British MP John Hemming Claims Systemic Abuse in England’s Child Protection Services

Submission to UK Parliament on Crisis in England’s Child Protection Services

During his time in Parliament, Oxford-educated former British MP, John Hemming, was an avid campaigner against wrongful child removal by British Social Services. This submission to the UK Parliament, from 2011, is a detailed study of what, in his view, has gone wrong with England’s child protection services.

A related paper by John Hemming is here

UN Submission 2007 by John Hemming

The adoption targets he refers to, were introduced by Tony Blair’s government with a view to providing stability and rehabilitation within a family to children taken into state custody. Tony Blair’s own father was an adoptee, and this might have given him a strong, personally held belief in adoption as a measure of child protection.

The idea behind the adoption targets policy, which encouraged local authorities to expeditiously find permanent adoptive homes for children taken into care, did not account for the fact that many children were wrongly removed from their homes in the first place.  The rush to adopt (and thus permanently shut off any possibility of reunification, or any contact  with the birth family) only compounded the injustice on parents and children wrongly separated by the British chid protection system. Forced adoption, that is, adoption against the wishes of the birth family, was the result of these policies. Bear in mind, that according to some reports, 80 percent of child removals in Britain are not on grounds of actual abuse or neglect, but social worker’s assessment that the parent’s personality or home conditions place the child at “risk of future emotional harm”. There are also reports that 80 percent of adoptions in Britain are forced. Forced adoption is higher in Britain than in other developed countries, many of which do not permit forced adoption at all.

In later years, the British Government revised its policy, and removed the adoption targets. However, the culture of promoting adoption was by then well-established in the child protection agencies (called Social Services in Britain).  Under Tony Blair’s other policy for promoting public-private partnerships, adoption and fostering agencies with atleast a partial commercial interest in having a pool of children to take into foster care and adoption mushroomed; social workers often set up such businesses on leaving or retiring from their government jobs; till today, many British judges, MPS and even Ministers, or their spouses or parents have commercial or career interests in foster care and adoption agencies. John Hemming’s paper of 2011 (above) to the UK Parliament shows that the formal removal of adoption targets did little to change the adoption-favouring culture in the British child protection system.

So it is not unreasonable to say, as many do, that these well-intentioned policies have created an industry that depends on the existence of child to take into care.