Global Advance of the Inhumane Western Model of Child Protection
Wherever in the world you might be, there is an establishment consensus, led by child rights groups, public policy organisations and government functionaries, that children need to be protected from their families, especially their parents. To this end, a range of laws, policies and government agencies, going under the rubric of “child protection”, “child development” or “child welfare”, are being put in place giving the State the power to monitor families, and, should it see fit, to take over custody of children.
On taking over custody the State is empowered to place children in orphanages, secret foster homes, or even give them away in forced adoption. Children in foster care are permitted no more than a few hours of contact with their birth families yearly, typically a couple of hours every three to six months. Siblings, even twins, are separated, depending on the convenience of the fosterers. The relationship with the birth family is broken for all practical purposes, and, increasingly, foster care is being viewed as a waiting period for eventual forced adoption to another family.
Forced adoption is adoption without the consent of the birth parents, even when the parents suggest other family members willing to take over the child’s custody. Assessments of parental unfitness are being undertaken at earlier and earlier stages, with babies being taken within hours of birth. This website will give you all those stories.
Impoverished families, families with a member having mental or physical disability, immigrant families, and families from ethnic or religious minorities are the most vulnerable to victimisation by Western child protection agencies; but it affects all, except the very powerful, in these countries.
The Wrong Response to Child Abuse
This model of child protection is the wrong response to issues of child exploitation, abuse, neglect and welfare. Draconian child protection agencies are compounding the problems of vulnerable children, attacking innocent families, and, by focussing too much on the minutiae of family life, are ignoring serious situations of child exploitation and abuse outside the home. This website will show you how.
Child protection in its current form must go – root and branch. There has to be a thorough-going re-think of how to deal with crimes against children, and of how we as a society are to assist children in vulnerable situations, whether in the home, or outside. This website will explore these issues.
Child Protection: Ideology & Objectives
The severity of child protection laws and agencies varies from country to country. Norway’s notorious child protection agency, Barnevernet, is among the most unrestrained in removing children from families; while child welfare bodies in third world countries, such as India, are as yet only snapping at the heels of families on the margins of society – the homeless, gypsies and rural communities.
However, in all countries, the underlying ideology and ultimate aim of these child rights projects and agencies is the same: to install the State as a super-parent, by laying down State-determined criteria for what counts as acceptable child care practices, categorising any deviation from this as criminal, and enabling state agencies to confiscate children from parents and families seen to be failing the State-determined criteria for child-raising.
The Basic Model
The basic model for child protection is as follows: schools, medical practitioners and social workers are to be trained in so-called “indicators” of child abuse, and tasked by the law with reporting children presenting these indicators as being abused by their parents. Child protection agencies are given the authority to remove such children from their families to foster care and forced adoption.
In their 2007 Child Abuse Report to the Government of India, UNICEF, Save the Children and various Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs), declared the following as “indicators” of abusive parents, viz., parents being “highly moralistic”; or under “economic stress”; or “easily upset, have a low tolerance for frustration”. Presumably, “economic stress” refers to poverty. Are we on the road to blaming parents for poverty? Critics of the child protection system in Western countries already say that it victimises the poor. This website has numerous reports, papers and interviews making this criticism.
Indicators of physical abuse as listed in the 2007 Child Abuse in India Report included: the child “has difficulty getting along with others”, is “often late or absent from school”, “plays aggressively”, has “little respect for others”, and also its opposite: is “overly compliant, withdrawn, gives in readily and allows others to do for him or her without protest”. Indicators of neglect are “less attention”, “less appreciation”, “looking after siblings” and “parents finding fault for no reason”.
As anyone can see, these are hardly reliable criteria for establishing that the child is abused, or that the parents are abusive.
Spread to India
Universities in India have already instituted child protection courses along the lines of these “indicators” of abuse. These courses advocate the Western model of child protection for students in the fields of public policy, psychology and child development.
India’s National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights was established in 2007, with precisely this agenda (as it says on its website): to “seek” a “deeper penetration into communities and households” in order to implement the “indispensable role for the State….for children and their well-being”.
India’s Ministry for Women and Child Development has recently rolled out a massive foster-care programme designed and, to a large extent, implemented by so-called foreign “experts” from Western foster care advocacy groups and funds.
Juvenile, mental health and sexual assault laws have been passed by the Indian Parliament over the last decade that are, piece-by-piece, putting in the rules and agencies for a full-fledged child protection system, modelled on the inhumane one of the West.
