We are not alone – every European country permits adoption without parental consent.

So we can see that England really is not alone in allowing adoption without parental consent – every country has some mechanism for doing so. What makes England unique, however, is the extent to which this mechanism is used.

We are grateful for this post by Claire Fenton-Glynn, author of ‘Adoption without consent’ which was presented to the European Parliament in July 2015. She was cited by the President of the Family Division in the case of Re N (Children) (Adoption: Jurisdiction) [2015].

Claire Fenton-Glynn is a Lecturer in Law at Cambridge University. Her research lies in the field of human rights and the protection of children. She has published on a wide range of issues including  inter-country adoption, parental child abduction, and international surrogacy, as well as the right of the child to identity, and child participation in family law proceedings. At the core of this research is the way in which private international law instruments interact with human rights norms, and the protection of children and youth in regional and international instruments.

Are we alone in Europe?

It is a popular myth, perpetuated even by the upper echelons of the English judiciary, that England is alone in Europe in permitting adoption without parental consent.

In Re D (a Child) [2014], Mostyn J states that only 3 out of 28 European Countries permits ‘forced adoption’, while Lady Hale in Down Lisburn Health and Social Services Trust v H [2006] suggested that:

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.)

On the other hand, a 2015 report by the Council of Europe, stated that such adoptions are permitted in Andorra, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. However, it maintained that such adoptions were not possible in France, Greece, Luxembourg and Spain.

As such, there appears to be considerable confusion concerning the extent to which adoption without parental consent – pejoratively named “forced adoption” by some – is permitted throughout Europe.


Every country in Europe permits ‘forced adoption’

As this post will make clear, despite assertions to the contrary, EVERY country in Europe has a mechanism for permitting adoption without parental consent, in certain circumstances. (“Europe” can be defined in a number of different ways, but for these purposes, I mean all 47 Member States of the Council of Europe).

Three different mechanisms – abandonment, parental misconduct, child’s welfare

When looking at ways in which an adoption order can be made without parental consent, I have identified three different mechanisms that are used throughout Europe:

  • Where parental consent is not necessary because of abandonment or lack of interest in the child;
  • Where consent is not necessary because of parental misconduct or deprivation of parental rights;
  • Where consent is dispensed with because the parents have refused consent unjustifiably, or because it is in the child’s best interests.

Some States use a combination of these approaches, allowing consent to be dispensed with in a number of different ways.


Child has been abandoned

One mechanism for permitting adoption without parental consent is where a child who has been deemed abandoned by their parents. The precise grounds for not requiring consent in this area vary significantly, including:

  • abandonment (Albania, Cyprus, Italy);
  • not contacting the child (Hungary, Malta);
  • not showing interest (Portugal);
  • being manifestly disinterested (France);
  • not participating in his or her upbringing (Azerbaijan, Czech Republic);
  • parents’ whereabouts or residence is unknown (Austria, Estonia, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovenia, Switzerland).

Different time limits are also placed on authorities before they can dispense with consent for these reasons, ranging from:

  • three months (Montenegro, Portugal);
  • six months (Austria, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine);
  • twelve months (Albania, Andorra, Armenia, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovenia);
  • eighteen months (Malta);
  • “an extended period of time” (Estonia, Switzerland).


Parental misconduct

Parental consent is not necessary because parents have been deprived of parental rights or on the grounds of parental misconduct. The most common way in which consent is dispensed with is where the parents have been deprived of parental rights.

This is the case in:
• Armenia;
• Belgium;
• Croatia;
• Denmark;
• Estonia;
• Greece;
• Latvia;
• Liechtenstein;
• Lithuania;
• Luxembourg;
• Moldova;
• Monaco;
• Montenegro;
• Poland;
• Serbia;
• Slovakia;
• Slovenia;
• Spain;
• Russia.

Other countries do not require deprivation of parental rights for consent to be dispensed with, but instead focus on the specific conduct of the parents. This focus varies:

  • neglect or persistent mistreatment (Cyprus, Malta);
  • abuse of parental authority (Netherlands);
  • risk of compromising the child’s health or morals (France);
  • persistently grossly violating parental duties (Germany);
  • not caring for the child to any meaningful degree (Switzerland).

In some countries, the deprivation of rights must have lasted for a set period of time before an adoption can be granted, for example:

  • where the parents have been deprived of parental rights for longer than six months six months (Russia);
  • where the parents have been deprived of parental rights for a period of one year (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Slovenia);

Dispensing with parental consent by overriding an unjustified refusal, or in the child’s best interests

Another common mechanism for allowing adoption without consent is where the parents’ refusal is overridden in certain circumstances:

  • if the court adjudges the consent to be “unreasonably” withheld (Cyprus, Malta);
  •  “refusal without justification” (Austria, Liechtenstein);
  • if the refusal is “abusive”, (France) or consent is “abusively denied” (Greece)

However, in Romania, even if parents are deprived of parental rights, their consent is still needed.


A shift to a process based on the welfare of the child

On the other hand, some jurisdictions have shifted to a process that is more explicitly based on the welfare of the child. This position is in line with the requirement under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 21 of this Convention, which deals with adoption, is the only article under which the child’s rights must be the paramount, rather than merely the primary, consideration.

Such legislation can be seen in the following jurisdictions:

  • if the parents’ refusal of consent is clearly contradictory to the child’s welfare (Poland);
  • if the refusal is not sufficiently justified taking into account the best interests of the child (Finland);
  • if it is of decisive importance to the welfare of the child (Denmark);
  • if it is in the best interests of the child (Malta, England and Wales).


But what makes us unique is the extent to which we rely on ‘forced adoption’.

What does all this mean?

So we can see that England really is not alone in allowing adoption without parental consent – every country has some mechanism for doing so. What makes England unique, however, is the extent to which this mechanism is used.

Governmental statistics indicate that of the child placed for adoption in England in the year ending March 2014, 4,870 were completed without parental consent, with only 130 the result of voluntary placements on the part of the parents. This constituted 96% of all adoptions. (Department for Education, “Statistics: looked-after children” (30 September 2014))

Statistics in this area are difficult to come by from other jurisdictions, and in particular statistics disaggregated in this way are not easily accessible. Research indicates that the Netherlands only have about 20 adoptions per year in total (though it is unclear whether these are with or without parental consent), while France generally has around 700, however, 600 of these are as a result of an anonymous birth (“accouchement sous X”).


So what is happening to the children in other countries? And why are outcomes for children in care in the UK so bad?

So the question we really should be asking is: what is happening to all the children in these countries who would be placed in adoption in the England? Are they staying with their parents, with support from the authorities? Or are they placed in another form of alternative care? If so, what are the outcomes for this?

One of the difficulties we face in England is that the outcomes for children in state care are dire. In 2014, the Department of Education noted that looked after children continue to have poorer educational outcomes than other children, and 66.6% have special educational needs. In the year prior to March 2014, 5.2% of looked after children from 10-17 had been convicted or subject to a final warning or reprimand, while 3.5% of all looked after children had a substance misuse problem. Of children aged 16 and 17, the rate of conviction, final warning or reprimand raised to 10%, and the rate of substance abuse 10.8%. Statistics also showed that looked after children were also twice as likely to have been excluded from school, and around only 50.4% of looked after children had emotional and behavioural health that was considered “normal”, with 12.8% more “borderline”, and 36.7% “cause for concern”.

We can thus see that there is a tension between leaving children in public care, where the outcomes for children are simply unacceptable, and the placement of children for adoption without parental consent. There is no doubt that many children do not thrive in public care in England, and thus leaving them in this environment is detrimental to their welfare. The response has been to place more children in adoption, rather than to address the reasons why public care is so harmful, and seek better alternatives. In this respect, we need to look to other jurisdictions, and learn from each other. There are always going to be children who need to be separated from their families – the question is how best to provide long-term care for them that gives them stability, security, and all of life’s chances. Currently, we are not achieving this.


Further reading

Information on comparative systems for adoption without consent can be found in the following report for the European Parliament

Further comparative information concerning other areas of adoption law can be found in: Claire Fenton-Glynn, Children’s Rights in Intercountry Adoption: A European Perspective. 

159 thoughts on “We are not alone – every European country permits adoption without parental consent.

  1. catherine spink-white LLB DipLp

    Really you mention not the vast amount of money paid to Local Authorities, foster agencies and adoption agencies for each child made available for adoption. This is the undeniable reason for so many forced adoptions in the UK today.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Please provide some evidence for this assertion or explain it further. It is not true, as I understand it. Care proceedings cost the LA an enormous amount of money, as does paying foster carers.

      1. ian josephs

        Since when did Foster carers,adoption agencies,owners of care homes,lawyers and others on the gravy train care how much the LAs spent? No concers at all is the answer with individual snouts deep in the trough !

