Author Archive

28/01/2012

World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum.

by Sabine Kurjo McNeill
 
>Link<

Thanks to Sabine for posting this and to Dawn Booth Lydon, Director of Communications UKFRM, for bringing this to our attention. My comments at the end – StuG

Camilla Cavendish’s 10-Point Plan

Camilla Cavendish[1] is Associate Editor and columnist at The Times. In 2009, she was campaigning journalist of the year for exposing miscarriages of justice which convinced Government to open the family courts – but not enough. Here is her 10-point plan that is waiting to be implemented:

1. Open family courts to the press in all but exceptional circumstances (as recommended by the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee)

2. Let any parent or carer accused of abuse call any witnesses they need in their defence. At the moment, they are routinely refused permission to do so.

3. Give automatic permission for parents who are refused legal aid to get a…

View original post 1,420 more words

Parliamentary Bill – #wco Parenting (Young Offenders (Parental Responsibility) Bill 2010-11)

25/01/2012

Hollobone, Philip raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Parenting; Education; Justice

A Bill to make provision for a mechanism to hold individuals to account for any criminal sanctions imposed upon young people for whom those individuals hold parental responsibility; and for connected purposes.

Comment by #wco: Not forgetting there should be weighting in this responsibility heavily towards the Main Carer or Parent with Care.

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/youngoffendersparentalresponsibility.html

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2010-07-05c.81.9

Published: 05/07/2010 18:10:00
http://www.wheresmydad.org.uk
http://www.thirdchamber.org.uk

Parliamentary Bill – #wco Parenting (Kinship Carers (Parental Responsibility Agreements) Bill 2010-11)

25/01/2012

McCarthy, Kerry raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Parenting; Childcare; Family Courts; NRP Rights; Regulation; Parenting

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to make provision to extend the system of parental responsibility agreements to enable a kinship carer to obtain parental responsibility for a child they are raising without having to bring a case to court; and for connected purposes

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/kinshipcarersparentalresponsibilityagreements.html

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2011-06-07a.65.0

Published: 07/06/2011 17:10:00
http://www.wheresmydad.org.uk
http://www.thirdchamber.org.uk

Parliamentary Bill – #wco Relationships (Grandparents (Access Rights) Bill 2010-11)

25/01/2012

Percy, Andrew raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Relationships; Childcare; Family Courts; Parenting

A Bill to give grandparents rights of access to their grandchildren in certain circumstances; and for connected purposes.

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/grandparentsaccessrights.html

Published: 23/11/2010 16:35:00
http://www.wheresmydad.org.uk
http://www.thirdchamber.org.uk

Parliamentary Bill – #wco Equality (Children (Access to Parents) Bill 2010-11)

23/01/2012

Elphicke, Charlie raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Equality; Childcare; Family Courts; Justice; LocalGov; NRP Rights; Parenting; Parliament-UK

A Bill to require courts, local authorities and other bodies, when determining or enforcing issues of residence and contact, to operate under the presumption that the rights of a child include the right to grow up knowing and having access to and contact with both of the parents involved in the residence or contact case concerned, unless exceptional circumstances are demonstrated that such contact is not in the best interests of the child; to create an offence if a relevant body or person does not operate under or respect such a presumption; and for connected purposes

Comment by #wco: Let us all hope this is given the time to have a proper, thorough and objective debate leading to introduction of this bill.

Well done Charlie!

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/childrenaccesstoparents.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9438000/9438954.stm

Published: 29/03/2011 16:10:00
http://www.wheresmydad.org.uk
http://www.thirdchamber.org.uk

Parliamentary Bill – #wco Equality (Children (Access to Parents) Bill 2010-11)

06/01/2012

Elphicke, Charlie raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Equality; Childcare; Family Courts; Justice; LocalGov; NRP Rights; Parenting; Parliament-UK

A Bill to require courts, local authorities and other bodies, when determining or enforcing issues of residence and contact, to operate under the presumption that the rights of a child include the right to grow up knowing and having access to and contact with both of the parents involved in the residence or contact case concerned, unless exceptional circumstances are demonstrated that such contact is not in the best interests of the child; to create an offence if a relevant body or person does not operate under or respect such a presumption; and for connected purposes

Comment by #wco: Let us all hope this is given the time to have a proper, thorough and objective debate leading to introduction of this bill.

Well done Charlie!

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/childrenaccesstoparents.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9438000/9438954.stm

Published: 29/03/2011 16:10:00
http://www.wheresmydad.org.uk
http://www.thirdchamber.org.uk

Consultation – #wco Relationships (Cross-government definition of domestic violence consultation)

14/12/2011

May, Theresa raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Relationships; Equality; Justice

The government has launched this consultation to ask for views on whether the current cross-government definition of domestic violence should be widened. It also seeks views on whether the current definition is being applied consistently across government, and if it is understood by practitioners, victims and perpetrators.

