Archive for the ‘Equality’ Category

Mother could face jail because her children talked to each other on Facebook – Telegraph

25/02/2012

This case would make headlines across the land, if it were not hidden behind the family courts’ extraordinary wall of secrecy.

Mother could face jail because her children talked to each other on Facebook – Telegraph.

Courtesy Christopher Booker via The Telegraph

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.

Judge of the Week: Guess Who? (via Researching Reform)

29/06/2011

Judge of the Week: Guess Who? It’s no secret that at Researching Reform our favourite family judge is Lady Hale for she never disappoints and this week she has done it again – she is, once more, our Judge of the Week. In her speech at the Sir Henry Hodge Memorial Lecture, Lady Hale highlighted the severe impact the proposed legal aid cuts will have on the most vulnerable members of society and equally significantly, observes that the cuts will not only alienate those who need … Read More

via Researching Reform

Child Maintenance oral evidence to Work and Pensions Committee

09/06/2011

Work and Pensions Committee

Select Committee Announcement

09 June 2011

For Immediate Release: AN42 2010–12

ORAL EVIDENCE

Child Maintenance

——————————————————————————–

Wednesday 15 June 2011, Grimond Room, Portcullis House at 9.45am

Maria Miller MP, Minister for Disabled People, Department for Work and Pensions

Dame Janet Paraskeva, Chair, Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Noel Shanahan, new Commissioner and CEO, Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

The Work and Pensions Committee is conducting an inquiry into the proposed reforms of the child maintenance system.

The Green Paper ‘Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility’ sets out the Government’s view that parents should be encouraged and supported to make their own arrangements for the maintenance of their children, before deciding to use the statutory maintenance scheme. The proposals include introducing charges for parents who use the statutory child maintenance service.

This is the second and final evidence session for this inquiry. The Committee will ask the Minister about the likely impact of the proposed reforms, including the impact on poorer and more vulnerable families. The Committee will also consider the availability of support services for separating parents and the proposal to close existing Child Support Agency cases.

The Terms of Reference for this inquiry can be found on the Committee’s website: http://www.parliament.uk/workpencom

Further information

Committee membership: Dame Anne Begg MP (Chair) (Lab, Aberdeen South), Harriett Baldwin MP (Con, West Worcestershire), Andrew Bingham MP (Con, High Peak), Karen Bradley MP (Con, Staffordshire Moorlands), Alex Cunningham MP (Lab, Stockton North), Kate Green MP (Lab, Stretford and Urmston), Mr Oliver Heald MP (Con, North East Hertfordshire), Glenda Jackson MP (Lab, Hampstead and Highgate), Brandon Lewis MP, (Con, Great Yarmouth), Stephen Lloyd MP (Lib Dem, Eastbourne), Teresa Pearce MP (Lab, Erith and Thamesmead)

Specific Committee Information: workpencom@parliament.uk 020 7219 2839

Media Information: bridgespalmerj@parliament.uk 020 7219 0724

Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/workpencom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: http://www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on http://www.parliament.uk

Open Letter about Human Rights Act 1998 Article 8

01/06/2011

Sirs

The wheresmydad.org.uk™ Charitable Organisation (#wco) provides practical information, support and assistance to Non-Resident Parents (NRP) that have lost contact with their children because the Parent with Care (PwC) has arbitrarily decided to stop access or authorities/agencies are not fulfilling their duty of care to the child and for both parents.

I am sure you are aware that the recent coverage of convicted criminals having the state aiding them in ensuring their Article 8 Human Rights are upheld would appear interesting to the electorate.

  • Burglar who claimed jail sentence infringed his children’s human rights is freed | Mail Online http://ping.fm/ZEIUV
  • Prisoner allowed to father a child from jail because of ‘Article 8 human right to a family life’ | Mail Online http://ping.fm/9YFCn

These headlines cut deep into the heart of most Non Resident Parents that are denied access to their children due to the unjust Family Law system. Comments and press releases about the recent reviews of Family Law and Family Courts show little inclination to improve the situation of these parents.

The “elephant in the room” for a Non Resident Parent having to resort to Family Courts is they WANT to be involved with their children.

They are not walking away and they are not abandoning their children – They want to be a good parent.