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Given that I am both a lawyer AND a tax payer, I retain quite a keen interest in how my tax revenues are spent. So yes, I care.

    2. Kate Wells

      Sarah has asked for further explanation. Could I ask specifically: who exactly makes these “so called” payments to LAs, Fostering agencies and Adoption Agencies? Central government funds LAs (though is demanding massive cuts in their budgets) leaving budgets severely depleted and an inability of many LAs to carry out their statutory responsibilities and this includes Health & Social Care.

      Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs) charge LAs excessive amounts of funding for the provision of a foster family that they have recruited and approved. This is because they are in the business of making profits. This depletes LA budgets even more, but the govt applaud any private enterprise of course.

      Likewise the voluntary organisations who recruit and approve adopters will also charge the LA for providing a family for a particular child.

      These are the facts. As Sarah says, having children in the Looked After System actually costs Children’s Services, in terms of social work time, payments to foster carers (excessive if IFA carers) but also to LA foster carers, and payments to Adoption Agencies, and of course court fees in care proceedings and payments to lawyers acting for the LA in such matters, and possibly psychologists. If a child is adopted the LA have a duty to make post adoption payments, albeit on a means tested basis and subject to review, as these payments are discretionary. There is also a duty to provide post adoption support, so more cost in terms of social work time.

      None of this has anything to do with what you call “forced adoptions” – you might have a law degree but I don’t think you studied family law! Your assertion is usually made by disgruntled birthparents whose children have been removed from their care by a Court Order. SO yes please provide the evidence for your assertion – you must surely be well acquainted with the need for evidence to prove your case.

      1. ian josephs

        Kate,I am not sure what assertion that you say I have made and that you are now disputing . I deal mainly in undisputed facts and their logical conclusions, as you can see from the folowing:-

        The National Fostering agency founded by two social workers about 15 years ago was sold to a commercial firm called Graphite for £130million ! An advert on the back of a Suffolk bus on my site recruits fosterers offering £590:week ! Private care homes rake in £4000 to £5000 per week per child .Those who live off the system protect the system and none of them could care less if it costs the State over £2billion per year ! I repeat that punishment without crime is wicked and no children should be removed from sane law abiding parents who have actually never broken any laws. Mothers with partners who shout at them lose their children even after finding a new Partner who never shouts because arrogant judges decide there is still a risk that the mother might find a shouting Partner again in the future !That is a disgrace and those involved in the forced adoption of the children of similar mothers should themselves be locked up for crimes against humanity ! – See more at: https://childprotectionresource.online/we-are-not-alone-every-european-country-permits-adoption-without-parental-consent/#comment-48436

  2. Charlene

    What I would like to see is a thorough analysis of countries that permit adoption based on the ‘risk of future emotional harm’ where no current abuse or neglect is present, but a child is adopted based on the phantom fears of what will happen in the future. I am pretty sure the U.K is alone in permitting forced adoption on that basis.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      This is permitted because they are not ‘phantom fears’. the risk of future significant harm MUST be based on proof of facts about things which have already happened. Therefore there is a serious risk they will happen again.

      As Lady Hale said in Re B 2013

      Finally, where harm has not yet been suffered, the court must consider the degree of likelihood that it will be suffered in the future. This will entail considering the degree of likelihood that the parents’ future behaviour will amount to a lack of reasonable parental care. It will also entail considering the relationship between the significance of the harmed feared and the likelihood that it will occur. Simply to state that there is a “risk” is not enough. The court has to be satisfied, by relevant and sufficient evidence, that the harm is likely: see In re J [2013] 2 WLR 649.

      1. Libby


        Thank you for bringing this up. I was looking for this as well.

        Sarah Philmore: It is not true that children are not ‘forcibly adopted’ because of phantom fears. The use of ‘future emotional harm’ is what makes England and Wales unique. There can be no evidence and there is no monitoring mechanism no proof needed as these are not criminal proceedings and family court is closed. Further, without legal aid most families are torn apart because they cannot afford to fight the courts.

        For example, an MP had her children taken into care for risk of ‘future emotional harm’. What was her future emotional harm to her children? An unqualified therapist gave a diagnosis of mental illness. His diagnosis was made based on a telephone conversation and ‘notes’ from CAFCASS. No harm had ever come to the children and there had never been any allegations made against her. Luckily, she was an MP and was able to fight everything. The Ireland report showed that using unqualified therapists who write poor and inaccurate reports is commonplace, and children are taken from their families from false allegations and misdiagnosis.

        I am sorry, but I have seen many families torn apart and forced adoption taking place based on unsubstantiated ‘future emotional harm’ allegations.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          The MP you refer to is Lucy Allan? She did NOT have her children taken into care. Please be accurate in your reporting.
          There has to be evidence of past harm in order to support an order made on the basis of future emotional harm – again, please be accurate.

          I agree with you that the family courts should be open. That’s why I gave about 20 hours of my time for free to the Journalist Louise Tickle to challenge an unlawful reporting restrictions order in the Court of Appeal on 15th February which will lead to guidance from the President of the Family Division.

  3. ian josephs

    The National Fostering agency founded by two social workers about 15 years ago was sold to a commercial firm called Graphite for £130million ! An advert on the back of a Suffolk bus on my site recruits fosterers offering £590:week ! Private care homes rake in £4000 to £5000 per week per child .Those who live off the system protect the system and none of them could care less if it costs the State over £2billion per year !
    I repeat that punishment without crime is wicked and no children should be removed from sane law abiding parents who have actually never broken any laws. Mothers with partners who shout at them lose their children even after finding a new Partner who never shouts because arrogant judges decide there is still a risk that the mother might find a shouting Partner again in the future !That is a disgrace and those involved in the forced adoption of the children of similar mothers should themselves be locked up for crimes against humanity !

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      The ‘disgrace’ is rather that you continue to trivialise the impact on children of growing up in homes where adults are violent to one another. It is more than ‘shouting’ as you should be well aware.

      A child who is exposed to violence is likely to suffer significant harm. It is unlikely that such parents restrict themselves to ‘shouting’ only; adults who are prepared to scream and shout at each other on a frequent basis are often doing other things – such as hitting, ignoring, belittling the child and each other, getting into arguments/fights with people outside the home and attracting police attention etc, etc.

      I have been contacted by many parents now who claim to be victims of an unjust and corrupt system. They send me the judgments in the case and instruct me to advise them on appeal. When I read the judgments I see that they have not been honest with me, and are not being honest with themselves. The concerns about their behaviours extend far beyond what they set out in their initial emails to me.

      Do you ever consider that parents may not be telling you the whole truth about their experiences? I am not suggesting that they deliberately and maliciously lie but that they may lack the insight to understand or may feel too ashamed to admit it.

      did you ever question Marie Black about her experiences?

      1. Julie

        Many aren’t honest with me either, but if the case goes to the Court of Appeal I may well get it there as there could well be redeeming features. There may be issues important to the public that need to be pursued, like the smoking case which the press have picked up.

        I believe that people can change. I hold on to that.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          yes, there are many reasons for lack of honesty, fear and shame being two of the most prevalent, in my view. So what people need is a way to feel LESS ashamed and LESS afraid, not be encouraged to leave their country of origin, their support networks, their family, their friends, their language.

        2. Katy Carr

          Yes, people can change. But in a situation where they have been demonstrated to have abused and assaulted children in the past, would you rather leave their other children with them in the hope that they will change, or remove the children unless and until the parents have demonstrated that those children will certainly be safe with them?

    2. S. Merlin Chesters

      Gosh, Ian, are you still around rambling as the mad hatter….

      If I was one of those children that you ‘saved’ I would sue the heck out of you in adulthood. Thank God you were not there when I was a child and suffering abuse at the end of a father who was allowed to do everything to me, because you know.. he is my biological father. But in a patriarchal society the father is God, right? And how can you disagree with God…..

      Until you and the other ex-politician don’t get that ‘LOVE’ of any kind can also be unrelated to blood ties, you are not going anywhere.

      Worse, you are allowing more of ‘me’ to suffer more and longer.

      I don’t know how all of you and your revolting supporters sleep at night, leaving children in the hands of abusers, pedophiles and rapists.

      You ‘really’ must be proud of yourself and who give you the courage to ‘SPEAK’ for the children when the only people you support are PARENTS.

      Congrats to help international abuse perpetrators to get away with it. Sorry if my comment will sound harsh, it is the effect you have on abuse and rape survivors.

  4. ian josephs

    Marie Black was betrayed by her own counsel who never questioned any of her children who only made allégations after prolonged questioning over the years contrary to home office guidelines all illegallities were removed according to police evidence to delete leading questions and so as not to incriminate carers! Marie was ordered by counsel not to give evidence so could not deny being an abuser in front of the jury.Frankly If I had been on the jury knowing nothing of the previous history where she thoroughly humiliated social workers Iwould have certainly found her guilty ! No evidence from her and no questioning of the chldren what else could any jury do?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      No barrister can ‘order’ any client to do anything. We can suggest and advise but in the end we take our instructions from our client. I can only assume Ms Black agreed with any suggestion that her evidence was unlikely to help her case, so better not to risk cross examination.

