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Succeeding in an opposed adoption

Succeeding in an opposed adoption | Children In Law | Scoop.it
    There are cases – you can see them in law reports, read about them in the newspapers and sometimes see them for yourself, when a Local Authority seeks a Placement Order with a plan to...
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Family Law Week: G (Declaration of Parentage - Removal of Person Identified as Mother from Birth Certificate) (No 2) [2018] EWHC 3361 (Fam) (16 October 2018)

Family Law Week: G (Declaration of Parentage - Removal of Person Identified as Mother from Birth Certificate) (No 2) [2018] EWHC 3361 (Fam) (16 October 2018) | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Home > Judgments G (Declaration of Parentage - Removal of Person Identified as Mother from Birth Certificate) (No 2) [2018] EWHC 3361 (Fam) (16 October 2018) Case summary coming soon This judgment was delivered in private. The judge has given leave for this version of the judgment to be published on condition that (irrespective of what is contained in the judgment) in any published version of the judgment the anonymity of the children and members of their family must be strictly preserved. All persons, including representatives of the media, must ensure that this condition is strictly complied with. Failure to do so will be a contempt of court. Neutral Citation Number: [2018] EWHC 3361 (Fam) IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE  FAMILY DIVISION Case No. FD17P00553 Royal Courts of Justice Date: Tuesday, 16 October 2018 Before: MR JUSTICE WILLIAMS (In Private) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - B E T W E E N : NG  Applicant - and -   (1) AV (2) RB (3) NV (A CHILD, BY HER GUARDIAN MS RODDY) Respondents   Re G (Declaration of Parentage: Removal of Person Identified as Mother from Birth Certificate)  (No 2) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - DR R. GEORGE (instructed by Goodman Ray Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the Applicant. THE FIRST RESPONDENT did not appear and was not Represented. THE SECOND RESPONDENT did not appear and was not Represented. MS M, CAREW (Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the Child. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   J U D G M E N T   MR JUSTICE WILLIAMS: 1 On the last occasion this was before me I gave a full judgment, which I approved on 4th October. In that I concluded that NG was the biological and psychological father of a child who in these proceedings I am calling Naomi. I concluded that RB was Naomi's gestational mother with a donated egg, and that AV, whilst she had been registered as Naomi's mother on the English birth certificate and became her psychological mother, had no genetic or gestational connection with her. I made a declaration pursuant to Section 55A of the Family Law Act 1986 that the applicant, NG, was Naomi's father. The consequence of that has been that the Registrar General has amended the Register to now show NG as Naomi's father. 2 On the last occasion I declined to go the next step, which was to make the declaration that AV was not Naomi's mother and that RB was Naomi's birth mother, because under Section 55A (5) the court can decline to hear or determine an application if it considers that it is contrary to the child's best interests. At that point in time I considered that AV ought to be given a further opportunity to engage in these proceedings, given that I had made clear throughout my involvement in this case, which now goes back to late last year, that the court had reached no conclusions as to who Naomi should live with and what relationship she should have with the other parent, or indeed what country she should live in. 3 Following on from my judgment, the order provided for Naomi's guardian, Ms Roddy, to communicate with AV via family members in order to inform her of the outcome of the last hearing and the court's desire that she engage with the process. At that point in time it was believed that AV and Naomi were still in Greece, she having left Bulgaria, according to the authorities, in or about February of this year. In compliance with the order, Ms Roddy sent letters to AV, which seemed to initially gain no response, but early in October it came to the father's attention first of all that AV had married the man who is her older son's father and that she had made an application for him to adopt Naomi, either alone or jointly with her. The understanding of the father is that such an order, which I think was made in early October, can only follow on from a period of six weeks having preceded it, which suggests that the application was made in Bulgaria in about mid-August, which would tie in chronologically with AV perhaps having received the letter from Ms Roddy informing her of the outcome of the last hearing. The inference therefore is that in response to information about the outcome and the declarations I made, but also in response to my invitation to AV to co-operate in these proceedings, she has done diametrically the opposite and has married and has then issued an application to adopt Naomi, thus potentially eradicating NG permanently from Naomi's life and permanently removing the legal status that he has in connection with her as a result of being declared to be her father. As I understand it, the current order in Bulgaria is effectively a provisional or nisi order which can be made permanent, and indeed is due to be made permanent at some point in the relatively near future. 4 I had listed a further hearing in this matter to review the developments and in particular whether the psychological mother had been traced and whether she had decided to engage in the proceedings, which I believe is listed for next week. As a result of the imminent final adoption hearing in Bulgaria, I agreed to convene an earlier hearing to consider what orders should be made, in particular to assist the Bulgarian court in understanding the legal position in this court and to assist it in pausing, potentially, in the proceedings before it to establish a fuller understanding of how Naomi has come to be subject to that application before the Bulgarian court. It certainly is not my intention to trespass in any way upon the Bulgarian court's jurisdiction because the Bulgarian court has its own jurisdiction, in relation in particular to adoption, which is not subject to the reciprocal arrangements covered by Brussels IIA, but plainly this court has primary jurisdiction in matters of parental responsibility and has made various orders, including return orders, as well as the declaration as to parentage. 5 Contact was made with AV's adult son and I think also with a lady who is his girlfriend, and also with perhaps AV's sister – but most importantly, earlier today Ms Roddy received a voicemail message from a woman purporting to be AV, now known as AM following her marriage, asking Ms Roddy to call her. Ms Roddy did so, and had a conversation the contents of which are summarised in an e-mail which I have been shown. In that call, AV said that she intended to remain in Bulgaria, and that Naomi is in school. She repeated the allegations of – or at least intimated at allegations of – sexual abuse made against the father, which were investigated by police and social services in the UK, and which were considered to be without foundation. She made it blindingly clear that my invitation to her to participate in these proceedings was rejected, and that she intended to litigate anything in relation to Naomi in the courts in Bulgaria. 6 Dr George, on behalf of NG, supported by Ms Carew on behalf of Ms Roddy, invite me to now make the declaration that AV is not Naomi's mother and that RB is her birth mother. That would have the consequence of the birth certificate being further amended, which would be transmitted to Bulgaria so that the Bulgarian authorities' records, which appear to be based on the original English birth certificate, would be corrected. That, it is hoped, would protect Naomi from a final adoption order being made given that it would be seen that AV is not in fact her biological or birth mother. 7 In addition, an order requiring AV to return Naomi to this jurisdiction was made last year and has been outstanding for all of that period of time. The police had declined to become involved because NG was not named on the birth certificate. They are now engaged and there is the possibility that the CPS will agree that a European arrest warrant should be issued. The Hague Child Abduction Convention proceedings, which were initiated on the basis I think originally of the court's rights of custody in Bulgaria, were transferred to Greece and are now being transferred back to Bulgaria. Although the Court of Appeal in Re S (Abduction: Hague Convention or BIIA) [2018] EWCA Civ 1226 said earlier this year that in most cases where the Brussels IIA Regulation applied, return orders should not be made by the English courts, but rather the 1980 Hague Convention process should be left to run its course in that country, that does not, in my view, apply to this case. That dealt with the generality of cases; this is a case unique in the issues raised by it, and in any event return orders were made right at the outset of these proceedings when AV fled England in October 2017. 8 So it seems to me that it is perfectly legitimate to seek to deploy a return order in the Bulgarian courts by using the reciprocal enforcement mechanisms in the Brussels IIA Regulation. I believe that the original order required AV to return Naomi to this jurisdiction. It seems to me it is clear that she will not co-operate in the return of Naomi. She has set her face against co-operation with the English court by abducting Naomi on the very day of a hearing in front of MacDonald J, and by then disappearing from Bulgaria to Greece, such that the father and the authorities were unable to pursue the Hague Convention or other proceedings in Bulgaria. In her conversation with Ms Roddy, AV has made clear that she will not co-operate with the English court. Indeed, in every way she has sought to frustrate this court's attempts to determine Naomi's welfare, and the evidence over- whelmingly suggests that she will continue to do so, and so it seems to me that it is appropriate today to make further orders.   9 It is in Naomi's interests for a declaration of parentage now to be made which identifies that AV is not her birth mother and that RB is. It is in her interests because it appears to be one of the few routes, and perhaps the most effective route, left in order to prevent AV pursuing an application which will have the effect of eradicating the father from Naomi's life. So although I held back from it on the last occasion for the reasons I explained, I now consider it appropriate to make that declaration, albeit I am making it a week earlier than I might otherwise have done at the hearing I scheduled on the last occasion. It is plainly appropriate to do so given the imminent Bulgarian hearing and AV's failure to co-operate with this process. I will also vary the previous return order so that it requires that Naomi is returned  to this country. In the event that AV chooses to accompany her, she may return with her. If AV does not choose to accompany her, then Naomi will return with the father. I am  satisfied that the allegations made by AV of sexual abuse by the father have been considered by the state authorities in this jurisdiction, and, as Ms Carew says, the outcome of that investigation and the other evidence suggests that there is no reason to believe that the father poses a risk to Naomi. So NG will return Naomi to this jurisdiction if AV refuses to do so. CERTIFICATE Opus 2 International Ltd. hereby certifies that the above is an accurate and complete record of the proceedings or part thereof. Transcribed by Opus 2 International Ltd. (Incorporating Beverley F. Nunnery & Co.) Official Court Reporters and Audio Transcribers 5 New Street Square, London EC4A 3BF Tel: 020 7831 5627 Fax:  020 7831 7737 civil@opus2.digital This transcript has been approved by the Judge
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Family Court Reporting Watch Roundup | The Transparency Project

