Re councils announce further increase in child removals:
It is scandalous and corrupt to traumatise children by denying mothers support while paying a privatised industry £20,000 a week per child.
Support Not Separation Coalition holds monthly collective self-help meetings with mothers struggling to keep their children or get them back, and have had many successes. We also hold monthly protest outside the central family court in London to demand an end to secret hearings. In June 2021, we published research based on our work with 219 mothers with 411 children across England and Wales. 94% were single mothers, mostly on low incomes; at least 76% had reported domestic violence. Nearly half were women of colour and/or immigrant facing both sexism and racism; 19% had a physical disability which was used to take their children; almost half had mental health issues often caused or exacerbated by family court proceedings. Over half had had their children taken from them, including 10% whose children were adopted without their consent. Forced adoptions are not historic; they are a present-day policy of punishment and social cleansing. Councils have not responded to these findings.
Councils have stopped implementing Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and Care Act 2014 provisions to support disabled mothers – both aimed at keeping children with their families. They justify this by saying they have no money yet millions are poured into a privatised child removal industry, much like in the United States, which arbitrarily takes children without any concern for the lifelong trauma caused by separation.
How can councils supposedly strapped for cash justify paying £20,000 a week to keep one child in “care”? Is anyone asking for a breakdown of how this money is being explained? Mothers are being impoverished by cuts to Universal Credit, benefit sanctions, zero-hours contracts and general low pay. And it’s these mothers and their children who are targeted for investigation and their children removed.
Review after review agrees that it is best for children to stay with their families. Why then are councils announcing that more will be removed? Why not announce instead that money will be used to implement Section 17 and Care Act provisions to support women and children, including to escape domestic violence? What about the abuse children suffer in “care” and their low “outcomes”, including a high rate of imprisonment, when they come out of care? Why is this not being considered by local authorities and family courts when they make their decision to take the child? Marcus Rashford is more focused on children’s and mothers’ poverty than all the councils put together.
This corrupt profiteering from children’s and mothers’ misery must end. Poverty is not neglect. Children with low-income mothers are fair game for forced removal – one of the worst abuses of state power which is increasingly being used even against newborns. The vital bond between mother and child must be protected, including financially.