#UK #Adoption and care anomaly – rates higher in some areas!

Adoption and care rates higher in some areas

For a child born in England in 2011-2012, the chances of being placed for adoption by the age of five varies starkly by local authority, research suggests.

For a child in Southampton, which had the highest rate, almost one in 50 children was put up for adoption.

For a child in Greenwich, an authority with similar socioeconomic profile, it was less than one in 600.

The findings come from Freedom of Information inquiries carried out by Professor Andy Bilson of the University of Central Lancashire, and shared with the BBC and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

He focussed on two year groups of children, those born in 2011-12 and those born 2006-7, asking detailed questions about child protection.

Adoption is intended to take children out of care, because their chances of stability and success in education, and life, are better. But in the 20 authorities where adoption rose over five years, the number of children in care had risen as well.

The FOI response showed that in Southampton, which had the highest adoption rate for the younger group, the authority had investigated many more families – a rise from 215 to 454.

Chart showing the top ten authorities in England for placing children in adoption by the age of five

“This is the exact opposite of what you’d expect,” Professor Bilson told the BBC.

“It points instead to a difference in the way that children are being removed from parents.”

The BBC asked Southampton why it had changed its approach.

The authority responded: “All children who were adopted were subject to rigorous scrutiny by the legal system and the Family Court, both of which agreed with the Local Authority that not only had the threshold for a Care Order been met, but that the Local Authority had exhausted all opportunity and support for any potential family or other carers: adoption was therefore the only realistic option.”

There may, however, be another influence at work in Southampton. In 2011, there were four child deaths, one especially high profile. Blake Fowler died of a head injury aged seven.

Concerns had been raised about him since he was a toddler. The authority was later severely criticised for failing to act.

‘Significant’ harm

Sir Mark Hedley, who for many years was a High Court judge in the Family Division, told the BBC: “It would be wrong to suggest that one is the cause of the other.

“But there is no doubt that public criticism of social workers if children have suffered will lead to an increased priority being given to child protection at the expense of maintaining family groups.”

Social workers have to intervene if they believe a child is at risk of “significant” harm. But significant is not defined in statute. Sir Mark says action will vary from one authority to another.

Chart showing the bottom ten authorities in England for placing children in adoption by the age of five

“There will inevitably be a wide range of views in relation to what is significant harm. Just as there will be a range of views about the desirability of intervening in families in the first place,” he said.

Professor Bilson found that far more children are being put on child protection plans because of “emotional abuse” and neglect – 82% of the children in the younger group. Again, these are terms which can be subject to interpretation.

Over the last decade, the number of children in care has risen by 134%. Many talk of the crisis in the care system, the family courts overwhelmed by cases.

Why this happens is less clear, though council support for families, so-called early intervention, has been dramatically reduced thanks to cuts, and rising poverty increases the pressure. For many months now local authorities have been warning that more families are in crisis, and that child protection is becoming an emergency service.

Professor Bilson’s research is a snapshot only, of two cohorts of children, covering half of England. But it provides a dramatic picture of varying approaches in different authorities, a starting point for further investigation.

The Department for Education said: “Every decision regarding adoption is made with the best interests of the child at its heart.

“Many children and their adoptive families have had their lives transformed by adoption, and we are determined to support them every step of the way.

“On top of this, there are of course a number of alternative options available, including long-term fostering and special guardianship, which may be chosen when it is best for the child.”

Related Topics

More on this story

  • Adoptions fall despite more children taken into care
    28 September 2017
  • Reflect Service expands in Wales for parents of children in care
    29 May 2018
  • The adopted children confused by love
    10 May 2018




Death in the Afternoon: The USS LIBERTY, Israel and You (Repost)


Mantiq al-Tayr

(Note: This is a repost of an article I wrote a few years ago. I am reposting it because today is the 51st anniversary of the murderous assault on a US ship by America’s greatest enemy. Also go here for another post from a while back about the heroes on that ship.)


Forty five years ago on June 8th, 1967, the USS LIBERTY was deliberately attacked by Israel and two thirds of those on board the LIBERTY were either killed or wounded. The cover up began that very day and continues now all these years later. Today’s post commemorates that solemn event and is in three parts.

The third part is by “Cat” who is a long-time supporter of the men of the USS Liberty and who has also produced two haunting songs about what happened on June 8th, 1967. Part 3 is followed by one of her songs…

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1381: When “Ignorant” Peasants Nearly Overthrew the English Monarchy

The Most Revolutionary Act

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that all our history books write the popular revolts out of history. Thanks to the Internet, I’m now learning that revolting against oppression is normal and natural behavior.

This documentary recounts the Peasants Revolt of 1381, a two-week period in which a band of so-called “ignorant peasants” nearly overthrew the English monarchy. In school, we’re taught that John Locke, Rousseau and other intellectuals “re-discovered” democracy (by studying ancient Greece and Rome). This is a bold faced lie. English serfs were fighting for freedom and self-governance as early as 1381.

The Tax Commissioners Who Stuck Their Hands Up Women’s Skirts

The immediate trigger for the uprising was a poll tax,* instituted by the Regent for 14 year-old Richard II, to pay for the 100 Years War against France. Rural peasants were outraged by the manner in which the tax was enforced – tax commissioners stuck…

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Invisible Britain: Book revealing the brutal impact of austerity on 40 UK citizens

“Many of the people who feature in Invisible Britain are grassroots campaigners who work outside of Westminster or local politics. They do their politics on the streets and have been very effective in their work to resist austerity and campaign against injustice.”

Govt Newspeak

Invisible Britain: Book revealing the brutal impact of austerity on 40 UK citizens wins Jeremy Corbyn’s seal of approval.Invisible Britain Portrait 1

Invisible Britain: Portraits is a forthcoming photographic ethnography book featuring stories of hope and resistance from the unheard voices of those affected by government policy from all across the country.

Each unique story will be told in the person’s own voice and accompanied by a portrait from an accomplished documentary photographer. The purpose of the book is to highlight how various social issues have impacted on people’s lives, and to show what individuals have done to resist and campaign against things like austerity, Brexit, deindustrialisation, cuts to public services and the rise in nationalism.

From a veteran of the Battle of Orgreave, to a Muslim woman campaigning against Islamophobia, through to a Cumbrian fell farmer and a Syrian refugee – these are the voices of Invisible Britain: stories that are rarely…

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“A useful and interesting analysis of the law relating to litigation friends, and their duties and responsibilities.
In my experience many solicitors fail properly to explain to litigation friends their duties and responsibilities and liabilities and treat the appointment of a litigation friend as almost a formality.
It most definitely is not.”

Kerry Underwood

In Keays v Executors of the Late Parkinson [2018] EWHC 1006 (Ch) (8 May 2018)

a Chancery Division Master had a rare opportunity to deal with an application to replace a litigation friend under CPR 21.7.

The case involved Flora Keays, the daughter of the late Cecil Parkinson, the politician and Flora was represented by her mother, Sara Keays, in a claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and it was common ground that Flora lacked capacity to conduct the proceedings herself.

The Defendant executors sought to remove Sara Keays as Flora’s litigation friend, on the grounds that she could not fairly and competently conduct proceedings on Flora’s behalf and that she had an interest adverse to Flora’s interest.

Sara Keays did not object in principle to her being removed as litigation friend after the executors had agreed to fund the costs of…

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Behold our new nanny state on steroids!

Govt Newspeak

As the Investigatory Powers Bill passes into law, internet providers will be required to keep a full record of every site that each of its customers have visited

Image result for images of the dark web

Organisations including the Food Standards Agency and the Department for Work and Pensions will be able to see UK citizens’ entire internet browsing history within weeks.

The Investigatory Powers Bill, which was all but passed into law this week, forces internet providers to keep a full list of internet connection records (ICRs) for a year and to make them available to the Government if asked. Those ICRs in effect serve as a full list of every website that people have visited, rather than collecting which specific pages are visited or what’s done on them.

ICRs will be made available to a wide range of government bodies. Those include expected law enforcement organisations such as the police, the military and the secret service…

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All life on Earth, in one staggering chart–VOX

“Yet despite our small biomass among animals, we’ve had an overwhelmingly huge impact on the planet. The chart above represents a massive amount of life. But it doesn’t show what’s gone missing since the human population took off.