      If that is a wrong assumption on my part, presumably then she is going to appeal and is going to base her appeal on the poor quality of her representation?

      If she is going to appeal it is probably unwise and unhelpful to comment further.

      but if she doesn’t appeal, I will draw my own conclusions about the truth of the assertion you have just made.

      1. ian josephs

        You know as well as I do that in practice barristers instruct their clients (often ignorant about the law ) rather than vice versa ;Do what I say or I walk off the case is how it usually goes !Bit hard for her in prison to find a suitable fighting barrister to appeal for her in time. I just hope she does.
        Cross examination might have been tough but neither she nor her counsel disputing the children’s claims before the jury led to a 100% cetrtainty of a guilty verdict.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          If any barrister said ‘do what I say or I walk off this case’ then that barrister should be reported IMMEDIATELY for extremely serious professional misconduct.

          I say to my clients – I am here to take your instructions and fight your case. I will do what you ask me to do, as long as it isn’t unlawful. BUT I am not doing my job if I fail to give you the benefit of the many years of my experience of these cases. Your case is weak and you are likely to lose. Do you really want to put yourself through this.

          Most clients are prepared to listen. Those who don’t have usually been on the phone to you and given some nonsense about not co-operating because the ‘SS’ are out to steal their blue eyed boy.

          1. Winston Smith

            sorry to reappear like the demon king again, Sara, but clients report not infrequently that has happened to them and that is why they are looking for new legal representation or are going LIP

  5. ian josephs

    I trivialise nothing. I repeat that mothers who leave a violent Partner and live with a new non violent man still lose their babies for risk of history repeating itself and that really is a disgrace.Judges never compare the risk of taking those children with the often much greater risk of putting them into care where even you admit thelikely outcomes are dismal

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      What is disgraceful is that the help and support these women need is often not available, to enable them to make better future choices about the men they allow in their lives.

      If you have had a string of relationships with violent and abusive men then I am afraid there is a serious risk that you will continue to repeat those choices, unless you get some help. Yes, outcomes in care are dismal – but outcomes for adopted children are rather better, as I understand it. Hence push for adoption.

      If you won’t give any money to support a parents mentoring project, would you or do you donate to such established groups as the Freedom Programme who do well documented and successful work with women who have suffered violent relationships.

      Or will you continue to pay to send vulnerable and abused women to a foreign country, possibly in the company of the very man who is abusing them?

      1. ian josephs

        I give free advice every single day to parents persecuted by the “SS” .I do not believe in mentoring or group actions as everyone in a group can have a different opinion and give different advice.I work alone because anyone else might give different advice from me (they might be right) so I only take responsibility for what I say myself and not for others.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          This isn’t about advice. Its about SUPPORT. It’s about helping people not feel so alone and so ashamed and so desperate that they think all they can do is pick up the phone to someone like you.

          But thank you for the clear acknowledgment that you are not open to consider the experience or advice of others and prefer instead to plough this extremely unhelpful and dangerous furrow.

      2. S. Merlin Chesters

        Exactly Sarah. What’s missing is a lot of care and support for mothers/fathers in abusive relationships. Unfortunately, due to cuts to local councils, the situation is liable to deteriorate further. They are closing lots of shelters and charities that were helping victims and survivors of rape and domestic abuse.

        Ian, I’ve to admit that some of your comments seem written out of a movie script and in some cases they are hilarious (“I give free advice every single day to parents persecuted by the “SS”” – I thought the Third Reich had been dismantled after WWII, maybe you think it wasn’t? LOL). And no, you’re not forgiven for spouting nonsense because you’re 83, unless you’re sick.

        1. John Smith

          You do realize that SS is short for Social Services, right? Perhaps every time you see the letters LA in a case log you presume they are speaking of Los Angeles? I have to say both you an Ian or different aspects of inane. Ian with the conspiratorial messiah complex and you with the persecution complex, yet about equal in terms of logic and reason.

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            I imagine she does. This tedious and juvenile insistence on the acronym ‘SS’ when it hasn’t been Social Services for many years but is now ‘Children’s Services’ is a longstanding staple of the conspiracy theorists, so they can whip up ever more frightened and vulnerable people with lots of lovely lazy imagery of the Nazis.

            I took her to be sarcastic rather than inane.

          2. angelo granda

            Sarah, Cases are brought against respondents on the application of the Director of SOCIAL SERVICES . ( S.S.) Children’s services are merely one department within the S.S.
            Next time, take a close look at the official Application. Also when care-orders are granted , they are granted in the favour of the Social Services.

            Hope that clears up one disagreement at least.

          3. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            You may be right, I haven’t checked. But even if the acronym is accurate, I hope you can agree with me that the the tedious parade of Nazi themed insults that generally follows its use, is a barrier to any constructive debate.

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  8. Sam

    I thought for a moment we had a ceasefire. Obviously not. My mum used to say if you two don’t stop right now I will bang your heads together. I know this is probably classified as emotional abuse now , but back then every mother said it along with if “you don’t come here right now I will kill you”. Happy days!!

    I am no intellectual so I thought I would quote from a well respected man

    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.”
    ― Philip Larkin

    Seriously now , the misery does go on through the generations. It is not deliberate, most parents will try their best because they love their children. Here’s an example , I have a dear friend who thought for years that her mum didn’t love her and this went on into adulthood. Luckily this friend was well off enough to afford years of private counselling, which alleviated her anxiety and she is a brilliant mum herself. Her mum did love her, but was locked into a cycle of anxiety and depression due to the death of a child born before her. This made her distance herself from her second daughter. The mum eventually told me, after years, how proud she was of her daughter and I told my friend. The mum did not cause deliberate harm, it was simply unfortunate her first daughter died , back then there wasn’t the support of understanding of grieving. To put it simply hurting people hurt others.

    If there is no consensus on peer mentoring, could we move onto to transparency please? I think there is more agreement there. It would help if we could work together for the welfare of both the children and parents .
    If you want to yell at me fine, I would have heard and suffered worse and survived.

    1. ian josephs

      Sam I just cannot believe in “punishment without crime”.It cannot be right to remove babies from sane non criminal mothers .Most who call me for advice (more than 1000 per year) begin by saying “we have broken no laws we have done nothing wrong but they say they will take my baby at birth” Am I so wicked to help them flee to more civilised countries with more humane social workers who will help them and monitor them instead of legally kidnapping the babies they have carried for nine long months??

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        I don’t know if ‘wicked’ is the right word – but you are certainly foolish and misguided.

        When others repeatedly point out just how foolish and misguided but you persist, maybe that does mean your behaviour slides into wilful and deliberate wickedness.

        We will need to wait and see just how many more parents you helped leave the jurisdiction end up as convicted paedophile rapists.

      2. Katy Carr

        Precisely what arrangements do you make to ensure that social workers do monitor the families you send abroad, and what form does that monitoring take? Can you really be satisfied that the children you send abroad with someone who is accused of abusing them will be safe?

      3. angelo granda

        The poem describes to us the way of the world. Every one is a human being and will have human foibles and and all are sinners,some more so than others. Human beings have children and problems will continue until the world comes to an end. Unfortunately ,the world will never come to an end. The CS and the LA’s are exceeding any authority they have by playing GOD in cases( even though the majority are atheists). They are interfering in the lives of other human beings disproportionately thus abusing CHILDREN’s human rights as well as those of the wider family.
        Why are they abusing the children’s human rights? Because they are contravening the statute ( guidelines and frameworks) and conducting cases wrongly (illicitly).
        Whatever their motives are, it matters little to the victims who are being abused !
        The LAW is put in place to protect them and their civil rights but the Court process does not afford them the protection they are entitled to. That is EITHER the fault of the lawyers OR that of the Court executive and protocol. Every family deserves a fair and impartial hearing in accordance with the Law. They aren’t getting one.
        Some cases are appealed and judgments are overturned on those grounds. An appeal is the only remedy when cases are conducted illicitly. It’s no use campaigning for change, one must APPEAL under the existing law to rescue one’s children within time-scales relevant to their welfare. They will be grown-up by the time changes are made and even if they changes happened by miracle tomorrow, one’s children would still not be returned home to you without an appeal.
        Given the seriousness of the sanctions which family courts dish out then i think wronged families and ALSO guilty families should have an automatic right to a legally funded appeal and their should be no time-limit for appeal.

    2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I don’t want to yell at anyone. But if people say things that are both untrue and very unhelpful, I will continue to point that out. As you may have noticed, I will not flag or waver in this endeavour, no matter how many people tell me it is futile.

