Tag Archives: children’s rights

Protest outside Central Family Court: Value the world’s mothers and children – part of International Women’s Strike events on International Women’s Day 8 March 2017

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See video & article in The Independent here

 At the protest we handed in an Open Letter to Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court of England & Wales asking to meet with him to convey our concerns about the discrimination mothers face in the family court.  See our letter below:

Dear Sir James Munby,

Valuing Mothers and Children

We write to respectfully request a meeting with you.

We are mothers and organisations struggling against the unjust separation of children from their mothers, and today, International Women’s Day, we are protesting outside the Family Court. We are deeply concerned about the rise in the number of children being taken into care, forced to have contact or live with neglectful, vindictive and violent fathers, or adopted against the wishes of their mothers and of the children themselves. Continue reading

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APPEAL from LEGAL ACTION FOR WOMEN
– a grassroots legal service

Are you a lawyer, a former social worker or legally trained? Can you help us to stop the unjust separation of children from their mothers?

Legal Action for Women’s new Dossier Suffer the Little Children & their Mothers, documenting women’s struggle for justice in the family courts in England, was launched in January at a packed meeting in the House of Commons.  Publicity about it in the Guardian sparked a correspondence over two days: CoramBAAF challenged Prof. Andy Bilson’sresearch quoted in the Dossier and this was followed by several responses supporting our findings.

We are now receiving calls and emails from all over the country from mums and couples who are fighting to stop adoptions, get children back from care and stop violent fathers having contact or residence of their children.

We are a grassroots legal service with a well-established track record. We are based on collective self-help, providing information and support so people can decide how they want to fight their case. As cases often involve more than one issue, we work with other organisations based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre, such as Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Women Against Rape, Single Mothers’ Self Defence and WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities). Our insistence that no case is “hopeless” and that something can always be done has won LAW recognition from lawyers, as well as civil rights and community organisations.

Continue reading

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 Children & Social Work Bill – Victory against the government’s “opt out” clauses

When the Children & Social Work Bill went back to parliament for Report Stage, the government backed down on the clauses it had wanted which would have allowed local authorities to opt out of statutory child protection responsibilities!  As we said when we started campaigning against the Children & Social Work Bill last July, these measures had nothing to do with “innovation” as the government claimed, but would have been a huge incentive for greater privatisation of children’s services, leaving the most vulnerable and traumatised children even more unprotected from market forces.  At a time when more children are in care than any time in the past 30 years, and given how many inquiries are now going on into rape and other violent abuse of children in “care” (including forced removal to Australia and hidden graveyards in Ireland) this “opt out” had to be stopped.

 Determined opposition, including from mothers, grandmothers and families who kept up the pressure which won the victory when the House of Lords threw these clauses out and then tried to stop the government putting them back in, made all the difference.  Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Shadow Minister for Children, did a great job in opposing the government in parliament.  We need more of it, including from those established children’s charities and voluntary sector, as well as professionals and academics, who were not prepared to speak out against privatisation.   Those of us determined to stop so many children being taken into care will not be silenced!

Important follow up to LAW’s Dossier

Suffer the Little Children & their Mothers

See news coverage and join rally
outside the family court on 8 March

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Launch of LAW’s Dossier, House of Commons, 18 January 2017

Since the successful launch in Parliament of Legal Action for Women’s (LAW) dossier Suffer the Little Children & their Mothers, there has been a breakthrough exchange in the Guardian and new developments on the Children and Social Work Bill.

Sandra Laville reporting on the Dossier, Rising adoptions penalise poor families but don’t cut numbers in care, says report, said that “The push to increase adoption in England is punishing low-income women, who are increasingly losing their children due to poverty . . .”

John Simmonds, Director of policy, research and development at the adoption agency CoramBAAF, wrote on the letters page, disputing “the data and data analysis at the heart of this set of findings”.

There were a number of responses to this, titled How poverty, care and adoption are related. They included Dr Andy Bilson, emeritus professor of social work quoted in the Dossier, who stated: “research shows that children living in the 10% of most deprived communities are almost 11 times more likely to be in care than in the least deprived communities.”

