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Cultural disputes increase in child care proceedings as migration to the UK rises

The number of people migrating to the UK is on the increase according to figures from the Office of National Statistics which estimated that 243,000 moved to the UK during the year up to the end of March 2014, a significant increase from 175,000 in the previous 12 months.

As the social landscape changes, with a notable rise in people coming from Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, cultural disputes in child care proceedings are becoming more prevalent.

Commonly known as ‘forced adoption’, the UK is one of only four countries in the world which implements the practice in cases where children are removed from their parents following thorough investigation procedures resulting in the courts identifying them as being at risk.

Sadly, figures published by the British Association of Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) have shown that the number of children placed into the care of local authorities has risen to 68,840 in 2014 compared with 68,060 in the previous year.

Of those, 5% were placed into adoption.

‘Forced adoption’ is a last resort with other options such as placing children with family members, foster carers, children’s homes or residential schools a preferred interim option putting the needs and welfare of the child first.

Child proceedings involving ‘forced adoption’ in this country are carried out in accordance with UK law and only implemented when a child has been deemed as being at serious risk which includes instances where there is substance abuse in the home, mental illness or poor standards of living or unacceptable behaviours such as smacking which are often in conflict with accepted standards and cultural norms.

Recent examples have included children from families originating from Eastern Europe who have been removed from their home due to significantly poor living conditions. In some circumstances, the families have disputed this on the grounds that their current living standards are higher than those in their country of origin.

Other disputes have arisen involving families originally from cultures where smacking remains a day-to-day practice of child discipline however, in the UK this is no longer acceptable and can be grounds for removing a child from the family home if significant abuse is proven.

Regardless of country of origin, state or ‘forced’ adoption is an upsetting and sensitive time for all involved. However, the needs and safety of the child are paramount. Linder Myers’ team of child proceedings specialists work closely with families to explain the reasons behind the decision by the courts to place their child into adoption.

The team are passionate about keeping families together where possible, and work hard with parents and wider family members to gain access to the child in special circumstances. For families who make the UK their new home, it’s important to understand that in situations involving the health and wellbeing of a child, the laws in this country are those which will be applied.

Child proceedings experts at Linder Myers are committed to both protecting vulnerable children and protecting the wellbeing of the family as a whole. Our specialists have extensive experience in working with families who find themselves in these circumstances.

Our team will not judge and fully understand the upset and sensitivity of these matters and will advise of the best options available. For a confidential, free chat, please contact our specialist child proceedings team.

Find out more about our Family department Read ‘The parent’s guide to forced adoption’

Written by Tony Broadley. Find out more about Tony here.

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