Seventeen year old mother fails to prevent adoption of child

Photo of Newcastle upon Tyne by Rob Bishop via Wikipedia

Photo of Newcastle upon Tyne by Rob Bishop via Wikipedia

A seventeen year old has failed in her bid to stop an adoption plan for her child.

In Re M, the mother disputed criticisms of her parenting by Newcastle City Council, and expressed her wish for the child, B, to be placed in her care.

The mother, M, had herself been placed into foster care when she was four years old, along with her sister.

When M became pregnant, immediate concerns were raised by the local authority, which believed the negative experiences she had as a child meant she would not be able to adequately care for a baby. There were additional concerns about alcohol and substance misuse.

After B was born, the mother and child were moved into foster placements to give M professional help with the baby.

Initially, reports were very positive about the level of care M was providing but after a couple of months, the local authority expressed their concerns about the basic level of care M was providing. The foster carer reported that she had taken over a significant amount of B’s care.

She claimed B was not being fed, bathed or changed by M as regularly as she should.

Another cause for concern was M’s alleged “aggressive and abusive behaviour” towards the foster carer.

Considerable attempts were made so the young mother could properly care for her child but the local authority sought approval for a plan that would lead to B’s adoption citing the following in terms of neglect and emotional harm:

(1) An inability to meet B’s basic care needs consistently by way of feeding, nappy changing, dressing appropriately and stimulation;

(2) An inability to meet B’s emotional needs, the example is given of M behaving aggressively and angrily and unable to regulate emotions, making B feel threatened and unsafe;

(3) An inability to provide B with stability, giving the example of three changes of foster placement in the first four months of B’s life;

(4) A failure to engage with the support services offered to M to develop her parenting capacity.

(5) A lack of insight into B’s needs, dismissing professional advice and support.

(6) M’s own attachment issues, as they are described, and her difficulty in forming relationships.

At the Family Court in Newcastle, Her Honour Judge Hudson said this in relation to the applicable law:

“The judgment of the Supreme Court in Re B (A Child) [2013] UKSC 33 is of central importance in providing guidance as to the correct approach of a court where it is asked to consider a care plan of permanent removal of a child from the birth family.”

(This also includes taking account of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights)

The Judge stated:

“The judgments emphasise that a care order and adoption are extreme outcomes and a ‘last resort’.”

She went on to detail Lady Hale’s description of the test for severing the relationship between parent and child, calling it “very strict, only in exceptional circumstances and where motivated by overriding requirements pertaining to the child’s welfare, in short where nothing else will do”.

She continued:

“The welfare of the child is paramount, as Lord Neuberger said at paragraph 77:

‘The interests of a child self-evidently require his or her relationship with her natural parents to be maintained, unless no other course is possible in the child’s interests.’

He went on to say (at paragraph 104) that the interests of the child ‘include being brought up by her natural family, ideally the natural parents, or at least one of them.

The Court of Appeal gave judgment in Re G (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 965 the following month (on 30th July 2013). The judgment of McFarlane LJ stressed the need for a proper, thorough and holistic evaluation of the placement options, giving full weight to Article 8 rights.  Such an approach involves the court to balance the pros and cons of the placement options in any case. He emphasised the need for substantive consideration of the Article 8 considerations in relation to the issue of permanent separation of a child from the birth family.

He said:

‘What is required is a balancing exercise in which each option is evaluated to the degree of detail necessary to analyse and weigh its own internal positives and negatives and each option is then compared side by side against the competing option or options.’

Where the court is considering a plan of adoption, the evaluation must take place in the context of the welfare provisions of section 1(2) Adoption & Children Act 2002, whereby the child’s welfare throughout her life is the court’s paramount consideration. The welfare checklist in section 1(4) of the Act includes, of course, in section 1(4) (c) the likely effect on the child throughout his life of ceasing to be a member of the original family and becoming an adopted person.

