More British Government Baby Stealing

The British government continues to steal newborns from their mothers, including a rape victim, according to the London Telegraph. 

Hexham Children’s Services in Northumberland County plans to seize the newborn of 22-year-old Fran Lyon, who suffered eating disorders after being raped at age 16.  The government claims that it is therefore possible that she will subject her yet-to-be-born child to “emotional abuse.”  (She is a gainfully employed charity worker who recovered from her emotional problems sufficiently to earn a degree in neuroscience).

In Britain, as in the United States, local governments receive financial incentives to adopt out children.  These incentives are provided by national governments to encourage local governments to find homes for children already in foster care or orphanages. 

But it hasn’t worked out as planned.  It is much easier for local governments to get members of the public to adopt newborns (seized from parents) than it is to get them to adopt older children who have already spent years in foster care and who may have behavioral problems as a result.  So local governments have an incentive to seize children from loving homes in order to reap adoption bonuses.

And that is exactly what is happening in Britain, as I have previously written, where many newborns have been seized from perfectly normal families by child welfare officials.  For example, the London Daily Mail reported that one newborn was seized because officials thought her mother might yell at the child if she was permitted to keep her. 

In America, at least, child protective services tends to wait until well after birth to seize children from their parents, in response to some allegation of “abuse.”  Sometimes that “abuse” is not really abuse, since child welfare officials often view conduct such as spanking, home schooling, allowing children to play outside unsupervised, and non-threatening yelling as “abuse,” even if such conduct violates no criminal laws.  However, if the seizure is obviously baseless, American parents can sue the child welfare officials involved under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for infringing their parental rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. 

All too often, ill-conceived government policies are justified on the grounds that “it’s for the children,” even though those policies end up hurting children.