Mr Hemming was concerned that children suffer long-term harm as a result of being seperated
Former MP John Hemming said there is evidence that parents are afraid to take sick babies to hospital in case they are taken away.
Mr Hemming said he is concerned that children suffer long-term harm as a result of being separated, even in cases where they return home after investigations show the parents have done nothing wrong.
He wants social services staff and family court judges to find ways of keeping parents and children together while investigations are carried out.
I fear that it is too easy to ask for judges to place babies into foster care while investigations are carried out in situations where parents turn up at hospitals with concern
John Hemming, former Liberal Democrat MP
Mr Hemming has raised concerns after being alerted to a case in which a four-week-old baby was placed in temporary foster care after his parents took him to hospital as a result of becoming concerned because he had developed a twitch.
He said the case – now the subject of family court litigation – highlighted a wider problem.
"I fear that it is too easy to ask for judges to place babies into foster care while investigations are carried out in situations where parents turn up at hospitals with concerns," said Mr Hemming a former Liberal Democrat MP who set up a Justice for Families support group.
Mr Hemming has raised concerns after being alerted to a case
"I know people are worried about taking babies to hospital in case they are suspected of abuse.
"Of course there must be investigations, but professionals need to find ways of keeping families together and putting safeguards in place while investigations are carried out.
"Judges could make orders saying relatives must stay with parents, order health visitors to make regular checks, give social workers the right to make unannounced visits, order parents to make regular visits to GPs – something similar to the imposition of bail conditions.
"Many parents would agree to that and wouldn't feel as though they were being branded as abusers. It would lessen the antagonism people naturally feel and lessen the risk of local authorities being sued for human rights breaches.
"My worry is that babies suffer long-term damage purely as a result of being separated from parents and placed with foster carers for months.
Mr Hemming set up a Justice for Families support group
"This latest case is a classic example. A couple take a baby to hospital because he has developed a twitch. Doctors find something that concerns them and the baby goes into temporary foster care.
"The baby is now with strangers. The mother can't breast feed him. The parents' lives have suddenly been turned upside down.
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"But there are family members who could move in to provide a safeguard – and the parents would agree to all sorts of safeguards being put in place while the investigations continue.
"Recently I was made aware of another case in which a baby experienced several different foster placements in a matter of months. That can't be good.
"Sometimes babies get sick and loving parents do nothing wrong. We must find ways of minimising harm caused to families."