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News – Council defiant

January 2009

Council defiant

 

A council has maintained its decision to ban a couple from adopting a baby girl after a high court ruling urged it to reconsider, reports the Christian Institute.

     The couple, known as Mr and Mrs A, were refused the right to adopt the girl after they admitted that they once smacked their adopted son for swearing. Social workers cited the adoptive father’s ‘attitude to corporal punishment’ as the reason for the rejection.

     The judge originally deemed the ban ‘bizarre’, calling it an ‘unreasonable’ decision made ‘in dangerous territory’. Mr Justice Bennett subsequently overturned the ruling by Newham Council, and ordered it to think again.

     But the couple have been turned down again despite being described as ‘strong, caring, sensitive, supportive and resourceful’ in a review panel report. They will continue their campaign through the courts to gain custody of the girl.

     Critics are questioning the motives of the council. Friends of the family said that the council acted out of ‘spite’ because of the publicity the case has attracted, ‘even though the couple have kept a dignified silence’.

     A parliamentary bid to ban smacking last month failed to reach a vote in the House of Commons. It is currently lawful for parents to use ‘reasonable chastisement’ as long as it does not leave more than a transitory mark on the child. Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, has said that a ban on smacking ‘would be the wrong thing to do for children’.

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