By Andrew Levy
Furious MP uses Parliamentary privilege to accuse council of ‘kidnapping’ nine-week-old baby from parents
Social workers who forced a couple to give up their 11-week-old baby for adoption have been accused of ‘child kidnap’ by an MP.
Staff waited until the girl’s father was out before launching a raid with police at the family home to ‘snatch the baby from the arms of her mother’.
Tory MP Tim Yeo used Parliamentary privilege to make the allegations in the Commons, saying Suffolk County Council had declared the couple to be unfit parents despite having no evidence of physical or emotional abuse.
‘This council actively seeks opportunities to remove babies from their mothers,’ he added.
‘Its social work staff do so in a manner which in my view is sometimes tantamount to child kidnapping.’
In a further claim, Mr Yeo told the Daily Mail that social services became involved only because the woman’s former husband had successfully sought custody of their son previously.
He alleged the ex-husband’s girlfriend, who works for Essex social services, had contacted a friend at Suffolk social services and a ‘ spurious’ concern over the mother’s parenting skills was concocted around an occasion when she refused to send her son to school.
The parents, who can see their daughter only once a month on a supervised visit, now plan to flee abroad because the mother is pregnant again and is terrified the new child will also be taken away.
Using fake names to protect the family’s identities, Mr Yeo said: ‘Carissa and Jim have not managed their lives particularly well but that does not disqualify them from being good parents.
Mr Yeo told MPs: ‘The fact that no fault could be found in the physical and emotional care provided by her parents did not deter the council from destroying this fragile family.
‘On October 27 last year, council staff – having ensured that Jim would be away from home – accompanied by police, arrived unannounced and snatched Poppy from the arms of her distraught mother.’
A legal battle was raging over her removal, he added, and throughout the process the council had repeatedly changed its grounds for intervening, alternating between blaming one parent and then the other.
‘The first doctor’s psychological assessment of Carissa declared she qualified for a diagnosis of factitious disorder [formerly known as Munchausen’s by proxy],’ he said.
‘Then a consultant forensic psychiatrist, after the briefest of assessments, decided that she fulfilled the criteria for the much more catch-all narcissistic personality disorder.
‘The first doctor assessed that Jim was ‘a pathological liar’ but later a consultant clinical psychologist ‘would not endorse the expression’.
‘The final favoured rationale given by social services for Poppy’s adoption order was based on nothing more than the possibility of future emotional abuse.’
By Steve Doughty
Home-schooling parents may face criminal record checks
Parents who teach their own children at home must undergo criminal records checks, say Government education inspectors.
The estimated 40,000 parents who choose not to send their children to school should be vetted, says Ofsted.
It said that parents whose records throw up suspicions should be barred from teaching their own children.
Vetting to root out any record of violence against children would be by the Criminal Records Bureau.
It would reveal to local authorities parents’ criminal convictions, cautions and warnings, and even information that did not lead to a criminal conviction.
It would also show any unproven complaints noted by the controversial new Independent Safeguarding Authority, set up to vet adults working with other people’s children.
Parents who fail the checks could also find themselves receiving attention from child protection social workers.
If accepted by ministers, the Ofsted rules would be the first state attempt to investigate and vet ordinary parents over the way they bring up their own children.
The proposal brought fierce protests from family campaigners.
Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust said: ‘It is sheer madness for Ofsted to suggest that parents should be required to undergo CRB checks to be with their children between the hours of 9am and 3pm from Monday to Friday during term-time.
‘If it is deemed unsafe for children to be with their parents during normal school hours, it is equally unsafe for them to be with their parents in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays.
‘If Ofsted are calling for CRB checks for home-educating parents now, how long will it be before they are demanding that all parents are CRB-checked?’
Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank said: ‘You can no longer be a parent without a piece of paper from the state. This is a monstrous idea and it shows the danger of taking things to logical extremes.’
The right of parents to educate their children at home has been enshrined in law since 1944.
Parents have until now not had to register with councils or tell them what they are teaching.