In Re B-S [2013] EWCA Civ 1146 the President referred to the ‘striking’ language used by the Supreme Court in Re B, as to the degree of necessity before a care plan for adoption is approved. In paragraph 18, (by reference to the ECHR) he said that: family ties may only be severed in very exceptional circumstances; everything must be done to preserve personal relations and rebuild the family; it is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment for his upbringing.

In Re W (a child) [2013] EWCA Civ 1227, Ryder LJ set out at paragraph 99 the three questions the court has to answer in any care case.

1. What is the harm and/or likelihood of harm?

2. To what is that harm attributable?

3. What will be best for the child?’

At paragraph 100, he said that the court is to undertake its evaluation to determine what is best for the child by reference to three further questions:

1. What is the welfare analysis of each of the placement options available?

2. What is the welfare evaluation that is the best option among those available?

3. What Orders are proportionate and necessary, if any?”

Applying the facts to the law Her Honour Judge Newton concluded:

“The harm that I have identified is harm which would result from the care afforded to B by her mother. That is not as a result of any wilful shortcoming on M’s part; I have recognised on more than one occasion the very great love she has for B and I have no doubt she would care for B to the best of her ability. The issue is the harm that M herself has suffered during the course of her life, both in her early life experiences and no doubt as a result of her experience in the care system, which has left her ill-equipped to care for a child herself at this stage.

Having considered the realistic options for B’s placement I have, sadly, reached the clear conclusion in this case that the only plan which can meet B’s welfare interests in the short term, the longer term and throughout her life, is approval of the local authority’s plan for adoption, supported as it is by the Children’s Guardian. I have, sadly, concluded that nothing else will do.  It is, in my judgment, necessary and is a proportionate response to B’s circumstances and those of her mother.”

It’s not an easy job being a family court Judge. I would imagine Her Honour will long remember a tragic case such as this. There is an old saying I once came across  ‘A Grandparent raises not only their own children, but their children’s children too’ It usually is a compliment but in this case also, the tragedy of this much too young family  which goes back at least a generation before the mother, proves it too.

A version of this column originally appeared in:

A Tribute To ALL The Mother’s Of ILLEGALLY Stolen Children

                  Happy Mother's Day!

These are my two "stolen by the State" Grandchildren, Austin and Isabella and my parentally alienated Granddaughter Ally
Austin and Ally  

Isabella

I want to wish all Mother's a Happy Mother's Day, but this is a special tribute to ALL the Mother's of ILLEGALLY stolen children. Stolen by the State and stolen by the  father's guilty of alienating the children from their Mother's.
This is a day of sadness for many Mother's. The Mother's of the Stolen children, who won't spend this very special day with their children. The Mother's who carried their stolen children in their wombs, up until their long, awaited birth.The Mother's who heard their child's first heart beat. Felt their first kick. Felt their first hiccup. Watched the child grow inside them. The Mother's who sang to their unborn child. Talked to their unborn child. The Mother who made plans for their  future together, never even fathoming the idea they would have no future as Mother and child.  A Mother and child bonded. A bond which can never be broken, the child will always know that a Foster stranger, an adoptive stranger, or a step parent is Not their birth Mother.
The pain and suffering a Mother never overcomes after her child is stolen is like no other. The grief is lifelong. A loss no-one should endure. There is no closure, only worry and anxiety. A world turned upside down. A life spent in Limbo, hoping for the day their children are returned. Hoping for the day the corruption within CPS and the Family Court's will be exposed for the money hungry villains that they are. Hoping one day they will be held accountable for all the families they needlessly destroyed. Hoping one day the father's/mother's guilty of parental alienation will finally be held in contempt and lose custody of the children they've brainwashed and kept from their loving parent for so long.
The State can steal a child from their Mother and place the child with stranger's, but the child will NEVER be their's. Children aren't stupid. They know whether they belong or not.
Happy Mother's Day and please unite together to bring ALL of our Stolen children home!

