This is a long email but full of information. It includes:
- Our letter published in the Guardian
- Lobbying the Lords – their names and numbers
- A model letter you can use to make your case. A number of mothers have written in from their own experience and are getting good responses!
- If you have any questions email us back or call us on: 020 7482 2496.
Children & Social Work Bill – back in the Lords on Tues 8 Nov
This is a charter for rape and social cleansing. We must stop it.
The Bill we have been opposing since the summer is back in the House of Lords for report stage on Tuesday 8 November at 3pm. We need as many people as possible to email or call expressing their strong opposition to the Bill – not only to privatisation but to all its measures, particularly the push for adoption.
Our letter signed by five organisations, making these points and exposing some of the corruption driving this Bill, was published in the Guardian on 25 October.
Family support at risk from children’s bill
“The national child abuse inquiry was set up in response to a massive survivors’ movement to examine how and why local authorities and others failed to protect children. Even before it started, the government wanted to exempt these institutions from public scrutiny. The Children and Social Work Bill would enable local authorities to remove statutory protections from the most vulnerable – children in custody and in care (Social workers row over children’s bill, 19 October). Given the history, this amounts to a rapists’ charter”.
Privatisation passes for innovation. Isabelle Trowler, chief social worker for children and families and chief promoter of the bill, co-founded Morning Lane, a private company working with 25 local authorities. KPMG, which partners Morning Lane, has been awarded a £2m government contract. When questioned, Trowler dismissed it as “peanuts”. But the children’s social work budget is estimated at £6.5bn, and Credit Suisse and others are behind private companies like Frontline, which are already training social workers.
We share the horror of whistleblowers and Together for Children that child protection services may be privatised. But we seem to be alone in objecting to the bill promoting adoption as the “gold standard” and to resources going to “corporate parenting” while impoverished families get nothing.
There isn’t even a duty to consult children and their mothers about their feelings and wishes. The life-long trauma of separation, however hidden, to children and biological families, is hardly mentioned. Britain already has the highest adoption rate in Europe – 90% without the consent of the birth families.
We hold monthly self-help meetings with mothers struggling to keep their children from social workers instructed to prioritise adoption and foster care. Some mothers lose their children after reporting domestic violence – penalised for “failing to protect” them.
Others are young, scared and inexperienced – penalised for “failing to convince” that they could be “capable” parents while a wealthier family waits to take their child. All are low-income families, many with precarious housing, learning difficulties or a disability, many black or immigrant. The incentives to discriminate will vastly increase with privatisation.
Cristel Amiss Black Women’s Rape Action Project firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Neale Legal Action for Women email@example.com
Lisa Longstaff Women Against Rape firstname.lastname@example.org
Nina Lopez Global Women’s Strike email@example.com
Kim Sparrow Single Mothers’ Self-Defence firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Care reported that the government has admitted “errors in its handling of [Isabelle Trowler] the chief social worker’s ‘conflict of interest’.
This bill is being debated just as the benefit cap comes in: 88,000 families may be left with not enough money for rent and food; 500,000 children impoverished. No one knows how many will then be taken into care or adopted as their parents are accused of “neglect” for no longer being able to keep a roof over their heads!
The Bill can be defeated but we need to be mobilise now as it comes back to the Lords and when it goes to the Commons.
The emails and numbers of the people to contact are also below. You can also sign a petition against the Bill – Protect the rights of vulnerable children and care leavers.
Anne, Cristel, Kim, Lisa, Nina
I am totally opposed to the Children and Social Work. As a mother/grandmother/dad/teacher/concerned person… use your own experience and the points below to make your case.
● The government push for adoption is cruel and traumatic to children and families, especially mothers and grandmothers.
● It disregards children’s views, wishes and feelings about the people they love and want to live and/or have contact with.
● There is no support for mothers and kinship carers (family and friends) only for adoptive and foster parents.
● It discriminates against low income families, who are most likely to have their children taken into care, especially with the benefit cap and other cuts. Some are also families of colour and/or disabled, discriminated on that basis too.
● Children in care are four times more likely to experience mental health difficulties.
● Removing statutory protections and privatising children’s services is a charter for rape and social cleansing.
I urge you to support the following amendments to the Children & Social Work Bill, but also to speak out for children and their birth families and demand that financial support be available to keep families together rather than to tear us apart.
Your name, etc…
Children and Social Work Bill amendments
After CL 9, AMDT 33, New Clause: Profit-making and children’s social services functions
After CL 9 AMDT 35, New Clause: Duty to report on outcomes
After CL 28, AMDT 52, New Clause: Whistleblowing arrangement in relation to looked after children and children at risk
After CL 28, AMDT 53, New Clause: Public interest disclosure in relation to looked after children and children at risk
AMDT 57, leave out CL 29
AMDT 58, leave out CL 30
AMDT 64, leave out CL 31
AMDT 66, leave out CL 32
AMDT 68, leave out CL 33
After CL 33: AMDT 69, New Clause: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
After CL 33: AMDT 70, New Clause: Safeguarding Unaccompanied Refugee Children
After CL 40: AMDT 72, New Clause: Whistleblowing arrangement in relation to social workers
After CL 40: AMDT 73, New Clause: Public interest disclosure by social workers
Lords names and emails
Leading on amendments are Lords Watson (Lab), Lord Hunt (Lab), Lord Ramsbotham (Crossbench) and Baroness Pinnock (Lib Dem).