By the time I founded my website on forced adoption in 2003, the snatching of children to feed the highly profitable forced adoption industry was in full swing and largely running out of control. Nearly all adoptions in the UK are forced on distressed, low income parents who fight in vain in family courts trying to retain their children but rarely succeeding. Many millions of pounds are made by fostering and adoption agencies and “special private schools”. Much of this money trickles down to the social workers, lawyers, judges, and so called “experts” in the system.
Judges in the family courts rubberstamp the demands of social workers that these children be adopted or permanently fostered by strangers.Legal aid and other lawyers in the care system have a poor reputation, especially among low income families. According to judicial statistics, only one in 400 care orders are refused in court. Parents complain that lawyers usually tell them “best if you stay quiet “or “wait outside as we will speak for you” and promptly agree in court with the “SS” (the popular name for UK Social Services). This is why parents reach out to me in Monaco for legal help. I have written statements for hundreds of mothers to use in court and about 25% succeeded in keeping their children.
The scale of the problem is enormous; I get nearly 3,000 calls a year from parents fearing Social Services will remove their children. This may sound improbable until you consider the rate of children being taken into care—according to official figures for England from October 2017, children were taken into state care at the rate of 90 a day!
As a result of the flaws in the UK care system many shocking injustices have happened, especially to foreign children. One of the most notorious perhaps was that of a pregnant Italian lady who came over from Italy to take a test for a job with an airline. She passed the test with flying colours and checked into a hotel at Heathrow, intending to fly home next day. She then had a violent dispute over her bill at the hotel ending with her being “sectioned “and taken by force into a mental home. There she was drugged for some months and eventually forced under a court order to have a C-section to which she did not consent! I spoke to her by phone several times during her incarceration and found her to be exceptionally calm and lucid. I advised her to get a lawyer before the birth but it was difficult for her to find one on Legal Aid willing to act for a patient in a mental home. Her baby was placed with adoptive parents and she was sent back to Italy, never to see him again.
Another tragic case was of an Arab married to an Irish girl with a daughter of 12 who behaved badly while her father was away on business. Social workers took the girl away and refused to return her after her father came back. They phoned up a bit later asking for her dental records, saying she needed work done on her teeth. It was only later that evening that the police came and revealed the truth to the parents—they needed her dental records to identify her since she had been burned to death beyond recognition when her young social worker crashed her car into a tree killing them both. The young girl could only be identified by her teeth! The weather was fine and the road was straight... Was the social worker high on drugs?
One mother whom I helped had tracked down, after 10 years of searching, the family that had adopted her two daughters. They had been taken from her on claims of “risk of future emotional abuse”. I persuaded the mother to get together with the older daughter aged 15 who had herself found her mum via Facebook. When the 15-year-old found that her mother was a nice woman, and not a drug addict, alcoholic or prostitute, as she had been told by her adoptive parents, she and her 12-year-old sister left and went back to live with their birth mother!
10% of adoptions are to same-sex couples even though they represent only 2-3% of the total couples in the UK. Bewildered babies and young children are taken from the mum they love to be in the care of “two daddies”. In one recent case where this happened, the gay adoptive father murdered the baby much to the distress of the grandmother who had offered to care for it after it was taken from its mother for the forced adoption.
Public protest is being suppressed. If parents dare to protest publicly identifying themselves and their children they face jail for “breaching the privacy” of the baby or young child! A former UK Home Secretary (Harriet Harman) released the only statistic we have on this matter when she said over 200 parents a year were being jailed for speaking out.
Children are also forced to keep quiet. Children aged between 5-15 are taken screaming in fright from their families at home, usually around 6-7 a.m. by numbers of uniformed police. Their laptops and mobile phones are confiscated, cutting them off from family and friends. Parents who want contact are forced to sign a contract promising not to discuss the case or answer their children’s questions about when they can come home. During contact sessions, children are forbidden to complain about any abuse or harm they suffer in the “care” of Social Services. In one case a visiting grandparent was told not to question his grandchild about his broken jaw; broken while in care! Foreign children are forbidden to speak to each other or to their parents in their native tongue. Only English is permitted, which means that some children cannot speak at all!
Why has the system evolved this way with nearly 100,000 children in care in the UK? Thousands of officials make a good living, some making literally millions of pounds, out of this rotten system. Local authorities advertise with posters on local buses offering £590 per week per child for foster carers (most take on two or three). The agencies supplying the foster families and adoptive parents get around £2,000 per week per child. One agency (The National Fostering and Adoption Agency) founded by two social workers around 18 years ago worked its profits up to more than £10 million per year and sold out about three years ago to a commercial firm called Graphite for more than £130 million. Graphite in turn resold last year for a lot more. Special schools for “difficult children” in care (in other words, children who miss their parents!) charge £3,000-£4,000 per week per child for housing them mostly in rundown terraced houses. Their charges are more than three times what it cost when Prince Harry went to Eton.
The system grew because having children when unmarried ceased to be a disgrace by the ’60s and ’70s, so mothers kept those children and the pool of “unwanted” children that the foster care and adoption system thrived on dried up. Social Services had to resort to snatching children from loving but imperfect parents desperate to keep them. The system is likely to stay that way for a long time as those who are making a fortune from it protect their interests.
Forced adoption should be abolished but even more important, no child should be taken from law-abiding parents for “risk of future emotional harm”. Families should not be torn apart forever and stopped from even minimal contact with each other when there is no actual harm or neglect, merely speculation by so-called experts of a risk of future emotional harm. Such assessments are in any case highly questionable—based on such things as the personality, IQ or income of a parent. Even more frequently, “failure to work with or cooperate with the [child protection] professionals” is itself being taken as a sufficient reason for removal. This is very unfair as all mothers find it difficult to cooperate with “experts” whose clear avowed intention is to deprive them of their children!
These are the two top reforms I and others in the movement for child welfare reform strive for and hope to see one day. But “don’t hold your breath”!
Ian Josephs is a British businessman and philanthropist based in Monaco. He runs a website called www.forced-adoption.com to help families targeted by child protection services in the UK