opinion it is not a surprise that younger children resettle easily, whereas those who have suffered the longest have built coping mechanisms which stop others ever getting close.

        I don’t know what stats you are referring to, but when faced with a little boy covered in cigarette burns or a little girl who has been repeatedly abused by her step-father, I challenge you to tell me it is in there best interest to be sent back or to be forced to see those same people every week.

      • Ashamedtobebritish

        I absolutely agree that adoption is sometimes the only way forward for some children, I wish with my whole heart that babyP had been adopted, along with Victoria climbie Daniel peltzer and so on, the ones social services ignored, I have witnessed for myself how a blind eye is turned in favour of someone they ‘like’ putting the child in serious danger.
        I’m a bit if a rare one in that I am part of a 4 generation social services intervention, both my parents were adopted, I was in care (NEVER in my life would I revisit the evil foster carers) I have been lied about my own children, been a foster carer myself (to a young girl who was being hit with pans irons etc but the sw thought she was ungrateful to her parents as they brought her a pony!!) and then they came for my grandchild. Put it this way, my grandchildren are still with their parents and the local authority had to withdraw, much to their disappointment, they sure as hell had plans for the blonde haired blue eyed babies

      • Ashamed to be British: I’m honestly sorry to hear you history. My own family has had challenges in terms of abuse and this has been part of the reason both my wife and myself have tried so hard to help others. We do see the abuses in the system, the foster carers who are only interested in the money, and the uncaring social workers, but as with the police, I feel we have to try to help where we can rather than just giving in to anarchy and crushing of children’s potential.

        Having said that I look forward to the day where people (of all roles) have to justify their actions in a more public arena. I’m no talking about a witch hunt (everyone including ourselves makes mistakes) but a honest discussion on pros and cons of action / inaction. We don’t get it right all the time, but we try damn hard and I can sleep at night with a generally clear conscience. In fact the only cases where I really worry are those when I fear for what children are going back to.

      • forcedadoption

        Yes fosterer 5 the police should still be there but NOT the social workers ! No child should be taken from sane parents if they have not been convicted of a crime against that child or other children! Child cruelty and neglect should be business for the police and the criminal courts not the child snatching social workers and the biased and unfair family courts.If children were taken not for risk but only for physical or sexual abuse the police could concentrate on those cases instead of social workers being overwhelmed by cases of “risk of future emotional abuse” etc ! The lives of such children as Daniel Pelka,Baby P, and others would probably have been saved.

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  7. forcedadoption

    I suppose that when a baby is removed at birth for “risk of emotional abuse” one does tend to concentrate on the bereft mother rather than the baby who has no voice but may fail to thrive when deprived of its loving mother.I still maintain that it is a wicked crime to deprive parents who have committed no crimes of all contact for life with their children and of course VICE-VERSA ! Punishment without crime is itself a crime against humanity and a grave offence against both children and parents when it involves forced adoption.Baby P’s mother was allowed visits from her surviving children whilst still in jail yet other parents lose their children for life for “risk” and Vicky Haigh was put in prison for 3 years for merely speaking to her daughter at a chance meeting in a petrol station when she was 35 weeks pregnant and had never harmed one hair of her daughter’s head or been accused of doing so.

    • I would not think to deny that innocent parents get caught up in the system and lose their children. Much greater openness has to be the right approach, with secret “justice” leading to abuses of power and hiding of terrible mistakes.

      Having said that, from the children who have come into our care, there are clearly many terribly abusive parents out there, and children who to my mind would be hugely better off being adopted.

      As I said in my previous post, when faced with a little boy covered in cigarette burns or a little girl who has been repeatedly abused by her step-father, I challenge you to tell me it is in there best interest to be sent back or to be forced to see those same people every week.

      I view the world as being a complex mix of shades of grey. The passionate intensity of many of the anti-abortion brigade sets alarm bells ringing, especially when they start from the position that there are _never_ cases where the children would be better off without their birth parents.