Family Court Reporting Watch Roundup | The Transparency Project | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Correcting, clarifying or commenting on media reports of family court cases Explaining or commenting on published judgments of family court cases Highlighting other transparency news MEDIA (MIS)REPORTS OF FAMILY COURT CASES The Times -The launch of Sammy Woodhouse’s campaign for legal reform caught the attention of the public, the media and politicians in recent weeks. The way the Times (then others) reported it, (Jailed rapist given chance to see his victim’s child: Council investigated over ‘perverse’ decision), caught the attention of lawyers, social workers, press reform campaigners, and The Transparency Project. We explained the law and procedure on who must normally be told of, or automatically joined as a party to, care proceedings being issued about a child, to help those considering whether (and if so how) they should change or be better implemented, and to help people decide whether the Times and others reported accurately.  See Did a council ‘act perversely’ to offer a jailed rapist a chance to see his victim’s child?, and The Sammy Woodhouse Story and Associated Campaigns – An Update. We also offered some guidance for victims, social workers and lawyers grappling with such situations in When should I apply for permission not to notify a father about a court case concerning his child? See also Lucy Reed, Chair of the Transparency Project on the Victoria Derbyshire Show (44 mins in) and at BBC News. (Sorry no catch-up clips for Sky News or Talk Radio). There are various views on what reform is called for, let alone required and achievable, (as well as on whether Rotherham and / or the Times got this right – The Yorkshire Post now report No blame for social workers in latest Rotherham controversy). There does appear to be a broad consensus (even among some family lawyers), that a fresh look at how the rules are applied, with victims in mind, is warranted, and that Sammy Woodhouse’s willingness to speak out about her own personal traumatic experiences has begun that process. Interesting insights also emerged on the different ways lawyers tend to engage and their priorities, compared to journalists and the public; see Louise Tickle’s I’d have written that article too at The Transparency Project. (See also Louise Haigh, shadow police and crime minister in the Guardian;  the House of Commons briefing paper on the draft Domestic Violence & Abuse Bill and measures in the Courts Bill on suspects cross-examining victims; comments in the Commons; and opinion at Rights Info and Byline): The bravery of @sammywoodhouse1 in speaking out has revealed just how much the family courts need to change. For a start, convicted rapists should have no parental rights.https://t.co/bZ4nfmA9jy — Louise Haigh MP (@LouHaigh) November 30, 2018 The law may well need to be changed but it's not right for a local authority to be damned for following law as it stands. let's move on from clickbait headlines for proper discussion about the family procedure rules & the rights of women & children when a child is born after rape https://t.co/WWeB2PKmzn — Dr Shona Minson (@ShonaMinson) November 28, 2018 This looks really useful for LA social workers and legal teams in the light of this week's story about @sammywoodhouse1's campaign to prevent men with a child conceived by rape from applying for contact with them https://t.co/6FmbqrRT7N — CCInform (@CCInform1) November 30, 2018 No blame for social workers in latest Rotherham controversy https://t.co/UV92NoFa6O — transparency project (@seethrujustice) December 8, 2018 The Daily Mail and the Times – Reported Family Court Anonymisation Practice Guidance issued by the President, Sir Andrew McFarlane, on safer anonymisation when publishing judgments. The guidance appears to be the recommendations in a report published by the Association of Lawyers for Children and the Nuffield Foundation in 2016. Blog to follow. (See also our guidance note on publication of judgments including safer anonymisation which we’ll update in light of the President’s new guidance): It is sometimes necessary to prevent a child being identified in their local community but it shouldnt be the default imho, which is what this guidance appears to suggest. — Lucy Reed (@Familoo) December 8, 2018 The Guardian – Why do we separate the mother and child victims of domestic abuse? by Louise Tickle (Transparency Project member) in the Guardian, also provoked radically different perspectives. The Transparency Project hosted How do social workers approach domestic abuse?, guest post by a social work team leader in response: Thank you to @louisetickle and the social work manager for writing this. It has been a brilliant talking point with social work students today and really assisted in the wider critical thinking @WarwickSocWork embed within the masters programme. https://t.co/WDg2CwgGxL — Jess (@jess_L81) November 27, 2018 Transparency Positives The British Medical Association – Facilitated an investigation into the removal of a newborn from a mother and junior doctor, experiencing mental ill health), and hosted the report in strikingly accessible format here. Guest blog post to follow on this unusual collaboration between the BMA, a doctor/parent and a journalist, featuring an application to lift usual family court privacy rules and report in the public interest: Superb investigation and reporting of the mental health struggles of a mother whose baby was removed at birth, by @keithcooper1973 for @theBMA https://t.co/5oAgEKpRJh Why was no Mother and Baby unit place made available, to keep them together? — The open family court (@openfamilycourt) November 27, 2018 Channel 4, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4and BBC News – Lots of positive twitter responses to media reports (particularly broadcasts) on important topics for children’s social work and family justice in the last couple of weeks. Channel 4 – Lemn Sissay’s Superkids:Breaking Away from Care; BBC5Live on the need to support birth parents who’ve had children removed from their care, featuring some parents. (The Born Into Care report (22 mins in) from the Nuffield Observatory, confirms what many have anecdotally reported for some time about rising numbers of removals of babies at birth (22 mins in); BBCR4 – In the child’s best interests on how and when decisions should be made to end the life of critically ill children; BBC News – Forced marriage law could stop victims reporting crime, getting beyond the obvious in thinking about victims. #Superkids I asked permission to share this other private message with you. I have too many messages like this to read tonight. I will tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/HCAw5pOHzB — lemn sissay MBE (@lemnsissay) November 28, 2018 Very good BBC coverage of 'breaking the cycle' this morning - excellent contribution from birth mothers on turning lives around@bbc5live @FamilyRightsGp @Familoo @familylaw @afteradoption https://t.co/EobpWgYsQa — Karen Broadhurst (@KarenB_LU) December 3, 2018 The adoption discussions with Anna Foster on @bbc5live this morning really show the links between supporting birth parents and positive experiences of contact: good contact helps parents cope and good BP support enables good contact - great work @afteradoption! — Beth Neil (@prof_beth_neil) December 3, 2018 Linkers of the (fortnight)  BBC News – Made the effort to link readers of their report, Herefordshire Council provided ‘woeful’ care for girls to the family court judgments in BT & GT and A & B Care Orders (albeit one link needs updating): Big thanks @BBCNews for links to the family court judgments under report. Though we think you meant the first link to be to: https://t.co/jFFNptv6aF Herefordshire Council provided 'woeful' care for girls https://t.co/hZAsaNGnRk — transparency project (@seethrujustice) December 8, 2018 BuzzFeed News – Linked Emily Dugan’s report of Sir James Munby, former President’s speech to the National Association of Child Contact Centres, as soon as they realised it had been published in full at the Transparency Project: Exclusive: Former head of the family court, Sir James Munby, has given a damning assessment of the impact of legal aid cuts and the government's failed attempts at encouraging mediation https://t.co/2dXRI0NDws #TheLawIsBroken — Emily Dugan (@emilydugan) November 27, 2018 NEWLY PUBLISHED CASES FOR EXPLANATION OR COMMENT Re D parental alienation 2018– We updated on the controversial issue of ‘parental alienation’ in response to: HHJ Bellamy’s judgment in Re D (See Making Sense of Parental Alienation: Part 2); the Cafcass Child Impact Assessment Framework, Cardiff University research (commissioned by Cafcass Cmyru), and a podcast featuring Sarah Parsons of Cafcass with Julie Doughty (Cardiff University & Transparency Project). (See Making Sense of Parental Alienation: Part 2): Huge thanks to the team for raising awareness on this. An incredibly emotionally fraught space, particularly where there is a child being exposed to harm and a victim of abuse. Really tough for the authorities to effectively handle this. Hopefully things will improve. https://t.co/mmPvNiftyi — Jon Irwin (@JonIrwinLD) December 5, 2018 HRH Louis Prince of Luxembourg v HRH Tessy Princess of Luxembourg & Anor (Application for Financial Remedy) [2018] – Polly Morgan wrote about this case at an earlier stage for @seethrujustice in Privacy and the Princess. Blog to follow on the judgment from the latest decision which has raised some twitter eyebrows: Judgment of McDonald J in the Luxembourg divorce case: https://t.co/blmJgupc6u Surprising decision that declaration of trust in TR1 can be outflanked by proof that someone else paid for the property #tolata — Mike Horton (@mhbarrister) December 5, 2018 M & Ors v Liverpool City Council [2018] – Suespicious Minds explained this family court decision featuring a challenge to the use of a screen during cross-examinatoin as a special measure to protect a victim. Global Corporate Ltd v Hale 2018 – The Law Society Gazette reported the judgment from this (non family) Court of Appeal decision that the High Court had crossed the line by leading the evidence from a litigant in person. IN OTHER TRANSPARENCY NEWS Media Regulation – See our roundup of recent developments in Media Regulation Update: New for @seethrujustice from @Maggotlaw MEDIA REGULATION UPDATE (Leveson 2 JR; a new Leveson resource for better public understanding; the government plan to implement s.44 LASPO on costs in media cases now too & more..): https://t.co/68ypxVCM1W pic.twitter.com/GC3SmrQ5aj — transparency project (@seethrujustice) December 7, 2018 Allegations of domestic abuse : are family courts working for children & families? – We marked the launch of a guidance tool on how the family courts treat domestic abuse at a packed panel event.  We wrote it up here and will post the recording to our website once available: With huge thanks to our Chair @louisetickle & our remarkable panel @King_Barrister @MyCafcass @JudiciaryUK @OnlyDads @rightsofwomen @FredaFvg here's our write-up of our latest event around domestic abuse with a link to our new Guidance note.https://t.co/8dptKclwdf pic.twitter.com/INcqDAlXwc — transparency project (@seethrujustice) November 27, 2018 The FJC Debate on covert recording – Lucy Reed (Transparency Project Chair) spoke at the What’s wrong with covert recordings debate. See her write-up at Pink Tape: I would like to see all meetings openly recorded, minutes (if you get them )rarely include family view/ concerns , I often wonder if I was at a different meeting. https://t.co/nk6oRgo8sD — Frances steepe (@auntyfrances) December 5, 2018 A privilege to take part in this debate and in such company!! @Familoo - there is a clear and pressing need to present guidance on this difficult issue of management of covert recordings in family proceedings. https://t.co/XYqsGWV91o — Hannah Markham (@hannahmeg) December 3, 2018 The legal blogging pilot – We attended again under the legal blogging pilot. See Legal Blogging in Leeds More information here: Legal blogging in Leeds by @familoo : https://t.co/0Jkfv7tUYf pic.twitter.com/kvhpfBtkgJ — transparency project (@seethrujustice) December 4, 2018 Transparency and appeal rules – David Burrows flagged and discussed new Family Procedure Rule 2010 r 30.12A in force from 10th December in Open court for appeals to family judges: Many thanks to @dbfamilylaw for his guest post on "Open court for appeals to family judges". Your thoughts welcome on this contentious matter:https://t.co/6D6eDtHeus pic.twitter.com/EyXGM0d58j — transparency project (@seethrujustice) December 3, 2018 Online Courts – We attended an International forum on online courts hosted jointly by HMCTS and the Society for Computers and Law. Blog to follow. See an overview of The Cutting Edge of Digital Reform event, with links to speeches and presentations including from the Lord Chief Justice at Gov.UK. See also David and Goliath or cat and mouse? Prising information on digital court reform out of the Ministry of Justice For those interested in the genesis of the digital court reform programme, I have published (linked in blog) the management consultants' report commissioned by the gov in 2016 which suggested the programme prioritised cost saving over access to justice https://t.co/LrDREu52Py — Penelope Gibbs (@PenelopeGibbs2) December 4, 2018 such an important Q. How are other jurisdictions consulting and involving users? My view - design and development must be as open as possible and not limited to commercial sector interests #OnlineCourtsForum18 https://t.co/AUcSak9wIZ — Judith Townend (@JTownend) December 3, 2018 Feature pic: Courtesy of Flickr Lauri Heikkinen via Creative Commons licence – with thanks
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Child abuse sceptic gave evidence as an expert witness in 500 cases | News | The Times