Training courses are being designed for judges, lawyers, police officials, teachers, doctors and nurses to adopt the Western interpretation of child welfare in their work.
Many top schools in India have advisory members invited from Germany, Sweden and other Western countries, influencing them with Western child protection ideology.
The Injustice & Inhumanity of Modern Child Protection Regimes
The merciless and severe response of child protection systems in the West to vulnerable children, which takes little account of filial ties in their overall well-being and self-identity, ought to have invited challenge. After all, we live in the age of world-wide campaigns against capital punishment, even for the worst crimes; and calls for bans on torture, even of hardened terrorists. But not only do the basic features of this brutal system of child protection have wide acceptance in society, even its worst excesses are accepted without demur.
United States of America
In the USA, children are taken away for no reason other than showing up with their parents at hospital with injuries. In the US child protection system, fractures and internal bleeding are an “indicator” of parental abuse, and medical practitioners have to report this as such, on pain of disqualification. No sooner is such a report made, than the child protection agencies confiscate the child and all siblings.
In recent years, this law has trapped dozens of Information Technology professionals going to the US from India on work visas. In almost every case, these young parents have proven themselves innocent (this website contains several reports on innocent Indian families targeted by US child protection agencies), but only after their babies were incarcerated for months (even years) in strange American foster homes. Accounts of their traumatised toddlers unable to eat or sleep for weeks in the alien, unfamiliar homes are deeply disturbing.
In Britain, there is no need to show actual or present risk of harm to a child for the authorities to remove him or her from their family forever. The reason most often cited in Britain for removal of children is “risk of future emotional harm”, which may be based on such nebulous things as the case worker’s assessment of a parent’s personality, or level of intelligence.
In Norway, babies are taken on such frivolous grounds as the baby seeking eye contact with persons other than its mother.
Slapping your child, being too tidy or too messy, having the wrong type of toys at home – all of these are routinely stated by social workers in advanced countries as grounds for permanently confiscating children from their families.
Judges Are Failing to Keep Child Protection Agencies in Check
Judicial oversight of Western child protection agencies is inadequate, at best. The laws themselves are stacked against the parents, and the system dis-incentivises keeping families together. Given that families affected tend to be marginalised – poor, or from ethnic minorities – it is easier for social service officials and judges to order confiscation, rather than get entangled in family reunification, and, as they see it, take the risk of being blamed if things were to go wrong.
A misjudgement in favour of removal has less consequences for judges and social workers, and is less visible, than one favouring reunification. This, combined with the low threshold for removal, has been lethal for families coming within the cross-hairs of child protection authorities in the West.
A Lack of Checks & Balances
As the child protection model is conceived as a welfare measure, with the State’s undertaking a benign task in making up for failed parents, little attention is paid to the ordinary checks and balances that would have been included as a matter of course in any other area of governance, where such wide and punitive powers are given to low-level government functionaries (which is what social workers are) and lower court judges (who oversee the child protection system).
Secrecy Laws Giving Cover to the Excesses & Corruption of Child Protection Agencies
Secrecy laws that were meant to protect the privacy of children, have in practice acted as cover for the mistakes and corruption of child protection agencies. The secrecy has also acted as a bait for paedophiles, child traffickers, drug dealers, and all manner of criminals to enter the system, exploit children, and resist reform.
Denial of Basic Constitutional Protections
The denial of basic constitutional protections to parents and children identified for separation by state authorities; the veil of secrecy under which child protection agencies act; the low threshold for child removal; and the failure of judges to ensure fair adjudication of cases – these are flaws that ought to have invited a thorough re-evaluation of the system of child protection, even from those in agreement with the draconian principle of child confiscation by the State, and forced adoption.
Child protection officials enter homes without warrants; there is no system equal to the reading of Miranda rights to criminal accused that would warn parents that case workers have the authority to take children away, and that anything parents say or do could be used against them in deciding to terminate parental custody; parents have no right to legal representation before children are confiscated; initial removal orders are given ex parte; child protection agencies are empowered to take away children without warning, and in some countries (like Norway) they are able to confiscate children without even a judicial order. Serial killers and rapists have better constitutional protection than parents and children separated by child protection authorities.
