Protesters have gathered in London to call on family courts to curb the numbers of children taken into care against the wishes of mothers.

Men and women swept the pavement outside London’s Central Family Court in Holborn on March 8th to chants of "women need children, children need mothers." They used brooms to symbolically ‘sweep away corruption.’

“We’re protesting against the separation of children from their mothers,” Anne Neale, one of the organisers behind the event, told The Independent.

The number of children in care in the UK is at an all-time high, with numbers last year surpassing 70,000.  

According to Neale, the courts are downplaying the importance of mother-child relationships. As a result, courts are placing many children in care rather than providing the resources that could enable families to stay together.

Groups representing women with disabilities, asylum seekers and sexual assault victims were present.

International Womans Day protest highlights number of children in foster care
Groups representing women from across the country gathered to express their views

Betty Tita, of the All African Women’s Group, spoke of how some mothers in her network have avoided reporting abuse for fear of their children being taken into care. 

“We are here today because some of our mothers have lost their children,” she said. “That breaks the hearts of the women struggling with justice.”

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Little boy has a snack while at the protest with his mother

Women with disabilities are also at risk of separation from their children, according to Claire Glasman, a member of disability support group WinVisible

“There’s a lot of talk about the social care crisis,” she said. “Another aspect of that is when disabled mothers go to social services for help, they get threatened with fostering.”

“We work with women every day who are going through horrendous, needless suffering which is all avoidable if we had the resources.”

 

 

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