The government has failed to protect the human rights of children

Politics and Insights

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The UK has plummeted from 11th position to 156th in global ranking for meeting its children’s rights obligations in the space of just a year. The UK now ranks among the bottom 10 global performers in the arena of improving the human rights of the child, after it achieved the lowest possible score across all six available indicators in the domain of Child Rights Environment (CRE), according to the KidsRights Index 2017.

The Index gathers data from Unicef and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to identify global trends in the arena of children’s rights protection. It comprises a ranking for all UN member states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a total of 165 countries. 

The report says that a nation’s prosperity does not always guarantee children’s rights. Interestingly, economically better performing countries are not necessarily doing a better job…

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Forensic incontinence

suesspiciousminds

At the present time, there are few smaller pockets of intense joy than visiting Bailii and seeing the name Benmusa appear in the new cases list.

If you’ve not been keeping up, Ms Benmusa believes (without the tiresome business of evidence or justification) that she is the secret illegitimate daughter of Princess Margaret and that opening up Princess Margaret’s will is the final (or indeed first) piece of the puzzle. The only way she can do that is to make an application to the increasingly exasperated and creatively irritated President of the Family Division. The last time, she produced a death certificate from someone she claimed to be her maternal aunt (who would thus be Princess Margaret’s older sister… do you see the inherent problem with that? And added to that, said maternal aunt was born at a time when Princess Margaret’s father would have been ten and more interested…

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Local Authorities’ Handling Of Neglected Children To Be Investigated.

Researching Reform

The government has just announced that it will carry out a series of inspections on public bodies working with neglected children.

The inspections which will start in May this year, aim to assess how effectively organisations like local authorities, police and probation services work together to help and protect children aged between 7 and 15, the age group considered to be most at risk of neglect, abuse and exploitation.

There will be 6 inspections, which from May until December will focus on children’s experiences at the hands of these organisations. Findings highlighting what works and what needs to be improved will be published when all six inspections are complete.

A further overview report will then be published to offer guidance on good practice in this area.

An initial series of inspections were carried out in January 2016 which looked at children at risk of sexual exploitation, and those who went…

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BASW Launches Enquiry Into Ethics Of Forced Adoption

Researching Reform

The British Association Of Social Workers (BASW) has launched an Enquiry looking into the UK’s current adoption practices.

The Enquiry itself was launched in May 2016, and is still ongoing. The review includes a questionnaire (which can be accessed through the link in the first paragraph), one day events across the UK for stakeholders, focus groups and interviews with interested parties and written submissions.

PLEASE NOTE: THE ENQUIRY ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS. Thank you to Cobalt Atomic for notifying us of this.

The Enquiry will considerthe non consensual nature of adoption, or forced adoption as it is sometimes called,social workers’ involvement in the practice of removing children from parents without their consent and the ethical and human rights issues underpinning this practice.

The Enquiry page outlines theBASW Code of Ethics for Social Work:

‘Ethical awareness is fundamental to the professional practice of social workers. Their ability…

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How to increase trust in the family justice system @PenelopeGibbs2

No Punishment without Crime or Bereavement without Death!

Transform Justice published:

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Judges (and social workers) in the family court get abused on social media regularly by those who feel they have been wronged by the system.  Parents grieving at the loss of contact with their children are often angry and hurt. Their sense of injustice infects others in the absence of much other information about family court cases. So practitioners and judges worry that the credibility of the system is undermined. This was the subject of an excellent debate organised by the Transparency Project this week.  This charity aims to enhance understanding of the family justice system through greater openness, without compromising children’s welfare. I have no expertise in family justice but have a few thoughts:

1) General lack of public understanding of all aspects of the justice system hampers any efforts to illuminate this particular bit. People don’t understand…

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Your Story: Family Support Versus Forced Adoption

Researching Reform

Our next story looks at what happens when councils ignore expert evidence encouraging the use of support services and choose to file care orders instead.

1. Could you give a brief summary of the facts of your case?

Our four children were removed from our care without our consent, all through forced adoptions. The two eldest were placed with family and our two youngest were adopted by strangers. The orders were made using the ‘risk of emotional harm’ threshold, however my wife’s lawyer felt strongly that the criteria had not been met. I was unrepresented because I could not afford a lawyer.

