This case would make headlines across the land, if it were not hidden behind the family courts’ extraordinary wall of secrecy.
Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category
Work and Pensions Committee
Select Committee Announcement
09 June 2011
For Immediate Release: AN42 2010–12
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7219 2839
Media Information: email@example.com 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
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.
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.
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.
Ofsted have updated qualification, compliance and inspection requirements http://ping.fm/dPX9y
Just a quick reminder that the Family Justice Review is still in progress and if you have an interest in this area you should get in contact with the panel and let them know your comments.
Call them on 020 3334 4200 or go to their website at http://www.justice.gov.uk/reviews/family-justice-intro.htm
David Norgrove is the Chair Person and if you want to know the other members of his team his team, go to http://wheresmydadorguk.giving.officelive.com/ByGroup.aspx and look for “Family Justice Review” in the group name.
The terms of reference can be read at http://www.justice.gov.uk/reviews/fjr-terms-reference.htm
LibDems and Fathers’ Contact Rights: page 52 of their manifesto http://ow.ly/1EBRM #ge2010 #ge10 #election2010