    3. Julie

      I am sure I am not as good a parent as I should be to my five kids. I worry about it every day and will until the day I die. I lapse to my mind too often but I try and that is all any of us can do, just keep trying.

  9. ian josephs

    The UK really is alone ! Alone as the only country in the world where pregnant women consistently flee the country to avoid the horror of having their babies taken at birth to be adopted by unrelated strangers ! Why Sarah do you doubt the competence of social workers in France ,Ireland and Spain? You claim I “send” abused women into foreign countries as though they are going into the jungle ! No ,I never send anyone anywhere but I have never refused to refund travel expenses to the borders of these countries for any pregnant woman harried by the “SS” plus of course providing useful contacts there ! It is practically impossible to have a baby in France,Spain,or Ireland without involving social services when medical records are shown (or not shown) but such is the difference between the attitude of the foreign social workers with those in the UK that the vast majority of these refugees keep their babies .Some alas return years later to the UK under promises of safe conduct from the ss but lose their children as soon as they arrive !
    Such is the fury of the UK social services when mothers escape them that they often vindictively pursue matters in foreign courts claiming baby had habitual residence in UK even though it was born abroad and had never been in the uk.They try to reclaim the child for care and subsequent adoption by strangers and damn the public expense ! In the case of Marie Black they removed the baby from her in France and were utterly humiliated when a high court uk judge ruled they had acted illegally forcing them to return the baby to Marie in France after delays because the child had no passport ! (that never prevented them from taking her from France to uk in the first place !).Marie was told she” had not heard the last of this” and that she would regret what she had done and so it happened………… Stitched up were her so true words to the judge.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Will you disclose the notes you took of any conversations with Marie Black prior to you assisting her ‘escape’ from the UK.

      If you didn’t take notes, why didn’t you?

      do you ever take notes?

      you said to the Daily Mirror that you ‘plough through hundreds of documents’ before deciding to give parents money. What are these documents? And where do you get them from?

      What documents did you consider in Marie Black’s case?

      1. ian josephs

        I said to the Mirror that I look at documents to prove the mothers are pregnant and threatened by social services before helping them to escape the “SS”;I look at the court documents when they want advice not money and usually start from the premise that the allégations of the LA are true and then ask myself if they justify removal and the answer is nearly always “no” especially when the only allégations made concern risk !

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          But you don’t accept that violence and abuse in the home is a problem. You think its just a little bit of shouting, as if they were excitable Italians or some such. So how can we trust your evaluation of the risk or your dismissal of the LA case?

      2. ian josephs

        I never take notes Sarah,and the main document I study is the position statement of the local authority.Usually even if it is all accurate it does not justify removal of children and never justifies forced adoption !The sort of parents that batter and starve their children(your example) rarely go to court to fight for them so those sort of allegations are rarely made against the type of parents who phone or email me for help and advice

        1. Katy Carr

          It is unsurprising, of course, that abusive parents trust you to send them abroad and leave them free to continue abusing each other or their children.

      3. John Smith

        While I can understand and appreciate Sarah’s viewpoint, I feel that notes on consultations held in private should not be made public, if need be a court should be applied. In example I would be horrified if doctors, lawyers, police, etc just made all private conversations public. I don’t agree with Ian obviously, but I doubt this would be the right answer.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am not asking Mr Josephs to make public any notes.

          But I am suggesting that – for example – one of his ‘clients’ turns out to be a paedophile rapist, he might need to rely on his notes in defence of any legal action from any child that this rapist goes on to hurt in the jurisidiction that they travelled to on his money.

          Just a thought.

  10. Claire F-G

    As I am sure you know, habitual residence for a child does not solely depend on their current location, and is influenced by the habitual residence of their parent. The court has said “The social and family environment of an infant or young child is shared with those (whether parents or others) upon whom he is dependent. Hence it is necessary to assess the integration of that person or persons in the social and family environment of the country concerned.”

    As such, habitual residence is the place which reflects some degree of integration by the child in a social and family environment, and the environment of an infant or very young child is so determined by reference to the person with whom he lives.

    In this respect, we look at the nationality of the child, the purpose of their, and their parents’, stay in another country – whether it is permanent, or temporary – the duration of the stay, and its conditions. It is not as simple as to say the child has never been to the United Kingdom therefore the court cannot have jurisdiction.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Indeed. And ‘fleeing’ the jurisdiction has proved disastrous for many parents as they have been unable to establish that either they or their child do have habitual jurisdiction in the country they arrive at. And their children are subsequently returned to the UK.

      Just another reason why this can’t be a solution to the problems with the current system, quite apart from the madness of giving money to people to leave when you don’t know or don’t care what they have done or are capable of doing.

      1. ian josephs

        Pregnant mothers are no more “dangerous “in France than they are in uk and are always treated a damn site better so why do you object? Since the Marie Black case three years ago no newborn babies whose birth took place in a foreign hospital have to my knowledge been snatched from their mothers in France,Spain,or Ireland .That is why humiliated social workers swore vengeance on Marie !

        1. Julie

          Her leaving and then getting her baby back to France did upset the Norfolk SWs a fair bit in fairness.

          Once there she was fine.

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            Well ‘fine’ apart from the fact she has now been convicted of serious sexual attacks on children.

        2. Katy Carr

          Does it not occur to you that for a parent to go abroad rather than staying to answer social services’ questions is highly likely to be viewed as tantamount to an admission of guilt?

    2. ian josephs

      Sorry Claire but since the Marie Black case NO babies born in France have to my knowledge been snatched.Brendan Fleming stayed at my house in the South of France before taking on the case and we had interesting discussions;I never take notes Sarah but would not show them to outsiders even if I did.

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Thank you for your confirmation that ‘I never take notes’. Illuminating.

      2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        May from Ireland have been forced back though haven’t they? Do you still send people to Ireland?

        1. ian josephs

          I never send anybody anywhere.The pregnant mother chooses where she wants to go and I help her to avoid forced adoption of her newborn baby by strangers.I have not heard since the Marie Black case three years ago of any newborn babies being repatriated to the UK from Ireland,France,or Spain, at the instance of UK social services.Do give me the reference on Bailii of any such cases if they do exist.

          1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            ‘I never send anybody anywhere’.

            Do you accept that without your money they probably couldn’t go? You can’t hide behind ‘but I don’t send them!’.

            I know certainly of one case where a newborn was returned from Ireland – if it was reported I will find and link case.

  11. Julie

    My husband Tim made an FoI to every local authority in the country asking if any SWs or LA got bonuses for taking children in to care or for adoption. He got a negative response in every respect by every LA.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I don’t believe for a moment that they get a cash bonus for taking a child into care. What we need to be looking at is their ‘Key Performance Indicators’ which require them to close cases within a certain time and whether this is having a distorting or inhibiting impact on their practice and their assessment of what really is in a child’s best interests.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am afraid I don’t know what you are talking about. Please explain further, or provide evidence.

          1. ian josephs

            Community care website:-
            Martin Narey, the government’s adviser on adoption is adamant that scorecards are necessary to tackle delay. “The most pleasing thing for me when looking at the data was that those who were in the top 10% on these measures very often also had very low adoption breakdown rates,” he says. “This proves that speed need not come at the expense of finding the right placement.”

            Confusing results

            The real problem with the scorecards, according to Mark Rogers, chief executive at Solihull council, is the confusing nature of the results. “One council was in the top five on one measure and in the bottom five on another,” he says. “You’ve got some councils, rated outstanding by Ofsted, coming in the bottom five on some of these measures. How do you reconcile that?”

            He continued: “If it was presented as part of a set of tools that were then linked to learning that would be different, but I do not believe that naming, and the inevitable shaming that follows, is going to improve behaviour, particularly in an area as complex as adoption.”

            Authorities disagree over how the data will be interpreted by prospective adopters. Hartlepool was ranked in the top three councils when the government published its adoption league tables last year and Sally Robinson, assistant director of children’s services, says it did help increase interest from adoptive parents.

            But Jack Cordery, head of children’s social care and psychology at Cornwall, which also performed well on the scorecards, gives it little credence.

            “We are on an improvement notice and rated inadequate. I think the publicity around that is probably more severe then it will ever be around scorecards and it hasn’t affected the number of adoptive parents we’ve seen coming forward. Recruiting adopters is all about your recruitment strategy and making sure they know exactly what to expect.”

