Portuguese Government to analyse cases involving Portuguese children taken by British social services @CEOofHMCTS @MoJGovUK @UKHomeOffice

16-11-24-algarve-residentFollowing a relentless media campaign to highlight Portuguese ‘victims’ of Britain’s alleged “stolen children scandal”, the government has at last agreed to step in.

Pedro Proença – one of the Portuguese lawyers who travelled to England in a bid to help an ever increasing number of Portuguese families recover children from the enforced care of British social service – has told TVI24 that pro-bono efforts have at last borne fruit.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has guaranteed that it will be giving special attention to these cases, evaluating them one by one”, he said.

“If cases of real abuse by the British authorities are detected – processual failings or illegalities by the courts and social services – the Portuguese government will step into alert the British government”.

The news is a red-letter day for so many Portuguese emigrés struggling to recover children removed and even placed for adoption on what they claim were totally spurious circumstances.

Portuguese media ‘woke up’ to this scandal in 2014 when five Portuguese children were taken from parents whose pleas for help at the time fell on deaf ears.

Carla and José Pedro joined a protest taken to the European Parliament in which McKenzie Friend campaigner Sabine McNeill made a passionate speech that has since become a landmark in this agonising struggle.

Since then however many more Portuguese children have ‘disappeared’ into the British care system – and the Pedros are still battling for theirs. Hundreds of immigrants to the UK are in a similar agonising predicament, but in cases involving other nationalities governments have already stepped in.

Nationally, TVI24 has been fighting this issue with its documentaries “Love you Mom”, all of which are freely available online.

The four episodes so far have stressed the fact that “many mothers are told they will never see their children again, if they speak to the press”. Criticism over the (lack of) support given by Portuguese consulate authorities has also been highlighted.

Thus this latest news is what campaigners were aiming for. Said Proença yesterday: “We hope it will result in more children being returned to Portuguese families”.

Natasha Donn – Algarve Resident

PHOTO: the Pedro children, all still in care, with their mother who has vowed never to give up in her battle to get them back.

On the European Dimension of Forced Adoptions [in secret family courts – against the will of the parents]:

The Report makes the following 15 recommendations:

1. Relevant statistics should be collected in order to offer a better overview of the issues related not only to non-consensual adoptions and binational cases but also more generally to family law, enabling comparisons between the EU Member States;

2. National family courts should systematically implement the Vienna Convention of 1963 on Consular Relations and articles 15 and 55 of the Regulation EC n°2201/2003 (Brussels II a) at the earliest stage of the child care proceedings and make sure that embassies or consular representations are informed in a timely manner of cases involving their nationals; specific detailed guidelines should be provided for a more efficient implementation of these provisions;

3. The Committee would like to draw attention to a statement by the European Court of Human Rights in Y v United Kingdom (2012) 55 EHRR 33, [2012] 2 FLR 332, para 134:

“family ties may only be severed in very exceptional circumstances and […] everything must be done to preserve personal relations and, where appropriate, to ‘rebuild’ the family. It is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment for his upbringing. However, where the maintenance of family ties would harm the child’s health and development, a parent is not entitled under article 8 to insist that such ties be maintained.”

4. The Committee would like to draw attention to the risk of subjective interpretation of the grounds for decisions for adoption without parental consent which could emerge from a repeal of the Human Rights Act of 1998; the ECHR (i.e. the right of children to a fair process and the right to respect for family life) will no longer underpin decision-making in courts or local authorities;

5. More attention and appropriate policies should be dedicated to the prevention of care proceedings through monitoring and early warning procedures and the provision of suitable support to families.