And Anne Neale and Nina Lopez, authors of the Dossier, who referenced the Children and Social Work Bill which “would extend . . . lucrative privatisation by removing statutory protection for children in care. The lifelong trauma of separation on children and their birth families is not considered. How is this cruelty in the best interest of children?”

See also the October 2016 letter from five women’s organisations, including LAW, which opposed not only the Bill’s ‘opt out’ clauses removing statutory protections, but the drive for adoption and privatisation: Family support at risk from children’s bill. And an interview with Anne Neale on London Live

Following widespread opposition, Prof Eileen Munro, the prominent adviser the government quoted to justify their clauses, has now come out against them, Government adviser walks away from child protection plans.

MP Emma Lewell-Buck, shadow minister for children and families, continues to lead opposition to the clauses and to the drive for adoption in the Commons. She spoke at the launch of our Dossier drawing on her own experience as a former social worker.

This will be followed by a Speak Out outside Parliament, 12-2pm, called by the Global Women’s Strike.

Please join us. These clauses must be defeated! Children must be protected from the profiteering of the private sector. Brutal, unjust separations must end!


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SUFFER the little CHILDREN & their MOTHERS A dossier on the unjust separation of children from their mothers

By Anne Neale & Nina Lopez for Legal Action for Women

Download the dossier here.

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Interview with Anne Neale on London Live here.

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Suffer the Little Children

Stopping the forced separation of children from their mothers
& the privatisation of child protection

 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 6-8pm

Committee Room 11, House of Commons, SW1A OAA

  Westminster    All welcome.
(please allow time to go through security)

Kindly sponsored by Emma Lewell-Buck MP for South Shields
Shadow Minister (Education) (Children and Families)

 

Speakers:

Cristel Amiss  Black Women’s Rape Action Project

Dr Andy Bilson  Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Central Lancashire

Donna Clarke  fought not to have her grandchild adopted

Dr Anna Gupta  Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Royal Holloway University of London

Nicola Mann  Women Against Rape

Anne Neale  Legal Action for Women

Kim Sparrow  Single Mothers’ Self Defence

 

Suffer the Little Children – a Dossier by Legal Action for Women documenting mothers’ struggle in the family courts in England – will be launched at the meeting. The Dossier could not be more timely as the Children and Social Work Bill is now in the Commons and a public outcry has exposed the treatment of mothers who have suffered domestic violence by the family courts.

Children demo Photo

There are now more children in state “care” than at any time in the past 30 years. New research shows that local authorities with the highest adoption rates also have the highest increase in children in care. Prioritising adoption over support for families has led to a 65% increase in the number of children separated from their parents. Mothers on low incomes, single mothers, of colour, immigrant, with learning difficulties, teenage mums … are particularly vulnerable. Women who suffer rape and/or domestic violence are most likely to have their children removed.

 

Following the recent public outcry, the government is looking to stop violent men question the mother in family courts. This would be a welcome change but much more is needed to stop the horrendous sexism mothers increasingly face.

 

The Children & Social Work (CSW) Bill is now going through the House of Commons. The government is determined to re-impose measures overwhelmingly rejected by the House of Lords, which would allow local authorities to “opt out” of statutory child protection, opening the way for privatisation. This coincides with the lowering of the benefit cap, with its devastating impact on as many as 500,000 children whose families are being further impoverished. No-one knows how many more children will then be taken into care as parents are accused of “neglect” for no longer being able to keep a roof over their heads, especially if private companies can profit from such separations! Given the abuse of children in care that continue to be exposed in Lambeth, Rochdale, Rotherham . . . and in juvenile detention centres run by G4S and others, this is a frightening prospect. Together for Children, a consortium of over 40 children’s charities, women’s groups, social work organisations and others, are also opposing the opt out clauses.

 

A child protection social worker has warned about the government’s latest plans:

 

The ‘undeserving poor’ have lost their council homes; lost their benefits and lost their community services; why not make it easier to lose their children too?

 The Public Bill Committee on the CSW Bill will be discussing the opt-out during its public sessions on Tuesday 10, Thursday 12 and Tuesday 17 January. Please join us if you can – updated information here

We must act together to oppose this social cleansing precipitated by austerity policies and insist that MPs vote against the “opt out” measures. Mothers, grandmothers and other carers working with Legal Action for Women and other self-help groups are fighting back.