      1. angelo granda

        Surely any cash bonuses , in a corrupt system ,are paid into back pockets . Are official records of back handers kept ? I don’t think it is realistic to expect that.
        I have never actually seen any bonuses paid neither would i expect to ever see it. Thus i am open-minded on the subject.
        However, i have seen at first hand lawyers laughing together with social workers,Guardians and their lawyers on completion of a case they have lost. Does the Judge decide on payments and release them for payment immediately following a hearing? Perhaps they are just relieved that the case is over but their cheerful attitude is insensitive.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I agree with you and I wish people would be more sensitive. I can reassure you that people are not laughing over the amount of their bonus – in the vast majority of cases people are laughing to let off steam because they have to do these cases day in day out and it is either laugh or go mad in the face of such a parade of human misery.

  12. Pingback: For what reasons do other countries allow adoption without consent? | Child Protection Resource

  13. ian josephs

    Sarah I think most parents who flee on my advice could go without me as I make it very clear that I cannot support them once they are there so not to go unless they have partners or family who will support them.
    What they do appreciate is the contacts with advice on finding flats so no money is wasted on hôtels and b&bs etc. I like to see them off to civilisation and safety with confidence and a smile.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      You claim to have spent £30K on people who don’t need the money.
      do you keep any records of what amount goes to what people and what do they use it for.
      do they have to account to you for the money.
      What sum on average goes to each family. If that helped 200 people did you give each person £150 each or did some people get more?
      If you don’t keep any records, why not?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Thanks for that link. I have read the article but I am confused as to why you rely upon it as evidence of some kind of corruption? If anything, it shows that some LA have very low rates of adoption.

      Hackney council is a classic example. It came bottom of the table on one of the government’s primary measures: the average time taken from a child entering care to moving in with an adoptive family. Yet this was largely because the long-term foster family of one disabled child decided to adopt him. Kensington and Chelsea council suffered a similar experience, which also consigned them to the bottom five on this peformance indicator.

      “We have a low rate of taking children into care, which means the children we place for adoption are from highly challenging backgrounds, often with complex special needs and disabilities,” says Alan Wood, Hackney’s corporate director for children’s services.

      “It is always more challenging to find homes for children like this but we don’t give up on finding permanent homes for them. We acknowledge that has a negative effect on our figures

      What is your argument about these scorecards? That they are distorting the performance of LAs? Do you have information about what happened in 2013 and 2014?

      1. ian josephs

        I never mentioned corruption ;that is your choice of wording ! If there are scorecards I suppose those with the highest adoption scores benefit in some way ,otherwise why keep them?

        1. Sarah Phillimore

          So what exactly ARE you relying upon these ‘scorecards’ to prove? And what were the ‘scores’ in 2013 and 2014 so we can compare and contrast?

          1. ian josephs


          2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            So you haven’t seen anything comparable for 2013 or 2014? So you can’t make any comment on the impact of such ‘scorecards’ over the years?

  14. ian josephs

    I always reckon about £200 per mother (and family) but certainly never keep records, notes, files or anything of that sort ! I definitely never ask to be repaid anything nor do I ask how they spend the money.
    I reckon most would go without my financial help if they at least had encouragement and contacts which I can give them.I like to help pave the way to a more civilised life with more helpful social services.I am sorry if you find it repugnant that I never keep notes or records except for emails that remain forlornly on my computer until they are redundant.
    I still manage to run a couple of language school companies turning over several million pounds so I suppose I am not yet completely senile…..

  15. ian josephs

    FROM MY SITE how it works !

    To ALL pregnant mothers who want to leave the UK to avoid forced adoption!

    If you give me written and verbal proof by phone ,and email([email protected]) or fax (0033493220967) of the following 4 items all together same day, so I do not have to chase after any that are missing:-1:-Hospital document proving pregnancy 2:- Letter from social workers showing hostile involvement 3:-that you phone me from Ireland or France so I know you are there 4:- receipt for cash paid out : I will refund the entire cost of coach and boat travel to the borders of Ireland or France and most other nearby European countries for yourself partner and children,and in exceptional cases to N.Cyprus, but obviously cannot support you financially when you are there.

    1. Katy Carr

      So you don’t ask for any information as to why the social workers may have “hostile involvement”? Or whether the social workers’ stance may be justifiable or not?

    2. S. Merlin Chesters

      Do you queue your people at Dover and Calais? Even irresponsible considering what’s going on at the border….

      Have you ever thought that if the custom officers at the borders get wind of what you’re doing, there might be a legal ground for unlawful immigration? Because in several European countries there is a bit of turmoil against immigrants and this imply EU citizens, so Schengen isn’t applicable anymore…

      Do you follow their whereabouts after they arrive?

      1. John Smith

        EU citizens have freedom of movement within EU borders unless they are under court orders restricting movement. Unless this is the case I don’t see how you might have legal grounds. Is what Ian doing wrong, I believe so. However it appears to be legal unless they change the law.

        As for mass immigration of non EU countries, mainly war torn areas suffering from ISIS. This is a problem for many EU countries not just the UK. It is not wise to believe what the Daily Fail publishes.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am not a criminal lawyer. I suspect you are right and there are no criminal penalties for what Ian Josephs is doing – but if, as he asserts, he doesn’t ‘care’ what the parents have done I do wonder if a possible charge would be aiding and abetting a criminal offence, for e.g. if he assists a paedophile to leave the country with a child.

          I also wonder whether any children who were removed from the scrutiny of UK safeguarding agencies as a direct results of his actions, could sue him for damages if the parents then went on to abuse the children in another jurisdiction.

          I haven’t researched this, I don’t know. But I am musing. I hope others are musing too.

  16. Sam

    Ian Do you know why social services in other countries act differently from us ? is it to do with our legislation , class system or something else.

  17. ian josephs

    Because it has grown into a 2 billion £ industry where so many people depend on the system to make a living or in some cases huge profits .The national fostering agency was founded about 15 years ago by two social workers and was sold last year to a commercial firm called graphite for £130,million+ !(see google for details)Private care homes rake in 4000/5000£ per week per child,foster carers are ‘recruited for payments of£590/week per child (see advert on a bus on my site).Yes it costs the LAs and central government a fortune but those involved do not care as long as they do alright themselves.
    The BRITISH tend to obey anyone pretending to be in authority .In France or Spain where family units are almost sacred, they would block the Streets with lorries and burn down the offices of any social workers who behaved with them like they do in uk.I can phone and explain more if you give me a number but meanwhile do look on my site http://www.forced-adoption.com and scroll down to 3 videos by bbc,itv,and channel 4 ; I APPEAR IN ALL OF THEM WITH A LOT OF MORE IMPORTANT FOLK THAN ME WHO ALL CONFIRM MOST OF WHAT I AM SAYING !

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Please help me understand. Why does the growth in private sector fostering – which I agree is very worrying – equate to a government push for more ‘forced adoptions’ which is so concerning to you that you seek to ‘rescue’ parents from it?

      Surely you would be supporting more long term foster care as this seems to be the approach of the rest of Europe, rather than severing the legal relationship between parent and child.

      1. ian josephs

        I invented the term “forced adoption ” and so named my site some 14 years ago to distinguish cases where parents lost their children to adoption after protracted court cases ans “adoption without parental consent”” which can cover abandoned children and cases where parents gave up all resistence before things got to court so there was no force needed;
        The explanation you ask for Sarah is simple . Of course long term fostering is better than forced adoption but better still would be to leave children with their own parent(s) unless those parents have committed a significant crime against their children or other children;I am in short against taking children from law abiding parents and putting them in long term foster care or worse still having them forcefully adopted as any solution is better than forced adoption !

  18. John Hemming

    Sarah has seen the documentation that demonstrates the managerial pressure on social workers to recommend adoption. That pressure undermines the independence of assessments by local authority employees.

    The big problem is the error in the calculation of the percentage of children adopted. That has given the managerial complacency about this evil system.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Sorry, I don’t think I have. Or if I have, I don’t remember it. Can you post a link to that here?

      And again, you refer to the system as ‘evil’ as you did in 2008 and when you were criticised by Wall LJ. Was that an over enthusiastic slip of the keyboard or is that – in 2015 – your clear and decided view?

  19. Sam

    Thanks Ian I understand more now. I myself had my children taken because of emotional harm. I have never taken drugs , drank anything more than very moderately , no police record nor have there been any issues of neglect. I was fully involved in the children’s lives, they socialised went to clubs etc .. My ex who has the children under a care order has smoked, drank excessively , taken drugs , There are two children with SEN , both conditions have a genetic basis and it has been discounted in me. He hasn’t even had a psychiatric assessment.I have already said about his families highly dysfunctional background and he has a police record . He has no interest in the children’s education or health, they are now overweight as he was a child. Incidentally his niece ,twice married ,one child has been in trouble with the police for drugs ,a step daughter attempted suicide is a children’s social worker.
    The difference between us is that I gave a damn enough to kick up a stink when the local authority failed to provide a proper school place for my son with SEN, including going to the local paper. I live in a backwater , but did not grow up in one and deference still exists here. So I am the type of parent Children’s Services have to crush, who has expectations for her children , if fault is to be found I recognise over responsibility now, but that was only through fear for my children’s futures, is intelligent enough to work out they are working unlawfully and won’t shut up.
    This is one hell of a place, due to the small town mentality, the relationship between the authorities is incestuous , there is no accountability it’s the type of place where a paedophile ring would thrive.
    Children’s Services and the local police have thrown every dirty trick at me that they can and I can prove on paper that both have been malicious and covered up crime . Of course then if you do complain you are not taking responsibility for your own actions , even though I have clearly worked on that and you of course have a psychiatric disorder which is incurable without three years of therapy which is not available as the NHS does not recognise in you the condition the expert diagnosed you with.
    I suspect I must some French or Spanish ancestry somewhere.

