Like birds of a feather social workers, guardians ,family court solicitors and their carefully chosen “experts” always “stick together” never admitting a mistake and fanatically eager to cover up rather than rectify any errors of judgement they have made
IMPORTANT EXTRACT FROM THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT SITE ABOVE.
Courts At least half of current adoptions are contested although the contest seldom goes in favour of the birth parents. This inevitably causes delays and, indeed, delays may not necessarily be a bad thing if the issues are very complex. Court-based delays may also be caused by lack of available court time, or the courts requiring further re-unification attempts.
Councils A lack of clear policies integrating adoption into the overall children’s plan. Budgetary constraints limiting the availability of post adoption services and allowances. There was also concern paradoxically that the needs of children may be overlooked in the struggle to meet targets. The more rural councils will struggle to run regular preparation courses to meet the assessment targets, even when co-operating with other agencies.
Child snatching is now big business
Christopher Booker.SUNDAY TELEGRAPH MAY 12th 2012
There has been publicity from all the usual quarters, led inevitably by the BBC, that we are in the middle of something called National Fostering Fortnight. So many children are now being taken into care – 24,000 last year in England alone – that there is a critical shortage of foster carers to look after them. According to Fostering Network, a new foster home is needed “every 22 minutes”.
A point that is rarely heard, however – although it may help explain why the seizing of children is at a record level, care applications having doubled in just four years – is that fostering has become a very lucrative industry. Foster carers themselves can be paid £400 a week or more for each child they take in, and the companies which employ many of them (almost invariably run by former social workers) are hugely profitable. Last year, Rothschilds organised the sale of the National Fostering Agency, the second largest such company, private equity and pension funds bid up the initial bid price of £80 million to £135 million.
According to a recent Policy Exchange report, the average cost of keeping each of the 65,000 children now in care in England is £37,000, an annual bill of £2.4 billlion. This is quite apart from the other costs of our “child care” system, such as the lavish fees paid to “experts” and the legal profession.
So “child protection” is very big business, one of its main benefciaries being Barnardo’s, the fostering and adoption agency, with an annual turnover of nearly quarter of a billion pounds. But whether this is likely to raise any questions in the mind of our children’s minister, Tim Loughton, is another matter. Last July he appointed, as his chief adviser on adoption, Martin Narey – who was CEO, from 2005 to 2011, of Barnardo’s. In December, Mr Narey did his best to disabuse MPs of the thought that any children were being taken from their families unnecessarily. But for many of us, not least the families involved, this thought has become rather pressing.
To protect themselves these parasites who live off the misery of parents deprived of their own children demand legally TOTAL SECRECY for each case they deal with. The unfortunate parents are thus prevented from airing their grievances or complaining publicly when their children are taken from them.There are however legal arguments that can often enable them to speak out despite restrictions and those arguments are as follows :-
Taking a child away from her family is a momentous step, not only for her, but for her whole family, and for the local authority which does so. In a totalitarian society, uniformity and conformity are valued. Hence the totalitarian state tries to separate the child from her family and mould her to its own design. Families in all their subversive variety are the breeding ground of diversity and individuality. In a free and democratic society we value diversity and individuality. Hence the family is given special protection in all the modern human rights instruments including the European Convention on Human Rights (art 8), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (art 23) and throughout the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. As Justice McReynolds famously said in Pierce v Society of Sisters 268 US 510 (1925), at 535, “The child is not the mere creature of the State”.”
(Baroness Hale of Richmond in B (Children), Re  UKHL 35 (11 June 2008))
Relevant legal principles
The Human Rights Act 1998 (“the HRA”)
- Articles 6, 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) are Convention Rights for the purposes of the HRA. See HRA Sch1 Pt 1. The court must act compatibly with these rights in any case where they are engaged [HRA s.6]. It must take into account any relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) [HRA s.2] and, in so far as it is possible to do so, read and give effect to domestic legislation in a way which is compatible with the Convention Rights [HRA s.3].
- HRA s.12 provides:
12.— Freedom of expression.
(1) This section applies if a court is considering whether to grant any relief which, if granted, might affect the exercise of the Convention right to freedom of expression.
(2) If the person against whom the application for relief is made (“the respondent”) is neither present nor represented, no such relief is to be granted unless the court is satisfied—
(a) that the applicant has taken all practicable steps to notify the respondent; or
(b) that there are compelling reasons why the respondent should not be notified.
(3) No such relief is to be granted so as to restrain publication before trial unless the court is satisfied that the applicant is likely to establish that publication should not be allowed.
(4) The court must have particular regard to the importance of the Convention right to freedom of expression and, where the proceedings relate to material which the respondent claims, or which appears to the court, to be journalistic, literary or artistic material (or to conduct connected with such material), to—
(a) the extent to which—
(i) the material has, or is about to, become available to the public; or
(ii) it is, or would be, in the public interest for the material to be published;
(b) any relevant privacy code.
(5) In this section—
“court”includes a tribunal; and “relief” includes any remedy or order (other than in criminal proceedings).
- In so far as relevant ECHR Art 6, 8 and 10 provide as follows:
Right to a fair trial
- In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice….
Right to respect for private and family life
- Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
- There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Freedom of expression
- Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
- The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
- In order for an interference with the ECHR Art 10 right to be justified under ECHR Art 10(2), assuming that the interference is prescribed by law and pursues a legitimate aim, the interference must be necessary in a democratic society in pursuit of that legitimate aim. In Shayler  1 AC 247 Lord Hope explained what this requires:
- …This raises the question of proportionality. The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights explains how these principles are to be understood and applied in the context of the facts of this case. As any restriction with the right to freedom of expression must be subjected to very close scrutiny, it is important to identify the requirements of that jurisprudence before undertaking that exercise…
- …The word “necessary” in article 10(2) introduces the principle of proportionality, although the word as such does not appear anywhere in the Convention……
- Applied to the circumstances of this case, this means that a restriction on the disclosure of information cannot be said to be “necessary” in the interests of national security unless (a) “relevant and sufficient reasons” are given by the national authority to justify the restriction, (b) the restriction on disclosure corresponds to a “pressing social need” and (c) it is “proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued”: The Sunday Times v United Kingdom 2 EHRR 245, 277-278, para 62.