Child abuse sceptic gave evidence as an expert witness in 500 cases | News | The Times | Children In Law | Scoop.it
A controversial opponent of vaccination and sceptic about child abuse has given evidence in British trials as calls mount for curbs on incompetent expert witnesses.David Ayoub, an American radiologist, has given evidence in three child abuse trials in Britain including one this year in which the ...
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Suicide Rate Up To Five Times Higher Among Mothers Whose Children Enter Foster Care

Suicide Rate Up To Five Times Higher Among Mothers Whose Children Enter Foster Care | Children In Law | Scoop.it
New research has emerged which confirms that women who have their children removed from them and placed into foster care, are more likely to commit suicide than mothers whose children are not fostered.
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Anonymisation Guidance – a curtain of secrecy? | The Transparency Project

Anonymisation Guidance – a curtain of secrecy? | The Transparency Project | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew MacFarlane issued some guidance last week on the anonymisation of published judgments in family court cases. You can read that guidance here. The Daily Mail reported this as follows : Curtain of secrecy should be wrapped around the workings of the family courts which decide if children should be taken into care or adopted, top judge urges The country’s most senior family judge says there should be more anonymity He said social workers, doctors and other expert witnesses should be protected Sir Andrew McFarlane said information should be withheld to guard children Is it right to suggest that the guidance amounts to a ‘curtain of secrecy’? Is it accurate for The Daily Mail to go to say : The identities of social workers, doctors, and expert witnesses should be removed from officially published judgements, the country’s most senior family judge said. The names of councils that seize children from their parents should also be kept from the public, Sir Andrew McFarlane said in instructions passed down to the courts. Even the name and location of the town where the court made its decision may be suppressed. [and that] …key information about child cases should be secret to protect children? Ex- MP John Hemming is reported to say this of the new guidance : These rules do not protect children, they protect the people who run the court system. By allowing bad practice to go on in secret you are really putting children at greater risk. Further, is it accurate of The Times to report the new guidance as ‘giving’ social workers a ‘right of reply’ in this article (paywall)? What does the new guidance actually say? The guidance comprises two checklists : (a) personal and geographical indicators in judgments, and (b) the treatment of sexually explicit descriptions of the sexual abuse of children. We don’t think the second checklist is controversial. Doubts about judges publishing graphic detail of sexual abuse and the findings of intimate medical examinations in published judgments has been discussed on a number of occasions amongst members of The Transparency Project – although we have noted that since the draft version of this guidance was first published in 2016  (see below) that practice has reduced, and many judges now indicate that the detail is in a separate and unpublished annex. The controversy arises from the first checklist. Its focus is on preventing the inadvertent jigsaw identification of children and families. Some guidance on this is undoubtedly helpful since there are judgments published which we think do run the risk of local identification – rather it is the approach suggested in the checklist that has led to the Daily Mail headlines and John Hemming’s complaint that the new guidance is in fact putting children at greater risk. First of all, it is important to remember that this is not a new rule or law, it is just guidance, nor is it new. It does not change the law, and it will be up to the judge in each individual case to decide what is right. Guidance issued by is persuasive – and a judge may want to explain why they are departing from the guidance, if they do. However, most judges do not even follow the 2014 transparency guidance issued by Sir Andrew McFarlane’s predecessor, and don’t say why. It’s also worth remembering that this new guidance doesn’t revoke the 2014 guidance, rather it builds upon it. The judge will still have to weigh up the public interest in the publishing the names of those who are responsible for the removal of children, or who are responsible for failures, against the risk in a particular case of the naming of a professional or local authority leading to the identification of the child. However this guidance does not spell that out (the 2014 guidance did). The 2014 guidance was based on caselaw and expressly said it was not changing the law. It said that public authorities and expert witnesses should be named in the judgment approved for publication, unless there are compelling reasons why they should not be so named; …anonymity in the judgment as published should not normally extend beyond protecting the privacy of the children and adults who are the subject of the proceedings and other members of their families, unless there are compelling reasons to do so. Whilst that might have been thought to support the naming of individual social workers, in a number of subsequent cases individual judges (including Sir James Munby) have expicitly declined to name individual frontline social workers where the failures are systemic or higher up the management chain in order to avoid individuals being unfairly scapegoated; or where it would be unfair to do so because there has neither been the need nor opportunity to hear from the individual criticised. The practise of not naming individual professionals who are criticised without allowing them a proper opportunity to comment and challenge such criticism is not new (See for example this post by us from last August). So, whilst The Times are right to identify that the guidance does briefly remind judges of the need to adopt a fair process to professionals who might be in the firing line, insofar as their headline implies that this is somehow novel or that it is introducing some new protection that is not correct. In fact, whilst it mentions these issues of fairness, the new guidance about the naming of social workers primarily suggests not naming social workers because of a perceived risk that it will contribute to identification of a child. Although it doesn’t ban the naming of professionals and local authorities, this new guidance might be seen as tending to reverse the starting point that professionals and local authorities should ordinarily be named and to that extent would be a drawing back from the previous move towards greater transparency. The guidance says (in places) that the aim is to ‘avoid any risk of jigsaw identification of children’ (our emphasis). The guidance now issued seems to replicate word for word a draft proposed in 2016 by Dr Julia Brophy. That draft guidance was deprecated by Mr Justice Hayden at the time in a case called Re J (A Minor) [2016] EWHC 2595 (Fam) : 37. There is no doubt that Dr Brophy’s research is, as one would expect, very child focused. I am concerned however that in expressing her aim to be striking ‘a better balance between the policy that more judgments should be published’ and the concerns of ‘young people’ about ‘deeply distressing’ information ‘in the public arena’, Dr Brophy has lost sight of the legal framework that requires to be applied in any decision concerning publication. We are not concerned merely with a ‘policy’, to publish more judgments, rather we are applying the obligations imposed by Article 10 and Article 8 ECHR. This has been established law since the decision in Clayton v Clayton [2006] EWCA Civ 878; [2007] 1 FLR. Sir Mark Potter (P) observed: [54] Nor does it mean that, in the course of Children Act proceedings conducted within the High Court, the judge may not, in the welfare interest of the child and in order to protect his or her privacy under Art 8, make an injunction or order which prohibits the identification of the child not simply to the extent set out in s 97(2) of the 1989 Act, but for a period beyond the end of the proceedings (eg until the age of 18). However, in deciding to make a long-term injunction aimed at restricting the reporting and publication of proceedings involving children, the court is obliged in the face of challenge to conduct a balancing exercise between the Art 8 rights of the child and the Art 10 rights of the parent asserting such right, and/ or, where press or media interest is involved, the Art 10 right to report and discuss the circumstances surrounding, as well as the issues arising out of, a case of public interest… “[58] In A Local Authority v W, L, W, T & R; (By the Children’s Guardian)[2005] EWHC 1564 (Fam), [2006] 1 FLR 1, I summarised the effects of the judgment in Re S in this way: ‘There is express approval of the methodology in Campbell v MGN Ltd in which it was made clear that each Article propounds a fundamental right which there is a pressing social need to protect. Equally, each Article qualifies the right it propounds so far as it may be lawful, necessary, and proportionate to do so in order to accommodate the other. The exercise to be performed is one of parallel analysis in which the starting point is presumptive parity, in that neither Article has precedence over or trumps the other. The exercise of parallel analysis requires the court to examine the justification for interfering with each right and the issue of proportionality is to be considered in respect of each. It is not a mechanical exercise to be decided on the basis of rival generalities. An intense focus on the comparative importance of the specific rights being claimed in the individual cases is necessary before the ultimate balancing test in the terms of proportionality is carried out.‘” 38. I have highlighted the above passage because it represents, to my mind, the clearest and most concise expression of the analysis that is required. Thus it follows that whilst Dr Brophy’s detailed suggestions are helpful when addressing the proportionality of intervention in a particular case, they must not be regarded as constructing a paternalistic presumption of privacy for every child in every case. I am sure she did not intend that her work be construed in this way. In a mature family justice system the weight afforded to the right to freedom of expression must be recognised and engaged with. As far as we can see, there has been no subsequent change to the law which undermines Hayden J’s analysis, and we do worry that the guidance now being reproduced will be over-interpreted and the court’s responsibilities under Article 10 diminished. Although the guidance does not envisage that there will never be any publication of judgments (it would be a bit pointless if it did!), it is difficult to see how a starting point that the court should operate on the basis that it may only publish information where there is no risk can allow for the proper balancing that the law requires. Such an interpretation could lead to courts giving some sort of general priority to Article 8 (the right to private and family life) over Article 10 (the right to freedom of expression) – which is legally wrong. In the checklist, the guidance suggests the local authority should be named : (a) After redaction / abridgment of a judgment intended for publication and following consultation with advocates and consideration of the number of potential applicants served by the court, the judge concludes that naming the LA would carry with it no risk of identifying the children (or any of them); or b) Having balanced the remaining risks the judge concludes that the public interest in identifying the applicant is so important that it outweighs any risk of identification of the children (or any of them). We think this looks like a presumption against publication and is a reversal of current practice. The guidance is more categorical regarding the naming of social workers where the following text is accompanied by a red cross : Do not routinely name without consideration of whether this may contribute to jigsaw identification of a child/young person. Here the guidance suggests that ‘other options’ are to release the judgment to Ofsted or other official body – but whilst that might increase the change that pressure will be put to bear on a failing local authority so that improvements are made, that does not deal with the Article 10 issues, nor the broader democratic rights of the public to know what is done in their name. There are a number of other less controversial points, which are broadly in line with our own guidance. There are also a number of points covered in our own guidance which do not feature in the Brophy lists, but which we think are useful pointers to judges to assist them in avoiding jigsaw identification (above and beyond the risk of identification through naming the local authority – which in all but the smallest or most rural local authorities is a low risk providing that other unique or specific features are smoothed out or removed). Wider points The President does not seem to have taken the opportunity to reflect on other research and guidance, in particular the Cardiff Nuffield research undertaken to evaluated the 2014 reforms, and our own guidance note on the publication of judgments, which makes some very necessary practical suggestions about how to ensure anonymisation is both effective and necessary. With respect to the President, we think that the greatest risk to children is in the slapdash anonymisation process which continues to lead to far too many judgments being published with rogue names left in by mistake. So is the Daily Mail right? No. They have suggested the guidance is much more hard and fast than it really is. Sir Andrew does not say that the identities of social workers and other professionals and local authorities should always be withheld as the article states. That is inaccurate. But headlines about secret family courts and the use of emotive terminology about suppression of information are entirely predictable, and have some force, given the overall tenor of the guidance and the fact that a tabloid newspaper cannot really be expected to express the nuanced distinctions between guidance and rules and their interplay with case law. There are two potential adverse effects of this guidance : that the guidance will give succour to headlines about ‘secret family courts’ and further detract from attempts to build confidence in the system for the ultimate benefit of the public including children (indeed it already has). that the guidance will lead to fewer judgments being published or fewer judgments being published in a meaningful form and probably fewer cases being picked up by the media (because they are so stripped back that there is nothing to hang a story from). The overall effect of this is a reduction in transparency and confidence in the system – and potentially of a reduction in the impact that a judgment can have on public accountability and scrutiny through media attention as a driver for change – change that is so desperately needed by the children that the system serves and sometimes fails. Feature pic : curtains by Sarflondonunc on Flickr – creative commons – thanks.
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K.I.R.M. God is Business " From Day One"'s curator insight, December 14, 2018 8:04 AM