      What we need is openness, due process, serious consideration of all the options.

      What we don’t need are people who say it is “always”/”never” right to send children off for adoption. Things must be judged on a case by case basis, with all options available..

      • Obviously that should have been “adoption” not “abortion”, though the blind passion of both groups is to my mind very similar…

  8. forcedadoption

    STOP PUNISHMENT WITHOUT CRIME
    25,000 +UK parents most of whom who have not committed any crimes ,are punished every year when their babies and children (many said to be merely “at risk of future harm”) are removed for fostering or forced adoption.Judges rely heavily on hearsay(reports from absent witnesses) in secret family courts,refuse to admit relatives or witnesses for parents,refuse a second expert opinion and often forbid parents to contact their own children. A mother after reporting the father for sexual abuse was disbelieved and jailed for 3 years for meeting her daughter against court orders.Another mother was jailed for sending a birthday card,and a father jailed for waving at his children in care as they passed by in the street.

    STOP GAGGING PARENTS & CHILDREN!

    Babies are taken at birth for “RISK of emotional abuse” (often from a long departed or jailed ex-partner who was violent or who just shouted when angry).Young children are taken into care because of one unexplained bruise or fracture despite no previous history of injuries.Parents are judged on mere probabilities(51%) “guilty of abuse or neglect unless proved innocent”and their children are fostered permanently or adopted. Parents are then gagged and jailed if they reveal their names when protesting in public ,and sometimes banned by court orders from ever discussing their cases with anyone at all ! Children in care are also gagged and usually are not allowed to testify in court. Laptops and mobiles are confiscated to isolate them. At parents’ contact visits children cannot discuss the case, going home, or complain of sexual or physical abuse by fosterers or social workers. If they do contact is stopped.

    ABOLISH FORCED ADOPTION !

    ‘Forced Adoption’ = The adoption of children against the opposition of parents. After adoption,they are never told where their children are or even if they are alive or dead.Parents are punished for life and many no longer wish to live at all!

    STOP TAKING THE ELDERLY FROM FAMILIES

    Judges in the secret Court of Protection (highway robbery!)call tame psyychiatrists to decide that old people (many of them perfectly lucid) lack “capacity”.They then separate them from family and friends by forcing them into expensive private nursing homes. Partners and relatives are ejected from their dwellings then the properties are sold after the elderly persons’ bank accounts have been looted to fund social services, lawyers, courts and dubious care homes.

    • Simple question: Is there ever a crime which a parent can commit against their children, which makes it in the interest of the children to be removed?

      If you believe there is, then we are discussing correct process, evidence, harm thresholds, openness, etc.

      If you believe there isn’t, there are quite a few children who I’d like you to meet and explain to them why their lengthy suffering at the hand of their parents was in their best interests.

      • Dear Fosterer, thank you for your contributions to this debate. Despite what you might think from reading the comments sometimes, this is not actually an anti-adoption or social work bashing blog. I think that you very rightly point out that there is always another side to the story, and you were very fair to point out that the “always/never” polarised stances can easily distort the whole debate.

        Having done this work for a long time, and read a lot of court cases, there are cases where social workers behave very badly, there are cases where parents behave very badly, there are cases where both behave very badly, but most of the time there are cases where everyone involved is trying their best and as McFarlane LJ has said “the parents are prisoners of their own past”

        Everyone else – play nice. You know the comment rules. It’s fine to disagree with someone, but it is not fine to attack someone for holding a different view to your own.

        I think that Fosterer has an interesting and valuable perspective to bring on things, and I don’t want people to try to bully them away from making these contributions
        .
        If Voltaire was alive today, he would be a perfect comment moderator.

      • Ashamedtobebritish

        And how do you explain to the damaged children of the care system that they could have been at home perfectly okay?
        I know of a case where the child was returned because the danger in care was life threatening!

      • Thanks for your kind words.

