When are you too old for your parents to get rid of you?
July 6, 2004 5:25 AM   Subscribe

(UK) Given that it seems some babies are given up for adoption, are there any limits on when parents can give up kids into care/for adoption? Could parents decide to give up (for example) a 12 year old if they got fed up of him/were unable to discipline him/cope with him/etc?
posted by biffa to Human Relations (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Basically no, there are no age limits. (I've been looking for a specific link for you but can't seem to find one, but I guess that's not really surprising - one would presumably call the local authority rather than doing a web search on how to put one's children into care.) The fundamental concern is for the welfare of the children, so it doesn't really make sense to say to parents who feel unable to cope with their kids, "No, we won't take them into care unless they are neglected/in danger/etc." If the parents feel that they're unable to cope, they're probably right.
posted by different at 6:24 AM on July 6, 2004

I think that you’re looking down the wrong end of this telescope.

Parents have a long established common law duty of care for their children and can be prosecuted for failing to discharge this responsibility where the child is dependent and legally a minor.

Local authorities are empowered by the 1976 Adoption Act to take children into their care but the 1989 Children’s Act is clear that the child’s welfare is paramount consideration and certainly overrides considerations as to the parents’ disinterest in their child; such sentiments would not constitute legal discharge of parents’ duty and the Local Authority would not be empowered to take the child into its care.

Where a parent is deemed by social services to be unable to provide a child with the care that it requires in such circumstances the child can be legally taken into the care of the local authority.
posted by dmt at 9:22 AM on July 6, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies. Dmt, if I might push it, could parents just not provide/care for kids enough that they would be taken into care. Would there be any negative effects for parents other than loss of parenting for their child? Cheers.
posted by biffa at 12:03 PM on July 6, 2004

I would say that you would then be subject to criminal charges.

In America, in the 70's at least, a parent could declare a child 'incorigible' and go before a judge to determine what could be done about it. I know about that too well, being the child in such a case. In my case, 'incorigible' translates as homosexual.

I can't imagine that you could not enter a child into the custody of the system, how ever its called here in the UK. But you would be liable for at least some of the expenses of having someone else provide care, probably based on your ability to pay.

Now understand, I am a liberal, and take rather typical liberal views on this subject. Kids tend to be good, and full of the desire to please their parents, desperate for approval. Of course, when puberty hits, this all gets rather mixed up. BUT even adolescents desire aproval.

If a kid goes as bad as you describe, either the parent is having a problem understanding the behavior, or there is something else going on that needs to get sorted. Sometimes parents are too intolerant, other times there may be some problem of which the parent is unaware. I hear in the UK there are lots of bullying problems in school, and the victims won't speak up about it. That's a good example of something that can bring out misbehavior one wouldn't understand, not being aware of the source of the kid's hurt.

And do keep in mind, serious problems with kids, apart from mental disorder, pretty much always have their root in the child hurting. And the hurt may not be justified in your adult eyes, but from the child's view, it still hurts. Finding out what is going on in the mind of the kid can be a very difficult task, or it might be rather easy if you can stop long enough to really listen, without getting all defensive. Profesional help might be very useful!
posted by Goofyy at 7:30 AM on July 7, 2004

biffa, reply coming atcha via email...
posted by dmt at 9:07 AM on July 7, 2004

Whoops, can you email me first so I've got an address to send my response to? There's nothing in your profile.
posted by dmt at 9:10 AM on July 7, 2004

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