14 Children taken in sequence into care
The linked story is to The Sunday Times' take on the same story reported previously.
Clearly a proportion of newborn babies taken into care are from mothers who are addicted to drugs. One of the saddest cases I met, however, was a mother in an assessment centre who had cleaned up, but the system was still trying to remove her child.
There is also the question as to whether or not it is the best way of handling things to simply remove each child at birth. This, after all, is not what is done in Scotland.
One of the advantages we have from a social science perspective in the UK is that there are different approaches in Scotland and England. This gives the unusual possibility of a control experiment (after all what is being done in both places is an experiment). Let me make myself clear in that I don't think what is done in Scotland is perfect, but it is a lot better than England.
The issue of addicted parents is a distasteful issue for people to discuss, but it is a very important issue. Simplistic approaches such as removing the children from families where either parent has taken for example cocaine would result in Boris Johnson MP losing his children. These are non starters as suggestions.
It is quite clear, however, that this cannot be left as a general issue to be resolved in secret in the mixture of local authorities and courts. Although there is no reason to identify the people concerned there is a good reason to consider the general principles based on a range of real stories.
One big problem with family law is that things are supposed to be done "in the best interests of the child". That is fair enough, but we don't have any rules to determine what is in the best interests of children hence it ends up as a subjective decision by the people in charge (Childrens Services, Judges).
A useful part of the article that I had not previously sourced is this:"Researchers at Brunel University who studied care cases in four London boroughs found that 34% were caused by drug or alcohol abuse by parents, the biggest single factor. Of 186 children taken from 100 families because of this dependency, 67 had one or both parents addicted to crack cocaine."
That does not substantiate the argument used by defenders of the current system that the increase in newborn babies being taken into care is all as a consequence of substance abuse.