Our family became known to social services because my wife pushed one of our children’s car seats a little too aggressively, which resulted in her being placed on the child protection register. She was then removed from the register a year later and was never placed on it…

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Pray For The Innocent Children

Parents Rights Blog

Pray For The Innocent Children

Pray for the innocent children that are being destroyed by being ripped from there loving families. Pray for the parents that attempt or commit suicide because their children have been stolen from them. 

They are the ones that need the prayers!!!

– Crystal Howe

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Child Stealing Stasi.

ASSUMED AUTHORITY

When the Berlin wall fell, the Stasi just expanded west. This is my family story of the three year state attack on my family by multiple agencies, the individual and collective corruption of most of those involved and the inbuilt extreme endemic, systemic corruption that drives them to destroy the lives of many thousands of innocent people and families every year.

 ss lebensborn

           NORTHANTS ANTI-SOCIAL SERVICES WRECK MY FAMILY

BRIEF BACKGROUND

At the time of re-writing this version in early 2015, I’m aged forty-seven and my wife is forty-three. We have been together for twenty-three years. We have a twenty-one year old daughter who stayed with her grandparents when we moved away. She works in a brain injury unit, volunteers at a local hospital, and is in her second year studying psychology at university. It’s interesting to note that she is doing an Open University course. Originally, she was to…

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McFarlane For President?

Researching Reform

With the news that the current President Of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, is set to step down next year, speculation will soon mount as to who will succeed him.

Munby’s decision to retire appears to stem from deep disappointment over the lack of progress inside the Family Court during his time as President. In a recent interview, he told The Law Gazette that there was “depressingly little to show for over two years’ hard pounding”.

Enter Justice McFarlane, an appeal court judge who works on Family Law cases, and who has recently begun to produce highly political judgments and calls to action urging improvements inside the system.

His provocative speech to the Family Justice Council earlier this month, where he called on the government to rethink the country’s adoption policy, and his overtly political judgments, which he is using to highlight problems inside the Family Courts (

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Now wash your hands

suesspiciousminds

The thing that makes family law worthwhile is that every time you think you’ve seen everything, a case comes along and makes you go “nope, not yet.”

This is one of those.

East Sussex v AG (Finding of Fact) 2017

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2017/536.html

This involved an infant, now aged 13 months old, but only a couple of months old when the strange things occurred. He spent time at three different hospitals, and in each of these, he was observed to have very high levels of alcohol in his system – high enough to be potentially life-threatening, and also high levels of anti-histamine.

How did the alcohol get there?

Well, the defence deployed by the parents (chiefly the mother) is that it must have happened through the application of sterilising hand-wash, which contains alcohol. He was in a hospital, parents wanted to make sure he didn’t get any germs, so hand-wash was liberally…

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Government: Children Have No Right To Talk To Judges

Researching Reform

Despite promising to give children a greater voice in the Family Court the government still seems to be doing nothing, after it confirmed that the Ministry of Justice never enacted a policy allowing children to speak to judges.

This information came to  light after Researching Reform made a Freedom Of Information Request asking what progress had been made allowing children to speak to family judges about their cases. You can see the request and the Ministry of Justice’s full response, here.

We’ve added the section which confirms the government’s inaction, below:

foi

In 2014, the government pledged to make sure that children going through the family courts would be able to speak to judges about their wishes and feelings.

Whilst the Freedom Of Information response from the Family Justice Policy Division blames the last government for failing to implement this policy, that’s not quite right.

Dr Phillip Lee, who was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary…

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Researching Reform Meets Legal Action For Women

Researching Reform

Legal Action For Women (LAW) very kindly invited Researching Reform to come to their office in Kentish Town yesterday, to talk about child welfare.

Dedicated to offering support for low income women, Legal Action For Women garnered media attention this year after publishing a report entitled, ‘Suffer The Little Children‘, which looks at some of the underlying causes for the sharp rise in the removal of children from their mothers inside the Family Justice System.

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We met with Anne Neale, co-author of the report, and Kim, who talked to us about the work they do, the campaigns they are currently working on and the organisation’s continued efforts to lobby government in order to raise awareness around the importance of motherhood.

