Businessman helps pregnant women to flee the UK
In early 2000, Ian Josephs began Forced Adoption, a campaign against an existing United Kingdom system whereby social workers take children from their mothers for adoption. His website, Forced Adoption, describes cases of parents who have lost their children to this scheme that is worth 2 billion pounds per year and whose hearings take place in a secret tribunal. Based in the south of France, Josephs, an 82-year-old British businessman with a degree in law, became known in the 1960s when, as a county counselor, he led dozens of children back to their parents. Now, he offers financial help to pregnant mothers to flee the UK. “I’ve got five children who are all working for me now. And I am in a better position to help people financially,” says Josephs.
CartaCapital: You pay for pregnant women whose children are to be taken by the social services to flee the United Kingdom. What if you are helping the wrong people?
Ian Josephs: I give you two answers to that. First, any lawyer will tell you that everybody is entitled to get advice. I don’t judge. Second, I only help pregnant women who are going to have their children taken away to flee the country. No mother deserves this treatment. If they are able to outwit the system and go abroad, they are only fleeing to avoid forced adoption. If they go to Ireland and France, I make them contact the social services right away. It only costs me from 100 up to 300 pounds per case. They ring me up, then they have to show me a letter saying that the social services want to take their baby at birth, send me something saying that they are pregnant, and show me a receipt for how much their travel costs. I only pay for the travel. Even if I paid for the apartment for everybody, it is not so expensive. I probably do this about a dozen times a year. So it might cost me about 3,000 pounds a year, that’s all. That’s what I can afford.
CC: Why is it only Great Britain that systematically practices forced adoption in Europe?
IJ: I don’t know why it is so much worse in the United Kingdom. But there are some reasons that keep the system intact. The National Foster Agency, which was founded by a couple of social workers, was recently sold for over 130 million pounds. Fosterers get 590 pounds per week per child. Tax free. Even if you are a good parent you don’t spend that much money on your child.
CC: So agencies are the real big money earners?
IJ: I’d say it is about equal. Agencies such as The National Foster Agency I just cited get a lot of money. But people running special schools for children who run away from foster care to get back to their parents also make a great deal of money. They charge 4,000 to 5,000 pounds a week. The whole system is worth over 2 billion pounds a year.
CC: Why are social workers seen as monsters?
IJ: Just as a policeman is supposed to make a certain number of arrests in a month, a social worker has to take some children away from their parents. They console themselves with the money they make. Good social workers quit their jobs. Any social worker who remains in the job is part of the system. Some, of course, might be sincere. But the sad fact is that things are not what they seem to be. Ironically, social services were formed to support families and try to keep them together. However, the first thing social workers do is to split them up. Social workers now talk about “protection” of the child.
CC: Speaking about protection, what do you make of the very idea of a secret Court of Protection to judge women who in most cases are considered not mentally fit to raise their children?
IJ: It is terrible because they misconstrue the Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Act article 8 states that every person has the right to a private family life, and in most countries it is interpreted as intended to protect the families against state interference. The British judges say, ‘No it is to protect the State against the family.’ If the family interferes with the life of a baby they can go to jail. Nowadays these parents are not allowed to talk about their cases to the media, otherwise they often end up in jail. The courts ‘protect’ the children, not the family. But with all the flaws parents may in several cases have, they do not justify giving their child to strangers. Besides, the majority of institutions aren’t good. What is more, 10,000 children a year disappear in the UK. The number of children who die in care is very high.
CC: One of the phrases you use the most is ‘punishment without crime is wrong.’ How can you change this system?
IJ: It is not legal to take a woman’s child. It is a crime. It is as simple as that. When I was a county counselor in the 1960s, magistrates were on the side of the parents. Nowadays there is a lot of secrecy. The judges are in favor of the social services. They call ‘tame’ psychiatrists, who work for the courts and for nobody else. If the psychiatrists say a parent is wonderful, they would have no job. They earn anything from a minimum of 5,000 up to 28,000 pounds for writing a report on a mother. They don’t want to lose their business. So they have to write the right sort of report. And the type of questions the psychiatrists are asked are like, ‘Does the mother realize how much of a danger she is to the children?’ The psychiatrists respond: ‘Yes, she thinks she does, she should have counseling, she realizes how much of a danger she is.’ The question begs for an answer that the mother is not good for the child.
CC: You say there ‘is a war between the parents and the social workers who take their children.’
IJ: If someone wants to take your child it is a war. It is a terrible thing. I am a man just like you, but there is no greater attachment than that between a mother and a child that has just been born. If a parent does not commit a crime or is not completely insane, how can you justify taking their child? What is the sense of having laws if you are punished even if you don’t break them? If a father is an alcoholic and abuses his child, that’s a crime. If a 3-year-old is left alone at home all day, that’s a crime. If a child does not go to school, that’s a crime. Before they invented social workers in 1948, that’s the way it was. You had to do something bad to lose your child.