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Maternal outcasts: raising the profile of women who are vulnerable to successive, compulsory removals of their children – a plea for preventative action

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number3
Volume35
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)291-304
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date21/06/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper concerns policy and practice responses to birth mothers who experience successive, permanent removal of their children to state care and/or adoption. The central argument of this paper is that, to date, the rehabilitative needs of this population of birth mothers have fallen outside the remit of statutory agencies. Moreover, the extant literature offers little by way of definitive findings in respect of the size of this population or rehabilitative options. Indeed, a marked absence of discussion within mainstream policy circles renders this population hidden, only hinted at in profiling studies that note the sequential removal of siblings through public law care proceedings. Conceptualising this population of women as ‘maternal outcasts’ who bear the stigma of spoiled motherhood, we consider a range of factors that impact on this population's continued exclusion. Falling so far outside normative expectations of motherhood and presenting with multiple problems of daily living, there is no doubt that this population raises particular practical, ethical and legal challenges. However, these challenges should not stand in the way of a concerted prevention agenda.