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Reform Cuts Half of British Adoptions
November 20, 2014 permalink
After Judge Munby handed down a judgment requiring social workers to do their job properly, adoptions in Britain have dropped by 51 percent. Christopher Booker also reports that Peter Lewis, the man in charge when Jonas Stadden died in foster care, is collecting annual pay of £318,000 for a four day week.
Adoptions collapse after judge denounces 'sloppy’ social workers
The Government’s flagship adoptions policy lies in ruins
Scarcely a day goes by now without more public evidence of disquiet at how lamentably our “child protection” system has gone off the rails. On Tuesday, for the second time, parents convinced that their children had been wrongly removed from them went to Brussels to appear before a sympathetic committee of the European Parliament. This time they were protesting at the ruthless pressures brought on them by social workers for daring to put their case to the MEPs. It prompted one committee member, Tatyana Zdanoka, to say: “In my experience the UK is unique in Europe for the secrecy of its family courts and for the threats and bullying by authorities of parents who want to speak out about their treatment.”
In Somerset, where I live, there has been some stir over the sacking of a second director of our county’s children’s services department, in advance of yet another Ofsted report giving it the lowest possible rating of “inadequate”.
Peter Lewis, who came from Haringey, where he replaced Sharon Shoesmith after her sacking over the “Baby P” scandal, was revealed last summer to be earning £318,000 for working a four-day week. Yet this was the man at the top last winter when I reported one of the most tragic cases I have ever covered. This was the death in his council’s “care” of a much-loved little Down’s syndrome boy, Jonas Stadden, when our county coroner refused to hold an inquest on the truly appalling circumstances surrounding the way the child died (see my articles in January: “A mother’s diary records the death of a boy in care” and “Parents 'numb with grief” as inquest is refused”).
And now we have startling evidence of how an excoriatory landmark judgment last year by the head of the Family Division, Lord Justice Munby, has blown a mighty hole in the Government’s flagship policy that requires many more of the 68,000 children in state care in England and Wales to be placed for adoption, and all within a maximum of 26 weeks. Emphasising yet again how sending a child for adoption is one of the most draconian decisions anyone can take, Munby ruled in the case of “Re: B-S” that the “sloppy practices” of too many of those involved in the child protection system “must stop”. The inadequate “reasoning put forward in support of the case for adoption” by local authorities, and also by “too many judgments”, he said, was “nothing new”. “But it is time,” he warned, “to call a halt.”
Now we can see the results of Munby’s judgment in the latest figures showing that, between April and June this year, the number of “placements” for adoption fell from the same period in 2013 by a staggering 51 per cent. The Government’s flagship policy lies in ruins: all because the social workers and judges have been told on the highest authority to start doing their job properly.
Source: Telegraph (UK)