Called by: Legal Action for Women
law@allwomencount.net  020 7482 2496  http://legalactionforwomen.net

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UPDATE on CHILDREN & SOCIAL WORK BILL

Dec: Labour MPs oppose push for adoption.

Jan: Opposing privatisation – write & call MPs.

Launch of our evidence – Wed 18 Jan

Dear Friends,

Warm greetings for the holiday and the New Year!  SOME GOOD NEWS in these troubled times:

At the CSW Bill Committee meeting last Thursday, Labour MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, put forward our proposed amendment to DELETE CLAUSE 9from the Children & Social Work Bill. Drawing on our briefing, she made an excellent speech, opposing this clause on the grounds that it prioritises prospective adopters over relatives or other carers and could lead to children being prematurely placed with prospective adopters which could pre-judge the outcome of legal proceedings, causing unnecessary pain and distress to all concerned.

For the first time during the passage of this Bill, the devastating consequences of the push for adoption was highlighted. She attacked austerity and pointed to the latest research by Dr Andy Bilson, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, which shows that prioritising adoption results in MORE, NOT FEWER, children taken into care, so that there are now more children in care than in the past 30 years, with shocking implications for their health and well-being.

The government minister defended Clause 9, saying that “Where the making of an adoption order is being considered, in most cases the child will already have been living with their prospective adopters for between six to 12 months.”   This confirms the inherent bias in favour of adoption and against a child being returned to their parents or other relatives.  We must continue to oppose it.  The Committee voted 8 to 5 against Mrs Lewell-Buck’s amendment (the government has a majority on the committee).  But the push for adoption, which has been policy for decades, was challenged for the first time and this is a significant victory for all of us.  See her speech below as reported in Hansard.

In JANUARY (Tues 10, Thur 12 and Tues 17), the Committee will discuss the government’s plan to allow local authorities to “OPT OUT” of their statutory duties, opening the way for PRIVATISING CHILD PROTECTION – profiteering from taking our children away from us.

It is urgent to make your voices heard against this.  Many mums and other carers have already written in to members of the Committee – one member told us privately she had been “bombarded” – but MORE IS NEEDED.  We need MPs to get many more letters from concerned mothers and other carers, social workers, and anyone who objects to this profiteering from our children’s pain and trauma.

We are continuing to press for a new clause demanding that SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN SHOULD INCLUDE SUPPORT FOR MOTHERS AND FAMILIES.

As we said to the MPs, 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.  Many of us are struggling with benefit cuts and sanctions, zero hour contracts, cuts in wages and services, escalating rents . . .  The cost of looking after a child in care is estimated at £35,000 a year. Yet, children who have been in care are four times more likely to attempt suicide and experience mental health difficulties.  If that money was made available to impoverished mothers and families, many fewer children would be taken into care.  The Bill should include provisions to support loving mothers and families who are struggling so children can be spared the tragedy and trauma of separation.

Please see our evidence from five women’s organisations to the Committee with our objections.  Women Against Rape have also submitted evidence about victims of domestic violence and their children.

If you haven’t already, please write your own letters to MPs and make a submission to the Committee – see here for how to do it or phone the MPs offices if you are short of time.

Please do this early in the New Year, and NO LATER than Monday 9 January so the Committee hears your evidence when it starts meeting again.

Here is a list of the MPs on the Committee to email and/or call.  We suggest starting with Labour, the SNP and the MPs on the Committee.  Let us know what responses you get.  See our Model letter here.

STOP PRESS: 18 January 2017, 6pm, Committee Room 11, House of Commons –LAUNCH of Legal Action for Women’s Suffer the Little Children Dossier documenting cases of children unjustifiably separated from their mother or kinship carer, adopted by strangers, put into care or in the hands of violent fathers.

For more information contact: Anne Neale or Kim Sparrow

LAW@allwomencount.netSMSD@allwomencount.net

Tel: 0207 482 2496

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MODEL LETTER to MPs re Children & Social Work Bill, Jan 2017.

Use your own experience and the points below to make your case.

Dear …MP,

I am (a mother/grandmother/dad/teacher/carer…) writing to raise my grave concerns about the Children and Social Work Bill with you as you are sitting on this Committee.