    Away from my story, so it is clearly our class system at work, which is basically why it has taken so long for the historic CSE to emerge. Revolution anyone?

    1. John Smith

      More conspiracy theories. Reminds me of another comment about how many parents involved in family are unable to be honest with themselves or anyone else.

  20. John Hemming

    A system which splits up families substantially because of a government objective to increase the numbers of adoptions in my considered opinion is evil.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      And what is your evidence that this is the exclusive or primary reason behind care proceedings?
      Is it every case that is so infected by this objective?
      Or are some cases rightly taken before the courts because the risks to the safety of the children are so high?
      You can appreciate it is difficult to have this debate without clarity regarding just how much of a problem you think this is, and what informs your conclusion.

    2. angelo granda

      Ian, I believe (rightly or wrongly) that the only reason the Government want to speed up adoptions is because adoptions cost them less than long-term foster care!

      I suppose,if you think about it.that adoption is infinitely preferable to foster-care in cases where children genuinely cannot live with natural families. Like most human beings ,however,I agree that forced adoption is wrong!
      In actuality,I believe that Local Authorities prefer to place children in long-term foster homes which means THEY receive more income from the Government.Haven’t you ever noticed how sw”s appear to erect so many barriers and needless rules to exclude prospective adoptive couples and have you also noticed how they target special needs children who they know adoptive couples will not want?

      Yes,I suspect the LA’s prefer children on the foster-care bandwagon. Does any reader happen to know what the adoption/fostercare ratIo is?

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Well this is a new and interesting turn to the corruption debate – that LA are actually funnelling children into long term foster care to get more government grants and are targeting the ‘unadoptable’ disabled children to forward this aim.

        I would be interested to see if Hemming and Josephs will agree with this new twist.

        Or are we going to be running parallel arguments that LAs both are snatching the blue eyed children to ensure their adoption AND the profoundly disabled to ensure they go into foster care?

        1. lynn

          Sarah I think there are two different issues here one is communication eg sw trying to be reassuring says to parent or family member don’t worry this child will be easy to place family hears taking child because easy to place or with child with difficulties sw says this child needs special care you cant provide parent hears we taking child because they have difficulties and no support will be provided The other issue is money but not as bonus payments etc but the way the money is divided into pots so eg extra money to recruit adopters no money to provide support

          1. Sam

            I am possibly just wasting my time. But from listening to everyone is the position this: There were adoption targets , but there no longer are. The reason for the adoption targets is that the outcome in care is so bad that under fives are automatically providing they meet the threshold, which some say is far too low,are given a placement order. There is disjointed provision across the country providing support for families which could have diverted some cases from court. Once a parent has a bad name they cannot prove their “innocence” as the bureaucracy of the system including the inability to talk about their case acts against them.

          2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

            I think that is a fair precis. But I am not sure to what extent JH and IJ still wish to argue that SW etc are paid a cash bonus to ‘snatch’ adoptable children to improve their ‘stats’.

            I think JH probably has a point about the distorting impact of KPIs, but that is a different matter – albeit serious.

            Hopefully by the end of the weekend there will be a joint response to his document from the Transparency Project and we can have some serious debate once we have clarified what the issues actually are.

  21. ian josephs

    Police earn their living arresting people ,traffic wardens do it by issuing parking tickets and social workers by taking children from parents.All three have to justify their salaries by “results”Yes,social workers earn their living by” taking children” and will be in trouble if they do not meet their targets!”. They all have scorecards !

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      But you don’t know what the scorecards say. You have one article from Community Care in 2012. When I asked for further and better particulars you said that you didn’t have them. So you are reaching your conclusions about the pernicious impact of scorecards on one article for one year in Community Care?

      If I am wrong about that please do direct me to the source of your better understanding, because I would like to consider it.

      1. ian josephs

        Sarah you love to say what you think I mean’t rather than what I actually said which was that social workers do not show me their adoption scorecards; not anything about further and better particulars which is lawyer jargon and not a normal way of speaking .I reached no conclusions about the pernicious impact of scorecards (your contribution not mine !) . When you say I have one article about scorecards I can only remind you that I had never seen that article before I found it on Google at your request as you wanted information so I found it for you but my reward was not a “thank you” but accusations that I relied on one article !.If you need more get some more yourself from the internet as I get little thanks for doing your research for you !;

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I am not asking you to do research for me. I am simply asking you to support your assertions with evidence. This is easily done.

          You raise the issue of scorecards from a 2012 article in Community Care. It appears that you are very unhappy with such scorecards as you suggest they have had a negative impact on the way SW operate. You may well be right. But to reach any reliable conclusions about this we need to see what the scorecards said for the years prior to that and the years subsequent. This is what I meant by ‘further and better particulars’.

          You have not seen those scorecards. Yet you seem able to reach conclusions based on one small sample of evidence.

          Is this how you approach the cases of parents wanting to leave the country? You consider just a small part of the evidence – their own words – and ignore anything else that might suggest that – for example – they were a paedophile rapist?

    2. John Smith

      The people you mentioned actually earn their pay by doing their jobs. Police protecting the public, traffic wardens keeping drivers safe, and social workers protecting people in need.

  22. John Hemming

    The questions are ones of details as to how the system actually operates. If we look, for example, at the question of children leaving care (ignoring the question as to whether other countries would initiate care proceedings in circumstances where the UK does) aged under 5. What proportion of those children would you think leave care through adoption?

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      No, I am not going down this particular rabbit hole again. Your technique of refusing to answer questions and posing further ones is a remarkably successful obfuscatory tactic upon which I have already wasted 100 of hours of my life.
      If you want me to answer YOUR questions, first answer mine which I set out again for ease of reference.

      You said A system which splits up families substantially because of a government objective to increase the numbers of adoptions in my considered opinion is evil.
      – See more at: https://childprotectionresource.online/we-are-not-alone-every-european-country-permits-adoption-without-parental-consent/#comment-48434

      And I replied
      And what is your evidence that this is the exclusive or primary reason behind care proceedings?
      Is it every case that is so infected by this objective?
      Or are some cases rightly taken before the courts because the risks to the safety of the children are so high?
      You can appreciate it is difficult to have this debate without clarity regarding just how much of a problem you think this is, and what informs your conclusion.

      – See more at: https://childprotectionresource.online/we-are-not-alone-every-european-country-permits-adoption-without-parental-consent/#comment-48432

  23. angelo granda

    I don’t think my argument is parallel with theirs and neither are either parallel with yours so i don’t think this thread will go far. I am still interested in the ratio if anyone knows it but ,if nobody does,this will be my last comment on this silly thread.
    They have as much chance of recruiting you to their cause as they have of getting the CS to comment and admit any wrongdoing!

  24. John Hemming

    The problem is that decisions at each stage are influenced by the adoption pressure. The initial care proceedings that might best result in a supervision order instead have a care order with placement outside the family. The decision to recommend adoption is made by the local authority which is clearly subject to managerial bias (Ministers letter November 2010).

    Hence although only a few sets of care proceedings are as a result of the adoption pressure, the outcome of adoption rather than return to the family or the extended family is also influenced.

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      That is not an unreasonable point. But you do understand how your campaigning is influencing people, including desparate parents? Many will assert with great confidence that the system operates to ‘steal’ adoptable children from loving homes for no good reason.

      Is that also your view?

      1. John Hemming

        It is interestingly the official view of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic (in that from time to time, but not always, things are done without good reasons).

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      There has definitely been a drive to get more children IN CARE adopted because outcomes for children IN CARE are so dire.

      But this does not automatically translate to the snatching of blue eyed children to get them into the care system to bump up adoption stats.

      I know this is what you believe, but we are asking for your evidence. The statistics don’t support this argument, average age at adoption is still nearly 4 years so if babies are being ‘targeted’ as you claim, they are doing a very poor job of it.

  25. Sam

    From my experience only, foster carers can get a rough deal from local authorities also. Not necessarily money wise , some of them do very nicely thank you but there is a definite lack of support and cover up of a child’s problems . I know a foster carer who was refused a CAMHS appointment, told to hush up as there were potential adopters in the pipeline. So absolutely nothing to do with the welfare of the child.
    Quite frankly local authorities maybe from managerial pressure lie at every stage. Going back to accountability who are these managers accountable to.

