Britain’s child snatchers are a scandal *
By Christopher Booker
The UK’s system of forced adoption requires the Government’s urgent attention, says Christopher Booker
Is any human instinct more fundamental than the love of a mother for her children? Last week I reported how Maureen Spalek from Liverpool had been arrested and held in a cell for 24 hours for sending a birthday card to her son, one of three children taken away from her by a family court, despite its agreeing that she was “an excellent mother”.
In Runcorn magistrates’ court on Wednesday Mrs Spalek was told she must return for a pre-trial hearing, before her criminal charge of sending a birthday card goes for trial at a Crown Court. Last month, Mrs Spalek was one of 200 mothers who gathered in Stafford to set up a group known as Child Snatching by the State. They were addressed by Ian Josephs, a businessman based in Monaco, who has championed the cause of parents whose children were unjustly removed by social workers ever since he was a Tory county councillor in the 1960s.
As Mr Josephs describes on his Forced Adoptions website, he has dealt with hundreds of such harrowing cases (always being careful to check that there was no evidence of physical or emotional harm to the children). One is that of Sarah White, repeatedly arrested for attempting to contact her “stolen children”, including an instance when she was jailed for a month for waving to her son when she unexpectedly saw him across the street. Two weeks ago, she was again held in custody for five hours, after her brother posted a YouTube video describing her plight.
Julie Cipriani is another mother arrested for waving to her child in the street and forbidden from further contact after reading out in court her daughter’s loving birthday card.
When another mother threatened with having her baby abducted recently fled to Ireland, her family were repeatedly visited by police, demanding to know her whereabouts. She is now receiving much more humane treatment from Irish social services. (Britain is almost the only country in Europe that permits forced adoptions against the wishes of loving parents.)
In the Commons last October, the Tory MP Tim Yeo described a case where Suffolk social workers waited until the father was out of the house to snatch an 11-week-old baby from the arms of its distraught mother, in order to put the child out for adoption. Until recently social workers were set “adoption targets” by the government, as part of a system where it seems they, the courts and the police are too often conspiring to abduct children from loving parents in the name of what amounts to heartless “social engineering”. Few scandals call for more urgent attention by our new Parliament than this.