The Brutal History of Child Confiscation by the State by Cristina Nicoli

In this gripping essay, Cristina Nicoli, an Australian of Romanian origin, traces Norway’s notorious child confiscation practices to historical instances of state-sponsored child removal. A grotesque picture emerges of brutal episodes of forced child removal over the last century all over the Western world, and its colonies, from Europe to Latin America to Australia, whether in the name of racial cleansing, or educating, ‘civilising’, integrating, or politically indoctrinating children.

EU Plays Soft Empire Games With Global Child Rights by Dr. Kaustav Bhattacharyya

Dr. Kaustav Bhattacharyya presents international “standards-setting” as a tactic by the European Union (EU) for exerting influence around the world. He argues that child welfare measures and best practices are an important tool in the EU’s exercise of “soft” empire. Dr.  Bhattacharyya cautions that we in India should not blindly adopt the EU’s universalizing measures in child policy as research is showing that they have resulted in discrimination against immigrants, marginalized communities and ethnic minorities.

State Surveillance For Every Child In Scotland?

Scottish activist June Conway describes the controversy around a Scottish law, the “Named Person Scheme”, which appoints a state official to keep all children and their parents under state scrutiny and mandatory reporting from conception till majority. This scheme was developed under the Scottish government’s ‘Getting It Right For Every Child’ Policy (GIRFEC) which the Scottish government describes on its website as an approach to child policy that “has been built up” from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It is interesting to see how the UNCRC was interpreted in Scotland to develop a plan to keep families under constant and all-pervasive state scrutiny, and how parents were the last to find out about it. Though the UNCRC pays lip service to a child’s rights to its family, not a single country has interpreted its provisions to develop schemes that would strengthen vulnerable families. In practice its implementation in country after country has meant the establishment of laws and agencies that police the family. Its provisions have been used to justify increasingly swift and permanent severance of a child’s ties with its natural family.

Sir James Munby: Caesarean mother case shows need for “radical change” in family courts, Claire Duffin, The Telegraph, December 2013

This was a case where a pregnant Italian woman with an alleged history of intermittent mental disorder, on a few week’s training course in Britain, was sectioned under their Mental Health Act, subjected to a court-ordered C-section and had British Social Services take over the baby’s custody the next day, and put it for forced adoption.