I am deeply worried about this Bill which aims to privatise child protection – a huge financial incentive for more working class children to be taken into care.  Under the Children Act, children and families have the fundamental right to have their feelings and wishes taken into account in decisions that affect them.  This is increasingly being ignored in favour of speedy adoptions.

The law says that: “No court should deprive a child of contact unless wholly satisfied that it is in the interests of the child that contact should cease and that is a conclusion at which a court should be extremely slow to arrive.”But instead the number of children in care continues to rise – over 70,000 children are being raised away from their families and communities.  This is shocking and not in children’s interest.

Families need urgent help and support so that children can remain with those who love them, not private companies profiteering from breaking up families causing lifelong trauma to both children and their mothers.

The cost of looking after a child in care is estimated at £35,000 a year so we know there is plenty of money for children.  Despite recent exposure of multi-national companies like Serco and G4S having to withdraw from providing children’s services because of dangerous and violent practices under their watch, the government is pushing hard for this legislation to be passed. They also know that children who have been in care are four times more likely to attempt suicide and experience mental health problems.  If money was made available to support impoverished mothers and families, many fewer children would be taken into care.

This Bill is being debated as the government lowers the benefit cap threatening the survival of tens of thousands of families; 500,000 children may be facing homelessness. Many families are struggling with benefit cuts and sanctions, zero hour contracts, cuts in wages and services, escalating rents and debt. The children in any family experiencing financial and other difficulties are vulnerable to being taken into care and put up for adoption as parents are accused of “neglect” if they are unable to keep a roof over their heads!

We ask MPs to defeat government attempts to privatise children’s services and to demand financial support to keep families together rather than spending millions tearing them apart. We ask MPs to defend children, the mothers and families who love them. There is condemnation of the ongoing trauma inflicted on children who were taken from their mothers in the 50s, 60s and 70s. But the same is happening now and will get much worse with this Bill. We hope that you will represent our concerns by opposing this Bill.

Your name, address etc

 

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UPDATE 14 DEC: CHILDREN & SOCIAL WORK BILL

Dear Friends,

GOOD NEWS: Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck is putting forward our proposed amendment to DELETE Clause 9 from the Children & Social Work Bill!  She will be speaking on this at the Committee meeting TOMORROW THURSDAY 15 DEC at 11.30 am.  If you are in London and want to join us, please come to Committee Room 12 in the House of Commons by 11.30 prompt (allow 30 mins to go through security).  We want to be there to support Mrs Lewell-Buck when she speaks and to let MPs know how strongly opposed mothers and other carers are to the brutal and traumatic separation of children from their loving families.

We are delighted that we’ve finally got the issue of adoption to be discussed as part of this dangerous Bill, which not only aims to privatise child protection services but to speed up forced adoptions.   We are continuing to press for our proposal for a new clause for resources to try to stop so many children being taken into care.

Please see evidence from five women’s organisations to the Committee with our objections.  Women Against Rape have also submitted evidence about the situation faced by victims of domestic violence and their children.

If you haven’t already, please write your own letters to MPs and make a submission to the Committee – see here for how to do it or phone the MPs offices if you are short of time.  Please do this as soon as possible, ideally this week but before MPs break for Christmas (20 Dec) so they hear from you and get your evidence while the Committee is still meeting.

The Committee will meet again on Tuesday 10 January, Thursday 12 January and Tuesday 17 January.  We will be attending when we can so if you’d like to join us, let us know.

Here is a list of the MPs on the Committee to email and/or call. We suggest starting with Labour and the SNP.  Let us know what responses you get.  See our Model letter below.

Please share this on your facebook.

See MODEL LETTER in previous post.

 

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CHILDREN & SOCIAL WORK BILL, 2nd reading 5 December 2016

CHILDREN & SOCIAL WORK BILL, 2nd reading

Briefing by: Black Women’s Rape Action Project,
Global Women’s Strike, Legal Action for Women,
Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Women Against Rape

For more information contact: Anne Neale or Kim Sparrow
LAW@allwomencount.net; SMSD@allwomencount.net
Tel: 0207 482 2496

We are five women’s organisations based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre founded on self-help. For years now we have been working with mothers whose children have been taken from their care or are under threat of being taken on varying grounds.

