A couple whose baby was adopted after they were wrongly accused of abuse are unlikely to ever see the child again despite being cleared, their lawyer has said.
Three years ago, Karrissa Cox and Richard Carter, from Guildford, Surrey, took the then six-week-old infant to accident and emergency after noticing bleeding in the baby’s mouth following a feed.
Bruises and what were thought to be fractures were noticed by hospital staff and a few days later the couple were charged with child cruelty and the baby was taken into care.
However, the criminal case against the couple collapsed at Guildford Crown Court after new medical evidence showed there were no signs of abuse.
It was… discovered that the child was suffering from a blood disorder, Von Willebrands II, which causes someone to bruise more easily, and a vitamin D deficiency that causes infantile rickets.
Mr Carter, a former soldier, and Ms Cox, both 25, now plan to try to win custody of their child back. “We took our child to the hospital seeking help and they stole our baby from us,” Ms Cox said.
However their lawyers believe it is unlikely the adoption – made legal by a Family Court earlier this year – will be overturned by a court as such rulings are usually final.
Lawyers for the couple said Ms Cox and Mr Carter had been refused legal aid to fight the adoption in the Family Court and criticised the decision to finalise adoption before the criminal court had made its ruling.
Defence lawyer Emma Fenn said: “This tragic case highlights the real dangers of the Government’s drive to increase adoption and speed up family proceedings at all costs”.
According our friends at Wikipedia, the government “states that children are only removed and adopted out without parental consent when it is in the child’s best interests to do so. There is a legal process that must be followed and the decision ultimately rests with a judge who must decide the evidence against the parents on the balance of probabilities. Legislation requires that children are only removed from their parents if they have suffered, or are at risk of suffering, significant harm or neglect”.
But “critics have objected that the term ‘risk of significant harm’ is undefined, giving social workers too much leeway to remove children. Julie Haines, of the pressure group Justice for Families, stated in 2012 that ‘Parliament has given the courts free rein to define the term “significant harm” within case law authorities and has not deemed it necessary to provide a definitive meaning within the Children Act 1989. There is no check list of harm, no clues as to what the courts could be looking for.’
“Concern has also been raised over the provisions of the Children and Families [Act 2014], which sets out plans to speed up adoption and care proceedings.”
You can read about these provisions here.
The commenter who brought this story to Vox Political wrote: “Here’s the latest example of what happens when the adoption process is already ‘speedier’ than the process to ‘defend yourself and prove your innocence’. Absolutely tragic. But hey ,they have to get those doubled adoption quotas filled somehow, right?”
What do you think?
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