    Mr Hemming
    Is there any way of knowing who is actually making money from the care system ? If so have you established any links to local councillors or local authority staff?

  26. John Hemming

    I was a city councillor for 18 years and for one year of that Deputy Leader of the largest Local Authority in Western Europe (Birmingham). Hence I know how local authorities work.

  27. Sam

    Mr Hemming I am not sure if you have answered my question or have answered a previous one. I really am interested into who is benefiting from the care system. It seems strange to me that councils refuse to properly fund under CIN yet spend thousands more on foster care. I think councillors have a register of interests like MP’s is there any policing of this?

    1. Winston Smith

      Because of the way Local Government funding works. it ain’t local councillors it is Central Government. Most of the money comes in Central Government funding. Thus funding is not available for CIn but lottsa money for fostering and now adoption a swell. If there are Central Government initiatives that is what happens.

      But increasing private (and adoption) agencies mean a lot of money is tried up in the system.

      In America it is referred to as the Fostering-Industrial Complex.

      1. Sam

        Children Act 1989
        84 Local authority failure to comply with statutory duty: default power of Secretary of State.

        (1)If the Secretary of State is satisfied that any local authority has failed, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any of the duties imposed on them by or under this Act he may make an order declaring that authority to be in default with respect to that duty.
        (2)An order under subsection (1) shall give the Secretary of State’s reasons for making it.
        (3)An order under subsection (1) may contain such directions for the purpose of ensuring that the duty is complied with, within such period as may be specified in the order, as appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary.
        (4)Any such direction shall, on the application of the Secretary of State, be enforceable by mandamus.

        Has anyone asked the Secretary of State to order an authority to comply with their duties under schedule 2 ? What would anyone consider to be reasonable steps.

        Schedule 2

        Provision to reduce need for care proceedings etc.

        7Every local authority shall take reasonable steps designed—
        (a)to reduce the need to bring—

        (i)proceedings for care or supervision orders with respect to children within their area;

        (ii)criminal proceedings against such children;

        (iii)any family or other proceedings with respect to such children which might lead to them being placed in the authority’s care; or

        (iv)proceedings under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court with respect to children;

        (b)to encourage children within their area not to commit criminal offences; and

        (c)to avoid the need for children within their area to be placed in secure accommodation.

        This is off thread but relevant to so many that end up in care proceedings. Why is the definition of disability different from the normal definition. For instance a child with ASD can qualify for DLA as they have a condition that affects their daily life but the disability team will not provide support.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I have had a case where the judge was so furious with the LA that he threatened this referral – but nothing came of it eventually. The problem was that my client had also behaved very badly.

          This I think is the real difficulty. It is rare to have a case which is clearly identifiably the ‘fault’ of one party or another. Generally things are going wrong for a variety of reasons, from all sides – errors of competence, errors of incompetence and complete and utter systems failure.

          My view is that it is systems failure – SW off on long term sick, excessive case loads, no judicial continuity or available court time etc – that explains most problems with care proceedings. It is difficult to see who we identify as ‘to blame’ for that.

      2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        Ok, help me understand.

        Hemming etc argue that the system is corrupt because it targets babies for ADOPTION.
        But others are arguing that the system is corrupt because it targets children for FOSTERING as profits can be made from children’s homes etc.
        Are these the two strands of the argument that most conspiracy theorists would support? Or do you divide into two camps, one arguing that adoption is wrong, the other that fostering is wrong?
        Apart from saying that no child should be removed unless the parent has committed a crime, I am unsure what ANY of you are saying should actually be done to protect children from inadequate and dangerous parenting. Do you propose greater intervention and support for struggling families? If so, what kind? How long will you give them to benefit from this support? Will there come a time when it has to be withdrawn and what do you propose happens to the children then?

  28. Sam

    I would like to add I am not Sarah’s stooge. I do agree with much of what she says regarding supporting parents by partnership working but we also have a couple of fundamental differences. For one I believe that some social workers lie both in and out of court.
    I really am interested in the system moving in a more positive direction. I actually have just had a rather bizarre thought, perhaps I should keep it to myself but here goes. Have either Mr Josephs or Mr Hemming considered setting up a fostering agency themselves? After all some children are going to have to be in foster care , at least you would put their welfare first, work at rehabilitation to their families if applicable and if it was set up as a charity any profit could be ploughed back into changing the system.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      You might think that in all his years as the indefatigable campaigner against the Evil Secret Family Courts, Mr Hemming might have actually done something constructive to help the children who are the ultimate losers and victims in this sorry mess.

      But from what I can see, the children rarely if ever feature in his diatribes against the Evil System. this has been commented on by Wall LJ. I suspect it is 20% parent’s rights and 80% self aggrandisement with Mr Hemming.

      But, as ever, I am delighted to be proved wrong.

      1. Winston Smith

        he has. Justice for Families Mk’s represent families.

        he also asks awkward questions in parliament.

        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          Will he still be asking these ‘awkward’ questions in Parliament now he isn’t an MP? It will be interesting to see how his campaigning develops now he can no longer hide behind parliamentary privilege.

          thank goodness the people of Yardley finally saw sense.

    2. ian josephs

      Sam there is only so much a busy working businessman (running language schools) aged 83 can do ! I give free legal advice to over 1000 parents per year and pay for pregnant women to flee the country to stop their babies being snatched at birth to feed the greedy adoption industry ! Yes the national fostering agency was sold up last year by two social workers for £130 +million but it is definitely not a business for me profitable as it seems to be.
      I prefer to leave such things to Barnardos as they make such sums seem like chickenfeed ! Martin Narey could possibly give you the figures……….

      1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

        What are your qualifications to give such ‘legal advice’? Do you have insurance? Do you keep copies of your ‘advice’? What happens to those who rely on your ‘advice’ – I assume you don’t keep records for this either.

        If I was to suggest to some of my clients that they sue you for giving them extremely poor ‘advice’ which has contributed significantly to the making of a final care order and the loss of their children, how much money do you think they should get in damages?

        Of course it might be difficult to mount a legal action against someone who is outside the jurisdiction but I am sure I can find some lawyers who would help pro bono.

        1. ian josephs

          luckily I have never had a single complaint about the advice I give.My only qualification is a 50 years old Oxford degree in jurisprudence plus a reasonably shrewd business brain and a knowledge that has come from helping more than 1000 parents per year(taking calls nearly everyday) .One barrister with 10 years experience in the family courts asked my advice about escaping and seemed very grateful for what I told her;She says:-
          Michelle Freedman Barrister http://www.clerksroom.com
          218 Strand London WC2R 1AT DX 53151 Mill Hill Tel: 0845 083 3000 Fax: 0845 083 3001

          Please note MICHELLE will fight really hard for you(unlike most legal aid lawyers !) but she will be at her most effective if you contact her BEFORE any court proceedings have started and BEFORE any court order on the children has been made.

          Michelle Freedman, a barrister with 10 years’ experience representing parents in the family courts writes: “Clients are like lambs to the slaughter. Every client I met filled me with sadness (except of course in cases where there was obvious abuse and not in the Local Authorities’ and court’s interpretation of the word). I would sit with desperate mothers and / or fathers with their eyes wide open in worry repeatedly asking me what I thought the outcome to the case would be. How to relay to the client that the reality is that the children will most likely be made subject to care orders and ultimately adopted. How to tell the client that we are merely going through a kangaroo court process whereby the majority of children are taken from loving parents once the machine (i.e the court process) has been switched on.”

          “Throughout proceedings clients would genuinely believe that ‘justice would prevail’ and the courts would see that the children are better of at home with mum and dad. As any other barrister, and for good reason, I told parents that there is no certainty in proceedings…. I did not have the heart to crush their spirits from the outset. I truly believe that we are living in tragic times at the moment

  29. John Hemming

    I recently dealt with the case of someone who was forcibly adopted 40 years ago. He was so traumatised at the time that he is unwilling to speak out. He may not be a child now, but he was a child then.

    I have dealt with a number of cases where the only harm to the child arises from court decisions and the care system.

    The care system is awful. Why then are children put in care because their parents smoke.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      They aren’t put in care because their parents smoke. You know that. I know that. Anyone with half a brain cell knows that. So why do you keep saying these ridiculous things which can only serve to upset and frighten vulnerable people?

      I assume this is the case you are talking about. If it is not, please provide me with the details. As I would be very, very interested to know of a case where the sole accusation was that the parents smoke. As would the Court of Appeal I suspect.


    2. S. Merlin Chesters

      I know of a couple of cases where some rapists have been helped. It is a pity that the ongoing rape culture ‘condones’ rapists if they are not convicted, right?
      Taking into account that the conviction for rape (not just children) is under 10%, in your opinion that means that 90% of people who reported a rape and sexual assault is lying.

