Controversy over state power to remove children from their parents

Here’s the current story about a child being taken away from his parents. The writing makes it seem straightforward but from where This Writer is sitting, it’s much more controversial.

You might think it’s perfectly reasonable to take a child away from his parents in the conditions described below. Is it, though? Only a few years ago, it was deemed perfectly acceptable for a child to live among smokers in a smoky house.

In a week when people are praising Charles Kennedy for admitting he had a problem with alcohol, is it appropriate to be demonising others because they smoke?

And what about children who are taken away for other reasons?

Where do we draw the line?

A two-year-old boy with breathing difficulties has been taken away from his parents partly because a health visitor found that they smoked too much.

The child will be placed for adoption after a judge ruled that the risk to his health was “far too high” at a family court hearing in Hull.

Judge Louise Pemberton said she was “afraid” that he had been harmed and that his parents’ had fallen well below “good enough”.

Source: Two-year-old boy taken away from parents ‘because they smoked too much’ in dirty house – Crime – UK – The Independent

11 thoughts on “Controversy over state power to remove children from their parents

  1. Chris

    We have not had power over our children or elderly parents for many years, or even decades under the only court that accepts hearsay evidence, the Courts of Protection.

    We are the forced adoption capital of the world, even bringing the nation into disrepute in adopting children who are not citizens and neither are their parents and only in the UK temporarily.

    The UK state even goes after kids who are living abroad, after the briefest visit to the UK.

    The UK state does not give you power over your children or elderly relatives in homes or in NHS hospitals.

    The UK state can demand a ceasarean operation when baby not full term yet, and take the baby without the mother ever seeing the babe and having no right to keep the baby.

    And what has been achieved by all this draconian lack of rights by parents and ignoring the children’s wishes?

    By the Courts of Protection we do no have the right to family life under the Human Rights Act.

    A lot of children taken into care end up in prisons after a career in crime after being left to go feral into stealing or prostitution.

    We have seen the huge number of historic sexual aubse cases in children’s care homes.

    The old can lose their house and all their possessions and forcibly taken from you and put into a home by the council.

    If you protest, you can end up in prison under criminal law.

    Far more often that a career criminal who usually only get sa conditional discharge, a caution, a suspended sentence.

    This has been going on for decade after decade after decade.

    Somewhere someone must be making money out of it, or else why would the Tories continue it when they want to reduce the state?

    Once an elderly pensioner goes into a home, the state takes all their state pension money off them and they have no money of their own ever again.

  2. Jeffery Davies

    Its getting to b a police state doesnt one remember smoky pubs smoky cinema restaurants one when visiting family oh those awfull people who fed me give pocket money to had cigarettes in their hands did they get arrested nah

  3. Can't afford a name

    This is about ownership: the “powers that be” are demonstrating that they can, in scenarios reminiscent of a scene from Roots, punish the poor and feckless by selling off their children.
    Inhuman. Violent resistance is now the only remaining valid form of protest.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      “Feckless” means “lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible”.
      Why that adjective should be used to describe the people who increasingly have to rely on their wits simply to survive is beyond me.

      1. Can't afford a name

        I meant “allegedly feckless,” referring to the right-wing’s favourite false stereotype.

  4. victedy

    …where will it end? If you are a member of the “wrong” religion or belong to a [fringe] political group or an activist fighting for your rights, will you have your child taken away? Sound crazy? A family wanting different medical treatment for their son has caused an international manhunt for the caring-nurturing family.

  5. Rachel

    The press concentrated on the smoking but it wasn’t anywhere near that simple. The child was on medication as a result of the smoky atmosphere, the house was filthy and the dad tested positive for cocaine etc etc etc

  6. conartistocracy

    A slippery slope indeed. Next thing take children away because a relative or visitor smoked in the house? Amazing how they can ignore wholesale child abuse in care homes over decades but treat parents smoking as a crisis. All houses with children are dirty. This could be a “reason” to take a child from anyone. So citizens are so “criminal” everyone of us needs to be policed in our own homes. What’s next? Put us all in institutions where police and social workers monitor everything we eat, drink, speak and do – to keep us safe?

  7. Maria

    it would do more harm psychologically to the child, to have them ripped from their families who they love and they love them, and place with god knows who.

  8. Florence

    I have read the full story, and there are gaps, as well as disturbing “facts” as presented to the court to justify this. The truth is probably out there, somewhere.

    What is more important is the propaganda value. The main “story” is that the parent “smoked”, and the parenting issues were barely mentioned. Why were we not informed of the size of the TV, or if there were mobile phones in the house, eh? It’s building the propagandised stereotypes (“feckless” among them) of people who are on benefits who can “afford to smoke” being equated with extremely poor parenting.

    This may well be the start of a new wave of demonisation of the poor, and create the fear in those who smoke that their children will be taken into care, much as those disgusting letters SPEye Joe highlighted, that threatened parents with their children being taken into care in relation to housing arrears.

    I am old enough to recall the social services taking many children into care because their families failed the “middle class test”, where blended families, and single mothers, and letting children play in the street, unsupervised teenagers, for example, were viewed with horror.

    The poor are now they are being attacked via a moral crusade no doubt via IDS and the Nudge Unit, and it goes way beyond the smoking debate, to general disgust at working class “behaviours”, to having to prove you’re not among the “undeserving” poor.

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