Police arrested Gareth Roberts, 37, and Gemma Thomas, 35, who illegally removed their 7-month-old baby girl from foster care. The couple, who were captured by a surveillance camera pushing the infant in a stroller, is from Porth, South Wales in the UK, a city of nearly 6,000 people.
The parents, who had taken the child during a visit arranged by social workers, had been sought by police, who issued an urgent appeal for information on their whereabouts after they disappeared after visiting the baby in Rhydyfelin, Pontypridd, five miles from their home.
Following an urgent appeal earlier today from police in Pontypridd to trace a couple and a young child, we can confirm all parties have been found. A 37-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman have been arrested and are in police custody. The infant is safe and well. Thank you for your continued support.Posted by South Wales Police : Heddlu De Cymru on Monday, October 21, 2019
Footage showed the couple leaving the center with Thomas pushing the stroller and Roberts walking behind her with a blue shopping bag. A South Wales Police spokesperson said, "Police in Pontypridd are appealing to the natural parents of a looked-after infant to make contact. They took their seven-month-old infant from a contact center in Pontypridd at approximately 10 am on Monday without the consent of the local authority.” Police feared the couple would attempt to leave the area.
In Wales, the rate of newborns taken into foster care has more than doubled in the last three years, according to the first analysis of data in Wales. This means that newborns in Wales are now more likely to appear in foster care proceedings than those in England. Courts are authorized to put a child into council foster care if they are being harmed or likely to be harmed at home.
Out of every 10,000 babies born in 2015, 39 became subject to foster care proceedings after social services raised concerns in the first two weeks of their lives. By 2018, that number had risen to 83. Removing a newborn baby from their parent’s home is "perhaps the most difficult, and brutal, decision that professionals can make to intervene in family life", the report said. However, the report added that the justice system has "for too long... been operating in the dark."