6. The timescale of care proceedings (currently 26 weeks max.) should be considered a minimum in order to allow for the proper handling of each case and to ensure that the parents and /or relatives of the child have been given sufficient time to make proposals (on who could be the carer of the child for instance) or any required changes before the adoption is declared definitive;

7.The authorities should ensure that the quality of the social services does not suffer from the budgetary cuts implied by austerity measures (for instance the increase of files to be handled in average by each social worker can have negative effects in the capacity of a proper assessment of individual cases) and that the decisions on proceedings involving custody should be free of any excessive legal pressure, as well as it should not be affected by any financial interest of private parties, such as adoption agencies;

8. Social workers should be given more training on the specific issue of adoption without parental consent;

9. More comprehensive free legal aid schemes should be supported and enhanced all along the care proceedings with the aim to prevent any sort of discrimination;

10. The national authorities and charities involved in care proceedings should ensure that parents are better informed from the very beginning of the proceedings with adequate support to parents with literacy disabilities, including providing all of them with explanations regarding all the legal procedures that they will face, the decisions which may be taken with regards to the future of the child and the consequences, if any, of these decisions, especially in cases relating to section 20 of the Children Act of 1989;

11. In the case of parents who do not speak English, the provision of all the necessary information on the decisions to be taken and their consequences in their own language, or in a language they understand fully, must be ensured; as a first step towards this goal, the telephone helpline service should be made available in several languages;

12. The authorities involved in care proceedings should ensure that parents who have been victims of domestic violence, either as a child or as an adult, or who were themselves taken into foster care, are in no circumstances automatically considered to be at particular risk of causing future emotional harm to their own children; any kind of re-victimisation should be avoided;

13. Social services should ensure the prior identification of potential foster families of the same cultural origin as the child to be placed in care;

14. Solutions which would enable siblings to stay together should be prioritised; if no such solution is possible, every possible measure should be put in place to avoid the complete separation of siblings;

15. The Committee would like to promote the guidelines drafted by the Commission on “coordination and cooperation in integrated child protection systems” which should be kept in mind at every stage of the care proceedings by all services involved.

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LOVE YOU MOM – #documentary on Portuguese TV about #ChildSnatching #ForcedAdoptions #SocialServices #ChildSnatchUK @UKHomeOffice @CabinetOfficeUK

LOVE YOU MOM – The most viewed documentary on private TV channel TVI:

Please note this article published by The Mirror in October 2015:

Christopher Booker reports regularly about this human rights scandal in his weekly column in The Telegraph and most recently:

MEPs came from Brussels for a Fact-Finding Visit and published recommendations in their Draft Mission Report – as an outcome of our petition to Abolish Adoptions without Parental Consent.

In March 2014 the Pedros accompanied me to present the petition and were arrested by Lincoln Police for ‘belonging to the Forced Adoption campaigning group’.

Former MP John Hemming complained about it in Parliament with this Early Day Motion.

Yet September 2016 was the highest number of children removed per month: 1,216.

PRAISE to a Lincoln County Councillor: 4 of the Pedro children to return?

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On 11 November 2014, I mentioned in Brussels how the Pedros were arrested for belonging to a ‘forced adoption’ campaign group:

On 17 November 2014, Carla Pedro Jorge met with her County Councillor at Lincolnshire County Council.  This County Councillor is a Member of the Children & Young People’s Scrutiny Committee.

The meeting went very well, prior to the meeting the County Councillor had already sent an email to the Head of Social Services at Lincolnshire CC as well as speaking to her about Carla’s case.

The County Councillor asked Carla why all 5 of her children were taken when the problem was caused only by her eldest child and there were no problems with the other children.

The  County Councillor is going to try to do everything to help Carla – she is going to send letters to all who have been involved with her case, including the legal team at Lincolnshire CC.

The County Councillor is going to have an urgent meeting about Carla’s children’s case with the case Social Workers, their manager, the legal team and the Head of Social Services.

In the opinion of the County Councillor, Carla’s eldest son should stay in care until he calms down and she will do everything to get her 4 other children returned to Carla.  She said that what Social Services have done is completely barbaric as the only child that they needed to be removed was Carla’s eldest as his behaviour is not at all good.

The County Councillor said she will talk with Social Worker Rosemary Stanton because of the allegation that she made against Carla and her ex-husband, Jose, which led to their arrests; she is going to ask why Carla has not seen her 2 youngest children for three months.

The County Councillor said that she is going to do all in her power to get Lincolnshire County Council to reach an agreement with Carla to get the children back home under a Supervision Order.

