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10,000 CHILDREN RIPPED
FROM THEIR FAMILIES
Sunday July 17,2011
By Ted Jeory, Sunday Express
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
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.
He claims the target set 11 years ago was flawed from the outset because
it contained a fundamental error of maths and he has called for a full
Parliamentary inquiry to prevent further damage.
One victim who had a 15-month-old baby taken from her and two siblings
broke down in tears as she told her story to the Sunday Express, saying:
“When you’re reliving it like this, it’s still as raw as the day
“It was like my heart was ripped out.”
Mr Hemming, who chairs the Justice for Families campaign group and
exposed footballer Ryan Giggs’s misdeeds in Parliament, insists a
“corrupt and secret” family court system shrouds adoption in silence
and away from proper scrutiny.
Mr Blair introduced the controversial adoption formula in the wake of
the abuse and murder of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie in north London
in 2000, ordering a 50 per cent increase in the number of youngsters
placed for adoption from care, and doling out more than £20million to
councils as incentive bonuses to meet his aim.
Mr Hemming an Oxford-educated science scholar, said those rewards caused
many social workers to go hunting for children from broken homes who
could then be pushed through the care system into adoption.
Children were ripped not only from their parents, but also frequently
separated for ever from brothers and sisters.
Though the target was dropped in 2006, Mr Hemming believes it caused a
lasting change in social worker behaviour.
He said: “Tony Blair meant well when he introduced the adoption
targets, but he and many others misunderstood the statistics.
“This is a really big issue. It involves corruption in the courts and
legal system and a complete failure of our child protection system,
which concentrates on getting children adopted rather than protecting
them from harm.”
He said the formula was distorted because instead of comparing the flows
of children in and out of care over a whole year, it focused on a
random, meaningless snapshot by examining the picture on a particular
annual date, March 31.
He said this meant people were duped into believing that barely any
children were being taken from care and placed for adoption, when in
fact the opposite was the case and there was, essentially, no problem to
Between 1995 and 1999 about 2,000 children, most of them under four
years old, left care for adoption each year. As the adoption target
kicked in, those numbers rose to 3,100 in 2001, 3,400 a year later and
peaked at 3,800 in 2004 and 2005, before settling at about 3,200 over
the last two years.
Martin Narey, the Government’s adoption adviser, conceded targets were
wrong but added: “Look at the figures: there were 22,000 adoptions in
1974. Last year, there were just 3,200. We have to make it easier for
Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said yesterday: “This Government
has no intention of setting any new targets. Decisions about whether to
adopt a child must be based on what is best for the child.”
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|“In all of us there
is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are
and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
Alex Haley, Author of Roots