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Minister was warned about child care family wrecking scandal



MARGARET HODGE, the children’s minister, and Harriet Harman, the solicitor general, were warned more than three years ago about a growing scandal in the family courts of children being wrongfully removed from their families. Jan Loxley, a former government adviser on childcare, wrote to both Hodge and Harman. She told them that families were being destroyed because of false accusations of child abuse based on theories expounded by Professor Sir Roy Meadow. Last week Hodge announced reviews of an estimated 5,000 cases in family courts where children have been taken from parents. Another 258 criminal cases involving Meadow’s theories will be re-examined. Meadow, a distinguished paediatrician who retired in 1997, now faces a General Medical Council investigation into allegations of misconduct. Loxley is angry that action was not taken sooner. In her letters dated May 17, 2000, she wrote that many mothers were being falsely accused of Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, a diagnosis created by Meadow based on the theory that carers may deliberately harm children to attract attention.