The County Councillor said that what has been done is against the law and that she is going to help her wherever possible. Carla showed her the screen shots that she has as proof.  The County Councillor told Carla not to worry and that she will probably be contacted about the joint meeting.  The County Councillor is going to keep in touch with Carla.

Meanwhile, the father lost his job – again – due to the interference by Lincolnshire arms reaching all the way to London…

THERE ARE NO PLANS to return the children to your care – Lincoln Council – Algarve Resident responds

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English: Coat of arms of Portugal Español: Esc...

English: Coat of arms of Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the 6-page letter that the Pedros received in response to their Letter before Claim. In bullet points:

The Pedros challenge

  • the procedures for organising contact with the children;
  • the procedures for reuniting the family;
  • the legitimisation for having care of the children;
  • the duty of care to safeguard the children.

The Council responds:

  • your claim is without merit;
  • your challenges are misconceived;
  • conditions of contact are inarguable.

For

  • we know from Mr R d S that you planned to abduct your five children [the Police charge said 3 of theirs plus somebody else’s];
  • he was previously involved in an abduction;
  • you have links with him;
  • you also have links with a ‘campaigning group’ against forced adoption whose policy is advising abduction;
  • your commitment to return to the children to Portugal is known.

In summary, as my late husband used to say: criminals try to get away with anything! So far they have succeeded! But as the internet comes to the rescue:  Continue reading

THREE FORCED ADOPTION articles in the National Portuguese Newspaper Publico

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14 06 09 PublicoAna Dias Cordeira is the journalist who wrote the most diligent and detailed articles about the Pedros at the time. Now she studied the underlying issue more deeply and wrote an article that reads a bit funny in the Google translation: Cases of children removed from families in the UK grew up with incentives to adopt.

Among the thousands of families who say they have unfairly lost the kids, in recent years, a few dozen arrived in Brussels. The European Parliament asked for an investigation to the European Commission.

The case of Pedros’ family, whose five children were removed in 2013 in Grantham, and the Portuguese mother in May this year was without the baby of five months in Southend-on-sea, are the most visible side of a situation which affects other Portuguese families living in the United Kingdom – will be at least five – and, in recent years tens of thousands of mainly British and foreign families.

The frequency and severity of cases is not now, but this year prompted a petition to the European Parliament with more than 3,600 signatures involving families who claim to be victims of unjust processes, completed, in some cases, with the irreversible adoption of children without their consent. Continue reading

PEDROS SUSPECT of abducting their children during contact sessions – after Police dropped charges!

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The boys' bedroom

The blue boys’ room

The girls' bedroom

The pink girls’ bedroom

Once again, you can’t make it up what Social Services invent and fantasise about, and what Police do on their behalf – or a private ‘private security firm’ next! The privatisation of the ‘child processing industry’ is clearly in full swing already. No wonder MPs can’t and don’t want to help…

On Wednesday last week, Social Worker Graham was unable to schedule contact sessions, as he had to find time in the diary of Social Worker Malcolm Rebello to come from Lincoln to Grantham – on the phone – without letting the Pedros speak to him. After all, their case was closed in Grantham!

Today, Malcolm Rebello was unable to schedule contact sessions, as he claims he needs to have meetings with the respective contact centre!

About the two youngest children, who according to the oldest son were moved away from their sister, he said:

  1. they have been moved for fear of being ABDUCTED by the parents;
  2. they are up for adoption again, because the Portuguese authorities have not stepped in, supposedly.

Logic of course doesn’t count. For the Pedros were accused of abducting THREE of their children, i.e. presumably NOT the two youngest who are up for adoption – plus somebody else’s!…

But the fact that they separate the siblings doesn’t concern them either – even though it’s against all guidelines.

They will receive the ‘conditions for contact’ in Portuguese next:

  1. they will get a phone call 1 to 2 hours before the event;
  2. they shall be searched before contact;
  3. they are to hand over their mobile phones and their ID; 
  4. they shall travel in the security vehicle of a ‘private security firm’;
  5. their contact will be monitored and they have to sign the agreement. 

