Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming spoke out in the press last week about his fear that newborn babies are being removed from their parents in order for councils to meet adoption targets.
Hemming said last week: “What is utterly unacceptable…is the clear evidence that social workers are literally snatching newborn babies and children from good, stable, loving homes.”
What do you think? Hemming has offered to respond to readers comments or questions on the issue so now is your chance to let him know what you think. Has he got it completely wrong or is there some truth in what he’s saying? Have you felt pressured to meet targets? Email John a question to email@example.com
John Hemming has campaigned on the issue for a long time and his latest comments come as a Norfolk couple, Mark and Nicky Webster, whose first three children were adopted from care after a court found that multiple fractures to one of the children were the result of abuse, were formally allowed to keep their fourth child. The decision came after Norfolk Council accepted the fractures could have been the result of a vitamin deficiency.
Hemming argues that social services departments are under pressure to meet adoption targets set by the government and that this can lead to children who could easily be adopted, such as babies, being taken into care incorrectly.
In the article last weekend he said: “The brutal truth, however, is that healthy white babies and children under the age of five are far easier to place for adoption than older children, particularly older children who are actually, physically, emotionally or psychologically damaged by parental maltreatment.
“Last year the number of children under five taken into care and swiftly adopted was more than double the number in 1995 – which strongly suggests to me that babies and young children are being deliberatly taken into care in order for councils to hit their adoption targets and get their extra money.
“This may seem an outrageous allegation. yet how else to explain newborn babies literally being torn from their mother’s arms on no other grounds than that the mother ‘might’ get post-natal depression, or that the child is ‘at risk of emotional abuse in the future?'”
Email in your questions and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of Tuesday 24th July. Responses from Hemming will be posted on the site on Friday 27th July.