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Forced Adoption: The demonization of parents in care proceedings

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Lukes Dad's picture
on Fri, 08/10/2012 - 00:33
Fight Child Protection Department Corruption: 

The Children and Families Bill expected to be introduced in 2012/2013 sets out plans to speed up adoption and care proceedings. The Bill will create a six-month time limit for care proceedings in England and Wales. The Government are committed to tackling delays in the system and ensuring that more children than ever are adopted.

These ill thought out reforms fail to recognise children’s and parent’s rights to remain together wherever possible. It is a myth that children who are adopted are not wanted by their families. The vast majority of adopted children are very much loved by their parents. Care proceedings take an average of 52 weeks before a final order is reached because parents refuse to stop fighting for their children.

There is a lack in understanding of the complex problems that many parents in care proceedings suffer with. Often families are from the most impoverished households: 90% live below the poverty line, 60% have been abused as a child, 45% experience mental health problems, and 30% have been through the care system themselves when they were children. Many of their problems are not properly assessed, diagnosed or treated until they are subject to care proceedings based on allegations of neglect of their children. By the time their problems are assessed it is too late to provide them with the support they require and their children are adopted.

But adoption and long-term fostering is not always the most appropriate solution. Statistics show that children removed from their parents are more likely suffer with complex problems than their counterparts. Children are three times more likely to lead chaotic lifestyles associated with alcohol and drug abuse, twice as likely to have their children removed and 53% leave school with no formal qualifications, 49% are convicted of a criminal offence and 45% are assessed as having a mental health disorder.

Considering the problems encountered by parents and children, preventative and supportive steps are needed to ensure that parents are able to care for their children at home. But with 903 applications made by local authorities in January 2012, it is estimated that 10,500 children will be subject to care proceedings by the end of 2012, which indicates a trend towards the removal of children from their parents. A forced adoption culture and silencing of birth mothers has existed across some decades of the 20th century.

Instead local authorities would rather remove children from their parents and place them in foster care at an annual cost of £1.25 billion. Local authorities would rather children were reared by foster parents or adopters, who possess a degree of cultural, social and economic capital, with hope that they will rear troubled children to conform to societal values and contribute to society rather than becoming societal dependants, like their poverty stricken parents – a classic example of social engineering.

Local authorities would rather punish a particular class of parents for their failures than invest in supportive long-term support packages for parents to enable them to gather the parenting skills required to care for their children. The statistical correlation between parents subject to care proceedings and poverty reflects how society punishes the most vulnerable and impoverished. Historically the state punished the poor by incarcerating them in workhouses and removing their children at birth. Little has changed today, as oppressive state power legitimises the removal of children from destitute parents by labelling them as hopeless and undeserving.

In a class structured society it is ingrained in the consciousness of those in positions of power that we punish and stigmatise the poor. As a result, value judgments made by social workers are a reflection of internalised views, norms and morals advocated by society. Social workers demonise parents and label them as hopeless, mad or even bad. Parents internalise this label and it inevitably becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Meanwhile their children are removed by middle class judges and magistrates and placed with middle class foster carers and adopters. With no financial or social power and a reduced family size, working class parents remain powerless and pushed further to the bottom of society with no hope of revolutionary action.

A system biased towards adoption will result in lack of transparency in ensuring adoption targets are reached. In 2008, a Government adoption policy to provide local authorities with financial bonuses to encourage them to meet unrealistic adoption targets was exposed. The pursuit of capitalist goals at the expense of children’s welfare and parent’s rights is once again upheld, this time by the Conservative Government. It seems that no lessons have been learnt.

There are a number of potential solutions that could support children and parents rather than punish them. Such solutions include pre-proceedings intensive support, specialist family support services from child and family mental health services (CAMHS), psychological services, therapeutic support, health visitors, social workers trained not to be judgmental, children’s centres, parent and baby foster placements, financial and housing support and lawyers who fight for parents rather than colluding with local authorities. In the context of a recession these support mechanisms are all suffering a reduction in resources and funding. Rather than supporting an adoption bonus policy, bonuses could be better utilised to support families remaining together –  isn’t that what the big society is all about?

Charlotte Proudman and Frances Trevena, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers

By Charlotte Rachael Proudman


whiteLion's picture

"Children are 10 times more likely to die in foster care.  "

This is because foster care, like 'employment' and the mass administration of antidepressants etc, is a MONEY-MAKING industry.

