Children & Social Work Bill in Commons Monday 5 December, please write to your MP

Dear Friends,

We’re writing to let you know that the Children & Social Work Bill has now finished going through the House of Lords.  It will have its 2nd reading in the House of Commons on 5 December, and then go to Committee stage in January.

We are starting to lobby MPs now to put pressure on them to take seriously the concerns of mothers, grandmothers and other carers who are fighting for resources so that we can stop the shocking increase of children being taken into care.

We are concerned that the Bill could result in more children being unjustly taken away from their biological families, causing lifelong trauma to both children and their mothers.  We must oppose any push for adoption as the “gold standard” which disregards the wishes and feelings of children about the people they love and who love them, and who they want to be with. Children must be asked and listened to about their “wishes and feelings” when they are not being pressured

There is a lot of opposition to this government’s attempt to privatise child protection, and we won an important victory when the Lords voted against the Clause in the Bill which would have allowed local councils to “opt out” of their statutory child protection duties, opening the way for privatisation. But we must make sure that the government does not try to reinstate this clause now the Bill is in the Commons, so please ask your MP to be on the lookout for this.

And ask them to amend the bill so it prioritises getting financial and other support to mothers and kinship carers so children are not removed from loving families just because they are poor.

Please see below a model letter for writing to your MP to make your voice heard against the Bill.
You can find your MP via this link.

 

Please also ask them to sign EDM 626 “Children’s Social Care” if they are not on the list of signatures.

 

MODEL LETTER

use your own experience and the points below to make your case

Dear …MP,

Re Children & Social Work Bill, 2nd reading in House of Commons 5 December

I am extremely concerned that the Children and Social Work Bill could result in more children being unjustly taken away from their biological families, causing lifelong trauma to both children and their mothers.

As a mother / grandmother / dad / teacher / concerned person … I have experienced / have seen … ADD YOUR EXPERIENCE

I was glad that the Lords voted against allowing local councils to “opt out” of their statutory child protection duties, and I urge you to oppose any attempt by the government to reinstate this clause.

The push for adoption as the “gold standard” must also be opposed – it disregards what children have to say the people they love and who love them, and who they want to be with. Children must be asked and listened to about their “wishes and feelings” when they are not under pressure.

Despite the recent condemnation of religious institutions during the 40s, 50s and 60s forcing many thousands of teenage and single mothers to give up their children, politicians continue to recommend that children should be taken away from mothers and families whose only “crime” is to be young, poor, inexperienced and/or who have a disability or learning difficulty.

 

80% of women in the UK have children. We do our best to support and protect them, often in difficult circumstances and with little or no help. This Bill is being debated as the benefit cap is lowered. 116,000 families are threatened who may no longer be able to pay their rent, and 500,000 children could be affected. No one knows how many will then be taken into care or adopted as parents are accused of “neglect” for no longer being able to keep a roof over their heads!

In 2012, then Education Minister Michael Gove said “I firmly believe more children should be taken into care more quickly . . . I want social workers to be more assertive with dysfunctional parents, courts to be less indulgent of poor parents, and the care system to expand to deal with the consequences.”  While Gove is no longer in government, this Bill indicates that other ministers share these views.

 

While mothers are judged harshly and refused support, institutions which have been shown to be negligent or complicit in the widespread sexual and other abuse of children continue to be promoted as preferable.

 

We ask MPs to demand financial support to keep families together rather than spending millions tearing them apart. We ask MPs to defend children and the mothers who love them. We hope that you will represent our concerns by opposing this Bill.

 

Other points you may want to add:

  • The government push for adoption is cruel and traumatic to children and families, especially mothers and grandmothers.
  • There is no support for mothers and kinship carers (family and friends) only for adoptive and foster parents.
  • It discriminates against low income families, who are most likely to have their children taken into care, especially with the benefit cap and other cuts. Some are also families of colour and/or disabled, discriminated on that basis too.
  • Children in care are four times more likely to experience mental health difficulties.
  • Removing statutory protections and privatising children’s services is a charter for rape and social cleansing.

Your name, address etc…

 

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