They are protecting who for what reason(s)? , the children or who are ot could be themselves. Some social workers with new or upgraded Titles. How would we the public/ people really know? 

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Local Government Lawyer - Family Court judge raps council for "woeful" care of two young women

Local Government Lawyer - Family Court judge raps council for "woeful" care of two young women | Children In Law | Scoop.it
A Family Court judge has condemned a council’s care for two young women as “woeful” and said he was “appalled” by failures of social workers and managers. In A & B (care orders and placement orders - failures) [2018] EWFC 72 Mr Justice Keehan urged Herefordshire Council to reach an agreement with ‘A’ and ‘B’ for damages for acknowledged breaches of their Article 8 rights under the Human Rights Act. A and B are both now aged over 18 and were made the subjects of care orders in 2008, but interim care orders were issued in mid 2003. The judge said: “For reasons I do not begin to understand, it was not until 5 February 2008, over four and a half years after the proceedings had been commenced, that both children were made the subjects of care orders and placement orders.” He added: “The care of and care planning for both these young people by Herefordshire Council has, over the last ten years or so, been woeful.” From 2009 the chronology of events and the explanation for how their care was planned “becomes extremely confused and contradictory”, the judge said, leading to A and B being split apart into separate foster placements. “I have been given no explanation for these utterly contradictory versions of events,” Keehan J said. “It, however, demonstrates the chaotic and irrational approach of this local authority to the care of and care planning for A and B.” The judge ordered Cath Thomas, the head of service, safeguarding and review to file a statement. She said independent legal advice had not been sought over A and B’s placements as in another case an independent reviewing officer (IRO) was threatened with disciplinary procedures if she did so. The judge noted that as a result of Ms Thomas' statement Herefordshire’s legal department had started a whistleblowing investigation. “I note that the then deputy county solicitor agreed with Ms Thomas' recollection of events,” he added. In conclusion, Keehan J said: “I am appalled at the manner in which and the serial occasions on which the social workers and their managers have failed these two young people.” He said the difficulties faced by all local authorities in recruiting social workers “do not begin to explain the wholesale failure of this local authority, in its role as a corporate parent to plan adequately or appropriately for the care of these children…the clear message must go out that IROs serve a vital and essential function to ensure that a child's or a young person's interests are met post the making of a care order or other orders.” A Herefordshire statement said: “[The] council wishes to apologise to the young people for the poor standard of care provided. "The council fully accepts the judgments and the findings of Mr Justice Keehan, and recognises there were failings in the support provided. The standard of service fell well below where it should be. We deeply regret this and we’re sorry for the impact this has had.” It said a new senior management had put stronger supervision and decision making arrangements in place and steps had been taken to strengthen the IRO service. Mark Smulian
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Judge condemns IROs' 'utter failure' to serve children's best interests