Unhappy Grammy

 

A version of this column originally appeared in:

Arizona CPS Exposed discusses family court, history, Arizona legislators and violation of our constitutional rights

Legislators, both state and federal, are responsible for the child welfare laws we live with today. But this problem isn’t a recent one. It has been going on for over 100 years.

Take a trip back into history and you will find Family Court, the court responsible for the child welfare cases, was established in 1910 in the United States.

Why family court?

If you do a search on the internet you will find information on each state’s family court system, but it is difficult to find consolidated information on family court as it pertains to our country.

Family court was originally intended to deal with domestic relations cases. The court was created by special statutes and they are permitted to operate on looser procedures and standards than civil or criminal courts. By establishing this new statutory court system, it allows the states to circumvent the constitution and established their own laws under which they function.

In a Cps case involving criminal behavior you can be found “not guilty” in criminal court and yet that will not automatically dismiss the Cps case. You will still have to fight the Cps battle and could lose!

What else was happening in the United Stated during this time?

Think about history. (1900-1919)

  • Known as “The Progressive era” it began in 1895 and lasted until WWI
  • In 1913 two amendments to our constitution were ratified – 16th & 17th – one creating the IRS and the progressive income tax, the other changed the way Senators were elected to the federal government
  • Congress established the Federal Reserve System
  • The United States Bureau of Mines is authorized by Congress
  • The National Park Service was established
  • Labor unions continued to grow
  • Every state passed a minimum wage law
  • Women’s suffrage, women wanted equality – 19th amendment was ratified in 1919
  • Population growth was a problem because of immigration
  • The first elementary school was created
  • Testing became the norm in schools
  • NAACP is founded

So who’s responsible?

Well intended legislation has created the monster we have today. Laws passed for the right reasons resulted in unintended consequences.

For example: Older children weren’t getting adopted and often remained in foster care until they aged out of the system. Federal legislators concerned about the welfare of these children, especially as they were bounced around from foster home to foster home, or even group home to group home, didn’t provide them with a stable environment. So legislation was created to give states a financial incentive to adopt out these children. This led to the bonuses the federal government now pays out when the state completes an adoption on a foster child, but does not provide any funds for returning the child to the family. Well intended legislation to help older children find permanent homes has fueled the kidnapping-for-profit scheme. Age is no longer a factor, but the financial gain to states become the incentive as they now sell children rather than return them home.

So it isn’t just one legislator or a group of them today that is responsible, it has been decades of elected officials in both federal and state governments that have added legislation upon legislation while the public has remained asleep to what was happening. The public didn’t know or didn’t care.

The biggest threat to our children are the people who continue to remain silent, who continue to fail to get involved, who would rather sit on the couch and watch reality TV or sports. We are our biggest enemy! We didn’t pay attention and we allowed the governments to create this child welfare monster.

The first and most important step in solving the problem is becoming educated and informed. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You can join our efforts by getting others involved. Help identify legislators who are concerned about the issue, not only of protecting the children that need protection, but are also concerned about protecting families, our constitutional rights, and prohibiting the continued abuse of the system that can cause more damage to children than the alleged allegations.

In Arizona we have been able to speak to a few legislators about Cps. We have met with them and presented our reforms.

Each legislator we spoke to has a different focus. If we can find their hot button, we can relate that to one of the many deficits and abuses within the child welfare system. Each legislator we spoke with was concerned about protecting the children, but most were not aware of the abuses from the system itself. They need to be educated as well, especially from families who have gone through the abuse by CPS. They get numerous calls from desperate constituents needing help in dealing with CPS, but few families offer constructive criticism and solutions to the problems. We hope our efforts will do just that.

So even if you don’t necessarily agree with all of the legislator’s stands on issues, there is probably one within the CPS system that will get their attention. Since we need to make massive changes one step at a time, we can partner with these legislators to address those issues.

Of the Arizona legislators here is what we found:

Rep. Carl Seel has been one of the best supporters of family rights and constitutional protections. He was instrumental in getting our initial proposal to the committee members for review.

