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House of Commons debates.

26.10.2005 EDM 869
Pickles, Eric
That this House urges the Government to remove the veil of secrecy from the workings of the Children Act 2004; considers that the closed door policy of the family courts breeds suspicion and a culture of secrecy which does nothing to instil confidence in those using them, which affects not just the courts but the social services departments of local authorities; and believes that it is possible to preserve the anonymity of children involved in the proceedings without the cumbersome rules which obstruct parents from receiving advice and support, which in particular works to the disadvantage of parents with special learning difficulty.
Signatures( 217)

Pickles, Eric ---- Brokenshire, James ----Field, Mark ----Robinson, Iris ----Jenkins, Brian ----Cable, Vincent ----Prisk, Mark ----Purchase, Ken ----Randall, John ----Robathan, Andrew ----Rosindell, Andrew ---- Russell, Bob ----Simon, Sion ---- Simpson, Keith ---- Smith, Geraldine ----Hayes, John ---- Hendry, Charles ----Hoey, Kate ----Horam, John ----Jenkin, Bernard ----Johnson, Boris ----Jones, Helen ----Laing, Eleanor ----Lait, Jacqui ----Liddell-Grainger, Ian----Lloyd, Tony ---- Loughton, Tim ---- Luff, Peter ----Mackinlay, Andrew ----Maclean, David ----Mahmood, Khalid ----Malins, Humfrey ----Marris, Rob ----May, Theresa ----McLoughlin, Patrick ----Mitchell, Austin ----O'Brien, Stephen ----Ottaway, Richard ----Breed, Colin ----Burns, Simon ----Burstow, Paul ----Burt, Alistair ----Butterfill, John ---- Clappison, James ----Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey ----Conway, Derek ----Cryer, Ann ---- Davey, Edward ----Davis, David ----Donaldson, Jeffrey ---- Evans, Nigel ----Francois, Mark ----Grieve, Dominic ----Hancock, Mike ---- Atkinson, Peter ----Barker, Gregory ----Baron, John ----Bellingham, Henry ---- Bercow, John ---- Stoate, Howard ---- Stringer, Graham ---- Syms, Robert ----Teather, Sarah ----Vaz, Keith ----Wallace, Ben ---- Whittingdale, John ---- Younger-Ross, Richard ----Hemming, John [R] ---- Binley, Brian ---- Bone, Peter ---- Carswell, Douglas ---- Clark, Greg ----Davies, Philip ----Dorries, Nadine ---- Duddridge, James ----Featherstone, Lynne ----Gove, Michael ---- Greening, Justine ----Harper, Mark ---- Malik, Shahid ---- Main, Anne ---- Newmark, Brooks ----Pelling, Andrew ----Williams, Mark ----Jones, Lynne ---- Khabra, Piara S ----Lewis, Julian ---- MacKay, Andrew ----McCafferty, Chris ---- Dodds, Nigel ----George, Andrew ---- Bottomley, Peter ----Turner, Desmond ----Hunter, Mark ---- Dismore, Andrew ---- Durkan, Mark ----Greenway, John ----Winterton, Ann ---- Winterton, Nicholas ---- Penning, Mike ---- Hopkins, Kelvin ----Campbell, Gregory ---- Fraser, Christopher ----Garnier, Edward ---- Williams, Betty ----Rifkind, Malcolm ---- Selous, Andrew ---- Simpson, David ----McCrea, Dr William ---- Mundell, David ---- Donohoe, Brian H ---- Fabricant, Michael ---- Taylor, David ---- Vis, Rudi ---- Holloway, Adam ----Pope, Greg ---- Spelman, Caroline ----Simpson, Alan ---- Moss, Malcolm ----Brazier, Julian ---- Efford, Clive ---- Gillan, Cheryl ----Brown, Lyn ---- Hammond, Stephen ---- Leech, John ----Spink, Bob ----Cook, Frank ----McCarthy-Fry, Sarah ----Heald, Oliver ----Mercer, Patrick ---- Caton, Martin ----Opik, Lembit ----Dean, Janet ---- Rowen, Paul ----Illsley, Eric ---- George, Bruce ----Godsiff, Roger ----Amess, David ---- Burrowes, David ---- Robertson, Hugh ---- Brake, Tom ---- Etherington, Bill ----Abbott, Diane ----Keetch, Paul ----Galloway, George ---- Goldsworthy, Julia ---- Dunne, Philip ----Hammond, Philip ----Wiggin, Bill ----Cooper, Rosie ---- Prosser, Gwyn ---- Walter, Robert ---- Watkinson, Angela ----Wilshire, David ----Murrison, Andrew ----Gummer, John ---- Benyon, Richard ---- Jackson, Stewart ----Swire, Hugo ---- Wilson, Robert ---- Lamb, Norman ---- Pritchard, Mark ----Reid, Alan ---- Sanders, Adrian ----Hermon, Sylvia ---- Key, Robert ---- Burgon, Colin ----Challen, Colin ---- Foster, Don ---- Streeter, Gary ---- Burt, Lorely ---- Hunt, Jeremy ---- Rogerson, Daniel ---- Scott, Lee ---- Field, Frank ---- Walley, Joan ---- Henderson, Doug ----Love, Andrew ----Gerrard, Neil ----Miller, Maria ---- Harvey, Nick ----Holmes, Paul ---- Goodwill, Robert ---- Tredinnick, David ---- Stuart, Graham ----Naysmith, Doug ---- Alexander, Danny ---- Smith, John P ---- Mates, Michael ---- Trickett, Jon ----Letwin, Oliver ----Webb, Steve ---- Clark, Katy ---- Howarth, David ---- Willott, Jenny ----Kramer, Susan ----Gauke, David ----Penrose, John ---- Brady, Graham ---- Austin, John ----Cruddas, Jon ---- Williams, Roger ----Ennis, Jeff ---- Olner, Bill ----Hamilton, Fabian ---- Jones, Martyn ---- Browne, Jeremy ----Austin, Ian ----Kennedy, Charles ---- Willis, Phil ---- Oaten, Mark ---- Hughes, Simon ---- Bruce, Malcolm ---- Grogan, John ---- Morgan, Julie ---- Baird, Vera ---- Law, Peter ----

