The state is removing more children from their families than at any time since the 1980s
NOBODY in the courtroom looks glad to be there. Not the social worker, nor the barristers, nor the judge, and certainly not the mother with learning difficulties who is about to have her baby taken from her. She was neglected by her own mother, an alcoholic, and raised partly by foster carers. “I had a horrid life,” she tells the court. Now she is struggling to look after her own baby. The official solicitor, who represents people who lack mental capacity, neither supports nor opposes the council’s case. The baby will be put up for adoption; the mother will have no further contact, save for a letter twice a year. “I wish you well,” says the judge. “I’m very sorry that’s the outcome.” The hearing lasts 50 minutes.
Since the English courts lost the power to sentence people to death in 1965, arguably the most invasive ruling judges can make is the removal of a child from his or her parents. For much of the 20th century, judges used this power often. But the number of cases fell sharply in the 1980s and early 1990s as policymakers began to argue that families should be kept together.
Many Thanks to the economist for the original post.