Rep. Brenda Barton was concerned about the lack of services and availability of real therapy to help the family recover from the trauma of being removed from the home and of the potential abuse that may have occurred. If abuse is reported during therapy it must be reported to CPS (mandatory reporting laws) – sending the family through the fear of yet another potential traumatic encounter with CPS. So everyone clams up instead of being able to really address and overcome the problems that lead the family to CPS in the first place.

Rep. Steve Montenegro was concerned about CPS’s failure to follow the Arizona law. He was also concerned about the lack of transparency within the agency and even his inability to get information to help his constituents, to be able to help them navigate and understand the process and ensure CPS is really following the law as intended.

Rep. Heather Carter showed a concern about the negative impact on the children’s education. One of our grandsons was kept out of school for 5 weeks once in the custody of CPS, something the family would be condemned for. She spent quite a lot of time talking to him about his experience and the school issue.

Rep. Kelly Townsend listened to our issues but was especially interested in the aspects of the investigation and police involvement. If criminal abuse is happening in the home then an investigation needs to take place that will hold up in criminal court. It does not do the public justice if you remove an abuser from the home but permit him/her to remain in the community to abuser someone else. Cases must be properly investigated and evidence secured to obtain a criminal conviction, when appropriate.

Senator Nancy Barto also listened to our issues and concerns and gave us ample time to share our experience. She is a member of the Senate Health Committee who should be involved in the reforms on the Senate side of the state.

We have also reached out and contacted the candidates running for governor. We are starting to get responses from them, and interest in reading our 53 page report, as well as a willingness to meet with us in person from a number of them. We will keep you informed if/when these meetings happen with each of them.

But we did run into one legislator that refused to speak with us – in fact she is our representative in LD28 – Rep. Kate Brophy McGee. Over a year ago when our case started we made an appointment to speak with her. She cancelled our appointment about an hour before we were scheduled and only slipped in to our first meeting with Heather Carter minutes before it ended. This year she refused to even make an appointment to meet with us. She is one of the legislators on the Health Committee that oversees CPS. She was on the CARE Team that made recommendations to the governor to reform CPS. It is her committee that will make recommendations to the new CPS system.

Even when confronted at our LD meeting, she still had no interest in speaking with us. She basically told us that everything was decided. As OUR representative she is not willing to speak with her own constituents. Is she not willing to listen to someone on the other side of the issue? She may have some good ideas, but when she fails to speak to and respond to her own constituents you have to question who is she really representing?

Kate Brophy-McGee is also the one quoted in the Arizona Republic as stating that all calls into CPS should be treated as 9-1-1 calls and dialed down from there. http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20131122calls-mounting-cps-shake-up.html Treating all calls to CPS as 911 emergencies can be more detrimental to protecting the children. There are a large number of calls to CPS that don’t involve any risk or harm to children, often made by misinformed people or people using the system to retaliate against a family member or neighbor. By treating all calls as emergencies the case workers become overworked and the child really in danger may be overlooked because of the overloaded system. Each call should be taken seriously and addressed, but responding to all calls as 9-1-1 emergencies and expecting the agency to dial it down from there is asking for trouble. Dialing it down may take days, weeks or months and in the meantime the children become the victims of the system intended to protect them.

Who do we contact and what do we say?

We have put the 2 House Committees, Health and Reform and Human Services, on our website with the names of the members. Those would be legislators to start talking to.

Each legislator’s contact information may be found on the state website: www.azleg.gov. You can find each one listed from the House and Senate, along with their district, email, and phone numbers. Use that website to get the most current contact information for each legislator.

We would suggest asking your own legislators some basic questions about CPS. Keep your bias to yourself so you can get their opinion first without influencing them. A good place to start would be:

  • Ask them about the current situation in the state involving CPS and the over 6,000 uninvestigated cases.
  • Ask them how they would help prevent this in the future.
  • Ask if they are involved with any current legislation that will reform the state’s CPS system. If so, what is that legislation?
  • Ask them if they or any member of their family has been a foster parent. (They may have already disclosed this in your conversation.)