"I don't think the public appreciates how low the threshold is. When children are taken from their parents, it is not because there is a certainty of future harm or even that, on the balance of probabilities, those children could be harmed.
It is enough that there will be a possibility of future harm. If there is a 70 per cent. risk of a child being harmed and every child with that risk was taken into care then, in 100 such cases, 30 children would be taken from families where they would come to no harm.
Sometimes, I wonder whether children are being protected, or whether it is social workers' careers."

Those are wise words. There may be a temptation for local authorities, possibly because of the financial advantage, to move towards adoption when other solutions may be possible.
Mr. Scott goes on to say:
"There's an unspoken fear that children from poor backgrounds are being freed up for middle-class adopters."

(Doc)See the whole debate Eric Pickles (Brentwood & Ongar, Conservative)

Thursday, 2 March 2006

Orders of the Day Children and Adoption Bill
4:04 pm

I am grateful for the opportunity to make a modest contribution to the debate. It is a particular pleasure to follow the hon. and learned Member for Redcar (Vera Baird). I hope she will forgive me if I do not pursue some of her excellent points, as I want to concentrate on a narrower aspect of the Bill, namely adoption. I want to say something about the secrecy of the family court. I think that some of the general rules on adoption concerning foreign nations are relevant to our own system. A particularly sad case in which I have been involved over the last few months has a direct bearing on how adoption works in practice, especially forced adoption, the most extreme of the many issues that we must consider.

EDM 626

John Hemming

That this House notes that local authorities and their staff are incentivised to ensure that children are adopted; is concerned about increasing numbers of babies being taken into care, not for the safety of the infant, but because they are easy to get adopted; and calls urgently for effective scrutiny of care proceedings to stop this from happening.

See All.Family Division Court Cases, Appeals, Justice Munby Judgement 15th April 2003
i) The fact that I would in any event have dismissed this application for judicial review on the merits does not, of course, mean that the local authority will necessarily succeed in the Family Proceedings Court. It may. It may not. The issue for the Family Proceedings Court (or the Family Division) will be quite different from the issue that alone concerned the Administrative Court.
ii) At the risk of unnecessary repetition I emphasise that the removal of a child from his mother at or shortly after birth is a draconian and extremely harsh measure which demands "extraordinarily compelling" justification. The fullest possible information must be given to the court. The evidence in support of the application for such an order must be full, detailed, precise and compelling. Unparticularised generalities will not suffice. The sources of hearsay evidence must be identified. Expressions of opinion must be supported by detailed evidence and properly articulated reasoning.
iii) Save in wholly exceptional cases parents must be given adequate prior notice of the date, time and place of any application by a local authority for either an emergency protection order or an interim care order. They must also be given proper notice of the evidence the local authority is relying upon.

Baroness Hale of Richmond. My Lords, There is, so far as the parties to this case are aware, no European jurisprudence questioning the principle of freeing for adoption, or indeed compulsory adoption generally. The United Kingdom is unusual amongst members of the Council of Europe in permitting the total severance of family ties without parental consent. (Professor Triseliotis thought that only Portugal and perhaps one other European country allowed this.) It is, of course, the most draconian interference with family life possible. Social Worker Forms of Assessment to calculate risk and you will see just how Low the Threshold is. Please keep in mind the Judges and Magistrates can only make decisions based on the information put to them by the Social Services.

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No child can be identified by any posts on this website. Every child should be able to move on in future without reminder of past intervention by any authority. Many victims of the U.K. System are the children.
We are indeed aware of Article 170: Privacy for children involved in certain proceedings. but also Section 62: Publication of material relating to legal proceedings (251.252.) Which means that nothing can be published that may identify any CHILD during court process yet; Council's can publish photographs and detailed profiles of children online in advertising them for adoption.

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