Disabled and marginalised mothers are coming together to fight back against social services‘ institutional discrimination against them. They’re doing it not only to protect their children and themselves but also to push for the support to which they’re entitled.
Social services and adoption: toxic sectors
As the Canary documented in a series of articles:
The state’s adoption of children has effectively become an industry in recent years. However, not all mothers and caregivers are subject to social services taking their children from them. This is because the state is disproportionately targeting women the system marginalises – be it due to ethnicity, class, disability, or chronic illness. It shows that systemic racism, ableism and classism pervades a service that is supposed to support children, not snatch them from their mothers. And the driver for all this is private profit.
In the articles, we looked at how:
- Forced adoptions are not a thing of the past.
- Racism and Islamophobia is institutionalised in the care and adoption sectors.
- Social services and family courts target chronically ill and disabled mothers.
- Adoption and care in the UK are industries where children are worth huge sums of money to private companies.
As the Canary previously wrote:
Adoption in the UK is little more than a wholesale marketplace for children. It’s easy to see why those controlling it target marginalised children. When the price tag on a child’s head is £100,000, private companies will want the ones that either get them the easiest sales (dual heritage children) or easiest wins (children of chronically ill and disabled mothers who don’t always have the capacity to fight). Social services, medical professionals, and courts are complicit in this. They do the bidding of these private child snatchers without a thought for the impact on mothers and their kids.
However, one campaign group is fighting back against this discrimination.
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Disabled mothers have rights
Tracey Norton is the coordinator of the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign – part of campaign group WinVisible (Women with Visible and Invisible Disabilities). The group aims to bring “disabled mothers together” to fight against the state taking their children away. The group told the Canary it is fighting to:
stop the cruelty and discrimination we face from Council social services and the family courts taking our children away.
It also wants:
the support from official agencies which we are entitled to by law.
Once a month, on the first Wednesday, the group joins a coalition of organisations called Support Not Separation to protest outside the Central Family Court in London:
•We’re outside #FamilyCourt London to stop the cruel arbitrary separation of children from their mums, to end court secrecy, forced adoption & profiteering by private companies. Take away our poverty NOT our children! @DominicRaab @JudiciaryUK @ClaireCoutinho pic.twitter.com/T65MVThD6x
— Support not Separation (@NotSeparation) March 1, 2023
Trinity from @AfricanGr speaking at the picket. Cristel @woc_gws is looking on and holds a placard, Take away our poverty, not our children. Mothers' poverty is State neglect, not neglect by mothers! pic.twitter.com/pzxkP1XtZh
— WinVisible (women with disabilities) (@WinVisibleWomen) July 5, 2023
Now, the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign is taking things a step further.
Reclaiming their rights
The group is launching a “Charter of Rights” on Wednesday 12 July:
Event: Disabled mothers speak out & launch Charter of Rights. Wed 12 July 1-3pm @ Crossroads Women’s Centre & Zoom. Disabled women are not unfit mothers! End discrimination by social services & the family courts. Implement mothers’ and children's rights. https://t.co/2vhyHgalLP pic.twitter.com/UstTrMn50I
— WinVisible (women with disabilities) (@WinVisibleWomen) July 3, 2023
Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign says on its website that:
Disabled women are not unfit mothers. End discrimination by social services and the family courts. Our legal rights – and our children’s – must be implemented! DMRC has come together to make disabled mothers and our children more visible and to raise our voices in the disability movement and in the community generally. The Charter of Rights aims to spell out what we are entitled to and what councils and the family courts must do to end the discrimination and hostility we face, especially if we’re also single, of colour, working-class, LGBTQI+, a victim of domestic violence…
The event on 12 July will let people affected by social services and adoption come together. The group wants to discuss what mothers can do to protect themselves and their children and how they can reclaim the support they are entitled to from the state.
Tracey told the Canary:
We have come together to make the situation of disabled mothers and our children visible. We are launching a Charter of Rights which will spell out what support we are entitled to, and what councils and the family courts must do to end the discrimination and abuse of power we face at their hands, especially if we’re also single, of colour, immigrant, working-class, a victim of domestic violence, a sex worker and/or were in care as children. The universal bond between mother and child must be respected and supported, financially and in every way, not the privatised child removal industry where disabled children/of colour are placed disproportionately.
The state of social services and family courts in the UK is dire. As a system, it routinely targets, demonises, and ultimately persecutes marginalised women – and snatches their children away from them. Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign’s upcoming Charter of Rights is the first step in redressing the balance.
Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign is holding the launch event at Crossroads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, London NW5 2DX, and it will also be on Zoom.
Featured image via Support Not SeparationSupport us and go ad-free
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