FullSizeRender.jpg Anne Neale

LAW is currently working in several different areas, including the Children and Social Work Bill and its content on adoption, service privatisation and the ‘opt out clause’.

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Das reBoot – Court of Appeal find reverse gear (once again)

suesspiciousminds

A major theme in family case law over the last 2-3 years has been misuse of section 20 – voluntary accommodation, with all sorts of guidance being provided, culminating in the President of the Family Division giving a decision in Re N 2015 which just invented huge new chunks of legal obligations on Local Authorities and threatening damages if they didn’t obey.

That in turn, quite coincidentally, led to the biggest increases in number of care proceedings issued that we have seen since the Baby P crisis hit. It is a complete coincidence, of course. I mean, over that same period of time, we haven’t actually seen the number of children in foster care go up at all, but we have seen the number of care proceedings go up by 35%, but the two things are utterly unrelated.

As I’ve said before, I do think that there was a genuine…

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Building Redbridge to your heart

suesspiciousminds

Readers may remember the London Borough of Redbridge getting a hard time recently in this case

Like Redbridge under troubled water (a Local Authority takes a kicking case)

And you might remember that the case hadn’t finished there –  MacDonald J had effectively put the Local Authority in special measures, with them having to write to him each and every week to say if the case was still on track to an adjourned final hearing.  So this is the judgment from the final hearing, and if Redbridge’s bruises were healing up, they just got some new ones.

But first, here’s  photo of a muppet.   (this is foreshadowing, y’all… )

No, it's not Honey G out of X-Factor No, it’s not Honey G out of X-Factor

Re  E (A child : Care proceedings) 2016

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWFC/HCJ/2016/59.html

The final hearing was conducted by Mr Justice Moor, and he opened with this King Punch

  • Following the Family Justice Review, it was recognised that…

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Judge making findings about a witness – fair trial

suesspiciousminds

This is a very tricky one – I have to say that my eventual conclusion is that the Court of Appeal are entirely right about the principles and the decision that they came to, but it leaves me feeling uncomfortable and queasy that allegations as important as this about professional misconduct end up being dealt with on a technicality. What was alleged (and found by the Judge who heard all the evidence) was very serious stuff indeed.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2016/1140.html

In this case, at the end of a 4 week hearing, the Judge delivered a judgment that said that the SW and Police Officer had embarked on a deliberate calculated exercise of getting ‘evidence’ to prove sexual abuse without any relation to whether or not the allegations were true, that they had drawn other professionals in, that both had lied to the Court and that the SW had caused considerable emotional harm…

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England’s Stolen Children – Controversial New Documentary On Forced Adoption

Researching Reform

The French media have been fascinated for some time by England’s use of Forced Adoption, as a country very much in the minority in how they apply this controversial approach to vulnerable families. The latest documentary from France on this topic has been produced by France 5 and is called “England’s Stolen Children”. It airs tomorrow evening, 7.40pm UK time. 

The documentary makes several claims which portray Britain’s child protection sector as unethical, lawless and profiteering. Information about the documentary includes contentious language, which we’ve translated below:

“This documentary tells the story of the thousands of children unjustly removed from their families. It chronicles families’ terrifying experiences of children taken at birth, the promise of future removal whilst mothers are pregnant and the threat of removal directed at women who have not yet had children, solely on a suspicion of future harm to the child.

The setting for this documentary…

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When I’m sixty-four (bundles)

suesspiciousminds

A permission to appeal hearing in the Court of Appeal. Where the parents did not have legal aid and

(A) There were Court orders that said that they couldn’t have a copy of the judgment ; and

(B) There were sixty four Court bundles  (and even whittling it down for the appeal there were still 27 just to decide the permission application)

Re A and B (Children) 2016

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2016/1101.html

The impact of confidentiality on the appeal process

  • For sound reasons, which are not challenged in the course of these two applications for permission to appeal, Theis J imposed a highly restrictive regime aimed at maintaining total confidentiality as to the content of her fact finding judgment and the subsequent welfare determinations that she made. In short terms mandatory orders are in place which prevent any of the lay parties from having a copy of the judgments, or any part of…

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