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

25/10/2011 by

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:

Published: 25/10/2011 17:45:00

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

02/07/2011 by

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 by

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

Parliamentary Bill – #wco Legislation (Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill HL 2010-11)

13/06/2011 by

Cox, Caroline raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Legislation; Family Courts; Justice; Equality; Mediation; Scrutiny

To make further provision about arbitration and mediation services and the application of equality legislation to such services; to make provision about the protection of victims of domestic abuse; and for connected purposes.

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:

Published: 07/06/2011 12:00:00

Client complaints – the Untouchable Syndrome (via Lawyer Watch)

12/06/2011 by

YouGov's research into First-Tier Complaints Handling for the Legal Services Board has been published. It's a generally depressing read. The report looks at users of legal services who were dissatisfied with the service they received and whether and how they complained. In particular, its aim is to ascertain whether the introduction of the Legal Ombudsman has had a significant impact on complaints handling and, in particular, whether the professi … Read More

via Lawyer Watch

Child Maintenance oral evidence to Work and Pensions Committee

09/06/2011 by

Work and Pensions Committee

Select Committee Announcement

09 June 2011

For Immediate Release: AN42 2010–12


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:

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: 020 7219 2839

Media Information: 020 7219 0724

Committee Website:

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:

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

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

08/06/2011 by

McCarthy, Kerry raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Legislation; 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:

Published: 07/06/2011 17:10:00

Gov Ministerial Statement – #wco Benefits (Work & Pensions: Universal Credit (Review of Passported Benefits))

04/06/2011 by

Grayling, Chris raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Benefits; Equality; Money; Regulation

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State responsible for welfare reform, Lord Freud of Eastry, has made the following statement:

We have commissioned the Social Security Advisory Committee to undertake an independent review of passported benefits and how they link with universal credit. Passported benefits include, for example, free school meals, free milk and vitamins, free prescriptions, optical and dental care.

The Committee has been asked to produce an advisory report, taking account of the UK Government’s view that changes should not involve a net increase in public expenditure and the benefit system should be as simple as possible. I have placed a copy of the terms of reference in the Library.

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:

Published: 23/05/2011 12:00:00

Gov Ministerial Statement – #wco Equality (Home Dept: Equality and Human Rights Commission (Triennial Review))

04/06/2011 by

Featherstone, Lynne raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Equality; Justice; Scrutiny

The first triennial review of the Equality and Human Rights Commission “How Fair Is Britain?” was laid before the House on 11 October last year. A second printing which incorporates a small number of typographical changes has now been laid before the House. Copies will be made available in the Vote Office.

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:

Published: 19/05/2011 12:00:00

Gov Ministerial Statement – #wco Family Courts (Justice: Face to Face Services (Civil and Family Court Offices))

04/06/2011 by

Djanogly, Jonathan raised and interesting point.

Subject(s): Family Courts; Legal Aid

Following the creation on 1 April of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), I have agreed that the agency should explore the potential to modernise the way in which face to face services in the civil and family courts are provided through its public counters. This will allow a clearer focus of resources on those services which require face to face service and those which should be conducted through alternative means such as online or via the telephone. …

Comment by #wco:

Other contacts:

More information can be seen at:

Published: 17/05/2011 12:00:00

%d bloggers like this: