Grandparents Apart Wales Blog Grandparent Contact

Charter for Grandchildren and contact from Petitions Committee of the National Assembly

17-Jun-2015

Charter for Grandchildren and contact from  Petitions Committee of the National Assembly I have been contacted by the Petitions Committee of the National Assembly and been advised that the petition I submitted in 2009 for a Charter for Grandchildren has now been closed and is no longer under consideration. The reason I have been given is that events have overtaken the terms of the petition.

The petition in 2009 covered a lot of the improvements in Family Law that subsequently followed with different amendments and attitudes to children's paramount interests and in Family Court procedures.

I am convinced that had the need for a charter for children been accepted in 2009 it would have evolved as well and perhaps could have been incorporated in the Children Rights in Wales as a code of conduct to enforce what children themselves wanted and signed up for, to strengthen their positions and that of their parents and grandparents, children's agencies, organisations and the courts.

I am now in receipt of support for that charter as my comments about children, and my question asking, are they in a better place now than they were in 2009 has struck a cord with many of my social media friends.

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P-04-236 Charter for Grandchildren

27-Apr-2015

Dear Friends

I have sent my reply to the Petitions Committee of the National Assembly (Please email me for my reply).

Once I have had it replied to, I will send it to all my contacts including senior politicians.

I will never be satisfied in my quest for children's rights as it is ongoing but I admit that I am somewhat surprised that I am still asked to comment on the petition after 6 years of continued improvement in Family Law.

Our group will help children and be the catalyst for their happiness within the family and that is why it is crucial to keep our numbers up so that we are recognised as an organisation and not just a protest group

I hope to see you all tonight at the Quiz and you as part of the group have the ability to take the rights of children and those who care for them to a higher level and there can no higher reward than that.

Many thanks for your support

Frank

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2015 Happy New Year - Charter for Grandchildren

01-Jan-2015

Dear Friends

A Happy New Year to you all and hopefully we can continue to make progress in our efforts to change society in the interest and welfare of children.

Society can only be changed by debate and the reflection of new ideas and we have been in a small way instrumental in putting forward such ideas for consideration.

Grandparents Apart Wales placed a petition for a Charter for Grandchildren before the National Assemble in July 2009 which was well received but not acted on although many changes came after in Family Law that were similar to its aims..

The Charter was discussed in a Short Debate in the National Assembly in November 2011 and we were grateful for the recognition and substance of that debate even although the then Minister Gwenda Thomas AM Deputy Minister for Social Services stated that we had adequate laws in place to deal with family situations.

Gwenda whose comments we have always respected may be have been right, and that was never a issue with us, but the amount of anguish parents and grandparents suffer continually, was and we have received four new cases this past week which proves that laws and children's agencies are not eradicating or addressing the situation of alienation, as they would no doubt wish, and this must affect the wellbeing of children caught up in hostilities or at least in situations that are detrimental to what they would wish for themselves,

The Charter for Children gave them a voice and the right to be heard and one wonders if they are, and then if they are who is listening.

We suggested a Child's Contract, which never got of the ground but we still have some support for such a contract, where a child's future is written and agreed on by the parents with no doubt the whole families support before the child is born, so that any eventuality in the child's life is covered.

Should the contract not be recognised by the courts it would at the very least be a guide to the court.

In short every thing that we have thought and would wish to change is for the sole benefit of the child who are the ones that suffer when they are alienated from the ones they love, mainly parents and grandparents.

I have been involved in promoting the interests and rights of children for ten years now (March) and enjoy the support of an extremely loyal group of volunteers and professionals in Llandudno which is developing and having success in the courts. This is extremely encouraging but we are impatient for the changes that are coming, and the need for them to come that little bit sooner.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

Frank

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Social workers accused of bias by judge

29-Nov-2014

Dear Friends

Please read this for your information. It is sent to encourage the parents and grandparents who feel aggrieved at the decisions of the Childrenâs Agencies and Family Justice Courts.

There is a welcomed change coming where they will have hope and greater support than what was available previously.

I am available for any comments,

Many thanks

Frank

Social workers accused of bias by judge

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A judge has accused social workers involved in a care application of being biased against members of the child's own family.

In North East Lincolnshire Council -v- G and L, the mother of a three year old boy, referred to as "J, had been unable to care for him due to problems with substance abuse. She died prior to the hearing. Judge Simon Jack also noted allegations of domestic violence involving the late mother and her partner.

The local authority applied for care and placement orders in relation to J, allowing them to place him for adoption with a new family. Both sets of grandparents were willing to take on J's care, but, Judge Jack explained, the social workers had ruled out both sets of grandparents.

One set was thought to have problems with drink and domestic violence, while the second set was deemed to be overly burdened by two older children with unspecified difficulties.

The Judge concluded that the social workers who gave evidence at the hearing had been one-sided in their claims. He declared:

"I had the very strong impression that the local authority witnesses were intent on playing up any factors which were unfavourable to the grandparents and playing down any factors which might be favourable."

