Adoption was once voluntary, reserved for unmarried mothers and Church Adoption agencies surviving on charitable donations and the support of religious founders.
Then the Adoption Act 1976 made Local Authorities responsible for all adoptions and allowed adoption to be forced if a parent was acting unreasonably .
A once private, voluntary, and very personal matter was now controlled by the State.
And has grown into a multi million pound Corporate industry with over 90% of adoptions forced to strangers.
As only those in the care system are available, the definition of ‘harm’ has been extended ever wider effectively now allowing the state to decide who can parent.
How could this have happened ?
Tony Blair knew there was a shortage of children to satisfy the ever increasing social need for family units.
And this basic need could be financially and socially exploited.
Within 2 years of his Premiership he set upon a personal mission as his father was adopted to transform adoption.
Vowing to increase the number to 40% of those in care by 2004/5.
So began the biggest shake-up of adoption for 25 years launched with military precision.
£66.5m was provided to English LAs.
Financial allowances for adoptive parents and a streamlined systems were introduced.
LA adoption scorecards with national targets were introduced.
Councils were put under a legal duty to consider adoption within just six months of a child entering care, be it on a voluntary or on an enforced basis.
Allowing little time for ‘rehabilitation’ back to their birth parents.
A national adoption register was created matching children with potential parents.
Adopters were given the right to an independent review if rejected.
They were no longer ‘automatically excluded from adoption on grounds of age, health or other factors, except in the case of certain criminal convictions”.
CAFCASS was created to represent the interests of children in court proceedings..
The then and continuing Chair of the British Adoption and Fostering Agency, whose purpose was to promote adoption and fostering was made the chief executive of CAFCASS.
Every child was represented in court by a CAFCASS guardian who assessed his welfare for the courts.
Such was our common law’s abhorrence to the alienation of a parent’s right to their own children, adoption without consent had not been introduced until 1976.
But under Blair’s Adoption and Children Act 2002 parents had no rights.
The Act placed a ‘child’s needs’ at the centre of the adoption process, aligning adoption law with the ‘welfare principle’ in the Children Act 1989, allowing the state to dispense with a parent’s consent whenever it thought it necessary in a child’s welfare.
This welfare was based on the expansive threshold criteria in Childrens Act 1989, further extended by a new welfare checklist in s 1, ACA 2002.
But this list didn’t mention a parent’s right to their own children under s 8 HRA, nor their relationship with younger children, as parents were deemed not to have any meaningful relationship with their own children, particularly as those parents were cast as abusers and/or incapable.
This was despite expert evidence that any interference with the bonding process in a child’s early years could result in a serious development disorder resulting in highly disturbed and distinctive patterns of behaviour, which was increasingly being diagnosed in adopted children.
Nor was the affect of root cutting, adoption per se and adoption breakdown in the list.
In fact the loss of a parent’s right to his child and that child’s right to his natural family was barely debated in Parliament, despite our adoption laws already at that time resulting in more permanent removals in the world, except for the US and Portugal being the only other European country to allow adoption without consent.
This draconian approach to family welfare and disregard of parents’ rights was also in stark contrast to the European Court of Human Rights’ decisions.
Which made a clear distinction between taking a child into care, where the European courts were prepared to give domestic authorities a wide margin of appreciation and was not normally in breach of Art 8, P, C and S v The United Kingdom  35 EHRR 31, as
“a temporary measure to be discontinued as soon as circumstances permit”
And the removal of parental rights by adoption, which can only be justified in exceptional circumstances.
In 2006 1,300 babies aged between a week and a month were removed from their mothers for ever, a rise of 141% in a single year and the number adopted rose from 970 in 1996 to 2,120 .
By 2016 2,700 babies were removed each year.
Fees paid per adoption in 2008 were:
£12,660 for an adoptive family approved by another LA
£19,889 for families from VAAs with an additional fee of £3,315 to cover post adoption services
London LAs and VAAs are also able to charge an additional 10% London weighting
And then, just before the end of Blair’s Premiership, along came Baby P.