Judge condemns IROs' 'utter failure' to serve children's best interests | Children In Law | Scoop.it
A local authority has apologised after a judge ruled its social workers misrepresented evidence and IROs failed to properly scrutinise decision-making.
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Health visitors warn of 'child tragedy' fears as caseloads rise | Children & Young People Now

Health visitors warn of 'child tragedy' fears as caseloads rise | Children & Young People Now | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Read Health visitors warn of 'child tragedy' fears as caseloads rise and the latest children services news & best practice on Children & Young People Now...
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President issues guidance on anonymisation of judgments involving children and sexual abuse

President issues guidance on anonymisation of judgments involving children and sexual abuse | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has published Presidential guidance that aims to minimise the risk of identification and refine the way descriptions of sexual abuse are presented in judgments so that children are better protected from the dissemination of distressing material on the web. The original report was commissioned as a result of comments from the young people's panel of the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS).  The Guidance is primarily in the form of two checklists originally published in the Nuffield report:  Checklist 1 gives pointers on how judges might abridge or redact details so as to reduce the risk of jigsaw identification, that is being able to identify individuals from a collection of details but without them being named.   Checklist 2 provides examples of how findings of sexual abuse might be presented with the more explicit material stripped out. Such an approach is suggested partly because of the risk that graphic descriptions of the sexual abuse of children would be shared by paedophile networks.   The full guidance is available in full from the Judiciary website.
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Local Government Lawyer - Ombudsman reminds councils of duty to provide alternative education

Local Government Lawyer - Ombudsman reminds councils of duty to provide alternative education | Children In Law | Scoop.it
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has issued a reminder to council school attendance teams that their duty to provide alternative education may arise for reasons other than exclusion and illness. The LGO’s comments came after West Sussex County Council was told to apologise for not considering whether it should provide alternative education and support for a girl when she could not attend secondary school because of her high levels of anxiety. The Ombudsman revealed that the girl, who is now 15, started refusing to go to school in her early teens and eventually her attendance dropped to below 60%. Her parents and school tried a number of ways to help her, but she refused to engage. The girl’s doctor reported she had a physical medical problem but it was not clear whether this affected her ability to attend school. As months went by, the parents sought support from the school for their daughter’s attendance, but she was refusing to see her doctor or engage with anyone, the LGO found. West Sussex wrote to the parents to start fast-tracking proceedings to prosecute. The parents explained they were doing everything to get their daughter into school. The council refused the parents’ request to suspend proceedings while they sought help from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), but said it would withdraw action if the girl’s attendance improved, or there was evidence she was medically unfit to attend school. A forum meeting agreed the school would send work home for the girl, but afterwards a council officer told the school it did not support this approach unless the parents provided medical evidence for the non-attendance. A youth worker thought the girl was not capable of attending school and wanted to see a ‘blended learning package’ put in place. However, a council officer said without a formal diagnosis that was not an option. Eventually the girl was diagnosed with high levels of anxiety and social and school phobia. West Sussex withdrew the parents’ prosecution, and made a referral to consider a programme of blended learning. The LGO did not criticise the council for starting legal action against the parents for non-attendance at school. However, it found West Sussex was later at fault for advising the girl’s school not to send work home, and for not considering alternative provision sooner. The LGO argued that if the council had taken a more flexible approach, the girl might have received a blended learning package earlier than she did. The Ombudsman has called on the council to: apologise to the parents; pay them £400 to recognise the loss of educational opportunity, to be used for their daughter’s educational benefit; remind staff that the duty to provide alternative education may arise for reasons other than exclusion and illness. Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “The Education Act specifically states that councils have a duty to provide education for children who ‘by reason of illness, exclusion or otherwise may not receive suitable education’. “In this case, while I appreciate the parents could have explained sooner their daughter’s non-attendance, officers should have considered offering the family a learning package at an earlier stage, rather than continuing to focus on prosecuting the parents. “I hope the recommendations I have made to make staff aware of their duties to children out of school, will ensure children in similar circumstances receive the education they are entitled to.”
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Personal, Political and Partisan: The Toxic Extremities of Parental Alienation –

Personal, Political and Partisan: The Toxic Extremities of Parental Alienation – | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Working with children who reject a parent after family separation is the most toxic environment for any practitioner to be involved in.  At times I find myself having to step away and do something different for a while, so extreme is the negative projection coming my way.  Those of us who are right in the…
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F (A Child : Placement Order: Proportionality) [2018] EWCA Civ 2761 (11 December 2018)

F (A Child : Placement Order: Proportionality) [2018] EWCA Civ 2761 (11 December 2018) | Children In Law | Scoop.it
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Born of Injustice – how it came to be written | The Transparency Project