We are extremely concerned that the Children and Social Work Bill, which promotes adoption as the ‘gold standard’ and reflects the government’s determination to privatise child protection, will result in more children being unjustly taken from their biological families at great cost to their safety and welfare.

STATUTORY PROTECTIONS MUST REMAIN

Following objections from the Together for Children Coalition (which some of us are part of), ourselves and concerned individuals, a number of peers spoke out against the Bill in the House of Lords. They opposed the government arrogating to itself ‘draconian powers’ through regulations outside parliamentary scrutiny; removing ‘hard-won safeguards for very vulnerable children’; and allowing local authorities to ‘opt out’ of statutory child protection measures so that it could be outsourced and eventually ‘run for profit’. Led by Lord Ramsbotham, they voted to delete Clause 29 – the main provision which would have enabled this.

The Children’s social care: increasing capacity and diversity report published after a two-year delay by the Department for Education (DfE), provides clear evidence that the Bill’s opt out has nothing to do with ‘innovation’ as the government claims, but with lowering corporate liability.

The large, broadbased outsourcing companies we spoke with said they were highly averse to reputational risk and would be unlikely to be early entrants to this market. In order to address this, government would need to be clear about the levels of responsibility, liability and accountability they would require from companies taking on the delivery of children’s services.

Children in difficulty will be put on the market. As we said in a letter to the Guardian (25 October):

The national child abuse inquiry was set up in response to a massive survivors’ movement to examine how and why local authorities and others failed to protect children.
Even before it started, the government wanted to exempt these institutions from public scrutiny… removing statutory protections from the most vulnerable – children in custody and in care. Given the history, this amounts to a rapists’ charter.

We urge you to oppose any attempt by the government to bring back the ‘opt out’ provisions.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Private companies are behind this Bill. Isabelle Trowler, chief social worker for children and families is among its chief promoters. She co-founded Morning Lane, a private company working with 25 local authorities. KPMG, which partners Morning Lane, has been awarded a £2m government contract. When questioned, Trowler dismissed it as ‘peanuts’. But the children’s social work budget is estimated at £6.5bn, and Credit Suisse and others are behind private companies like Frontline, which are already training social workers. The DfE has admitted that there were ‘errors’ in handling Trowler’s conflict of interest.

THE GOVERNMENT KNOWS THAT PRIVATISATION PUTS CHILDREN AT RISK

Companies like G4S, Serco and others can take on contracts to undertake child protection assessments and investigations, manage child protection plans, decide whether to initiate care proceedings, and determine where and with whom children should live. All these companies need to do is set up a not-for-profit subsidiary. Then the parent company can charge its subsidiary whatever it likes for the services it provides to the subsidiary, which is how a profit is made.

Earlier this year, G4S withdrew from the provision of children’s services. This followed the cancellation of its contract for managing Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre in Northamptonshire in 2015, and an undercover BBC investigation into its management of Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester which exposed the mistreatment and abuse of children.

We have documented sexual and racist violence by guards against vulnerable women at Yarl’s Wood Detention and Removal Centre which is run by Serco.

Privatisation must be not only stopped but reversed.

UNWARRANTED FAMILY SEPARATION WILL RISE WITH THIS BILL

During the Lords debate, Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top raised that:

As of 31 March 2016, there were over 70,000 looked after children in England, which is the highest figure since 1985. If this does not tell us that we have to think again about what we are doing, I don’t know what will.

In our experience many children are removed without just cause. There are many reasons for this: the lifelong consequences of separating children from their biological primary carer (usually the mother, often a single mother) and their family environment (other parent, siblings, grandparents) are not given the weight they deserve; the importance of bonding is disregarded despite overwhelming evidence; mothers are judged harshly and denied financial and other support which would enable the family to stay together; domestic violence victims are blamed for ‘failing to protect their children’ rather than given help; and the risk of children suffering abuse in care is not considered despite the many scandals showing that it is widespread. Increasingly children are taken not because they suffer ‘harm’ but because their birth family – usually a low income and/or teenage mother, or a mother with learning difficulties – is accused of ‘neglect’, a term open to interpretation and prejudice. In our experience, many are families of colour, immigrant and/or disabled, who are discriminated against on that basis too. In fact, figures show that children of colour are disproportionately taken into care.

