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Volume 622: debated on Monday 6 March 2017

The petition of Rebecca Gaffney,

Declares that the petitioner is the mother of a four year old girl who has been placed for non-consensual adoption by Essex Children’s Services. The arguments used to justify this by the Local Authority have varied over time, including relying on hearsay. Further, although she passed all drugs tests from her General Practitioner, a court-appointed expert made findings against her. She was given permission to appeal, and the court-appointed expert accepted he was wrong. However, her child was not returned to her care as she was considered to be settled with adopters.

The petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons Education and Justice Committees investigate the use of adoption targets by Local Authorities and whether they impact on the independence of evidence provided to the courts; further requests that cases like hers, where children are adopted even though the case against the parent is disproven, are considered when reviewing how procedures operate in care proceedings, and how experts are not prosecuted for giving false information, and how people in her position might obtain a re-hearing of the case.

And the petitioner remains, etc.—[Presented by Sir Eric Pickles.]