Born of Injustice – how it came to be written | The Transparency Project | Children In Law | Scoop.it
This is a guest post by Keith Cooper, who is a senior staff writer for The Doctor magazine. Keith kindly agreed to write a post at our request when we saw his extraordinary writing about a family court case, and realised that a huge amount of work must have gone into both the writing of the piece and into obtaining the necessary permissions to publish it at all.    Last month, The Doctor magazine published Born of Injustice,a piece based on papers we obtained from a family court. It raises serious questions about the treatment of Carrie Adams*, a mother with mental ill health whose baby had been removed at birth for nine months, questions we couldn’t have raised without sight of those papers.   In short, it reveals that the mother had been denied three times a bed on a psychiatric mother and baby unit where she could have been kept together with her daughter, Evie*. There was evidence of prejudice against her because of her mental ill health and that a physical cause for her confusion, one day after a caesarean-section delivery, was assumed to be of psychiatric origin without a physical cause being ruled out.   It was the second of a two-part series and the result of almost a year’s research. This aided our successful application for court papers. As a publication of the British Medical Association, our work on this story was motivated by doctors’ desire to push for better help for anyone with mental ill health.   Our research included: some six hours of interviews and scores of emails with the mother over several months; further interviews with her friends; e-mail exchanges with one of her doctors; interviews with senior perinatal psychiatrists  (the doctors specialising in the care of mothers and mothers-to-be with mental ill health). None of the independent specialists were surprised by the details of the case. Other women faced similar situations ‘painfully often’, one said, despite their best efforts to intervene.   There were more interviews with psychologists, with charities which offer peer support to mothers while they’re waiting for NHS care, and with other mothers whose children had been removed (such as ‘Ms R’, from the recent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report.)   When writing the first part of the series, Separated at Birth,we were very aware of the restrictions of reporting a case involving the family courts. These meant that we were not allowed sight of the papers in Dr Adams’ case. In the absence of those details we did further research into the public policy context around the time when Evie was removed for explanations it might offer for what had happened to this family.   Here, we found plenty of evidence which we realised would be useful for the public interest arguments we would later have to make in our application to the courts for access to the papers. We looked at: press cuttings, interviewed academics, read their papers (notably the work of Lancaster University’s Professor Karen Broadhurst and colleagues who had access to hundreds of case files for their Nuffield Foundation-funded research); court rulings, such as those made public by Bristol family court judge Stephen Wildblood QC. We looked at how the family courts and council-run social services were faring under austerity and increasing workload (not very well by many, if not all, accounts).   And we looked at the state of NHS services available to mothers and mothers-to-be.   Research by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance showed us that there were no specialist services in many areas in England and Wales. From our own previous investigation we knew that waiting times for psychological therapies were too long in many areas and that patients with more severe or complex ill health were barred from widely available ones, such as IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies).   From all this research it seemed obvious that themes evident in the experience of Carrie Adams were common to other cases: those made public by judges, seen by researchers or worked on by doctors involved. Children were being removed from mothers after the NHS was unable to provide services – such as psychological therapies. Social services and courts were also making decisions in care cases under increasingly pressured conditions and sometimes without access to the best specialist advice.   The months of investigation which began with that first interview with Carrie Adams appeared to reveal a wider public interest issue. There looked to be significant gaps in public service provision which could lead to children being removed from mothers unnecessarily.   And so, in April this year, we applied to the relevant family court for an order to release papers relating to Carrie Adams’ proceedings and retained a barrister to represent us. We helped draft the first skeleton argument for the case, drawing on all the research we’d done to date to make what we hoped were compelling public interest arguments in favour of the documents’ release.   In the first of two days in court in July, after hours of talks, we agreed a way forward with all parties and the judge. Over the next few months we helped prepare a second skeleton argument including an outline of measures we would take to safeguard the identities of the mother and child, as well as the authors of any reports we obtained.   On the second day of the hearing, the papers we wanted were released to us by a court order. This stated the agreed measures to protect the identity of the mother, child, professionals, and organisations involved. We also agreed to a request from one party that the judge review our final piece to flag any risks of identification of the mother and child.   Any reporting restrictions are challenging. But giving the judicial arm of the state the chance to review copy? It was a new one on me.   To understand why I agreed to it, is to put yourself in the position of a journalist in a family court, a largely unfamiliar territory for us. We’re used to turning up to criminal and other  courts with a notepad and pen and face relatively rare battles against bids to restrict reporting. We face prison if we get it wrong.   We were asking the mother to return to the court which removed her baby. Each point of contention between parties takes time to resolve, so you choose your battles. Even those you think you might win, given the time.   Our aim was to get hold of the papers, get answers for the mother, ones we could share in the public interest. On balance, at the time, it didn’t feel like a point worth contesting. In the end, it wasn’t an issue. All acknowledged the public interest arguments. It all felt weirdly congenial.   It took weeks to review the papers and write up the piece, in which we constructed a timeline and what I believe was a balanced and fair narrative of the how Carrie Adams came to be separated from her first child for nine months of her life.   Anyone involved in family court cases will know that those papers contained some incredibly personal intimate details. I hadn’t realised how much trust Dr Adams had placed in me to tell her story with respect for her privacy. It felt like a heavy and difficult burden to bear and balance. On the one side is the weight of a responsibility to tell a fair story.  On the other, the need to report respectfully on a mother who had been through so much already.   I feel we achieved this. There is no doubt – and the mother doesn’t deny – that she had severe and complex mental ill health during pregnancy. She acknowledged that she needed help. She was desperate for it to the extent of admitting to suicidal thoughts in an attempt to get it. Professor Broadhurst’s research tells us that other mothers resort to similar ‘desperate acts’.   But Carrie Adams was an NHS junior doctor. She’d had faith in public service to help her.   What our months of investigation and court action helped show was how the pressures, flaws and poor provision in services contributed significantly towards Dr Adams being separated from her baby, as it has done for many other mothers, and just as perinatal psychiatrists, academics and judges had warned, and continue to warn.   Without access to these previously private court papers, we would never have been able to report this. Without all the months of research we might not have had the public interest case to convince the courts to release them. And without the backing and resources of a large, understanding and supportive institution, the British Medical Association, this story would certainly not have been possible.   It started out with us listening to one mother recounting the awfulness of being separated from her baby, when she had expected support. It has ended, we hope, with a series of stories to convince others, the public, politicians and officials, to fix the flaws and ease the pressures in public services which we have identified. So far fewer women experience such awfulness.   *Not their real names.   Feature pic : courtesy of Abhijit Chendvankar on Flickr (via Creative Commons Licence). Thanks!
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Education Secretary vows to boost vulnerable children's outcomes

Education Secretary vows to boost vulnerable children's outcomes | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Help for teachers and social workers to help tackle poorer outcomes of children in need of help and protection from social care...
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Multiple failings, IRO and whistleblowing

Multiple failings, IRO and whistleblowing | Children In Law | Scoop.it
  It is part of the Christmas tradition of Suesspicious Minds that some Local Authority takes an almighty judicial kicking in a published judgment,  and this year I'm afraid it is Herefordshire behind the door on the advent calendar.  This is a damning judgment by Keehan J       2.The care of and...
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Local Government Lawyer - City to contest cases where asylum seeker assessed as adult threatens legal action

Local Government Lawyer - City to contest cases where asylum seeker assessed as adult threatens legal action | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Liverpool City Council is to contest the next cases in which apparently adult asylum seekers claim to be children, in the face of a potential £1.5m cost for looking after them. A report to the council’s Education and Children’s Services select committee by Barry Kushner, cabinet member for children and social care, said 39 asylum seekers had been sent by the Home Office to Liverpool who claimed to be children, not adults. The council had had to pay £1,500 for an age assessment for each, which concluded that 24 of them were adults. Support levels are considerably higher and more costly for those deemed children. Liverpool said the Home Office should not have sent it child asylum seekers, who could be in the care of local social services. But once they were in Liverpool and assessed as children, the council became obliged to support them at some £657,000 a year. The council said the 24 adults should have been accommodated by the Home Office at no cost to Liverpool City Council but their asylum seekers’ legal advisers had threatened judicial review. Cllr Kushner said: “To avoid the potential expense of judicial review, children’s services have been providing supported accommodation to the young people as if they were indeed children, until the age at which they claim they are an adult. “The cost to Liverpool City Council of this is approximately £350,000 per year.” There were a further 17 asylum seekers who claimed to be children who could add costs of £500,000 to the existing £1m bill. The report said: “Children’s services have decided to fund legal advice to challenge the next six cases where the young person is assessed as an adult and a judicial review is threatened by the asylum seeker’s legal adviser. “If [Liverpool] can win these cases then children’s services will be able to divert young people assessed as adults back into the adult asylum seeker process, without threat of legal challenge, and without any further cost.” It said the council should also be able to recover the costs associated with children who were in Liverpool but had been wrongly sent there via the adult asylum system. A copy of the report can be downloaded here. Mark Smulian
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President’s Guidelines On Anonymity In Family Cases Confirm Adoption Adverts Are Breaking The Law

