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Yet this secrecy threatens the centuries-old tradition of Britain's legal system - the principle that people are innocent until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.From the moment a mother is first accused of being incapable as a parent - a decision nearly always made by a social worker or doctor - the system is pitted against her.As High Court judge Mr Justice Munby told MPs last year: "It seems quite indefensible that there should be no access by the media, and no access by the public, to what is going on in courts where judges are, day by day, taking people's children away."However, it is not only secretive and publicly unscrutinised family courts that are creating an injustice in our adoption system. John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP campaigning to change the adoption system, said yesterday: "I have evidence that 1,000 children are wrongly being seized from their birth parents each year even though they have not been harmed in any way."The targets are dangerous and lead to social workers being over-eager. One has to ask if a mother is expected to have problems looking after her baby, why doesn't the State help her instead of taking her child away?This sweeping shake-up was designed for all the right reasons: to get difficult-to-place older children in care homes allocated to new parents. Encouraged by the promise of extra cash, social workers began to earmark babies and cute toddlers who were most easy to place in adoptive homes, leaving the more difficultto-place older children in care.As a result, the number of over-sevens adopted has plummeted by half.
"Suitable babies are even being earmarked when they are still in the womb.
In total, 75 children of all ages are being removed from their parents every week before being handed over to new families.
Some of these may have been willingly given up for adoption, but critics of the Government's policy are convinced that the vast majority are taken by force.
But over the five years since I began investigating the scandal of forced adoptions, I have found a deeply secretive system which is too often biased against basically decent families.
I have been told of routine dishonesty by social workers and questionable evidence given by doctors which has wrongly condemned mothers.