Michael Gove wants to sniff your kids’ nappies before taking them away
MICHAEL Gove is an idiot. Parents. Be afraid. The State knows best. What could possibly go wrong with Gove’s plans? He says:
“In all too many cases when we decide to leave children in need with their biological parents we are leaving them to endure a life of soiled nappies and scummy baths, chaos and hunger, hopelessness and despair. These children need to be rescued, just as much as the victims of any other natural disaster.”
Think he’s talking about the well off?
During General Francisco Franco era in Spain, babies were removed from the families of undesirables, like left-wingers. The children were given to “ideologically suitable” families. A trade in babies followed. In April 2012, Sister Maria Gomez Valbuena, 80, was in court, accused of stealing a mother’s newborn daughter at a Madrid hospital in 1982. Maria Luisa Torres, says the nun took away her baby girl soon after she gave birth in the Santa Cristina hospital, where Sister Maria worked.
All incredible. But incredible things happen in our family courts. Christopher Booker has been writing about these courts for some time.
I first came to it shortly after the mother of a large family had given birth to her sixth child. Her new baby had been torn from her arms in a hospital bed by six policemen and three social workers just three hours after the birth. Three months earlier, the social workers had removed five older children from the family home in the belief that the mother was a “sex worker” engaged in child trafficking with her husband, whom they claimed was not the father of any of the children. The social workers also had a letter, allegedly written by one of the children, claiming that her mother had beaten her.
What made all this particularly odd was that, one by one, these claims seemed to crumble. DNA tests showed that the children all came from the husband. The letter was in a different hand from that of the child supposed to have written it, but no graphological tests were allowed and it was eventually admitted that the letter had been “destroyed”.
For a time, the parents were allowed occasional supervised contact with their children, although for this they had to travel for four hours. The oldest child claimed at one meeting that she had been sexually interfered with in her foster home – after which she was never allowed to see her parents again.
But the case against them began to seem so flimsy that the baby was returned to them. However, they subsequently took the baby to a hospital to ask for advice on a puzzling complaint. A junior doctor carried out blood tests which apparently showed nothing amiss, but when the family’s name came up on a computer, the social workers were summoned. More tests were carried out, the parents were accused of giving their child a dangerous drug and the baby was again taken into care.
Events then took a still more serious turn. The couple were arrested, accused of planning to abduct their older children (even though they had no idea where they were) and fly them abroad in a private plane. They were sent to prison on remand, while a long list of further charges was compiled, ranging from physical abuse of their children to a claim that they had sought to kill the baby.
At their trial, 44 prosecution witnesses were called. Only two were allowed for the defence. The children spoke on video link, but their parents were not allowed to question them. The parents were given long prison sentences and a family court then ruled that the children must all be sent for adoption.
He notes in another article:
One mother lost her children, for instance, on the basis of a 235-page report, costing £14,000, which found that she was “likely to have a borderline personality disorder” – without the author ever having met her.
Who are the experts? University of Central Lancashire’s Professor Jane L Ireland, Chartered Psychologist, Forensic Psychologist, wrote a report on psychological assessments. Called “A model to quality assure psychological expert witnesses” it noted:
Results of this study, the first systematic quality evaluation of expert evidence of this nature, indicate variability in report quality.
The study examined 126 expert psychological reports submitted in family court proceedings from 180 court bundles across three courts located in the UK*. Court proceedings took place between 2009 and 2011and covered both adult and child assessments.
Using four experts (three forensic psychology and one clinical psychology), the study evaluated the quality of court reports using criteria relating to the stated qualifications of the psychologists providing expert reports and applying a framework of quality measures drawn from established criteria.
“The crucial decisions made by family courts on issues such as the custody of children, domestic violence and sexual violence have life changing consequences”
On key findings of the report:
* According to information gleaned from the submitted CV, 90% of instructed experts maintained no clinical practice external to the provision of expert witness work.
• In one Court, all expert witness psychology reports were generated by witness companies, who take a commission for the instructions.
Will anyone know study medical assessments?
Michael Gove is well-meaning. Of course he is. He is also