John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, December 21, 2008
  ARW - a Mum on the run with her children
The link is to the story in the Sunday Telegraph today about a mother who was "on the run" with two children having been persecuted by the Family Courts in England and Wales.

She (ARW) is not on the run any more. She has decided to "stand and fight". Her 6 year old son (L) is settled in school in the Republic of Ireland. Her baby son Marco is very well.

The local Social Workers came to see ARW on Friday and confirmed that everyone is well and no children are at risk.

However, Devon County Council have indicated that they want to remove L from his mother and brother and put him in foster care in England.

This case is much like the one highlighted by The Times.

The reason for L being "in care" is as ludicrous as that for "S" in the other case.

In both cases mum left the country whilst pregnant in part because of the threat of removing the unborn baby at birth.

In ARW's case the argument was that L suffered "emotional abuse" as a result of witnessing his father assaulting his mother. According to Womens Aid what is supposed to happen is that the father is to kept away rather than the child removed from the mother. However, that is not what has happened.

We then present ourselves with a legal question.

Section 1 of the 1989 Childrens Act is quite clear

1 Welfare of the child (1) When a court determines any question with respect to—
(a) the upbringing of a child; or
(b) the administration of a child’s property or the application of any income arising from it,
the child’s welfare shall be the court’s paramount consideration.
(2) In any proceedings in which any question with respect to the upbringing of a child arises, the court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay in determining the question is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child.
(3) In the circumstances mentioned in subsection (4), a court shall have regard in particular to—
(a) the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding);
(b) his physical, emotional and educational needs;
(c) the likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances;
(d) his age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
(e) any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
(f) how capable each of his parents, and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs;
(g) the range of powers available to the court under this Act in the proceedings in question.
(4) The circumstances are that—
(a) the court is considering whether to make, vary or discharge a section 8 order, and the making, variation or discharge of the order is opposed by any party to the proceedings; or
(b) the court is considering whether to make, vary or discharge an order under Part IV.
(5) Where a court is considering whether or not to make one or more orders under this Act with respect to a child, it shall not make the order or any of the orders unless it considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.


What this means is that there should not be any attempt to force L to return to England unless it benefits L. It is also 100% clear that it would not benefit L for him to be arrested and imprisoned in this way.

Previously these actions have occured without any commentary. However, in this case there will be a commentary. It will be interesting to see whether the court puts the interests of the child first or the interests of the court. I have challenged the government on this and the civil servants' response is that the system is more important than any child and mothers cannot be permitted to "get away with" removing children from care.

Obviously with a live case it becomes possible to challenge the government ministers as to whether they support the actions being taken.
ARW, L and Marco
ARW, L and Marco.
 
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