There is another major reason: pressure on social workers to remove children rather than help those families which could stay safely together. Further privatisation will increase that pressure as profits become the main motive to take children in care and have them adopted.

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 and poor.

Many children who have been in care continue to be victimised as adults. Baroness Armstrong:

Six out of 10 mothers who had children sequentially removed were teenagers when they had the first child. Of these, 40% were in care, or had been looked after in the care system, during their own childhood.

END THIS POLICY OF DESTITUTION AND REMOVING CHILDREN

 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!

Baroness Armstrong pointed out:

Children who are removed and placed in care are overwhelmingly from economically and socially deprived backgrounds . . . the role of family members – of grandparents, siblings and friendship networks in supporting children – is too often neither recognised nor supported effectively.”

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. ”

 Gove is no longer in government, but this Bill indicates that other ministers have similar views and interests.

In 2000 the British Association of Social Workers (BASWA) warned that having targets for adoption would result in children not returning to their birth families. Evidence shows this is what has happened. The government has set performance targets for local authorities to increase the number of children adopted with the justification that adoption reduces the number of children drifting in long term care. However, an analysis of government statistics by Professor Andy Bilson, University of Central Lancashire, shows that over the last five years (2011-12 to 2015-16) 22,580 children were adopted, a 40% increase over the previous five-year period. Despite the extra children adopted, the number of children in care went up by 5% to 70,440. The rate of children leaving care to adoption varies across the country from 30.5% in Bolton to under 3% in Kensington and Chelsea. Professor Bilson’s analysis shows that the third of local authorities with the highest adoption rates over the last five years had the largest increases in children in care whilst in the third with the lowest rate of adoption the number of children in care actually fell. In other words, prioritising adoption results in more, not less, children taken into care.

We are not the only ones concerned with the lack of support for birth families and its effect on all involved in the adoption process. Amanda Boorman, who adopted a child and founded The Open Nest says:

Millions have been spent over the last few years on recruiting adopters . . . Every adoption is a result of loss. Even whipping them out when they are young does not make that fact go away . . . adopted people are often left with an uncomfortable legacy that nobody wants to hear about . . . Adopters have . . . been afforded a loud public voice . . . Adopted people and families who lose children have not been afforded the same privileges.

SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN MUST INCLUDE SUPPORT FOR MOTHERS AND FAMILIES

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. Many of us are struggling with benefit cuts and sanctions, zero hour contracts, cuts in wages and services, escalating rents . . .  The cost of looking after a child in care is estimated at £35,000 a year. Yet, children who have been in care are four times more likely to attempt suicide and experience mental health difficulties. If that money was made available to support impoverished mothers and families, many fewer children would be taken into care.

The Bill should include provisions to support loving mothers and families who are struggling so children can be spared the tragedy and trauma of separation.

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Children & Social Work Bill – back in the Lords on Tues 8 Nov This is a charter for rape and social cleansing. We must stop it.

The Bill we have been opposing since the summer is back in the House of Lords for report stage on Tuesday 8 November at 3pm. We need as many people as possible to email or call expressing their strong opposition to the Bill – not only to privatisation but to all its measures, particularly the push for adoption.

Community Care reported that the government has admitted “errors in its handling of [Isabelle Trowler] the chief social worker’s ‘conflict of interest’.

This bill is being debated just as the benefit cap comes in: 88,000 families may be left with not enough money for rent and food; 500,000 children impoverished. No one knows how many will then be taken into care or adopted as their parents are accused of “neglect” for no longer being able to keep a roof over their heads!

The Bill can be defeated but we need to mobilise now as it comes back to the Lords and when it goes to the Commons.
A model letter you can use to make your case is below. A number of mothers have written in from their own experience and are getting good responses!  The emails and numbers of Peers to contact are also below. 

You can also sign a petition against the Bill Protect the rights of vulnerable children and care leavers.

If you have any questions email us back or call us on: 020 7482 2496.

