Grandparents Apart Wales Blog Social Services

10 years of engaging - Charter for Children

09-Feb-2015

Dear Friends,

On the 5th March 2015 I will have completed 10 years of engaging with senior Politian's and governments, both devolved and national for children to be heard and listened to.

The UK government is funding £2 million pound to finance a Special Social Service team with the purpose of preventing the horrific mutilation of children by FGM.

I have no word on what the Welsh Government are doing to support the prevention of such practices.

I take what is being advised on board but are the facts of children neglect not clear, that society has in too many instances let children down especially, by those whose specific responsibility it was to protect them.

We cannot be complacent as the abuse of children also happened here in North Wales and I have evidence of abuse of a child closer to home.

I petitioned the National Assembly of Wales in July 2009 to have a Charter for Children which would have set out rights for children under the Charter. Rights which children themselves wanted.

The Charter for Children was the subject of a Short Debate in the Senedd in November 2011 but the Welsh Government felt that Family Law and the Children's Act 1989 was adequate protection for children and there is some truth in that.

However we have history now coming to the fore of traumatic sexual and physical abuse of children which is an indictment and condemnation of governments and the many Children's Agencies involved sadly including the police.

The Government's action proves that the Children's Act 1989 and Family Law is not going to be sufficient or adequate to protect these young girls from FGM.

We in Conwy are protected by the law yet CCBC have a Corporate Plan 2012-2017 which contains 8 Citizen Outcomes for the benefit of those who reside in the county.

I argue children are also protected by the law but that they too should have a Charter with 13 statements giving them the best possible start in life realising their own potential.

Immigrants who wish to be part of our communities no doubt wish to be educated so that they understand our language, culture, religion and history and no doubt our laws.

When it comes to children a booklet with 13 pages is not too much for them to learn about the rights of children and it would reflect the voice of children and young people with what the feel they need.

I am pleased to say we have improved so much in 10 years regarding the protection of children and we are making vast strides forward in the Family Courts but I still support a Charter for Children.

Best wishes

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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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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