The authors of the PNAS article estimate that the mass of wild land mammals is seven times lower than it was before humans arrived (keep in mind it’s difficult to estimate the exact history of the number of animals on Earth). Similarly, marine mammals, including whales, are a fifth of the weight they used to be because we’ve hunted so many to near extinction.

And though plants are still the dominant form of life on Earth, the scientists suspect there used to be approximately twice as many of them — before humanity started clearing forests to make way for agriculture and our civilization.

The census in the PNAS paper isn’t perfect. Though remote sensing, satellites, and huge efforts to study the distribution of life in the ocean make it easier than ever to come up with estimates, the authors admit there’s still a lot of uncertainty. But we do need a baseline understanding of the distribution of life on Earth. Millions of acres of forests are still lost every year. Animals are going extinct 1,000 to 10,000 faster than you’d expect if no humans lived on Earth. Sixty percent of primate species, our closest relatives on the tree of life, are threatened with extinction.

We have to know how much more we stand to lose.”


All life on Earth, in one staggering chart

Scientists estimated the mass of all life. It’s mind boggling.

By weight, human beings are insignificant.

If everyone on the planet were to step on one side of a giant balance scale, and all the bacteria on Earth were to be placed on the other side, we’d shoot violently upward. That’s because all the bacteria on Earth combined are about 1,166 times more massive than all the humans.

Comparisons to other categories of life similarly demonstrate how very, very small we are. As a sweeping new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds, in a census sorting all the life on Earth by weight (measured in gigatons of carbon, the signature element of life on Earth), we make up less than 1 percent of life.

There are an estimated 550 gigatons of…

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#CounterTerrorism: Sajid #Javid’s counter-terrorism plans risk #Britain’s freedom!

Sajid Javid’s counter-terrorism plans risk Britain’s freedom | THE GUARDIAN | 4 June 2018

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has made an astonishing proposal among his raft of strategies to be unveiled today. It is that personal information possessed by MI5 on some 20,000 British “suspected” citizens be declassified and shared with local authorities, police “and others”. This is in order to “counter terrorism”. There is no way such material can possibly stay secret.

Since no one knows if they are on this list, they have no way of countering or correcting false identification or information. No one giving information to the state, including possibly the identity of the giver, will be able to trust its secrecy. Indeed if the list is not declared or even vetted, the suspicion must be that any MI5 intelligence on individuals will no longer be secret. This is not just a police state but an insecure state. Parliament should demand instant clarification.

Nothing is more dangerous to freedom than a new home secretary. He or she is bombarded with ideas from the backwoods of the security industry, ideas that failed to pass muster with his or her predecessors. The industry knows that the newcomer will be desperate to win headlines as “tough on crime”. It will push eagerly for new powers and new controls. Javid appears to have fallen at the first fence.

Some of his proposals are sensible. It is right to combat all conspiracies at their roots, rather than just respond to their consequences. The government’s much-derided Prevent strategy, focusing on radicalisation in schools, prisons and religious institutions, was ham-fisted. But behind almost every terrorist incident is some deed of radicalisation. Prevention at source has to be the way forward, and that relies on intelligence within the community – and trust in that intelligence. But if such prevention is perhaps weakened by a respect for human and civil rights so be it. That is the price of freedom. Home secretaries are entrusted with guarding that freedom.


There were five terrorist incidents in Britain last year. They were massively over-reported, so much so that it is hard to believe imitation did not play a part. A further nine plots were apparently foiled. The security services cannot stop everything, but they are clearly having considerable success and deserve thanks for doing so. But they cannot be the judge of their own powers.

Javid is now in danger of capitulating to terrorism’s prime goal, which is to undermine the liberties and dignities of the state. Britain is utterly obsessed with terrorism – while far more frequent knife crimes are all but ignored. No city in Europe has been rendered as ugly as the West End of London, with its array of gates, barriers, bollards and police armed with automatic weapons. Museums, shops and sporting events must spend fortunes on security checks. At the entrance to parliament, police are instructed to feel inside men’s underpants. I know this from personal experience.