MODEL LETTER

Dear Lord/Lady…

I am totally opposed to the Children and Social Work Bill. As a mother/grandmother/dad/teacher/concerned person… use your own experience and the points below to make your case.

  •  The government push for adoption is cruel and traumatic to children and families, especially mothers and grandmothers.
  •  It disregards children’s views, wishes and feelings about the people they love and want to live and/or have contact with.
  •  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.

I urge you to support the following amendments to the Children & Social Work Bill, but also to speak out for children and their birth families and demand that financial support be available to keep families together rather than to tear us apart.

Your name, etc…

Children and Social Work Bill amendments

CLAUSE 9
After CL 9, AMDT 33, New Clause: Profit-making and children’s social services functions

After CL 9 AMDT 35, New Clause: Duty to report on outcomes

CLAUSE 28
After CL 28, AMDT 52, New Clause: Whistleblowing arrangement in relation to looked after children and children at risk

After CL 28, AMDT 53, New Clause: Public interest disclosure in relation to looked after children and children at risk

CLAUSE 29
AMDT 57, leave out CL 29

CLAUSE 30
AMDT 58, leave out CL 30

CLAUSE 31
AMDT 64, leave out CL 31

CLAUSE 32
AMDT 66, leave out CL 32

CLAUSE 33
AMDT 68, leave out CL 33

After CL 33: AMDT 69, New Clause: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

After CL 33: AMDT 70, New Clause: Safeguarding Unaccompanied Refugee Children

CLAUSE 40
After CL 40: AMDT 72, New Clause: Whistleblowing arrangement in relation to social workers

After CL 40: AMDT 73, New Clause: Public interest disclosure by social workers

Lords names and emails

Leading on amendments are Lords Watson (Lab), Lord Hunt (Lab), Lord Ramsbotham (Crossbench) and Baroness Pinnock (Lib Dem).

TITLE NAME PARTY PHONE EMAIL
Lord Watson Labour 020 7219 5353 watsonm@parliament.uk
Lord Hunt Labour 020 7219 2030 huntp@parliament.uk
Lord Ramsbotham Crossbench 020 7219 8752 ramsbothamd@parliament.uk
Baroness Pinnock Lib Dem 020 7219 5353 pinnockk@parliament.uk
Baroness Hodgson Conservative 020 7219 5353 hodgsonf@parliament.uk
Baroness Benjamin Lib Dem 020 7219 8901 benjaminf@parliament.uk
Lord Bichard Crossbench 020 7219 5353 m.bichard@btinternet.com
Baroness Dean Labour 020 7219 5353 deanb@parliament.uk
Lord Farmer Conservative 020 7219 6565 callans@parliament.uk
Lord Brown sdbrown@blueyonder.co.uk
Baroness Cavendish Conservative contactholmember@parliament.uk
Baroness Howarth Crossbench 020 7219 5353 howarthv@parliament.uk
Baroness Howe Crossbench 020 7219 5353 howee@parliament.uk
Baroness Bakewell Labour 020 7219 2921 joanbakewell@googlemail.com
Baroness Boothroyd Crossbench boothroyd@parliament.uk
Baroness Lister Labour 020 7219 8984 listerr@parliament.uk
Lord Listowel Crossbench 020 7219 5353 listowelf@parliament.uk
Lord Mackay Conservative 020 7219 6041 mackayjp@parliament.uk
Baroness Massey Labour 020 7219 8653 masseyd@parliament.uk
Baroness Meacher Crossbench 020 7219 4081 meachermc@parliament.uk
Lord O’Shaugh-

nessy

Conservative 020 7219 5353 contactholmember@parliament.uk
Lord Bishop of Durham 013 8860 2576 Bishop.of.durham@durham.
anglican.org
Baroness Shephard Conservative 020 7219 5353 westm@parliament.uk
Baroness Tonge Lib Dem 020 7219 4827 tongej@parliament.uk
Baroness Tyler Lib Dem 020 7219 3606 tylerc@parliament.uk
Baroness Walmsley Lib Dem 020 7219 6047 walmsleyj@parliament.uk
Lord Warner None 020 7219 4540 warnern@parliament.uk
Lord Wills Labour 020 7219 5353 willisg@parliament.uk

 

 

 

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