SUPPORT  NOT  SEPARATION

A coalition to end the unwarranted and damaging separation

of children from their mother or other primary carer

 

LAUNCH:

Tuesday 11 July 6-8pm

Wilson Room in Portcullis House, Westminster,  SW1A 2JR

Westminster tube   Wheelchair accessible

(Please allow time to go through security.)

All welcome

SPEAKERS:

Organisations and individuals directly affected.

Hosted by Emma Lewell-Buck MP

For information contact: Legal Action for Women

law@allwomencount.net  020 7482 2496

The unwarranted removal of children is not an aberration of the past or The Handmaid’s Tale of the future. Thousands of mothers are being labelled ‘unfit’ and treated as mere surrogates right now.

 

Parliament, 18 Jan 2017

MP Emma Lewell-Buck speaking, Jan 2017

 

Protest outside family court

Successive governments promoting adoption, financial and other pressures on social services, family court secrecy, and cuts in legal aid have led to a 65% rise in children taken into care – 143,440 in 2016! Since the publication of our dossier Suffer the Little Children and their Mothers in January and monthly protests outside the family court, more primary carers are speaking out.

The welfare of the child is central to the Children Act 1989. But the lifelong trauma suffered by children separated from their primary carer is often ignored by decision makers. Vague charges of ‘neglect’ and ‘future emotional harm’ are used to remove children, especially from low income families. Mothers who are single, young, of colour, immigrant, disabled, have suffered domestic violence and/or need help with depression or isolation are targeted. With nearly four million UK children (28%) living in poverty, the potential for social engineering is huge.

We are determined to change this. Labour’s manifesto commitments to keep child protection services out of private hands, “refocus social care to work with families … to prevent children becoming at risk of going into care,” and increase support for kinship carers are important steps in the right direction.

Support Not Separation is co-ordinated by
Legal Action for Women.

Members so far include:
Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services

Black Women’s Rape Action Project

Global Women’s Strike

Milk of Human Kindness

Movement for an Adoption Apology

Scottish Kinship Care Alliance

Single Mothers’ Self-Defence

WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities)

Women Against Rape

Mothers, grandmothers, children who suffered historic separation, former social workers, the founder of a support service for the children of prisoners, teachers and other professionals.

 

legalactionforwomen.net

 

2 Comments

Filed under Children

2 Responses to

  1. Diana Isitt

    I didnt get to attend any of your events at Westminster, but have spoken to one of your workers on the phone. I have just read the events in June and July that you have held and would love to have attended, although would have needed to get back for school pick ups at 3.15pm. I admire you so very much for raising this very important issue which is very dear to my heart. Grandparents Plus, a charity in Bethnal green, but moving to Camberwell are also focussing on supporting kinship carers to keep the children in their birth families if safe to do so, and I can see opportunity for you to work together with them. My Grandson Phoenix is with adopters currently, but the adoption hearing has yet to take place. No pre-assessment work has been done with the birth family or to look at pre-existing relationships, as I had contact with him regularly. Placement order was approved without all information available, witnesses not be allowed to come to court, no ISW assessment being allowed, statements written by CAFCASS without ever meeting me or child I currently care for, statement written by psychologist when they never assessed me to care for him, without coming to see me and talk to me, only talking to Reading ss, and Judge not being scrupulous and not paying attention to detail, in Reading County Court on May 13 2016. I was not allowed permission to appeal, but did manage to speak with RCJ Appeal Judge Andrew McFarlane QC at my oral ‘request to appeal’, who stated that Reading ss had got all the figures wrong and that the Judge in Reading had clearly not looked at the case in any depth, or she would have been able to ascertain the extent of exaggeration by Reading ss, but he could only approve an appeal in facts of law were incorrectly interpreted and no new evidence, statements etc were allowed if they were not in court at original hearing and it was just unfortunate. My barrister did not raise any other points with him that I had emailed them, only one point, which was that my 12 year old Granddaughter was sometimes minutes late for school, which he drilled down into the detail and said it was nothing really when the minutes were added up. Judge MacFarlane said that my barrister had failed me by not forcing the issue of witnesses in court for me, but he is bound by points of law, and that there are various issues that this addresses,not least that kinship families need access to justice. The last contact sessions myself and his sister, aged 12, were allowed by Reading ss were November 22nd 2016, then they stopped all contact and placed him with adopters who had been waiting for him for approx 1+ year. It was a clear forced adoption, as my daughter got him back at 9 months, then she went out with a nice chap called Alex, but she was told she was not allowed to have a relationship if she wanted her child permanently and after a miscarriage with Alex she stayed for 2 days in hospital and they advised the foster carer to look after him. My daughter thought that all would be ok, then the specific sw refused to give him back. It broke my daughter, as she hadnt done anything wrong. They wouldnt run a dbs on him. He lived at home with his Mum, Dad and sister. There was no dv, which was the initial reason they said they took him at birth as her previous relation had had dv in half way through but she finished the relationship, however they said..what if….she ever went out with him or another idiot again….They stole my grandson at birth from the hospital and had planned adoption from day 1. That was so clear and evident all the way through from their comments, behaviour, etc.. They made up fake illnesses that he was apparently born with, all which were disproved by doctors in end in court. The sw, who has been ‘moved’ to London and her boss that walked out, said Grandparents have no rights and had no plans to support me so no support plans for kinship care or SGO were put forward in court, only adoption. They have since had several Directors of CS leave and their sidekicks, plus approx 60 member of staff, 40 in one go. Recently more left. My daughter a year later had another baby and was told to ‘get over’ the last one and concentrate on this one unless she wanted to lose this one and they place him with his brother, so she is petrified to do anything about her previous son. She said they have messed his head up moving him around and she had now been apart from him for 9 months and he may not recognise her now. I feel angry at how the whole thing was handled and no support was shown to anyone. It is so disconcerting that ‘professionals’ that one is supposed to trust can cruelly lie and twist the truth and distort facts so badly, and put in blatent lies, for what??? £ or targets or saving £…I am frankly disgusted, and it is difficult for me to believe, let alone someone who has never expe4rienced this treatment. Shocked, amazed, disgusted and totally abhorred. I think these professionals need a concience. They are either twisted themselves from their own life expereiences, which led them to become social workers in the first place, in which case they need therapy and to perform a detailed personality assessment/entrance test to ensure they have suitable personality traits for the role, and lieing is not one of them, neither is distortion of truth or exaggeration, or they went into the profession wanting to do good and once in it realised it was corrupt and left. My barrister was from Coram Chambers, Dermot Casey. My solicitors were Hilka and Katrin from Goodman Ray, who took over half way through. I had legal aid run out and had to represent myself at one hearing. No notification was given to us at another hearing so Hilka and barrister at that time (had 3 or 4) never knew about court. Due to their workload I had difficulty getting hold of my solicitor and often spoke to a paralegal. Legal aid work is clearly not taken as a priority, and one solicitor told me that unfortunately paying customers take presidence, sometimes there can also be conflicts with LA work. I do feel that they believed in me, but that workload and legal issues became difficult. If I had paid out of my own pocket I do believe I would have custody of my grandson now. It is not equal justice. The sw herself said to me I couldnt afford him as I was effectively a single parent on benefits. I reminded them that I had given up my full time well paid job as they had asked, so that I could have my granddaughter, so I was at home for the childs stability and security, as they keep mentioning, however, this time I wasnt good enough as I did not have enough money for him, I was a single parent and he needed 2 parents they said, and I was not working to earn enough and they did not want to support me with an SGO allowance, so adoption they said was the penultimate choice for the children in care.

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