“News story of the year” goes to Channel 5’s coverage on disabled mothers: A collaborative project with Support Not Separation and Disabled Mothers Rights Campaign.

Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign and Support Not Separation worked with Channel 5 on its national news programme broadcast at 5pm, 25 January 2023.  Ch5 announced their shocking findings that parents with a learning disability are 54 times more likely to have their children taken into care.  This confirms our experience of the discrimination and hostility faced by disabled mothers, and other single, working class and mothers of colour who face an uphill battle to stop social workers and the family courts taking our children from us. This programme has now been celebrated as News Story of the Year by the Medical Journalists Association Awards.

The headline news piece interviewed a mother and her (now adult) child who have been reunited after forced adoption, who are part of the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign.  The full interview is here.  WATCH Disabled Mums Speak Out – Ch5 News

Also featured is a mum with learning disabilities whose three children have been taken away, and Claire Glasman from WinVisible.   

Tracey Norton, coordinator for the Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign, is a mother with an invisible disability whose child was taken by family court.  She is shown speaking at the monthly picket outside the central London family court which Support Not Separation has co-ordinated since 2017.  Everyone is welcome to join us on the first Wednesday of every month, 12.30-1.30.    

Anne Neale from Support Not Separation comments: “Channel 5’s findings confirm our experience that mothers are targeted for child removal by sexism, racism, disability discrimination and pervasive class bias in the “child protection” system and in family courts:  Of 248 mothers with 446 children we worked with over the past two years, 94% were single mothers, mostly on low incomes; 40% were women of colour and/or immigrant; 42% had mental health issues and 17% had a physical disability, which was used against them.  83% had suffered domestic violence; nearly all were fighting over contact with their children and over half the mothers had had their children removed. 

There are now over 82,170 children in state “care” and millions are being poured into private companies which dominate a fostering and adoption industry.  Some multinationals charge Councils up to £1m a year to keep a child in “care”.  Given these figures the problem cannot be reduced to cuts or to “risk averse” social workers.  The problem is that mothers and children are impoverished and discriminated against, refused the support we are entitled to.  It’s easier to take our kids than to challenge the child welfare industry.    We are calling for a complete overhaul of Children’s Social Care to prioritise support to mothers and other primary carers to keep children and families together and demanding a Care Income for mothers (and other carers) who do the work of caring for and raising children.”     

Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaignmumsrights@winvisible.org
Support Not Separationsns@legalactionforwomen.net