        I have followed your blog for a while and appreciate the range of topics covered. Whilst I never studied law, I have always been fascinated in the process and obviously have a particular interest in family law.

        Until today I’d resisted getting drawn into commenting, but there was just one too many “all is black” or “all is white” comments…

        Having said that, while I may or may not comment again in the near future, please don’t worry about me being bullied out of this forum. I’ve dealt with much worse from parents and children in the past!

        Many of the most strident commenters remind me of teenagers who believe everyone else is wrong and they are the only people who know what is right. The children mostly grow out of it, but I suspect some of the contributors here might be lost causes 😉

      • Ashamedtobebritish

        That was rude. Maybe these commenters want their kids back because crystal ball predictions just don’t cut it in a sane world

      • forcedadoption

        Yes there certainly are crimes against children for which children should be removed;BUT, and I repeat BUT there are no good reasons for children to be removed from parents if there is NO crime,and that seems to be the majority situation in most cases.”Risk of emotional abuse” is just about favourite and also the most unjust !

      • Ashamedtobebritish: As with every other activity, the care system is populated by humans, with a range of failings. There are areas which could be improved, and in general greater openness helps this process. Miscarriages can and do occur. Is this excusable? No. Does it mean the whole system should be dismantled? Equally I’d say no.

        Consider policing. The wrong people sometimes end up in prison through carelessness, corruption and systemic failures. Many bad people escape justice. Some officers join up because they have a calling, some for the cash and job security, others so they can exercise power. Corruption exists and there are forces which try to escape blame.

        But I for one still want the police there, and on the whole I think they do a good job.

        Might my view change if I was at the wrong end of an injustice? Perhaps, but I’d hope I could maintain enough perspective to see that we’d all be worse off without any forces of law an order.

        So, yes, some children are harmed by the system, but equally I’d argue that many more are helped. I definitely know a fair number of children who have been helped to escape from appalling birth families whom I wouldn’t trust to care for a dog let alone children.

  9. To all,

    I apologise if my comment about teenagers was overly flippant and offended.

    However I stand by the position that extreme black and white positions ill serve children in need.

    • Ashamed to be British

      I agree with you, there is a grey area, as I say I’ve seen it from all sides (no need to be sorry about that, I’m OK apart from the PTSD caused by Social Services grinding me under foot with the lies)

      I myself, have refused to entertain parents after receiving their files and their attitude of ‘but it’s ok to do that isn’t it?’ No, it’s never ok to abuse your child, go away. I know many others who have refused help on the same grounds.

      One of my oldest friends is a full time foster carer and she is brilliant, every penny spent on making those children happy, time spent and a happy go lucky childhood, yet on the flip side I happened to be talking to a contact worker who mentioned he was a foster carer also, we obviously got onto the subject as I thought I’d educate him (like you do :/) – his attitude to these children STANK! When he said one goes out the door, the next one comes in, I had to inform him the conversation was over, without saying it outright, he was talking of these children as cash cows. The entire conversation was uncomfortable and made me very angry, children are precious, God’s gift to us all, they’re the future, but get treated little more than cattle in an auction with adoption parties and find me a home magazines, wtf? These are people’s children!

      It’s an industry and a lucrative one at that, I’m sure you really do care, but you are just one family who are oiling the cogs, there’s no need for the brutal and draconian treatment that the local authorities hand out to some of these kids, many are beaten, abused, sexually abused and some die, in many cases this would never and has never happened at home with the family, yet it’s prefferrable to place them in an abusive situation (and believe me, even those who do get caught out are still allowed to carry on fostering)

      • It’s an industry and a lucrative one at that

        I think it has to be, otherwise there is no motive for the conspiracy. And in order to have a good conspiracy you need a readily understandable common human motive to fuel it. There’s something deliciously ugly about the allegation of avarice.

        But I wonder if you’ve ever really thought about that statement. Ask yourself, lucrative to who? Unpack it a little.

