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Family Saves Baby
February 8, 2014 permalink
Christopher Booker follows up on a family fleeing to France to save their baby from British social workers. The baby was seized in France based on a flurry of biased reports from England, but released to the parents when independent evaluation of the family failed to support the British claims. British social workers were trying to fulfill a commitment to supply a baby to an adoptive family
French judges foil social workers who were out to take mother’s baby
Why is it that, when innocent parents flee abroad with their children, social workers will stop at nothing to bring them back?
On November 9, I reported the story of yet another pregnant mother who had fled abroad with her partner – this time to France – to prevent her baby being seized by social workers because she had formerly been in an “abusive relationship”.
Bedford council’s social workers called in Interpol (which claims that its duty is only to “fight crime”) to track the couple down. No sooner was the baby born in a French hospital than the mother’s room filled with 10 policemen. They showed her a paper painting her in a ludicrously damning light as a “threat to the baby”, and local social workers removed the child to an orphanage 30 miles away, to lie in a roomful of cots containing a dozen other babies.
At least the French social workers allowed the parents to see their new daughter several times a week, while a junior French judge, clearly nonplussed by Bedford’s demands that the child be returned to England, referred the case to a higher court. Bedford’s social workers sent over more damning documents, including a psychiatrist’s report alleging that the mother suffered from a “personality disorder” and posed a serious threat to her child. The French social workers, “totally different” from those the couple had dealt with in England, were shocked to hear from Bedford that they already had an adoptive home lined up for the child, and asked a French psychiatrist to carry out a full assessment of the mother.
On Thursday morning I had two messages, from the parents and their British solicitors, Brendan Fleming, to say that three French judges had rejected all of Bedford’s evidence. They agreed with the French psychiatrist that there was nothing wrong with the mother; that she posed no risk of “physical or emotional harm” to her baby; and that the parents had shown that they and the child had managed to establish a “close and affectionate bond”. Their baby must therefore be given back to them immediately.
I spoke to the parents on Thursday night, when they were overjoyed to have their daughter back. The father already has a job with his aunt who runs a lettings business throughout France, and they will soon move to be near her in the Dordogne, to start a new life.
But yet again this story raises the old question: why is it that, when innocent parents flee abroad in this way, our social workers seem to stop at nothing to bring their children back to England? As the French judges also ruled in this case, such an action would have been in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing the right of families to be protected against unwarranted interference by the state.
Why is this article so often used to protect convicted criminals from imprisonment or deportation, when social workers can happily ignore it every day of the week?
Source: Telegraph (UK)