Evidence by Legal Action for Women to the Care Crisis Review being conducted by the Family Rights Group.  For full evidence see here

Excerpt:

Our evidence is based on collective self-help and campaigning.  We run monthly self-help meetings where mothers share their experiences and a number of organisations contribute their expertise. They are: All African Women’s Group, Black Women’s Rape Action Project, English Collective of Prostitutes, Global Women’s Strike and Women of Colour GWS, Single Mothers Self Defence, WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities), Women Against Rape and Payday men’s network.

Legal Action for Women co-ordinates the Support not Separation Coalition whose members so far are: Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services; Black Women’s Rape Action Project; Centre for Social Work Practice; Global Women’s Strike; Lactation Consultants of Great Britain; Milk of Human Kindness; Movement for an Adoption Apology; Psychotherapy and Counselling Union; Scottish Kinship Care Alliance; Single Mothers’ Self-Defence; WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities); Women Against Rape; former social workers, teachers and other professionals.

 In our experience, the main reasons for the increase of children being taken into care are:

– Devaluing of the bond between mother and child.

 – Increased poverty as a result of “austerity” cuts particularly affecting single mothers, leading to wrongful accusations of “neglect”.

 – Victims of rape and domestic violence being held responsible for causing their children “emotional harm.

– Men’s “right” to their children being prioritised over women and children’s right to protection from violence.

– Bias against mothers/families who are poor, working class, of colour, have disabilities and/or mental health problems . . . resulting in sexist, racist and anti-working class assumptions/judgements/prejudices by social workers, children’s guardians and psychologists as well as family court judges.

– Refusal by local authorities and professionals to prioritise support for vulnerable families (e.g. not using powers under S17 of the 1989 Children Act and the Care Act to provide financial or other support to enable families to stay together).

– Promotion of adoption as the “gold standard”.

– Privatisation of children’s services so that taking children into care has become a highly profitable business.

– Secrecy of the family courts so that local authorities, professionals and judges are not held publicly accountable for decisions they make and mothers/families are prevented from going public with what has happened to them and seeking support.

– Denial of legal aid as well as poor legal advice.

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The FRG is now circulating two surveys, one for parents whose children have been taken awayand one for those working in this field, whether as professionals or voluntary groups like ours.  The surveys have to be done online, and the deadline for responding is midnight on Sunday 11 February.

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