Then hit them with whatever issue you are knowledgeable of and passionate about. The system is so big that we cannot address the entire thing. So come prepared with backup data and sources and focus on the issue that concerns you the most. Don’t accept vague answers; keep asking until you get a response. In some cases that response may be, “I don’t know enough about that issue to comment,” which is what we finally got out of one candidate. If they don’t understand the issue are they willing to sit down with you to discuss it? Sometimes the uninformed candidate or representative can become an ally because they don’t come with bias.

For example: “Did you know that in 2010 Arizona ranked about 25th in the nation in CPS with just over 4,000 in foster care. Today Arizona ranks 47th in the nation with just under 15,000 children in foster care. The reforms made in the Arizona CPS system have actually made our child welfare system worse. How do you intend to fix this?

When you get responses from legislators, please let us know via email at info@azproject.org. We can accumulate these responses and get the information out to the public, especially before election time.

How does CPS violate our constitutional rights?

  • 4th AmendmentThe right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The constitution states there must be probable cause and they must obtain a warrant.

In CPS cases their probable cause may only be a sketchy allegation from an anonymous caller.

They don’t need a warrant to take your children. If you take them to Child Help they already have your children, they just need to ask you to leave. Even when they forcibly remove children from the home, often times they remove them first with the help of police and obtain a warrant days later to justify their actions.

  • 5th Amendment - …..nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The constitution states you are not to be deprived of property without due process of law.

In CPS cases they remove your children first. Due process doesn’t happen until months later, after they have already deprived you of your children.

  • 6th Amendment – In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

The constitution states you have a right to confront those people who have accused you.

In CPS, anonymous is permitted to make allegations against you and anonymous is not compelled to testify in court. You have been denied your right to face your accuser.

Unfortunately in today’s society the government believes your children belong to the government. Our elected officials believe it is their duty to act in order to “protect the children” and “in the child’s best interest” regardless of whether or not the allegations have been proven true. CPS bases their actions on what “might happen” or what “could happen” and not necessarily on what “did happen.” Speculation and assumption is often used to make their case. Families have no rights and family rights are not protected.

Next week we will be discussing the investigation process by CPS and the police.

For listeners interested in learning about real life cases, I did find a movie that addresses one case of how the police work. Remember the case of the photos developed at a lab and the lab reporting the mother to CPS. The movie “Snap Decision” is based on that case and focuses on the criminal aspects of child abuse and neglect.

The movie does not address the CPS aspects of this case. If this case had taken place in Arizona the parent would have not only faced the criminal charges but also an entire CPS case. Most likely it would have also gone further and charged not only the mother, but the photographer and friend who were also present in the room.

Next week’s show

New family court guidelines won’t improve a rotten system for children!

custodyscales[1]Excitable coverage was given last week to new draft guidelines issued by Sir James Munby, the judge in charge of our family courts, which it was claimed would be a groundbreaking move towards lifting the blanket of secrecy that has allowed our “child protection” system to become such a national scandal. The welcome given to Lord Justice Munby’s draft guidelines to answer “the charge that we have a system of secret and unaccountable justice” – entitled “Transparency in the Family Courts (and Court of Protection)” – came from two opposing directions. On one side, two newspapers proclaimed it as a victory for their own campaigns to open up our family courts to greater public scrutiny. On the other was one of the chief cheerleaders for the system, Sir Martin Narey, now Michael Gove’s chief adviser on childcare, who wrote an article for The Times, “Family courts don’t take enough children into care”. The new “transparency”, he argued, would enable the public to see how desperately needed is the vital work our courts and social workers are doing.

All Lord Justice Munby is proposing, however, is that all judgments in these cases should be published, unless a judge finds “compelling reasons” otherwise. Just how confusing his proposals are can be seen from comparing section 21, where he says that “public authorities and expert witnesses should be named” in all published judgments, with section 24, which says “no person other than advocates or solicitors instructing them may be identified by name or location”. So, no naming of those “expert witnesses” or local authorities.

