Child Protection or Child Trafficking for Anthony Douglas?

The request was partially successful.

LS Palmer (Account suspended)

Dear Solihull Borough Council,

The standard letter from the Department of Education states:

"The law is clear: children should live with their parents wherever possible and, when necessary, families should be given extra support to help keep them together. In most cases, support from the local authority enables any concerns to be addressed and children remain with their families."

S17 of the Children Act places a duty on Children's Services to assist families in need.

Please could you provide a year by year breakdown since 2003 of how much of your budget has been allocated for assisting families in need and give general information as to what that budget is spent on.

Please could you further provide a year by year breakdown of how much of your budget is allocated to families subject to 'care proceedings'.

Please confirm you abide by the following laws:

1. All families subject to care proceedings have had the benefit of a Residential Family Assessment before the child's permanent removal in accordance with L (A Child) and H (A Child) [2007] EWCA Civ 213 which held:

"before removing children from their natural families and placing them for adoption with strangers the court should be astute to ensure that the case had been fully investigated and that all the relevant evidence necessary for the decision was in Place, Art 6 of the ECHR required it…..There would of course be cases in which a s38(6) assessment would be a waste of public funds: parents who had inflicted injuries on their child but had failed to acknowledge their responsibility or a woman who did not accept that a paedophile partner was a risk to the child"

2. All parents who are guilty of abusing/neglecting their children to the extent that nothing short of removal from the parents will protect the children from SIGNIFICANT HARM have been convicted of a criminal offence for abuse/neglect and have been referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

Please provide a positive or negative affirmation in relation to the following statements:

3. That since removal of children from the parents no child in the care of the Local Authority has:
a. Suffered sexual abuse
b. Suffered physical abuse.
c. Suffered emotional abuse.
(In this respect data referring to convictions/complaints of misconduct of social workers/foster carers/care workers and statistics relating to child suicides/children running away would provide the relevant assertion as to whether or not children were suffering 'in care')

4. That since removal of the children from the parents no child in the care of the Local Authority has been used for medical testing or registered on any program by the NIHR, MRCN or any other medical research program without the explicit consent from the biological parent.

5. That since removal of the children from the parents the children have been raised in the same faith they would have been raised in if they had not been removed from their parents.

6. That no child has been returned to the care of the local authority post adoption.

7. That no child in the care of the Local Authority has been criminalised, ie gained a criminal record having not previously had a criminal record while in the care of their biological parents.

Yours faithfully,

LS Palmer

Summerill, Joanne (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Palmer

Freedom of Information request - Ref 2538

Thank you for your request for information, which we received on 18
January 2011. Your request is being considered under the terms of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and we will aim to provide you
with a response by 15 February 2011.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. If this is the case
you will be advised of any considerations, subsequent decisions and your
rights of appeal. There may be a fee payable for this information. This
will be considered and you will be informed if a fee is payable.

Most of the information that we provide in response to FOIA requests will
be subject to copyright protection. In most cases the copyright will be
owned by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. The copyright in other
information may be owned by another person or organisation, as indicated
in the information itself. You are free to use any information supplied
for your own use including news reporting. However, any other type of
re-use, for example, commercial use, publishing the information or issuing
copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner.

Advice on the Freedom of Information Act is available from the Information
Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website:
[1]http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Summerill

Information Governance Assistant

Information Governance Team

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Tel: 0121 704 6169

Email [2][email address]

Website: [3]http://www.solihull.gov.uk

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2. mailto:[email address]
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Summerill, Joanne (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear L S Palmer

Freedom of Information request - Ref No 2538

I am writing further to your request for information, which we received on
18 January 2011. Please find our response to your questions below.

The standard letter from the Department of Education states:

"The law is clear: children should live with their parents wherever
possible and, when necessary, families should be given extra support to
help keep them together. In most cases, support from the local authority
enables any concerns to be addressed and children remain with their
families."

S17 of the Children Act places a duty on Children's Services to assist
families in need. Please could you provide a year by year breakdown since
2003 of how much of your budget has been allocated for assisting families
in need and give general information as to what that budget is spent on.

S17 spend has been separately accounted for since 2008/09 and spend
for that year was £681k. In 2009/10 it was £735k and is budgeted at
£746k in 2010/11. This funding is used as flexibly as possible to provide
support for families including the provision of day care, essential items
such food, nappies, clothing, cooker or washing machine, activities,
transport to enable access to activities/day care etc.

Please could you further provide a year by year breakdown of how much of
your budget is allocated to families subject to 'care proceedings'.

There is no separate allocation and costs are funded from a number of
budgets within Children's Services.

Please confirm you abide by the following laws:

1. All families subject to care proceedings have had the benefit of a
Residential Family Assessment before the child's permanent removal in
accordance with L (A Child) and H (A Child) [2007] EWCA Civ 213 which
held:

"before removing children from their natural families and placing them for
adoption with strangers the court should be astute to ensure that the case
had been fully investigated and that all the relevant evidence necessary
for the decision was in Place, Art 6 of the ECHR required it.....There
would of course be cases in which a s38(6) assessment would be a waste of
public funds: parents who had inflicted injuries on their child but had
failed to acknowledge their responsibility or a woman who did not accept
that a paedophile partner was a risk to the child"

Residential assessment is one form of parenting assessment. We can
confirm that all cases are thoroughly investigated and fully assessed
using all relevant evidence before being presented to Court for a decision
regarding adoption.

2. All parents who are guilty of abusing/neglecting their children to the
extent that nothing short of removal from the parents will protect the
children from SIGNIFICANT HARM have been convicted of a criminal offence
for abuse/neglect and have been referred to the Independent Safeguarding
Authority.