We must be educated to accept a balance of risk. Terrorists aim to change our way of life. They want to show our much-vaunted freedoms and tolerances to be a sham. The one thing not to do is suggest they might be right. That is what Javid is doing today.

 Simon Jenkins is a Guardian staff columnist

Guest post | My thoughts on the role of the IRO | By Ian Dickson

National IRO Managers Partnership

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the National IRO Managers Partnership. 

Guest post byIan Dickson on June 3, 2018

I am a care experienced person. I am also a social worker, and one who spent years managing and then inspecting residential services.

One of the things I have observed over the years is the movement of young people around the care system. I have frequently met the same child in different children’s homes managed by the same company as they were transferred between homes within the company. I have frequently seen the same child in different children’s homes within the same authority as they were moved by virtue of having reached a certain age at which point the authority thought they would be better placed elsewhere more suited to that age. I have inspected children’s care files as…

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#Hegemony #Exceptionalism: #US exempts itself + #Israel from accountability for its own High #Crimes

US Exempts Israeli and Its Own High Crimes from AccountabilityStephen Lendman | 3 June 2018

Throughout their history, Washington and Israel were never held accountable for endless high crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.

Hegemons make their own rules, doing whatever they please, ignoring rule of law principles with impunity – how America always operates, waging endless wars on humanity, seeking dominance over planet earth, its resources and populations.

Along with NATO, Israel is an appendage of Washington’s imperial agenda, a sort of regional cop on the beat serving US interests and its own – including maliciously harming Palestinians, Gazans most of all, ignoring their fundamental rights, holding them hostage to its viciousness with full US support and encouragement.

As expected on June 1, Washington vetoed a Kuwait-drafted Security Council resolution, denouncing “excessive use of force” against (peaceful) Gazan demonstrators by IDF soldiers.

The Trump regime acted alone – 10 SC member-states voting “yes,” four abstaining (Britain, Ethiopia, the Netherlands and Poland – shamefully in deference to Washington and Israel, short of voting “no.”

Following the US veto, Kuwait’s UN envoy said

“(t)he message given by the council today, as it votes against this, is that the occupying power enjoys an exception” to fundamental rule of law principles binding on all nations, adding:

“Why do Palestinians continue to suffer? Why does the international community fail to act? Why does Israel enjoy impunity? Why are all these lives lost and all this blood shed?”

More Palestinian blood was shed on Friday. Volunteer medic Razan Ashraf Najjar was lethally shot in Gaza during another peaceful Great March of Return demonstration, scores more Palestinians injured from live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and toxic tear gas.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry Dr. Asraf al-Qedra, Israeli snipers targeted five medical personnel treating wounded Gazans.

Najjar wore a clearly-marked medic vest, lethally shot for doing her job, treating and helping to evacuate wounded Gazans to a field clinic – standing well inside Israel’s border with Gaza, threatening no one.

She was shot in the back, the bullet (reportedly an exploding dum dum one) shattered her heart, likely killing her instantly, other medics with her wounded.

Since Great March of Return demonstrations began over two months ago, two Gazan medics were killed, 223 others injured, at least 29 from live fire.

According to political activist, human rights champion, Palestinian Medical Relief Society head Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, killing Najjar is one of countless Israeli high crimes of war and against humanity, adding:

Gazan medical teams continue treating wounded Palestinians responsibly despite Israeli state terror.

Responding to Washington’s Friday veto, PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashwari called the action clear proof of its “corrupt and blindfolded support to Israel, so that they can ensure Israel’s crimes and violations against an unarmed civilian population remain unpunished, and continue with impunity,” adding:

“This…reckless behavior reflects the morally corrupt American policies and manifests the arrogance of power used by the United States against international principles.”

“This veto is another sharp blow by the United States targeting justice, and the credibility of the international community, represented by the United Nations” – failing to uphold fundamental international law, applied only to victims of US/Israeli viciousness.

The world community consistently fails to hold Washington and Israel accountable for high crimes too egregious to ignore.

It’s why they get away with mass murder and much more – time and again with no end of it in prospect.

Hegemony A
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