When a Parent With Care decides unilaterally they do not want the child to see their other parent, then this is why NRP’s have to go to court. They have NO CHOICE in this decision as no agency provides systematic and automatic support for both parents. Allegations are made, delays are introduced and more and more time is wasted as the NRP battles to provide emotional support for their children.

All the time, the Family Courts choose to ignore the very reason the Family Court has had to be involved; the “back story” as you might say.

NRP’s want to “do” what they SHOULD be doing as a parent – clearly explained at the Governments’ own website http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/ParentsRights/DG_4002954

  • providing a home for the child
  • having contact with and living with the child
  • protecting and maintaining the child
  • disciplining the child
  • choosing and providing for the child’s education
  • agreeing to the child’s medical treatment

These are not “dead-beat” parents, they are NOT CRIMINALS, yet they cannot get or see, Justice for their children and themselves to have this precious Article 8 Human Right – a right to a family life.

The Human Rights Act 1998 states in Article 8.1 “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence” and in Article 14 “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status”.

Article 8 also states, ““Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law”.

It appears clear that the current, and previous Governments, do not think the law-abiding, voting parents should have this “luxury” – only Convicted Criminals.

Can you explain to our supporters what you as an elected representative are going to do for them?

A loose analogy to how NRP’s may feel can be demonstrated like this:

If two siblings were the only beneficiaries to a large inheritance, the normal minded person would expect it to be shared equally. If one of the siblings kills the benefactor and then claims all of the inheritance, then by default they would not benefit from their callous and manipulative actions.

However, this type of situation appears every day in Family Court, but the Court does not care about the murder or it’s impact and repercussions. I am not saying a child is a “prize” or Family Court is a competition to see who can “win”.

All I’m saying is that NRP’s should have the same level of support as the PWC, as Convicted Criminals .. because I am sure will appreciate, EVERYONE with Parental Responsibility are equal before the law. Except this is routinely ignored by agencies and the “authorities” when a NRP tries to enforce this equality.

Please do not think this is a rant, or criticism of you personally, but you must accept the compelling argument that to see your children when you a Non Resident Parent may be easier if you get convicted of a serious crime.

I look forward to hearing from you soon, with your comments on this issue and any proposals you may have that may provide some comfort to our supporters.

Kind regards

Open letter to the Work and Pensions Committee reviewing Child Maintenance

20/05/2011

Good afternoon

I have been reading the written submissions and watching the hearings via Parliament website with interest.

The wheresmydad.org.uk™ Charitable Organisation (#wco) provides practical information, support and assistance to Non-Resident Parents (NRP) that have lost contact with their children because the Parent with Care (PwC) has arbitrarily decided to stop access or the “authorities” are not fulfilling their duty of care to the child and for both parents.

We believe that Child Maintenance and Contact are both part of a bigger picture that should be taken into account where parents do not live together, for whatever reason.

I was pleased that Dame Anne Begg raised the issue that within her own constituency surgeries a significant number of NRP’s are forced into paying maintenance through the CSA/CMEC route but have no recourse to enforce Court Orders or contact arrangements that may be in force.  As you can appreciate, this is a major issue for NRP’s.

Looking at the submissions, I see CM02 from the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group indicates there may be problems relying on the HMRC data.  We’d like to point out that there are some simple ways to alleviate this fear:

  • place more responsibility on the tax payer to ensure their information is correct and up to date
  • effective transparency and sharing of fiscal data between central and local government, and where appropriate the banking sector
  • use HMRC as the gateway to a persons fiscal data, perhaps providing an “end of year” statement showing tax/ni collected, benefits received (including local government) etc thereby providing a “single version of the truth”
  • ensure improved collection rates of Child Maintenance (and fines) by always having this collected using the soon to be HMRC Real Time Information system

 Dr CM Davies, within CM03, provides good examples of where the current system of calculation does not take into account the circumstances of the NRP and therefore causes great hardship and distress.  In addition, an NRP needs to provide adequate accommodation to their child(ren) and the “system” needs to take this into account – including that additional bedrooms may be needed.  Adrienne Burgess made a good point that the “system” should treat NRP’s as a Family where they have 14% of residence.  This would ensure the NRP gets all the systematic support that is currently only afforded to the PWC – including lower cost social housing and other passport benefits.