President’s Guidelines On Anonymity In Family Cases Confirm Adoption Adverts Are Breaking The Law | Children In Law | Scoop.it
New guidelines issued by the President of the Family Division to better protect children from identification during child welfare proceedings confirms that identification of children in care causes life-long damage to children and their families, and amounts to a breach of the child and their...
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Extreme ethnic inequalities in the care system | Nuffield Foundation

Extreme ethnic inequalities in the care system | Nuffield Foundation | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Extreme ethnic inequalities in the care system 07 December 2018 There are extreme inequalities between ethnic groups in the proportions of children being looked after in care in England, according to new Nuffield-funded research.  ‘White British’ children are ten times more likely to be in care than ‘Asian Indian’ children. ‘Black Caribbean’ children are 20 times more likely. These inequalities are poorly understood and little attention is paid to them in children’s services policy. The implications for social justice are profound. So are the implications for the funding of services. Carried out by a team from seven universities, led by Professor Paul Bywaters of University of Huddersfield, the Child Welfare Inequalities Project studied 6,000 children in England on child protection plans and 8,000 children in care, across a representative sample of 18 local authorities. A number of headline findings came out of the work: Disproportionate numbers of children from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Caribbean and African backgrounds live in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Around three quarters of all children from these groups live in the most deprived 40% of small neighbourhoods in England, while ‘White British’ and ‘Asian Indian’ children are distributed more evenly. ‘Asian’ children overall are almost three times less likely to be in care than ‘White’ children and almost four times less likely than ‘Black’ children. But there are also big differences between ‘Indian’, ‘Pakistani’ and ‘Bangladeshi’ children, with ‘Indian’ children rarely the subject of children’s services involvement. Black African’ children in higher deprivation neighbourhoods are much less likely than ‘White British’ children to be in care or on a protection plan. But in low deprivation areas where they are few in number they are more likely than ‘White’ children to be in care. ‘Black Caribbean’ children at all levels of neighbourhood deprivation are more likely than ‘White British’ children to be in care. Amongst 16 and 17 year olds, 1 ‘Black Caribbean’ child in 30 was in care, compared to 1 in 100 ‘White British’ children. The proportion of children from minority ethnic groups in different local authorities varied from almost none to around four in five leading to large differences in demands on services. The study highlighted various areas for concern, which included: Policy makers and researchers appear to have paid little attention to ethnic inequalities in children’s services over the past twenty years. We do not have the evidence we need to explain these differences in care rates. We do not know enough about the factors behind the large inequalities in family economic circumstances. And we do not know enough about the differential rates of children in care. Simplistic assumptions about strong extended families cannot explain why there are large differences between ‘Indian’, ‘Pakistani’ and ‘Bangladeshi’ sub-groups. Simplistic assumptions about ‘Black’ families cannot explain the large differences between ‘Caribbean’ and ‘African’ children. Low rates in care may mean some children in need are being missed or that some communities are more effective in supporting children’s development than others. But we need better information. High rates bring high costs, both personal and economic. Professor Bywaters said:  “Gaps in educational attainment have been significantly reduced over the last twenty years. Reducing inequalities in care rates should become a central government policy objective for the Department for Education. “The scale of the inequalities has considerable implications for the direction of children’s services and for how scarce funding is spent. If the proportion of children in care in all other groups was reduced to that for ‘Asian Indian’ children, spending would be reduced by 90%”
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1980 Hague Convention in force for Cuba

1980 Hague Convention in force for Cuba | Children In Law | Scoop.it
On 1 December 2018, the Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ("Child Abduction Convention") entered into force for Cuba, following the deposit of its instrument of accession on 12 September 2018. The Child Abduction Convention currently has 99 Contracting Parties. The official release can be found on the HCCH website here. The current status table of Contracting Parties is also available here.
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Family Law Week: European Council agrees more effective rules to resolve cross-border parental responsibility issues

Family Law Week: European Council agrees more effective rules to resolve cross-border parental responsibility issues | Children In Law | Scoop.it
Home > News European Council agrees more effective rules to resolve cross-border parental responsibility issues Work will continue on finalising the text of the revised regulations The European Council has agreed revisions of the Brussels IIa regulation which sets out rules on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, as well as on intra-EU child abduction. The Council aims at improving the current legal EU rules that protect children in the context of cross-border parental responsibility disputes related to custody, access rights and child abduction. Josef Moser, Minister of Justice of Austria, said: "The best interest and wellbeing of our children come first. We have agreed today on new rules to make sure that international child abduction and other cross-border parental responsibility issues are dealt with effectively and that decisions are applied swiftly. We cannot let the daily life of a child to be undermined because of problems of cross border judicial cooperation." The new rules amend the existing Brussels IIa regulation on a number of aspects and foresee in particular: enhanced and clearer rules on intra-EU child abduction cases with the introduction, for example, of clear deadlines to ensure these cases are treated in the most expeditious manner; clearer rules on the opportunity for the child to express his/her views with the introduction of an obligation to give the child a genuine and effective opportunity to express his/her views; the complete abolition of exequatur for all decisions in matters of parental responsibility. This will save time and money for citizens whenever a decision needs to circulate from one member state to another; clearer provisions on the placement of a child in another member state, including the need to obtain consent for all placements, except where a child is to be placed with a parent; the harmonisation of certain rules for the enforcement procedure. While the enforcement procedure remains governed by the law of the member state of enforcement, the regulation includes some harmonised grounds for suspending or refusing enforcement, thereby giving more legal certainty to parents and children; clearer rules on the circulation of extra judicial agreements. The text foresees that these agreements, for example on divorce or legal separation, will be allowed to circulate only if they are accompanied by a special certificate. The proposal was presented by the Commission on 30 June 2016. It is subject to the special legislative procedure which requires unanimity in the Council after consultation of the European Parliament. All Member states, except Denmark, are party to this legislation. The opinion of the Parliament was delivered on 18 January 2018. Work will continue on finalising the text in view of a political agreement. For the Proposal for a Council Regulation (general approach), click here. For the opinion of the European Parliament, click here. For the Council's press release, click here. 9/12/18 Keywords:Brussels IIa
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When is immediate not immediate?

When is immediate not immediate? | Children In Law | Scoop.it
  Removal of a child subject to a Care Order from a parent - if you are a parent, or parent's lawyer this case gives information and advice about how you might stop that, and if you are a social worker or Local Authority lawyer this case tells you that it is FAR LESS simple…
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