Far more important than this seemingly glaring contradiction, however, is that all Lord Justice Munby is saying is that the outside world should be allowed to see more judgments – still entirely at the discretion of the judge. To anyone familiar with the peculiar workings of these courts, this will leave 95 per cent of what is so shocking about what goes on in them as secret as ever. Still completely hidden will be the way all the normal rules of British justice can be suspended: as in allowing judges to accept damning hearsay evidence, however absurd, without it being put to any proper test; as in how parents whose children have been taken from them are too often not allowed to challenge untruths or the tendentious opinions of “hired gun” psychologists, who may not even be qualified; as in how too many parents find themselves facing the cruellest ordeal of their lives being treated by judges and all present like criminals, without being given any proper opportunity to plead their case.

Almost nothing of the ruthlessly enforced blanket of secrecy that has allowed our family courts to become so corrupted will be affected in any way by Lord Justice Munby’s proposals. Even the judgments he wants to see published cannot be properly understood by an outsider unaware of all that has gone on in the courtroom, and how what may well be a shockingly one-sided and selective judgment was arrived at. In words I have quoted before from a disillusioned family court barrister, who spent 10 years defending in vain the right of hundreds of families to stay together, the system is so rigged against the families that it is like “seeing lambs led to the slaughter”.

One of the more unfortunate consequences of the secrecy that hides the workings of this system from public view is that it makes it so easy for its defenders, such as Sir Martin Narey, formerly head of Barnardo’s, one of the largest beneficiaries of our lucrative fostering and adoption industry, to claim, as he did again last week, that only in “a very small minority” of cases are “children wrongly taken away by the authorities”. On the contrary, all the evidence suggests to those who follow these matters closely, such as John Hemming MP, of Justice for Families, or Ian Josephs, who advises thousands of families through his Forced Adoption website, is that, since the number of children being yearly taken into state care in England and Wales has soared to nearly 30,000, those being removed from their families for no good reason now run into many thousands.

A version of this column originally appeared in truthaholics.wordpress.com.

A version of this column originally appeared in feedproxy.google.com.

The cloak of secrecy will be lifted from family courts: Councils and witnesses will routinely be named in cases where evidence can decide whether homes are broken up

  • New rules will ensure court decisions are under public scrutiny
  • Councils and experts will be named in controversial care and adoption cases
  • Family courts currently hold many hearings in private
Into the light: Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, has welcomed the change to rules to allow more public oversight of family courts

Into the light: Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, has welcomed the change to rules to allow more public oversight of family courts

A breakthrough in the battle against secret justice will see thousands more court judgments made public.Councils involved in controversial care and adoption cases will routinely be named in court documents, along with expert witnesses whose testimony can decide whether homes are broken up.
The guidance follows a lengthy Daily Mail campaign to end the culture of secrecy in two British courts.

The Family Division makes thousands of rulings a year about whether children are adopted or put in care, and the access arrangements for separated parents – as well as ruling on contested divorces.

In the Court of Protection, life- or-death decisions about patient treatment or care for those unable  to make choices are currently taken without public accountability.

Now new rules, due to come into force later this year, will mean thousands more of their judgments are published and subject to public scrutiny.

The updated guidelines set out that the vast bulk of cases in both courts should result in a published judgment ‘unless there are compelling reasons why it should not’.

In all cases involving expert witnesses and public authorities, these should be named unless there are ‘compelling reasons’ not to.

Results of divorce proceedings are also likely to be published, unless they involve children – but names will not be released.

Launching the new rules, Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division of the High Court, said they were designed ‘to bring about an immediate and significant change in relation to the publication of judgments’.

He added: ‘In both courts there is a need for greater transparency in order to improve public understanding of the court process and confidence in the court system.

Read more: Dailymail.co.uk.