      That is victim-blaming and rape culture at its best, because it doesn’t consider the investigations messed up by police officers, victims who get nervous and fall in contradictions even if unrelated to the case, victims who don’t know how to explain things, list is endless.

      Hey, you guys… put on the table what you did wrong too, not just what you think you’ve done right.

      Leaving children in the hands of abusive parents is doing them more harm. A harm they have the chance to avoid if they get adopted by other people (I don’t see this through rose-coloured glasses, of course. I know very well that some adoptive parents might be worse. Think of the ones who are not, though).

      1. ian josephs

        Any parent who commits crimes against children may well desrve to have their children removed.
        Any parent who does not break the law does not deserve to be punished and does not deserve to lose their newborn babies or their children;You may say” we should not wait until they abuse the child before we remove it.” You might also say we should not wait for a confirmed old burglar to rob a house but should put him back in prison as soon as he is released as it is likely he may offend again ! Just as absurd as imprisoning some old lag for looking in a shop window in broad daylight in a crowded street to prevent the very real risk that he might steal something later;Nobody should be punished for something they might or might not do in the future….

  30. Winston Smith

    Here we go.

    Up till 2008 and the scandal LA@s were directly paid large sums each year to meet an agreed increase in the number of adoptions.

    I have the print-ot for the payments to many of them.

    Mine was 3,025,000 as year.

    My Elected members still deny everything and fall around when Ihold the print-out under their noses.

    They were know as PSA or Public Service Agreements, of which there were about 12 across the board.

    But if you did meet your target in one ,you lost money across the board .Since have been targets of percentages of children in Care. But you lose money if you don’t fulfil them.

    Meanwhile the Adoption charities get payments for adoptions – how else would they meet their budgets ?

    There is anenormously powerful lobby behind this..

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Yes. There were targets to get children IN CARE adopted. Not targets to TAKE CHILDREN INTO CARE.

      I know Hemming says that this was the unintended consequences – but the statistics of children adopted don’t back him up on that. Average age at adoption hovering around 4 years old. So if anyone is targeting blonde blue eyed babies, they aren’t doing a particularly good job of it.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Your expectations are likely to be dashed as this appears to be a private adoption within an African family. It will have very little applicability to adoptions that follow care proceedings instigated by a LA.

  31. Sam

    Sarah previously said that most cases she deals with have a history of involvement with CS. So may I put it that it something like this happens. Someone makes a referral to CS, normally at the time of initial assessment the threshold is not meet. The parents do need to change some aspects of their lives or require respite care but as CIN is not a statutory obligation minimal or no help is provided. The situation escalates and the children are placed on child protection plans, there is still minimal help despite the need for support so the situation escalates again into care proceedings.
    It is of course cheaper for CS not to provide initial support, only a small percentage of cases end up in court and although they are expensive it is much more economic than providing across the board CIN support. A bit how the NHS works, doctor’s tend to dismiss symptoms that do not fall into normal patterns until the person is gravely ill and in need of emergency care.

    Is it not about time that in individual cases CS are asked what was your part in this case ending up in court ?

    1. angelo granda

      I suggest that more often, Sam,they receive a referral and do not bother doing an initial assessment or go to see the family at all or investigate the truth of the referral.However ,they put it on file and mark it down for the future.2 or three years down the road they will receive another referral, then tell the court about the previous referral and say that a social worker was assigned to the case. They then state falsely there have been significant concerns about the family over a long period of time.
      Before anyone asks me where my evidence for suggesting it,the SW’s usually withhold it.

  32. Sam

    Winston Smith In my experience you are right with regard to school bullying. I was a school governor for five years at a very small village school , around 40 pupils infants and primary . It was not until my child was bullied, and it was denied that I found out that there had been three other children bullied and letters of complaint had not reached Governor’s meetings. In my child’s case he was not even asked if he was bullied and the school turned the situation around even though he was 6 years old and the bully was 11.My child became severely traumatised, and has struggled with school ever since.
    The parent’s of the children , including myself had to transport their children miles to other schools. I did not of course receive a thank you letter for the five years of voluntary work .

    I think I could write a book except I am probably just telling many other parent’s stories as well.

    There is plenty of research to show that home schooling actually benefits children, the problem the state has is can’t actually brainwash home educated children, they tend to be independent thinkers. After all if you listen to the news, education seems to be about actually learning and more about shaping children’s values to fit in with what suits the Government agenda.

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  35. lynn

    I think we should be looking at what the other countries are doing to support families to stay together or where they can’t stay together what are they doing that means the child in care has better outcomes then children in the UK

    1. ian josephs

      Just about every country in Europe Lynn does more to keep families together than UK which actually blasts them apart! That is why so many families flee the UK to go to Ireland,France,Belgium,Spain,and N.Cyprus where social wirkers are for the most part more humane and more likely to sympathise with mothers pregnant or not, running from the horrors of forced adoption.The UKis the ONLY country i the world where a Stream of harassed parents flee the country every year to avoid voracious social workers………..

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  37. Paula Doherty

    Hi Sarah,
    I’m sure you will have seen this but thought I would post on this discussion page.
    Re N [2015] EWCA Civ 1112
    at para 7: The background to these appeals is the fact that England is unusual in Europe in even permitting adoption without parental consent, indeed in the teeth of parental opposition – what I shall refer to as ‘non-consensual adoption’ – and even more unusual in the degree to which it has recourse to non-consensual adoption, both domestically and in the case of children who are foreign nationals…..

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Yes, he repeats the myth but cites Claire Fenton-Glynn’s research! I think it is pretty clear that most or all of the European countries do have a mechanism whereby children can be adopted without parental consent BUT we are unique in our enthusiasm for making these orders.

      I added the case of Re N to the Forced Adoption post, but probably should add it here as well.

  38. David

    Reference is made at various points to outcomes for children in care being dire. It seems that they are and that they could be better. But what would the outcome have been if the child stayed with the birth family? It seems to me that that is the comparator that ought to be used if it is available – and as it is a counter factual I expect it isn’t.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      the expectation is that the outcome at home would be worse, hence removal was proportionate and justified. but I don’t think that is the issue. If the state does so poorly for them when it intervenes, it needs to ask itself serious questions about what it is doing.

  39. Carravagio

    Sarah Phillimore, you pathetic creature, you are a disgrace to humanity!!! I have done more secret court family cases than you will ever do! The majority of family lawyers are simply criminals who should receive the death penalty as a punishment.
    How dare you to talk to Ian Josephs with such arrogance!? He’s the Man who saved thousands of parents from losing their newborn babies and children!? He’s the greatest man that our nation has brought forth in its thousand-year history.
    What have you done apart from filing your pockets with thousands of pounds from the pain and loss of others?!
    You should be ashamed of yourself!!!

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I will approve this comment just so others can understand why any future comments from this person will simply be deleted. I am not interested in this kind of witless abuse which suggests that family lawyers should be put to death.

      It would be funny if it were not so obviously the product of a disturbed and vulnerable person – precisely the type of people who are most vulnerable to the idiocy of Josephs. He has not ‘saved’ parents. He is the man who gives money to a parent to leave the country when she is later convicted as a child rapist.

  40. angelo granda

    I am not going to comment on the right or wrong of supporting escape networks to different countries except to say that i do not believe Ian Josephs has bad intentions.
    Sarah,perhaps it would be a good idea if some wealthy enterpreneur,budding Bob Geldof or politician like John Hemming were to front a charity which would supply ‘safe houses’ in this country where they are needed and more easily accessible.
    We know that the LA’s remove children into care because it hasn’t the resources to pay for family support. Perhaps if supervised retreats, a network of foster-homes where Mum can live with baby pending enquiries(which also offer child-care training) ,similar homes for allegedly violent dads perhaps offering anger-management training were available ,all of us (including Ian ) could advise parents of the addresses and get the CS off their backs.
    That is in cases where the parents have been informed of their right to access advocacy,of course.
    On a lighter note,if you are ever put on trial for your life,Sarah,engage with a solicitor and don’t make the mistake of defending yourself in court.I will put in a good word for you as i am sure many people on this resource will if you are permitted to have character witnesses.

    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      Forgive me if I don’t care what Josephs intentions are. He states very clearly what his actions are; he pays people money to leave the country and doesn’t know or care what they have done or are capable of doing. You may wish to stay out of a debate about him; that is your perogative. But you cannnot excuse all kinds of stupidity by relying on ‘good intentions’.

      I agree it would be great if people like Josephs and Hemming could use their private wealth to actually do some good. I have explicitly ask Josephs if he would contribute financially to set up support groups for parents who could be mentored by other parents. He doesn’t want to. All of your ideas are very sensible. But no one will pay for them.

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