Parents' rights movement

The Parents' rights movement is a civil rights movement whose members are primarily interested in issues affecting fathers, mothers and children related to family law, including child custody.

Parents' rights advocates claim that many parents' parental rights are unnecessarily terminated, and that children are separated from fathers and mothers and adopted through the actions of family courts and government social service agencies seeking to meet their own targets, rather than looking at the merits of each case.[1] Parental rights activists state that employees of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS) take children away from their parents without cause.[2] They add that these employees, who they assert have improperly received immunity from the Massachusetts Supreme Court,[3] threaten mothers with the loss of their children to coerce them into divorcing their husbands[4] and attending support groups.[5] They state that these support groups serve the dual purpose of allowing the associates of the DSS employees to receive additional government funding for running the support groups, and allowing the DSS employees to gain information used to take children away from their parents.[5] Parental rights advocates state that abuse of power has occurred[2] and that vested interest has played a role.[5]

United Kingdom[edit]

Fostering and adoption[edit]

In June 2007, UK parents' rights advocates criticized the local court, claiming that it was treating children as adoptable commodities, that decisions were made on lack of evidence and perjury, and that courtroom secrecy was harming families and children.[6] In July 2017, a judge ruled that Gloucestershire County Council had removed a baby from its vulnerable mother unlawfully.[7]

Medical treatment[edit]

The issue of parents' rights has also arisen in connection with disagreements over medical treatment. Two recent high-profile cases in the UK are the Charlie Gard case in 2017 and the Ashya King case in 2014. In both cases there was disagreement between parents and doctors about the best course of treatment and the cases were taken to court. This has led to an impassioned debate about who should have the final say - parents or doctors.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Unwarranted Adoptions". BBC. 2004-09-28. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  2. ^ a b Hession, Gregory (2003-01-06). "DSS Dirty Tricks Series". MassOutrage.Com. Archived from the original on 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
  3. ^ Baskerville, Stephen (2004-06-06). "MASSACHUSETTS' FAMILY 'JUSTICE'". Retrieved 2007-05-07.
  4. ^ Baskerville, Stephen (Summer 2003). "Divorce as Revolution". The Fatherhood Coalition, also Salisbury Review vol. 21 no. 4. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
  5. ^ a b c Moore, Nev (2003-07-29). "Inside A 'Batterers Program' for 'Abused' Women". The Fatherhood Coalition. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
  6. ^ "Parents' Rights Advocates Criticize Local Court". BBC. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  7. ^ "Baby removed from vulnerable mother 'unlawfully'". BBC News. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  8. ^ Triggle, Nick. "Charlie Gard: A case that changed everything?". BBC news. BBC. Retrieved 1 August 2017.