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FOSTER FAMILY RETURN HOME

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Jeff and Jenny Bramley, the fugitive foster parents on the run for four months, surrendered themselves and young si...
Jeff and Jenny Bramley, the fugitive foster parents on the run for four months, surrendered themselves and young sisters Jade and Hannah Bennett to police on Saturday night after returning from hiding in the Irish Republic, reported The Sunday Telegraph (p1).

The children were said to be safe and well after flying back with the couple to Stansted Airport, where they were met by social services staff and officers from Cambridgeshire Police after 'careful negotiations' by telephone. Jade, five, and three-year-old Hannah, were in the care of Cambridgeshire CC social workers while their future is to be decided by a court.

'The four will remain together over the weekend', Liz Railton, Cambridgeshire director of social services, told a news conference.

'All the signs are that the girls are fine but we must make sure', said Ms Railton, who went to the high court on Friday to explain the council's position and succeeded in having the children made wards of court.

The Bramleys, both aged 35 and from Ramsey, Cambs, disappeared with the sisters after being told they would not be allowed to continue fostering the children.

Saturday night's dramatic development in the 18-week hunt followed an appeal from social services officers, promising that if the couple gave themselves up the children's future would be decided by the courts. However, within hours of the family's return, social services stressed they had not withdrawn their opposition to the Bramleys adopting the girls. The family has been conjoined in the action and the girls' interests will be represented by the Official Solicitor.

Det Supt John Cummins, who has led the investigation, said in a statement: 'as a result of discussion and negotiation with the police, social services and legal representatives, the Bramleys agreed to return to the mainland with Mr Bodle [Mrs Bramley's brother]...

'The inquiry to trace them has been unique'.

The Observer (pp6-7) and the Independent on Sunday (p20) both carried news background features detailing the history of the case and examining the issues involved.

And, under the headline 'Scandal of the social workers who deny a loving adopted home to 10,000 British children', the Express on Sunday (pp 22-23) attacks the 'inefficiency and bureaucracy' that results in only 2,300 children in England and Wales being adopted each year when there are 10,000 ready for adoption and a total of 57,000 in foster homes and care.

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