Councils making millions in incentives after snatching record numbers of babies for adoption
Councils are being offered bonuses of millions of pounds if they meet controversial State adoption targets.
Confidential figures obtained by the Daily Mail show that £36million in ‘reward grants’ has been promised to English councils in an attempt by Labour to increase adoptions of children by 50 per cent.
The money-earning targets were introduced by Tony Blair in 2000 and were intended to lift more older children out of the care system.
But critics say it is the most ‘adoptable’ babies and children under four who are being removed in the biggest numbers.
More than 900 newborn babies are now being taken from their mothers each year, a 300 per cent increase in little more than a decade.
The number of children aged between a week and a month removed from their parents has risen to 1,300 annually, a rise of 141 per cent in the same time.
In the past two weeks alone, eight newborn babies have been taken from their mothers at hospitals in Newcastle and North Tyneside.
The number is so high there are not enough foster parents in the area. One baby – thought to be the ninth taken from its parents – is being cared for in a special hospital unit because there is no foster home available.
Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has demanded an explanation.
He said: “We are seeing a massive increase in the forced removal of newborns. Babies are being taken before they can even be breastfed. Social workers are seizing very young children on the flimsiest of excuses and giving them to other families.
“This smacks of social engineering on a grand scale. The offer of monetary rewards for meeting the targets has created a frenzy among social workers. There are council targets for recycling rubbish and now targets for recycling children.”