Ms Burgess also made a valid point that the way maintenance calculations are performed currently precludes benefit payments, however were the parents living together their joint income would be used.  In addition, there are basic living expenses that should be taken into account, eg housing costs and travel to work etc .. without this, the NRP simply would not be able to afford to pay the maintenance imposed and therefore creates arrears that simply cannot be realistically paid.

Overall, I am pleased the issue of Child Maintenance is being reviewed although disappointed that it has taken so long.  We agree that both parents should shoulder responsibility for their children, and this includes fair access to the child(ren) and fair payment by both.

This is a complicated issue; however, I strongly believe that Child Maintenance should not have its own agency.  The payments issue should be resolved via mediation & subsequent court approval – taking into account all circumstances of both parents.  The concept of shared or co-parenting should be enshrined in law, with all the support that this should afford being mandated to be provided by the relevant agencies and bodies.

Perhaps the committee should encourage the interaction on this subject between Sir Alan Beith of the Justice Committee, Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith of the Social Justice Committee, Graham Stuart of the Education Committee, Rt Hon David Cameron of the Childhood and Families Taskforce and David Norgrove of the Family Justice Review Panel.  Not forgetting to take into account the valuable work of Rt Hon Frank Field and the Review on Poverty and Life Chances.

As a final comment, where parents do not live together, the PWC should not have a significant improvement in living standards at the expense of the NRP.  Their living standards should reflect their own income bracket.  If the parents could not afford to look after a child together – they should not be having a child!

May I congratulate you on your work and wish you well in your endeavours.

Why #wco won’t be putting cartoons on our profiles for the #NSPCC

05/12/2010

The wheresmydad.org.uk™ Charitable Organisation was created with the simple vision, philosophy and tagline of “promoting fairness, equality & parity for BOTH parents”.

This is the guiding principle in all of our activities, whether scrutinising parliamentary activity, or building our knowledge systems for our support tool wNat.

This simple statement means we cannot agree to situations where discrimination is present, whether implied or explicit.

Unfortunately this our “sticking point” with the NSPCC.  They have spent £250 Million pounds on advertising it’s recent “Full Stop” campaign, that according to New Philanthropy Capital thought the campaign was “flawed and naive” with “zero evidence” it actually benefitted any children.

In addition to this possible waste of a massive amount of money, the NSPCC has consistently opposed an automatic right of contact for both parents, arguing that this is not necessarily in the best interests of the child.

It is for this reason we will not be putting a cartoon character as our profile pictures on social networks.

With an average full time staff of 1871 people, at £57.8 million on wages & salaries and an additional £7.3 million on pensions (Average NSPCC earnings: £30,894 + £3,882 pension totalling £34,776 per year).
Let us not forget the 31 people that earn more than £60,000 per year (6 over £100,000 per year)

Total Voluntary Income (the money you put into the collecting tins etc) …… £102,074,000
Total Employee Costs (paying the people and pensions etc) …… £71,248,000

Therefore, simple arithmetic shows Employee costs are 69.8% of Donations.  So that for every £1 you donate, nearly 70 pence is for staff, and just over 30 pence goes to their objectives.

Surely there may be a better way to spend all this money?

More information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Society_for_the_Prevention_of_Cruelty_to_Children
http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/SHOWCHARITY/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=216401&SubsidiaryNumber=0
http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ScannedAccounts/Ends01/0000216401_ac_20100331_e_c.pdf

The law of unintended consequences

22/10/2010

as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review single people will only get housing benefit for a room in a shared house up to aged 35, instead of 25.  Male Non Resident Parents are treated as single men unless they are the primary carer and hence may be unable to pay for suitable accomodation for overnight staying contact.  Another example of the UK Government failing to fairly support children and their parents.

YSGL – #wco NRP-Rights (wheresmydad.org.uk backup site)

31/08/2010

wheresmydad.org.uk™ raised an interesting point.

Subject(s): NRP-Rights; Technology

This is the backup (DR) site for wheresmydad.org.uk

Other contacts:

More information can be read at:
http://sites.google.com/site/wheresmydad/

http://www.facebook.com/wheresmydad.org.uk

Published: 31/08/2010 00:00:00

New updates about Early Years qualifications and suitability

30/08/2010

Ofsted have updated qualification, compliance and inspection requirements http://ping.fm/dPX9y


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