Concerns about the possible "risks to mother and child" led a health trust to apply for permission to deliver an unborn child by caesarean section, Essex County Council social services said today.
Lawyers for the health trust obtained a High Court order that allowed the woman to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
The county council said the mother was able to see her daughter on the day of birth and the following day. Social services obtained an interim care order from the county court in August 2012 "because the mother was too unwell to care for her child". In a statement, Essex council said:
The long-term safety and wellbeing of children is always Essex County Council's priority.
Adoption is never considered until we have exhausted all other options and is never pursued lightly.
Historically, the mother has two other children which she is unable to care for due to orders made by the Italian authorities.
In accordance with Essex County Council's Social Services practice social workers liaised extensively with the extended family before and after the birth of the baby, to establish if anyone could care for the child.
The director of human rights organisation Liberty has strongly condemned those responsible for forcibly removing a baby from its mother's womb, describing the incident as "the stuff of nightmares".
Please God there's more to this, but at first blush this is dystopian science-fiction unworthy of a democracy like ours. Forced surgery and separation of mother and infant is the stuff of nightmares that those responsible will struggle to defend in courts of law and decency.
An MP is to raise in Parliament the case of a pregnant Italian woman whose baby was reportedly forcibly removed by caesarean section in Britain by order of social workers.
A High Court order was obtained against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
The council said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, who was in Britain for work reasons, because she had suffered a mental breakdown, the newspaper reported.
Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming said today: "I intend to raise this in Parliament. I need to speak to the lady tomorrow evening to find out how she wishes to proceed.
A spokesman for the council involved said "it does not comment on the circumstances of ongoing individual cases involving vulnerable people and children."
A lawyer for an Italian woman who reportedly had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers has he has "never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job.
Brendan Fleming told the Sunday Telegraph:
I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented.
If there were concerns about the care of this child by an Italian mother, then the better plan would have been for the authorities here to have notified social services in Italy and for the child to have been taken back there.
A pregnant woman had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
The social services reportedly obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcible sedated and her child to be taken from her womb.
The council is thought to have said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, an Italian who was in Britain on a work trip, because she had suffered a mental breakdown.
According to the newspaper, the baby, now 15 months old, is still in the care of social services, who are refusing to give her back to the mother, even though she claims to have made a full recovery.
A spokesman for the local authority concerned would not comment on ongoing cases involving vulnerable people and children.
Jim Clifford, chairman of It's All About Me (IAAM) adoption and head of not-for-profit advisory at Baker Tilly, is himself adopted and has adopted nine children with his wife. He said:
Adopting older children is not always easy, as many carry with them the legacy of neglect and trauma in their early years.
However, with the right training and support, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both the parent and the child, and I would encourage anyone with an interest to find out more.
We have had a fantastic response to the IAAM scheme from local authorities so far, many of whom recognise the benefit of working closely with the voluntary adoption sector.
Would-be adoptive parents are to be given more help in looking after children who are considered harder to place with families because of their age or circumstances.
Leading voluntary adoption agencies are spearheading a scheme that will give two years of support to those choosing to adopt children in care who are sometimes overlooked.
They hope the new service, called It's All About Me (IAAM), will encourage more people to adopt those children.
It will include training in therapeutic parenting offered to families, with 24-hour assistance available in the first two years to reduce the risk of the placement failing.
The scheme has been developed by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) and professional services firm Baker Tilly, with 18 voluntary adoption agencies helping them to set it up.
Adoptions in England and Wales last year were up 9.8% on the previous year, the Office for National Statistics said.
The extra £16 million of government funding that will be given to adoption agencies, will see:
- £15 million over the next two years in expansion grants for new and existing Voluntary Adoption Agencies to increase the recruitment of adopters and create innovative ways of working.
- New business support for adoption agencies, providing advice, coaching, and guidance to expand their organisations.
Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, who has two adopted brothers himself, says thousands of children in the UK are waiting for permanent and loving homes.
He said: "There are still over 4,000 children waiting to be adopted nationally, and we cannot stand by whilst children's futures hang in the balance. This is why we are taking a closer look at how we are recruiting new parents by giving voluntary adoption agencies a bigger role.
"We know more than 650,000 people would consider adopting right now, yet more than 700 additional adopters are needed each year to keep up with the growing number of children waiting to be adopted.
"What is important is that children who are in need of a permanent, loving home are found one as soon as possible - not who delivers the service."