Comment by #wco: Whatever the outcome of this consultation, acknowledgement that DV is a two-way crime and most practitioners already agree that taking children away from their parent, or threats to take a child away, are Domestic Violence. If only the cross-governmental departments and “care” agencies upheld this view when a PwC denies a NRP access or contact with their child(ren).

Other contacts: DVdefinition@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

More information can be seen at:
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/definition-domestic-violence/

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/definition-domestic-violence/dv-definition-consultation?view=Binary

Published: 14/12/2011 20:00:00
http://www.wheresmydad.org.uk
http://www.thirdchamber.org.uk

Media (PR) – #wco Family Courts (Parents who abduct children should face longer in prison, says top judge)

13/12/2011

Judge, The Lord raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Family Courts; Childcare; Equality; Justice; NRP Rights; Parenting

… Lord Judge said: “The abduction of children from a loving parent is an offence of unspeakable cruelty to the loving parent and to the child or children, whatever they may later think of the parent from whom they have been estranged as a result of the abduction.” …

Comment by #wco: I whole heartedly agree with this quote from Lord Judge.
However the removal of contact with children from a loving Non Resident Parent is an offence of unspeakable cruelty to the loving parent and to the child or children too. All too often the “system” appears to forget that the reason so many NRP’s end up in court is precisely because of this “unspeakable cruelty” which is ignored by the Family Court system and the trauma endured to even get to court far certainly (in the words of Lord Judge) ‘does not meet “true justice”, especially for the other “loving parent”‘.

This tragic abuse of child and Non Resident Parent should be treated as seriously as Lord Judge says, with punishment for the Parent With Care, and their collaborators including “care” agencies & legal teams, that inflicts this systematic and “unspeakable cruelty”

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8954072/Parents-who-abduct-children-should-face-longer-in-prison-says-top-judge.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/tom-whitehead/

Published: 13/12/2011 18:15:00
http://www.wheresmydad.org.uk
http://www.thirdchamber.org.uk

News & Information – #wco Parenting (Open Family Services)

25/10/2011

Harvey, Anna raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Parenting;

OpenFamilyServices is the national online directory of accredited family services, information, registered child care and positive activities. The information comes directly from participating Local Authorities across England who verify the information to ensure it’s accuracy. Information about national services is also available in a single search.

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:
http://www.openfamilyservices.org.uk/

Published: 25/10/2011 17:45:00
http://www.wheresmydad.org.uk
http://www.thirdchamber.org.uk

What happens if I go to court to see my kids?

02/07/2011

It’s no surprise to anyone that has been touched by the Family Law system to understand that Non Resident Parents have a bad deal in the UK.  A very bad deal.

A Parent With Care (PwC) can, and many do, adversely interfere with the relationship between the Non Resident Parent (NRP) and their child by making contact difficult.

You may say “But parents with Parental Responsibility are “equal before the law” – it says so in the Children Act 1989 as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property” “

Alas, this is not practised by many local government or judicial agencies.

As a NRP, if you have difficulty seeing your children, your first port of call may be the Police or the local Family Information Service (for “Family”, read “PwC”) for advice.  You will soon start hearing the excuse “if you don’t have a court order, we can’t help you” or similar.  Strange?  We already know that all people with Parental Responsibility (PR) are equal then surely these support agencies will help anyone of these people with PR to continue to exercise their rights and responsibilities and enjoy a Family Life.

Remember this is the same “Family Life” as described in The Human Rights Act 1998 where it cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 8.1 “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence” and Article 14 “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground …” used by convicted criminals to be released from jail early or stopped from being deported so they can see their children !

It is such a shame the Government, local agencies and judicial system does not afford this protection to law-abiding, tax-paying voters – in truth you are their boss you may say.

So, you’ve asked around and you realise that the only way you can get to continue having a relationship with your child is to ask the Family Courts to enforce yours and your child’s rights for this.

Dear, dear, dear … this is where the “system” really does start to expose the underlying faults.

The act of attempting to see your child via the courts is automatically seen as “confrontational” and it is YOU that is making waves.  Hang on a minute, you’re the one that has been wronged?  You’ve lost contact with your child through no fault of your own and all the “support agencies” won’t help because you don’t have a court order in place (remembering that everyone with PR is equal before the law .. mind you some people are more equal than others …)?

Keep that thought …

Now as the Applicant (the one bringing the court action), you will be expected to prove that you are a fit and proper parent.  You will not be able to bring any evidence for this, and you will more than likely have vicious and hurtful allegations made against you, which are always taken on face value as correct until proven otherwise (any concept of innocent until proven guilty is left at the front door of the Family Court).  These are generally made one after each other, causing delays and further distress.

As an Applicant, if you are the father, then the first allegation will probably be that you are not the biological father.  Now, as a major “show-stopper”, this is the first attempt by the Respondent to stop you.  This allegation by itself can be heart-breaking to the NRP, let alone now having to undertake DNA (or similar) tests.  However, by this time the PwC has probably already clearly stated to CMEC/CSA that you are indeed the father and you’re on the birth certificate so there is no reason to doubt it.  So, a few weeks go by and the test results come back positive and you continue to try and see your family.