How the Government and Child Rights NGOs Are Eyeing Your Kids
And yet, UNICEF, Save the Children and affiliated child rights bodies are assiduously promoting this system in developing nations from Romania to India. In all these developing nations, and despite the strong regard among the common people for family values, the funding and glory associated with espousing the Western model of child protection have easily co-opted Child Development Ministers of all political hues and senior government officials having the charge of children’s welfare. Implementing UNICEF’s model for child protection when in office means plum retirement posts in international child rights bodies or prestigious national child-welfare foundations.
In many cases, the government is given little choice, as membership in international bodies such as the European Union, and human rights or development rankings by United Nations agencies are predicated on the adoption of these misconceived measures of so-called child protection. This website will show you how developing countries are thus bullied and cajoled into adopting the Western model of child protection.
No One to Bell the Cat
There is very little analysis and critique on this issue because everyone, the government, the media, academics, doctors, psychologists, schools, social workers, child rights activists and NGOs, i.e., anyone who could raise questions, or whose work involves children other than the discredited parents of children taken by the State, is in on the child protection industry.
Universities are encouraged to run child protection courses that open up a new career path for college students. NGOs espousing child protection get funding and influence from big international donors.
There is an entire news industry of campaigning for welfare measures, into which child protection fits neatly.
The profession of psychology and psychiatry have contributed greatly to the idea of the family as the theatre of hidden abuse, dark perversions, and the oppression of children. The child protection industry pays them back by employing them, and their theories, liberally.
There is no one to bell the cat.
I am a 43-year-old housewife based in New Delhi, India. I have two children, aged 6 and 8 years. I feel compelled as a mother and by my profound and life-changing love for my children, to speak out against child protection services.
I practiced as a lawyer in India from 1998 to 2010, when I quit as partner of a well-known law firm to take care of my family. In 2015, I started a line of children’s story books, written and illustrated by me. My husband is partner in a corporate law firm. I run this website from my private funds and do not charge anything for helping families that contact me.
I first learnt of child confiscation by the State in late 2011 – early 2012 when an Indian family was targeted by Barnevernet in Norway. My children (babies then) were of the same age as the children that had been taken by the Norwegian authorities. I got in touch with the children’s mother. We were able to get hold of the official record of the case from Norway. And I saw then, what I later saw repeatedly in child protection cases in England, Sweden, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand: children being taken for no good reason from perfectly normal families without due process and without adequate judicial oversight.
Since 2012, I have been assisting families in this situation – helping them find lawyers, lending them a shoulder to cry on and joining with activists around the world in protesting atrocities by child protection authorities. Over the years, many families and fellow activists have got in touch from different parts of the world. Their stories are on this website.
My heart is forever broken by the anguish I have witnessed, some of it first hand, of parents and children victimised by child protection authorities. I studied law in England and America and I am unable to reconcile what their child protection authorities are doing with what I was taught in these countries are the basic principles on which the modern, civilised State is to act, and to be kept in check.
I am running this website because I am outraged at what is going on in the name of child protection. I am scandalised by the silence, nay, the complicity, of the mainstream media, academics and experts on this issue. It has been a lesson in how compromised research and philanthropy are; phony statistics, biased analysis and the hubris of the globalised NGO-philanthropic community, have all contributed to feeding the monster that calls itself child protection. Articles on this website will show you how.
Since people criticising child protection are often dismissed as crack-pots and conspiracy theorists, I want to set out here my credentials as an able-minded and not entirely stupid person. I have a Maths degree (BA Hons. Maths., 1995) from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University – one of the top colleges of India. I won a highly competitive scholarship, the Radhakrishnan Scholarship, to read law at Oxford University. After getting my degree there (BA Hons. Juris., 1997, St Anne’s College), I got a Masters in Law at New York University in the USA (LL.M., 1998). I earned a good reputation among colleagues and clients during my years practicing here in New Delhi, which I am proud to say holds till today. Feel free to vet me. I want you to know me, and take the material on this website seriously.
I am able to bring my training as a mathematician and as a lawyer in evaluating the claims and practices of the child protection industry. The maths is important, because child protection advocates often use phony statistics to justify their misconceived policies.
I am running this website not just to help families trapped by child protection services (CPS), but also to convince ordinary people of the injustice of the Western model of child protection. Doctors, academics, journalists, jurists, educators, politicians and civil rights activists in India, all need to be wary of the creeping acquisition by child protection ideology of our minds and institutions.
I hope that you will be convinced, and join the fight against CPS, whether here in India, or abroad.
Do get in touch if you would like to write for this website, translate any of our work, or investigate this issue further.
New Delhi, 22 September 2017