Grandparents Apart Wales Blog

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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QUIZ NIGHT 27-April-2015 at the Albert pub, Llandudno and News

26-Apr-2015

Dear Friends,

I see on facebook Graham has been united with his son and what a happy little boy he is spending time and being with his loving dad.

This should surely make us double our efforts to bring about the end of unnecessary alienation of children from their mums, dads and grandparents.

Well done Graham and our best wishes for the future.

Our congratulations to Ian who is breaking new ground and pushing out the boundaries in the family courts.

I expect we will get more from Ian as he gains more and more experience by representing us and his clients.

I have been asked by the Petitions Committee of the National Assembly of Wales for my response regarding my petition for a Charter for Grandchildren which I submitted in July 2009.

I wish now I had petitioned instead for a Charter for Children but it was mainly grandparents I was trying to help at that time.

Nevertheless I will continue with what I am doing and hopefully the group will expand and be an influence on others.

Now we have our Quiz Night tomorrow, 27-April at 9.00pm in the Albert Public House in Madoc Street Llandudno.

Please make an effort to be there because this is part of our social strategy to bond the group together and encourage others to join us.

Many thanks and I hope to see you there.

Frank

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Why don't the family courts obey the law? - Telegraph

03-Mar-2015

Dear Friends

This is one of the cases that we are helping with that has made the press.

The lady involved has written to her solicitor requesting all the documentation relating to the case and she has written also to Judge Munby

.

There is also a request to see the Social Service Worker.

Parents and grandparents who are desperate resort to desperate measures to try and help their situation

Ian did gave her some advice but the lady wishes more.

Who can blame her.

Frank

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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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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 Children’s 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 authority’s witnesses were visibly biased in their attempts to support the local authority’s 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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Children and what is going on

22-Nov-2014

Dear Friends,

I would be indebted to you to read the links enclosed for your information and if you are able to suggest a way forward there are many families that would be extremely grateful to you.

I have had a few emails this week from parents and grandparents denied access to their children for reasons of spite by the resident parent, or by application to the Family Courts by the Social Services to have their children adopted.

I cast no aspersions on any particular children’s agencies but Facebook has been full of allegations against the Social Services this week that it is clear that something truly radically is wrong as all these mothers and grandmothers cannot be complaining for the sake of it.

I have suggested to the people who have contacted me to contact their elected representatives but reported in a story in the link is the fact that Norman Lamb MP has been contacted without success although his comments are useful.

We have three Members of Parliament in contact with our group here in Llandudno which we welcome but we need all the families who have reason to complain about being alienated from their children and grandchildren to have a central point of registration so that the statistics can be collated and examined as to their legitimacy, establishing if, we have reason for real concern regarding children’s health and protection.

The Daily Mail has written many times about individual cases but I fear that has been only to increase their circulation and the question I ask is, why they don’t investigate the situation of children being separated from their families full on.

TV stations have also made enquiries and parents have written to children’s celebrities regarding their own circumstances but again only the sensational element is reported.

The Rt. Hon. Ed Balls MP (Guardian 19/01/2010), Nick Clegg MP (Daily Mail 17/06/2010) and David Willetts MP (Daily Mail 26/10/2009) have all stated that they acknowledge there is a problem and promised rights for grandparents, who are recognised as the main carers in the UK of children yet their treatment in many cases by the courts and Children’s Agencies is quite abominable.

Working practises in individual cases needs scrutiny as reports in many instances only outline policy, the recommendations of which, everyone would support with the exception of many of the public that have direct involvement.

Parents and grandparents need your help but more importantly our children do.

Best wishes

Frank.

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Law students

10-Jun-2014

Dear Friends,

I felt that the accompanying letter should be made public.

I have long advocated that law students should be involved at the sharp end and that this type of Social Justice be included in their academic studies, adding the value of life experiences to their degrees.

What better experience can a student have than to witness and meet the people who are alienated from their children and grandchildren and Zoe was such a student, with a brilliant future in front of her..

She was lucky to have had a work experience period with Ian Smith of Peter and Paul Associates. Liverpool who works closely with the Llandudno Branch of FNF-Both Parents Matter Cymru which held another very informative meeting last night,

Today at 6.00pm there is a meeting in the Senedd to which I was invited to but sadly I will not be attending, where the charity will meet with Assembly Members to try and find a way forward for the sake of the children involved.

If you wish further information just say.

Kind regards

Frank

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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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Prenuptial Agreement Information from The Law Commission

27-Feb-2014

Dear Friends

I was pleased to hear in the news from the Law Commission that Prenuptial Agreements are to be made legally binding and it is my belief this has came about by the evolvement of marriage in our modern society.

The agreement will take all material assets into consideration but we have still a little way to go, to get to the stage where a child's contract is included in the agreement and to me that is more important than the assets.

I know this goes to people who are employed in law and in the political arena and I implore them to push this agreement just a little way forward to make sure it impasses benefits for children who should have their future assured to avoid the possibility of emotional torment in their lives.

I am sure this will have some way to go.

Best wishes

Frank.

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Deputy Mayor Elect by Llandudno Town Council

04-Feb-2014

I know a lot of you will be aware of my news but I want to state my total commitment to the struggle to have love and tolerance replace hate and revenge in the arena of parents who separate.

My news is on Friday last I was elected to the position of Deputy Mayor Elect by the Town Council of the lovely town of Llandudno.

This is such an honour which I didn't solicit but I will hopefully use the position to enhance the persona of this beautiful town and its residents.

My enthusiasm for the wellbeing of children and families will continue and I hope to engineer a platform from which I can promote the need in our society to really examine what is in the best interests of the children when their parents decide that they no longer love each other.

We need those who work in Family Law and children's agencies to clearly understand the premise that children love each parent equally and to be denied access to one is pure and simple abuse of the child's mind which has its own consequences and anguish to all involved.

I feel the way forward is to continue the close working with FNF-Both Parents Matter Cymru supporting parents and grandparents for the benefit of children who are innocently caught up in family hostilities.

The charity which acknowledges Grandparents Apart Wales has branches across Wales and it is so crucial that these branches which can be found on their web site are attended and supported by people who have experienced alienation from loved ones so that their experiences can strengthen the resolve of those sadly affected by the evil hostility of others who only wish to dominate and control, destroying families in the process.

I am available to help in any way I can.

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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