It is TOO EASY for the social vampires to strike at the hearts of what 'the masses' cherish most- their children- and utilise bipartisan society's self-righteous indignation at the abuse of such to oust the demonised parents from their children's lives- and then THOSE children will also be revictimised as 'more likely to lose their own kids', ensuring a never-ending cycle of 'victims'.

These crooked 'enablers' of kiddy-stealing are endemic within the system and its up to US to make both NGOs and govt depts both responsible and CIVILLY LIABLE for their actions.

Help Fight Child Protection's picture

This happens in Alberta now. As ex foster parents we cared for 2 toddler siblings. (with the intention of short term to help a family in need...

we are in our early forties and have 5 bio children of our own and were not looking to adopt) At our first face to face visit with the caseworker, one month after these children were in our care, caseworker stated at that time that these children would never go home and asked would we be interested in adopting them!

They stayed in our care for 18 months.....and their new foster mom plans to adopt! All the paper work is done :(. The whole time their parents who are still together, fought as hard as they could to get all six of their children home.

Pretty much Impossible to win that fight if you have limited family support, live in poverty and past issues with addictions.

We were naive and thought that Alberta Children and Youth Services were to provide a service to FAMILIES in need. It was a gong show! No positive family visit plan....or end goal for family reunification.

It is a group think organization, that we could not be part of. Caseworkers like to plant seeds of assumption about bio parents to the foster parents.

An example of this is caseworkers casually stating that they believe the children were sexually abused by a parent. I seen that work on a young childless foster mama who desperately wanted a child.

Her guard goes up to protect the children and that goes against all working towards a healthy family connection or reunification. :((((( I don't understand ............

Lukes Dad's picture

Very sad. Many of us here know what it is like to do everything humanly possible to save your children from being legally kidnapped, to no avail. They don't even have enough foster carers yet they don't give a second thought to ripping children off the parents they love who have never abused them.

They would rather a child be dead than be with their parents, like my Lukey. One year old and they shifted him to twelve different stranger's homes, my poor little baby, taken by a bunch of nasty women who think they know everything, and don't give a crap about kids.

Nothing happened. They all could of saved Lukey, or given him back. No one lifted a finger, and they all still work there.

sadplace's picture

Wikipedia says...

Although most people (50–90%) encounter trauma over a lifetime,[76][77] about 20-30% develop PTSD but over half of these people will recover without treatment[78].[76] Vulnerability to PTSD presumably stems from an interaction of biological diathesis, early childhood developmental experiences, and trauma severity.[79] A person that never established secure relationships and learned coping skills as a young child if exposed to a traumatic experience is more likely to develop PTSD then one that developed good coping skills and has a support network[80].

Predictor models have consistently found that childhood trauma, chronic adversity, and familial stressors increase risk for PTSD as well as risk for biological markers of risk for PTSD after a traumatic event in adulthood.[81][82][83][84] Peritraumatic dissociation in children is a predictive indicator of the development of PTSD later in life[85]. This effect of childhood trauma, which is not well understood, may be a marker for both traumatic experiences and attachment problems.[86][87] Proximity to, duration of, and severity of the trauma also make an impact, and interpersonal traumas cause more problems than impersonal ones.[88] 

Foster care

In the Casey Family Northwest Alumni Study, conducted in conjunction with researchers from the Harvard Medical School in Oregon and Washington state, the rate of PTSD in adults who were in foster care for one year between the ages of 14–18 was found to be higher than that of combat veterans. Up to 25% of those in the study meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD as compared to 12–13% of Iraq war veterans and 15% of Vietnam War veterans, and a rate of 4% in the general population. The recovery rate for foster home alumni was 28.2% as opposed to 47% in the general population.[93][94]

Dubner and Motta (1999)[95] found that 60% of children in foster care who had experienced sexual abuse had PTSD, and 42% of those who had been physically abused met the PTSD criteria. PTSD was also found in 18% of the children who were not abused. These children may have developed PTSD due to witnessing violence in the home, or as a result of real or perceived parental abandonment.

After individuals with dissociative identity disorder, patients with posttraumatic stress disorder have the highest hypnotizability of any clinical group.[96]