Have your say: Inquiry into the Children & Families Act 2014

Inquiry into the Children & Families Act 2014call for evidence

Deadline Monday 25 April (before midnight). The House of Lords Select Committee on the Children and Families Act 2014 is inviting written evidence from anyone affected by this legislation.  They are looking at “whether the Children and Families Act 2014 has achieved its aim of improving the lives of children and families, particularly the most vulnerable children and young people in society.”

If you have been through the family court fighting to stop a forced adoption, or to stop your children being taken into care, or to get resources for disabled children, or if you are a mum who has been harassed and demonised for trying to protect your children from their violent father, this is an opportunity to have your say.

Our evidence will say that the Lords Inquiry must act now to tackle:

·       The bond between mother and child is being devalued and dismissed in favour of adoptions.  90% of adoptions are against the will of the birth family.  This is creating lifelong trauma among children and mothers.

·       How the situation of the most vulnerable children and families is worsening every year as millions are spent on privatised “care” placements and adoption agencies.  Meanwhile, mothers’ and children’s poverty is increasing and families are denied the help they are entitled to.

·       The number of children in care is now the highest ever – children of colour, disabled children and/or children from low-income single mothers are disproportionately removed from their families. 

·       The emphasis on speeding up of adoptions has made it much harder for mums/birth families to oppose forced adoptions and, in some local authorities, has meant that more children have been taken into “care”. 

·       The “presumption of contact” which this law introduced has had a devastating impact on children forced into contact and even residence with abusive and neglectful fathers.  It has also had a devastating impact on mothers who are forced to maintain relationships with violent and abusive ex partners.  The Lords Select Committee must recommend amending the law to ensure that abusive fathers are not allowed unsupervised contact.  

·       How families of disabled children and/or those who have Special Educational Needs do not get the support either in school or from social care which they are legally entitled to.  Since 2014, Councils have spent £253m on fighting parents, mainly mothers, in SEND tribunals.

See here for the list of topics being considered by the Lords.  You can comment just on those areas you have experience of, and if you write in a word document it can be uploaded online.  If you would find this difficult, email your evidence to hlchildfamilyactcomm@parliament.uk.

Please send us a copy of what you send to the Lords.

Anne Neale, Legal Action for Women, co-ordinates Support Not Separation  
Tracey Norton, Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign