APPENDICES TO THE MINUTES OF EVIDENCE
Letter from John Penet, National Coordinator,
ATD Fourth World
I write to ask that ATD Fourth World be considered
to give oral evidence to the Select Committee, possibly in association
with Family Rights Group.
Over the past four years, through regular policy
forums, ATD Fourth World has been empowering families and individuals
living in long-term poverty to bring their experiences directly
to policy makers. This allows the contribution of those least
heard to be considered in policy planning. Never is this more
important than in the subject of planning for the future of children,
yet in recent discussions and debates on adoption reform, the
voices of birth parents are almost never heard. This is because
there is an assumption thatat bestbirth parents
are socially inadequate, unfit to parent their children, andat
worstpeople who have been cruel and abusive. This assumption
creates shame for parents who have lost children through lack
of parenting skills, insecure housing and the many other devastating
effects of a lifetime of poverty and social exclusion. Such has
been the experience of many of the families with whom ATD Fourth
World works and who have contributed to policy forums.
Creating a supportive environment for people
to come and share their experiences with each other, we ran a
series of policy forums focusing on adoption. From these policy
forums ATD Fourth World produced a consultation response on the
National Adoption Standards. Even if it were at short notice,
we would be pleased to give oral evidence to the Select Committee.
For further information about the work of ATD
Fourth World, please find enclosed our Annual Review and a Fourth
World Journal on our family support work.
1 Not printed. Back