Revealed: The scandal of loving families whose children are being forcibly taken away to meet adoption targets
By James Chapman and Fiona Barton
August 20, 2005 / The Daily Mail
SOCIAL workers were accused last night of tearing children away from loving families to meet ‘performance targets’ for adoption. Experts said there was clear evidence of social services targeting parents they branded ‘not clever enough’ to raise young children.
Tories demanded an inquiry, warning that the system appeared to be failing people with learning difficulties or low IQs. The call follows a Daily Mail inquiry highlighting the case of an Essex couple whose two small children were taken away and put up for adoption last year. Today the Mail reveals another distressing case involving a 32-year-old mother who says her baby girl was taken into care because she was deemed to have a ‘borderline learning difficulty’.
Her daughter was adopted by a foreign couple and now lives abroad.
In the case of the Essex couple, however, the chance of a successful adoption is fading. Their baby boy developed hydrocephalus after he was taken away from them, two prospective adopters pulled out and he may never find a new family.
There are fears that Government attempts to speed up the adoption process – social services are urged to see it as a ‘positive, responsible choice’ – are distorting decisions about vulnerable families. Councils are accused of being too quick to turn to adoption in a desire to meet ‘performance targets’.
Since Labour came to power, the number of children in care has increased almost 20 per cent.
The Disability Rights Commission, the watchdog set up to stop discrimination against disabled people, said last night there was ‘serious concern’ that parents with learning difficulties were being unfairly targeted. Research suggested that one in four children subject to care orders had a parent with a learning difficulty.
Tory spokesman Theresa May said it was ‘deeply worrying’ that the system was failing such children and their parents. She said MPs were being inundated with letters from people who had children taken away in similar circumstances. Parents with low IQs found it ‘impossible to cope with the system’.
Mrs May said there were now more than 61,000 children in care, the highest figure in over 20 years and an increase of 20 per cent since 1997.
But the prospects for children taken into the care system were ‘appalling’. They were two and a half times more likely to become teenage parents and 66 times more likely to have their own children taken into care.
Between a quarter and a third of people sleeping rough had been in care.
Mrs May said: ‘Anyone can see that it must be better for these children for us to support their parents and try to prevent them from being taken into care.'
The Education Department said last night: ‘The decision to remove a child is not made lightly and responsibility for making those difficult decisions rests with the courts. All involved work on the basis that the welfare of the child is paramount.
It should be noted the above article was found here: http://www.fassit.co.uk/child_stealers_daily_mail.htm
Two days later, on Aug 22, 2005, Felicity Collier, Chief Executive of BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) issued the following press-release: Re: Concerns about recent coverage by the Daily Mail of childcare social workers