UK courts must not decide the fate of foreign children, says top judge

High Court family judge Sir James Munby spoke out in case of Slovak boy
He said attempts by social workers to gag media were ‘impermissible’
It comes after Italian mother was given forced caesarean in secret case
15 January 2014

Judges and social workers were yesterday warned that they must not seize control of the lives of foreign children.
No court can order a child from Europe to be taken from their parents or given up for adoption, said Britain’s most senior family law judge, Sir James Munby.

Overseas authorities should always have a say in cases involving their nationals, and the future of foreign children must be decided by courts in their own country, he said.

Judges and social workers must no longer keep their decisions secret or try to gag foreign media either, he added.

Sir James, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, laid down rules for judges dealing with such issues as he handled the case of a 12-year-old boy from Slovakia.

The judge said the Slovak boy – whose case has been heavily reported by newspapers in Bratislava – should live with an aunt. Slovak authorities were closely involved in the case.

It comes six weeks after the scandal over Alessandra Pacchieri, an Italian mother who was forced by a British judge in the secretive Court of Protection to undergo a compulsory caesarean.

Miss Pacchieri, 35, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after suffering a breakdown at Stansted Airport during a short visit to Britain.

In secret court hearings, a Court of Protection judge ordered that she undergo a compulsory caesarean, and a family court judge in Chelmsford overruled her pleas and ordered that her baby daughter should be adopted in this country.

Last month Sir James rejected an application by Essex social workers forbidding British and Italian newspapers from naming Miss Pacchieri.
He said that the attempt to deny her a right to speak out in public was ‘an affront to humanity’. Miss Pacchieri may now be named in public, while the name of her baby being brought up in Essex, and her adoptive parents, remain secret. (more…)


Drive to speed up adoptions means children ‘may be removed from parents too quickly’

Britain’s most senior family judge has issued a pointed warning that Michael Gove’s drive to speed up adoptions should not be allowed to break up families unnecessarily.
By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor11:58AM BST 17 Sep 2013

Sir James Munby, the President of the High Court Family Division, said judges are becoming increasingly alarmed at the number of social services departments attempting to have children adopted apparently without even considering less “drastic” measures.

He said it was time to “call a halt” to the tendency to apply for adoption orders based on “sloppy” or non-existent assessment of alternatives which would not irrevocably break-up families.
In a blistering assessment of the current climate in family courts, he said it appeared some councils were now “unable or unwilling” to explore alternatives to adoption. (more…)


Adoption drive could ‘distract’ from helping needy children, care inquiry finds

MICHAEL GOVE’s drive to increase adoption levels risks becoming a “distraction” from efforts to help the majority of children needing homes, an eight-month inquiry into the care system has concluded.

Adoption drive could ‘distract’ from helping needy children, care inquiry finds Photo: ALAMY
By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor10:15AM BST 01 May 2013

The inquiry by eight charities concluded that the current system is failing thousands of children, shifting them from placement to placement, severing family ties and friendships rather than encouraging stable relationships. (more…)


Slovakia: Adoptions to Italy halted

Missing Documentation Led To Suspension Of Adoptions

25 Mar 2013
Roman Cuprik Politics & Society

ADOPTIONS of Slovak children to Italy were put on hold on February 19, due to what Slovakia identified as missing post-adoption reports on the fate of 72 Slovak children adopted by Italian families. The moratorium will remain in effect until all of Slovakia’s terms are met by the Italian side. Meanwhile, Italy, the country with the highest demand for international adoptions from Slovakia, has promised to supply by April 15 the missing reports on 72 of the 269 children adopted over the past 10 years, Labour Ministry spokesperson Michal Stuška told The Slovak Spectator.

Slovak Labour Minister Ján Richter halted the adoptions on the heels of a visit to Italy on February 13 by Andrea Císarová, the head of the Centre for International Legal Protection of Children and Youth (CIPC), a branch of the Labour Ministry, to discuss the missing adoption reports. Císarová met with representatives of the Italian Commission for International Adoptions (CAI) and inquired about 117 post-adoption reports. However, she was only able to access a few of them, according to the Sme daily.

Slovak MPs began looking into documentation on the adoption of Slovak children in September 2012, after disputed cases of inter-country adoptions emerged, Sme reported. The impetus came primarily from the highly charged case of the Boór brothers, who were originally taken away from their parents, who at that time lived in Great Britain, by British social services. (more…)



The whistleblower said auth­orities’ worries of another Baby P had created a climate of fear

Sunday December 11,2011
By Ted Jeory

SOCIAL workers are regularly “sexing up” dossiers on problem parents to remove children into care and even to farm them out for adoption, a whistleblower reveals today. (more…)


Die verschwundenen Kinder von El Salvador

29. August 2011 23:29

Viele Bürgerkriegsopfer wurden von Militärs für Adoptionen im Ausland entführt
San Salvador – Das verknitterte und vergilbte Schwarz-Weiß-Foto hütet Raúl wie einen Schatz. Es ist das Einzige, was er von seiner Mutter noch hat. Als Raúl vier Jahre alt war, brachte seine Mutter ihn und den um ein Jahr jüngeren Jorge in einem kirchlichen Kinderheim in Sicherheit vor den Wirren des salvadorianischen Bürgerkriegs. Mit sieben erfuhr Raúl, dass seine Mutter tot war.

Sie war in den kirchlichen Basisgemeinden aktiv, die vom Militär als Zuarbeiter der Guerilla verdächtigt wurden. 1992 endete der Bürgerkrieg in dem mittelamerikanischen Land. Raúl war 15, er und sein Bruder blieben Kriegswaisen. Rund 75.000 Menschen starben im Bürgerkrieg, mehr als 8000 gelten immer noch als verschwunden, darunter 871 Kinder. (more…)



Sunday July 17,2011

By Ted Jeory

AT LEAST 10,000 young children have been dragged from their families and needlessly adopted due to a flawed target at the heart of Government, it was claimed last night.

Vulnerable children were handed over in their thousands under a New Labour crusade driven by artificial adoption targets.

A top Oxford academic yesterday branded the policy as Tony Blair’s worst mistake.

The expert in social work who did not want to be named said: “Forget the Iraq War. “Blair’s adoption target was the reason I left the Labour party.” Last night backing came from MP John Hemming, who said the policy led to the unnecessary adoption of 1,000 children every year. (more…)


‘Win a baby’! Fertility charity launches new IVF lottery

Britain’s first IVF lottery is set to launch later this month giving players the chance to win a baby, but critics have branded the contest as ‘exploitative’.

The controversial lottery, which has now been granted a licence by the Gambling Commission, will see players spending £20 on each ticket. (more…)


Government to appoint adoption tsar

Monday, 4 July 2011 

The Government is to appoint its first adoption tsar to try to cut the number of children stuck in the care system waiting to find a family.

Martin Narey, the former head of the Prison Service and chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, is set to be the first Ministerial Adviser on Adoption, reported The Times. (more…)


Profit, not care: The ugly side of overseas adoptions

Date: 2011-06-05

Lax regulation and an endless demand by childless couples in the West has created an often exploitative market in babies born in the developing world

By Laurie Penny
Sunday, 5 June 2011

In rural Nepal, where the going rate for a healthy orphan is $5,000 (£3,000), some 600 children are missing. They were taken by agents who came to the villages promising that they would educate the children and give them a better life in the capital, sometimes for a steep fee. The children never returned. (more…)