The concerns expressed by the social workers about each set of grandparents had been "grossly overstated in order to try and achieve their ends."

He added:

"I have never, in over ten years of hearing care cases taken the view, as I did in this case, that the local authorityâs witnesses were visibly biased in their attempts to support the local authorityâs case."

Turning to the grandparents alleged to have problems with drink and domestic violence, Judge Jack said there was no evidence that children in their care had suffered any adverse effects.

"The reality is that in this country there must be tens of thousands of children who are cared for in homes where there is a degree of domestic violence (now very widely defined) and where parents on occasion drink more than they should, I am not condoning that for a moment, but the Courts are not in the business of social engineering. The courts are not in the business of providing children with perfect homes. If we took into care and placed for adoption every child whose parents had had a domestic spat and every child whose parents on occasion had drunk too much then the care system would be overwhelmed and there would not be enough adoptive parents. So we have to have a degree of realism about prospective carers who come before the Courts."

Nevertheless, he concluded that the youngster should be placed with the second set of grandparents, who, in addition to their older children, were also looking after J's older brother, "R". Judge Jack described R as "clearly a lad who is suffering serious sense of grief and loss" following the death of his mother. But the couple were coping "reasonably well" with the situation, the Judge believed.

Read the judgement here : http://www.bailii.org:80/ew/cases/EWCC/Fam/2014/B77.html

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FNF BPM meetings continue in Llandudno

15-Apr-2014

FNF BPM (Families Need Fathers Both Parents Matter) meetings are proving a great success and it is hoped that those who attend and have themselves experienced alienation from their children or grandchildren will become volunteers and give people the support needed to help them understand their situation.

We are able to give free legal advice from Ian Smith of PAPA, Liverpool and have also been joined by a law graduate. So the signs are very encouraging. and I thank all those who, last night contributed to what was a very good meeting.

To those of you who practice Family Law it became apparent at this meeting that Court Orders are still not being enforced therefore they are treated with contempt which adds to the suffering of those denied access to their children and grandchildren but more importantly the emotional abuse it causes the children involved.

There was no criticism of the law or the Children's Act 1989 per se just the lack of understanding of some of the decisions made by the Family Courts CAFCASS, Social Services and it is those decisions that we are deliberating and trying to understand.

The Llandudno Branch has had the honour of welcoming members of FNF Both Parents Matter from other branches including the Wirral so we are together which includes our National Executive giving these matters serious thought.

As always your comments are welcome as we are dealing with some difficult, and may I say tragic cases.

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Grandparents and Social Services intervention

05-Apr-2014

I have had two telephone calls from Grandmothers who feel there has been no sensitivity or justice in their cases.

The cases are very similar in that they both had trouble when they were young mothers bringing up their children and turned to the proper agencies for help and assistance, namely the Social Services.

Now that their families are up and having children of their own the Social Services have again came in to the picture and pursued Care Orders from the court which will ultimately mean the loss of contact with their grandchildren forever.

I rightly leave the law to those who study it and practice it but both grandparents admit they approached the Social Services over twenty years ago for help which is the very historical, basis of the complaint against them now.

We are told the Social Services have moved forward over the last few years and we accept and welcome that but cannot courts and Social Services apprehend that perhaps the Social Services were not skilled to deal with children's moods and modern complexities at that point in time, yet face parents and schools nowadays in profusion, and is accepted as normal behaviour that requires special measures and statements to accommodate the children's needs and quality of life.

Best wishes,

Frank

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BBC Breakfast Programme contact with Grandparents Apart Wales

23-Dec-2013

This is a story for Xmas and it happened today.

The BBC Breakfast Programme telephoned Grandparents Apart Wales wanting to interview grandparents who will be denied access to their grandchildren over Xmas.

I gave them a grandmothers' contact details because I knew she would not mind her name being put forward as well as being a fantastic grandparent.

They wanted to lay on transport for her tomorrow to be interviewed, which would have suited her but the notice was too short to change her working commitments, for the church this Xmas.

This grandmother is the same as every other grandparent denied access to their grandchildren and the courts and the legal practitioners are not helping them. They just do not see the bigger picture at all but the politicians should..

I spoke to the producer explaining the plight of parents and grandparents being denied access is anguishing every single day of the year including Xmas and when presents are sent they never know if the children or grandchildren receive them.

There simply is no justification for such treatment of children in our modern civil society.

Grandparents have had promises of rights in law by governments over the years which we knew was unworkable and clearly not thought out but the fact children are being denied access to the people they love needs addressing.

The BBC have said they will contact us again and we hope they do but we do not wish sensationalism, just the truth shown on our screens of the facts that Family Courts which are held in secret for no applicable reason do not in the main help the advancement of children being denied access to the people they love.

I sincerely wish you all a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year knowing full well it will be heartbreaking to many of you regretfully.

Frank

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