Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
England May Cut Baby Bounty
September 16, 2007 permalink
The British press has run numerous articles in recent weeks exposing the corruption within the social services system. Now the results are reaching cabinet level. British Justice Secretary Jack Straw is proposing to eliminate the bonus paid to social service agencies for adoption of children. The bonus acts as a bounty on the head of every British baby, collectible by social service agencies that succeed in getting the baby taken away from his parents.
15/09/07 - News section
Straw rethinks councils' cash for adoption targets
By LAURA COLLINS
Jack Straw is to review the Government's controversial policy of offering councils cash rewards to meet adoption targets.
Critics claim the nationwide system, introduced seven years ago by Tony Blair, provides a 'perverse financial incentive' to remove children from their birth parents.
Now the Justice Secretary has said he will rethink the Government's position following a meeting with Norman Lamb.
Mr Lamb, the Lib Dem MP for Norfolk North, wants social workers to keep more detailed records when they meet families whose children may be put up for adoption.
He has also expressed his concern that the secrecy which surrounds proceedings in the family courts may work to parents' disadvantage.
His campaign was inspired by the plight of two of his constituents, Mark and Nicky Webster, whose case has been championed in The Mail on Sunday.
The couple, from Cromer, won a landmark legal case last June to keep their fourth child, Brandon, after false allegations of child abuse meant their first three children were taken away in 2004. The older children have now been adopted and the Websters have been told they will not get them back.
Mr Lamb said: 'Theirs was an appalling miscarriage of justice and part of any proper discussion about this must mean rethinking social services' adoption targets. It simply provides a perverse financial incentive. 'It ought not to be a factor that taking children into adoption means the social services bringing in money from the Government.'
He added that he had discussed the Websters with Mr Straw.
'I raised Mark and Nicky Webster's experience as a powerful example of the horror that can come as a result of it all.
'The deeply troubling fact is that they cannot be the only such example of the system failing.' Mr Straw has given no official undertaking to open up the Family Court system. But Mr Lamb said he was 'greatly encouraged' by the meeting.
He added: 'Adoption targets were a subject of discussion as was the insufficient safeguarding of parents' rights. The lack of case protocol in this area is breathtaking.
'Mr Straw was sympathetic and interested in meeting again to discuss further once he had made his own enquiries. It was a very heartening exchange.'
Source: Mail on Sunday (UK)