A new report has found that over the past 7 years family courts have removed successive babies from their mothers. It is the first report of its kind to be published.
7,143 mothers had more than one infant removed by the family courts and this affected 22,790 children.
In most cases infants were removed very soon after birth if the mother or father had already had one child removed. Drug and alcohol problems were the main causes for the removal of infants.
Some judges have reported that the some mothers have had up to 15 infants removed by the family courts. In general the first child will be removed when the mother is young, in her early twenties or younger, and the mother then gets stuck in a successive destructive cycle.
The emphasis now is on how to break this cycle and support at-risk mothers during pregnancy. This is an expensive process, but far cheaper and better for families than local authorities removing a child and putting the child in foster care.
Various different schemes are being trialled throughout the country with some reports of success. It is hoped that educating mothers about the risks of drugs and alcohol, parenting skills and giving them the support that they need in order to overcome addiction.