Now I abhor violence in any form and do not condone it in any way, but the next allegation will normally be violence or the threat of violence either to them or others within your family.  This too is a contact show-stopper, and the respondent will even mention when you had (or maybe didn’t have) that argument with your brother/ sister/ mother/ father.  Mind you, any family member will do as the courts have been told this will now need to looked into, and therefore a few more weeks delay before actually getting to the reason you’re in court.

Remember when I mentioned about people with PR being equal before the law? Yeah, about that.  Domestic Violence appears in many forms, one of which is the threat of or actual act of stopping you seeing your children.  So, as a NRP, you suggest you are going to court and you’re going to “get to see my kids” – then this is seen as Domestic Violence (DV) .. don’t believe us? Have a look at the leaflets available in the waiting rooms.

However; on the other side of the coin, when the PwC states repeatedly “you’re not going to be seeing little Jonny any more so take me to court if you think that will help you”; this is rarely seen as DV, and is rarely mentioned by the agencies or courts.  Surprising really, as it is precisely because of this you’ve been denied contact with your children that your here!

Meanwhile, back to the story.  We’re about 12 weeks into our journey through the Family Court system, and in reality probably close to a year since you’ve had quality time with your child.  We’ve not even started asking for contact yet, and there are probably two more allegations to come.

You will be pleased to know the next two allegations are usually the final ones.  Depending on what the PwC is like and their particular habits, you will be accused of excessive drinking (which is not against the law in any event) and of taking drugs.  Obviously, if the PwC partakes of these activities then they will probably water the allegation down a little.  I mean, they wouldn’t want the court to think THEY are a bad parent now would they?

Now we need drug & alcohol testing to see what you’ve been up to.  If the court orders a hair strand test, then be prepared for a hefty report from the laboratory.  Having only had experience of the alcohol test, the first 60 odd pages will be all reasons not to trust the report and how cold remedies will affect the results etc etc .. with a final analysis saying you drink between “0 and 28 units per week” …

A few more weeks, we’re 16 weeks into this process now …

Notice a pattern?

So we’re ready.  The spurious allegations have all been dismissed by the judge and your ready to explain how you got here and how for a year now you’ve not been able to maintain contact with your child.

Doh! How STUPID have YOU been ???

You’ve recently shot yourself in the foot and you didn’t even realise or even be able to avoid it.

To get to this point you’ve proved you’re not a violent, drug taking, drunken thug and now, as a result of not being a threat or menace to society, you will not receive any systematic help or assistance from the relevant agencies.  Social Services and Child Protection will not monitor you, CAFCASS will not assess you and so no Politically Correct Offender Support Officer will be able to recommend you need be in contact with your child so as to help them keep a family unit in place.

You are on your own and you’re stuffed!

Keep in mind the judge is not interested why you’re here.
They’re not interested that you’ve had to fight major obstacles to get here.
They’re not even interested in how good a parent you were – I mean, you’ve missed over a year of your child’s life now.

Remember also you have no recourse to justice for all the allegations, multiple breaches of your human rights and your child’s human rights.

As an aside, if your sibling killed your parents to get at their inheritance the court will intercept and stop that happening.  Laws are in place to stop people benefiting from their unlawful actions – apart from in the Family Courts that is.

The starting point now is:
You are obviously a “feckless NRP” as in the courts opinion no PwC would stop you seeing your child for no reason.  By not seeing your child you are actively demonstrating you do not support your child emotionally and therefore your child should be protected from contact with you and any contact should be supervised, monitored and appraised by the very same person that stopped you seeing your child in the first place.  Have faith though, after coming all this way, the courts think the PwC will now suddenly be fair, consistent and objective in their opinions.

As another aside; if you speak to CAFCASS, they would usually say that if there are no unresolved issues (like the allegations above) then they would expect a child to stay with the NRP two nights per week from the age of 2.5 years.  This is good and I’m sure you will agree appears fair.

Hold on there cowboy!  “Fair” is not the issue here, get that right out of your mind now otherwise you are going to be sorely disappointed – and quickly too!

As an NRP applying for contact, all things being equal, you will usually get contact ordered.  It may not be as much as you think it should be, or fair in the real sense of the word.

The bottom line is you are here because you were stopped from seeing you child and now you are effectively punished for asking for this contact.

As another blow to your “equal before the law” status, the contact order will probably assign residency with the PwC.  This gives them even more “equality” than you when it comes to dealing with the relevant agencies (doctors, schools etc)

If you’ve read this far – well done!

We’ll continue this saga next week with responses to the three (relatively) recent Family Law reviews;  the Work and Pensions Committee’s Fifth Report of Session 2010-12,The Government’s Proposed Child Maintenance Reforms (HC 1047-I) and suggested changes (including recent Private Members Bills) to the whole concept of Family Law within England and Wales.


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