        Running a care case costs a local authority tens of thousands of pounds—in legal costs, in time spent by social workers both preparing reports and actually doing social work, in court fees, in interim care (if required) or family carers, in the various allowances paid post-order, in expert reports etc etc.

        It isn’t lucrative for the local authority as a corporate body—quite the opposite.

        While individual fosterers might benefit the suggestion that all the people otherwise involved—all the social workers, lawyers, experts—are all in on a massive conspiracy to line the pockets of a group of fosterers they never meet is risible.

        I think your best shot is to suggest that those people do it in order to maintain their jobs. But that is equally daft. In theory, the individual lawyers and social workers might get trigger-happy to try to keep themselves in work. You have to leave aside the fact that most social workers and LA solicitors complain about the fact they are vastly overworked, but still. Nobody wants to be made redundant.

        The theory breaks down when you follow it through. The individual employees have managers, who have managers, right the way up to the heads of service. All those people would have to be in on it too, right the way to the heads of children’s services and legal.

        Except given that reducing public expense is a bit of a political watchword at the moment it would be in the interests of the heads of service to spend less money, not more. That would make them popular with their managers. They might then gain promotion, bonuses or at least would receive accolades.

        You’re left with a conspiracy that everyone on the inside is in on, fueled by greed, but where those at the very top (and with the most power) chose to act against their own interests in order to keep the whole edifice standing. That, for avoidance of doubt, is both ridiculously illogical and horrendously unlikely.

        Or, maybe, it doesn’t have anything to do with money…

      • forcedadoption

        Jim ,as I am sure you know there is no conspiracy except that dreamed up to ridicule those who resist or criticise the system ! What really happens is that “birds of a feather flock together” or put another way “those who live off a rotten system defend the rotten system;”
        Of course the State does not make money ,they lose billions ,and the local authorities lose a lot too, but when did civil servants ever care about that ? Saving money makes the heads of service not popular but unpopular because I am sure you know that in practice every effort is made to see that the year’s budget is exceeded because if there is an underspend the next year’s allocation may be cut ! Reducing public expense may be a “watchword” but in fact despite “cuts” public expenditure is rising ,not falling but not rising quite so fast as it was before
        Once a child or old person is taken every effort is made to win the case against parents and every means fair or foul is employed to avoid losing the case and losing face.If a mistake is made they cover it up at all costs and if sacrificing a few children is necessary to preserve the image of the local authorities and family courts so be it !
        When you get an adoption and fostering agency founded by two social workers sold off to a commercial company for £130million+ ,and adverts for fosterers at £590/week per child,and Sanctuary offering “bounty” of £250 per referral of children or old persons that gives you some idea of the extra perks that fall to those working in a billion pound industry !There are of course under the table commissions paid by agencies to social workers but any attempt parents make to expose these practices is met by dire threats of prison and gagging orders from judges;I am under one such order myself !
        Everyone making a decent living out of the family court and social service systems wants to continue to do so.No need for any conspiracy just in the common interest they cry “Don’t rock the boat” !

      • Ashamed to be British

        I dunno guys, when talking of conspiracy theories (and I admit to being an out of the box thinker to the extreme) I wonder why there are so many missing children, what with the paedophile rings within government, attached to celebrities etc, how do we know these kids aren’t sold? We don’t want to think our leaders would do such a thing, but we don’t know they don’t, I trust no-one, so won’t dismiss it.

        The lengths (as Ian has pointed out) that the LA’s will go to, in order to take a child and ruin innocent people’s lives are extreme, again you have to question it, what’s wrong with saying sorry, we got that wrong, here’s your child back – I’d rather have an honest system that is looking out for my children just in case I was hurting them in some way and have them returned once it was realised I’m no monster, that just doesn’t happen often enough.

        Something else that crosses my mind is are our children taken in order to gain total control eventually? Looking to the future will they be good little robots, brought up by good little robots? I guess I’m going down the whole New World Order route, but it makes sense and frankly scares me to death.

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