If they breach the agreement, contact will be terminated. 

In the eyes of Social Services she has committed a crime – – despite charges having been dropped!!!

  • Human rights article 8, the right to family life?
  • UN Child Rights?

How do you fight the WAR of getting the family re-united, when one battle after another is put between them and their children???

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LET’s ASK in Portuguese: why are children screaming to be heard in the UK?

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This video of the 10-year-old girl in Grimsby shows how she and her wishes were clearly NOT heard: 6 times in foster care and 6 times abused, but off you go with Lincoln Police.

The Pedro children were not heard either when the same Force removed them from their home on 23 April 2013. Later, their oldest son was not heard either:

  • he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD] and thus finds it amusing to invent anything any time – just as the Musa daughter seemed to delight in talking about abuse that clearly never had happened; children don’t separate between imagination and reality, do they?
  • he wrote to his father and the judge which was duly ignored in court.

Hence I asked Carla to say it in Portuguese – recorded in broadcast quality – not only about the suffering and injustice of her own family but all other parents, as she has over 3,000 friends on her Facebook page

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POLICE DROP CHARGES against Portuguese Parents Fighting for the Return of their Children

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This is the video to accompany our news release:

Police Drop Charges against Portuguese Parents Fighting for the Return of their Children

This is the title of an article in the Algarve Resident. It encapsulates the day’s achievements and challenges in Grantham: two bail hearings of Jose and Carla Pedro were replaced by a “Released without Charge” form with a ticked box: “There is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.”

This admission by Lincoln Police is the result of a ‘Letter before Claim’ that the Pedros issued with the assistance of McKenzie Friends. However, the Police lawyer pointed out that the ‘children issue’ concerns Lincoln Council rather than the Police – even though they were the ones who removed the five children from their home and against their will on 23 April 2013.

Hence the Council’s response to the Letter before Claim is of great concern, as it says “Further work and discussions are required before the Council will be able to confirm their position in this regard. It is also important to understand that should a decision be made that the children should be returned to Portugal under an agreed plan, the Portuguese Government have confirmed that they have no intention to return the children to your care or that of your extended family.” Continue reading

LINCOLN POLICE – arrests and child snatch of Portuguese family without Court Orders

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Truth is stranger than fiction, once again. And even though I had heard about the Pedros’ experiences on 23 April 2013 before, they sank in with fresh power, as we visited Grantham Police Station – in preparation for Jose’s and Carla’s bail hearings today.

Here we picked up the forms RELEASED without CHARGE: “There is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.”20140521_111629

This time I am accompanied by Terence Steele who is not only a victim of the secret family court system himself but also an accomplished private investigator and active McKenzie Friend.

He had spent time with the Pedros before and approached their two firms of solicitors who had refused to return their documents to them. These include a vital video of the oldest son Emanuel making a statement about his supposed allegation of his father having hit him.  Continue reading

EASTER SUNDAY in Grantham – after good news – before possible reunion in Portugal

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20140325_150241The attache of the Embassy told the Pedros to ask me to continue helping them with their legal battles. And that after we were ordered to pay £2,000 for helping Melissa Laird voluntarily.

He managed to agree a ‘deal’ with Lincolnshire Council so that UK Social Services hand over the children to Portuguese authorities.

After nearly a year since the snatch on 23 April, this is a great success, compared with the Slovak boys who were only returned after 920 days in UK care and the involvement of the Slovak Government. More recently JOJ TV produced a new programme, as they were surprised that a year after their precedence, things had not improved in the UK.

To plan our next activities, I visited the Pedros in Grantham and let them tell their stories in Portuguese first. For after the first clip of SIC TV in Brussels, we had put high hopes on the program that RPT1 came to produce. But who would have believed that they gave her mother so much air time who was one of the reasons for leaving Portugal 11 years ago? The interviewer Rita Ramash never explained who gave her what kind of a brief and did not respond to my email.

Now we know once more why blogging needs to counteract ‘official’ messages and spin by Governments. But, hopefully, not everybody in the whole Government needs this kind of cover-up!


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