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The Swinging Sixties marked the onset of forced adoptions

CultureThe Swinging Sixties marked the onset of forced adoptions

Thousands of British mothers are in despair because their babies and young children have been snatched by the state to “feed” the ever-greedy adoption and fostering industries that prosper in the UK.

Dramatic? Yes. An exaggeration? No!

My name is Ian Josephs, I am 86 years old, and I have a very sad story to tell you.

It all began for me in 1961 when I was elected as a Councillor for the County of Kent in south-eastern England. In what is now known as the “Swinging Sixties” the climate changed in the UK and most of the Western world. The waltz and the foxtrot were replaced by rock-and-roll, the tidy hairstyles by long shoulder-length hair for men, formal suits replaced by jeans and tee-shirts, and more important for our story, women were “liberated” by “the Pill”, the newly invented oral contraceptive, and old social taboos relaxed, leaving women feeling safe to have babies outside marriage.

Up until then the adoption and fostering industries fed off “illegitimate” children who had always been sent away to be fostered or adopted. But by 1962, with the advent of the Beatles, that source dried up as women began to keep their babies, whether married or not.

That is where our story really began, the day when a mother approached me as her elected Councillor to complain that her 12-year-old son who had an exceptionally high IQ had been taken away to an unknown destination by social workers for having missed school a few times. The boy was bored with school. The woman said that she had been refused all contact with her son.

When I made enquiries, I was told by Social Services to mind my own business! I found out from a friendly source that the boy had been placed in a private school owned and run by the deputy leader of the Labour group on the Council that charged extortionate fees. When I approached my own Conservative leader of the Council with this scandal I was slapped down and told, “We never wash our dirty linen in public.”

So I waited until the full Council meeting held in public and put down a public motion that if the mother could not see her son, I as her elected representative should at least be allowed to visit him to see if he was alright.

The motion was defeated 104 votes to one, but as I anticipated made headlines in most of the national newspapers next day. So I was reluctantly allowed to visit the boy at his new school.

When we met, the boy asked me why his mother had not answered his letters or come to see him and I told him how she had written every day (care of Social Services) and never received a reply!

The boy told me how the school was terrible and had unqualified teachers who knew nothing. I asked him if there was anything at all good about the school and he replied “Yes the money is good”. I asked, “What money?” and he replied “We get very well paid for sleeping with the teachers”.

Well, to cut a long story short I took my own Council to court and the boy was restored to his mother.

As a result of the publicity over this case, I received requests for help from many other parents in Kent and elsewhere. I am not a solicitor or barrister. At that time I owned a language school; but I did have a law degree from Oxford University. So I began representing several parents whose children had been taken for superficial reasons. I appeared in court against Kent County Council and never lost a case! In fairness, I must admit that the climate was different in those days as the judges and magistrates often smiled at me and frowned at the lawyer for the authorities. Nowadays, the contrary would be the case.

The problem for me was that I began to spend so much time helping these desperate parents that I neglected both my business and my wife. As a result, my language school began to go downhill and my wife ran off with someone else!

In 1967 I decided not to stand for election to the Council again and stopped all my involvement with these parents. I turned my business around and married again (a French girl). We had five children and are still married after 46 years. In 1985, I opened a language school in Monaco on the French Riviera.

There was no further involvement from me in helping parents until 2003 when a scandal broke in the UK about parents falsely accused of the murder of babies that died of natural causes and others that were adopted against the will of their mothers.

I wrote a letter to the Daily Mail in the UK saying that things seemed worse now than when I was involved back in the Sixties. After my letter came out, the Mail forwarded me letters from around fifty mothers claiming their babies had been snatched at birth by Social Services for “risk of future harm” and asking for my help!

I was by then older, and (I think) wiser, and also in a secure financial position. So I determined to help these parents and campaign for a change in the law.

I was horrified to find out that new laws had been passed in 1976 legalising adoption without parental consent. Even worse, in 1989 the law began allowing adoption if children were deemed “not” to have actually been harmed but merely to be “at risk of future emotional harm”. Even newborn babies were being taken at birth on this dubious ground.

I said to myself “that is forced adoption” and coined a catchy phrase that is now used in common parlance everywhere. I then set up a website offering to help parents with legal advice since the law had changed in 1989 forbidding non-professional people like myself from representing parents in court.

I give financial help to pregnant women in the UK to escape to Ireland, France and Northern Cyprus. Escaping to Ireland is easiest because no passports are needed if you arrive on the ferry from the UK. The disadvantage is the UK authorities may go to the Irish courts demanding the baby’s return to the UK. It is safer to flee to France, but parents find it difficult to get work if they do not speak French. So mothers escaping to France need support from their family or partner back home. Northern Cyprus is 100% safe as the UK and EU countries have no diplomatic relations with Northern Cyprus since the Turkish occupation there 50 years ago. But mothers need cash to live in Northern Cyprus as there are no “benefits” there.

To be continued next week

Ian Josephs is a British businessman and philanthropist based in Monaco. He runs a website called to help families targeted by child protection services in the UK


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