The Local Authority does not have the power to convict individuals. Where
a criminal act is believed to have been committed, police will investigate
and all decisions relating to prosecution are taken by the Crown
Prosecution Service. The Independent Safeguarding Authority is currently
suspended. However its remit is to only consider referrals that are
related to safeguarding children or vulnerable adults in

the workplace (including volunteers). This will not apply to most
parents.

Please provide a positive or negative affirmation in relation to the
following statements:

3. That since removal of children from the parents no child in the care of
the Local Authority has:

a. Suffered sexual abuse

b. Suffered physical abuse.

c. Suffered emotional abuse.

(In this respect data referring to convictions/complaints of
misconduct of social workers/foster carers/care workers and statistics
relating to child suicides/children running away would provide the
relevant assertion as to whether or not children were suffering 'in care')

Children and Young People in the care of the Local Authority range from
0-18 and are as exposed to risk in the wider community as any other child
or young person. It is impossible to eliminate all risk.

4. That since removal of the children from the parents no child in the
care of the Local Authority has been used for medical testing or
registered on any program by the NIHR, MRCN or any other medical research
program without the explicit consent from the biological parent.

True.

5. That since removal of the children from the parents the children have
been raised in the same faith they would have been raised in if they had
not been removed from their parents.

Information not available.

6. That no child has been returned to the care of the local authority post
adoption.

False.

7. That no child in the care of the Local Authority has been criminalised,
i.e. gained a criminal record having not previously had a criminal record
while in the care of their biological parents."

False.

I hope that the information that we have provided is to your
satisfaction. You are free to use any information supplied for your own
use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may
also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type
of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to
the public will require the permission of the copyright owner. For
information on how to apply for permission where the copyright is owned by
the Council please refer to the Council's website
[1]http://www.solihull.gov.uk/democracy/pub.... For
information where the copyright is owned by another person or
organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their
permission.

If you are unhappy with the service that you have received in relation to
your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our
decision you should write to Andrew Shipway, Corporate Information
Governance Manager, PO Box 18, Council House, Solihull, West Midlands B91
9QS or email [2][Solihull Borough Council request email] by 1 March 2011. We aim to deal
with complaints and reviews within 10 working days.

If you are not content with the outcome of your review or complaint, you
may apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a
decision. Generally the ICO cannot make a decision until you have
exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website:
[3]http://www.ico.gov.uk.

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact
me.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Summerill

Information Governance Assistant

Information Governance Team

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Tel: 0121 704 6169

Email [4][email address]

Website: [5]http://www.solihull.gov.uk

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/democracy/pub...
2. mailto:[Solihull Borough Council request email]
3. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/

LS Palmer (Account suspended)

Dear Summerill, Joanne (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC),

You have stated that you do not have the ability to convict parents of abuse/neglect but you thoroughly investigate a case before a child is taken for adoption.

Other than abuse/neglect what other reason are you allowed to permanently remove a child from their parents? As abuse and neglect are both crimes do you ensure that your investigation of the case includes the abuse/neglect allegation being tried in a criminal court? If not why not? If there is not enough evidence to criminally convict a parent for abuse/neglect how can you say there is enough evidence to permanently remove a child from their parents?

Yours sincerely,

LS Palmer

Summerill, Joanne (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear L S Palmer

Thank you for these follow up questions to your Freedom of Information
request.  We are currently dealing with them and will get back to you.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Summerill

Information Governance Assistant

Information Governance Team

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Tel: 0121 704 6169

Email [1][email address]

Website: [2]http://www.solihull.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Summerill, Joanne (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear L S Palmer

I am writing further to your follow up questions to your Freedom of
Information request. Please find our response to your questions below.

. You have stated that you do not have the ability to convict
parents of abuse/neglect but you thoroughly investigate a case before a
child is taken for adoption. Other than abuse/neglect what other reason
are you allowed to permanently remove a child from their parents?

The Local Authority can only remove children from the care of their
parents (where those parents are not in agreement) through the making of a
court order. A court may only make a care order if it is satisfied--

(a) that the child concerned is suffering, or is likely to suffer,
significant harm; and

(b) that the harm, or likelihood of harm, is attributable to--

(i) the care given to the child, or likely to be given to him if the order
were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to
give to him (section 31 Children Act 1989).

If this test is satisfied, the court then challenges the Local Authority
on their plans for the child. Only when satisfied that the plans will
meet the long term best interests of the child will they make a Placement
Order allowing the child to be placed for adoption.

. As abuse and neglect are both crimes do you ensure that your
investigation of the case includes the abuse/neglect allegation being
tried in a criminal court? If not why not? If there is not enough
evidence to criminally convict a parent for abuse/neglect how can you say
there is enough evidence to permanently remove a child from their parents?

As previously stated, the Local Authority does not have the power to
convict individuals. Where a criminal act is believed to have been
committed, police will investigate and all decisions relating to
prosecution are taken by the Crown Prosecution Service. Whenever there is
reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to
suffer, significant harm there should be a strategy discussion involving
Local Authority children's social care, the police, health and other
bodies as appropriate (Working Together 2010). It is the role of the
police to determine whether a criminal enquiry is required, and ultimately
the Crown Prosecution Service decides whether charges should be brought.
The social work assessment considers all aspects of the child's needs
together with the parents' ability to meet these thus some parents with
convictions may continue to have their child living with them if
circumstances have changed and safeguarding concerns satisfactorily
addressed whilst those without convictions whose lifestyle and behaviour
consistently put the children at risk may lose the care of those children.

I hope that this response is now satisfactory.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Summerill

Information Governance Assistant

Information Governance Team

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Tel: 0121 704 6169

Email [1][email address]

Website: [2]http://www.solihull.gov.uk

show quoted sections

References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/

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