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British Embassy in Prague: All child removals in UK are court-ordered

Prague, 30.8.2012 0:21, (ROMEA)
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Panic has broken out among Romani people in Great Britain regarding the removal of children from families by social workers. The panic and a wave of related disinformation were launched by a report broadcast on the Slovak television station Joj about a case in which a social worker took three children away from a Romani family originally from the Czech Republic, allegedly without giving them any reason. The youngest son was only six weeks old at the time. The British authorities were said to have not given the television reporters any reason as to why they had taken the children into care.

Czech Radio then reported that the cases of the children taken into care that were featured in the Joj report are all several years old and some are even being litigated. Many Romani people, however, now believe that this is a new campaign targeting them in particular.

News server Romea.cz publishes below in full translation the statement released on this issue by the British Embassy in Prague:

Statement of the British Embassy in Prague on the cases which have been reportedin several media outlets concerning children removed from Romani families by British social workers

"We cannot speak to specific cases, but the law in this area is clear. When a child has been maltreated or is at risk of serious harm, local authorities are legally obliged to intervene, to investigate the entire matter, and to take measures so as to ensure the child's needs are met, including the child's safety.

Local authorities have the right to turn to a court and request an order for temporary protection in such cases. The Police also have the right to temporarily remove children from their families in cases where immediate protection is necessary. However, neither local authorities nor the police have the right to remove children from the care of their parents (should the parents themselves disagree with such removal) until a court has evaluated the particular case.

Moreover, should there not be a need to take immediate measures to protect the child, local authorities always do their best to work with the family and improve the child's situation. Authorities turn to the courts when such efforts fail.

In all such cases, the courts must weigh all of the evidence. On the basis of that evidence, they then determine whether clear reasons exist for the concern that the child is already experiencing serious harms or is at risk of suffering harms."

Gwendolyn Albert, hal, British Embassy in Prague, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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