- The principle involves a question of balance between competing interests. But it is important to appreciate that there is a process of analysis that must be carried through. The starting point is that an authority which seeks to justify a restriction on a fundamental right on the ground of a pressing social need has a burden to discharge. There is a burden on the state to show that the legislative means adopted were no greater than necessary: R v Lambert  2 AC 545, 571h per Lord Steyn . As Sir Sydney Kentridge QC observed in his Tanner Lecture at Oxford, “Human Rights: A Sense of Proportion”, 26 February 2001: ” ‘Necessary’ does not mean indispensable, but it does connote the existence of a pressing social need … It is only on the showing of such need that the question of proportionality or ‘balancing’ should arise.”
- …there is a general international understanding as to the matters which should be considered where a question is raised as to whether an interference with a fundamental right is proportionate.
- …The first is whether the objective which is sought to be achieved—the pressing social need—is sufficiently important to justify limiting the fundamental right. The second is whether the means chosen to limit that right are rational, fair and not arbitrary. The third is whether the means used impair the right as minimally as is reasonably possible. As these propositions indicate, it is not enough to assert that the decision that was taken was a reasonable one. A close and penetrating examination of the factual justification for the restriction is needed if the fundamental rights enshrined in the Convention are to remain practical and effective for everyone who wishes to exercise them.
Prior restraint injunctions against the press
- In Guardian and Observer v United Kingdom (1992) 14 EHRR 153 at  the ECtHR emphasised that whilst:
…Article 10 of the Convention does not in terms prohibit the imposition of prior restraints on publication, as such….On the other hand, the dangers inherent in prior restraints are such that they call for the most careful scrutiny on the part of the Court. This is especially so as far as the press is concerned, for news is a perishable commodity and to delay its publication, even for a short period, may well deprive it of all its value and interest.
Reporting the courts – generally
- In The Sunday Times v United Kingdom (1979-80) 2 EHRR 245 at  the ECtHR stated:
… As the Court remarked in its Handyside judgment, freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society; subject to paragraph 2 of Article 10, it is applicable not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population.
These principles are of particular importance as far as the press is concerned. They are equally applicable to the field of the administration of justice, which serves the interests of the community at large and requires the co-operation of an enlightened public. There is general recognition of the fact that the courts cannot operate in a vacuum. Whilst they are the forum for the settlement of disputes, this does not mean that there can be no prior discussion of disputes elsewhere, be it in specialised journals, in the general press or amongst the public at large. Furthermore, whilst the mass media must not overstep the bounds imposed in the interests of the proper administration of justice, it is incumbent on them to impart information and ideas concerning matters that come before the courts just as in other areas of public interest. Not only do the media have the task of imparting such information and ideas: the public also has a right to receive them.
- In De Haes and Gijsels v Belgium (1998) 25 EHRR 1 the two applicant journalists had reported on a case concerned with the welfare of children. They had strongly criticised the judges’ handling of the case. In finding that a judgment against them in defamation violated their ECHR Art 10 rights, the ECtHR stated:
- The Court reiterates that the press plays an essential role in a democratic society. Although it must not overstep certain bounds in particular in respect of the reputation and rights of others, its duty is nevertheless to impart—in a manner consistent with its obligations and responsibilities—information and ideas on all matters of public interest, including those relating to the functioning of the judiciary…
- …the Court reiterates that freedom of expression is applicable not only to “information” or “ideas” that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any section of the community. In addition, journalistic freedom also covers possible recourse to a degree of exaggeration, or even provocation.
- Looked at against the background of the case, the accusations in question amount to an opinion, whose truth, by definition, is not susceptible of proof. Such an opinion may, however, be excessive, in particular in the absence of any factual basis, but it was not so in this instance; in that respect the present case differs from the Prager and Oberschlick case.
- Although Mr De Haes and Mr Gijsels’ comments were without doubt severely critical, they nevertheless appear proportionate to the stir and indignation caused by the matters alleged in their articles. As to the journalists’ polemical and even aggressive tone, which the Court should not be taken to approve, it must be remembered that Article 10 protects not only the substance of the ideas and information expressed but also the form in which they are conveyed.
- In conclusion, the Court considers that, regard being had to the seriousness of the circumstances of the case and of the issues at stake, the necessity of the interference with the exercise of the applicants’ freedom of expression has not been shown…
Restrictions on court reporting where the Art 8 rights of children are engaged
- In In re S (A Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication)  1 AC 593 the House of Lords made clear that since the HRA the foundation of the High Court’s jurisdiction to restrain publicity in such cases is derived from Convention rights under the ECHR .
- Drawing upon the Judicial Committee’s earlier decision in Campbell v MGN Ltd, Lord Steyn explained the process of analysis that is required when such an order is being considered at :
- The interplay between articles 8 and 10 has been illuminated by the opinions in the House of Lords in Campbell v MGN Ltd  2 AC 457 . For present purposes the decision of the House on the facts of Campbell and the differences between the majority and the minority are not material. What does, however, emerge clearly from the opinions are four propositions. First, neither article has as such precedence over the other. Secondly, where the values under the two articles are in conflict, an intense focus on the comparative importance of the specific rights being claimed in the individual case is necessary. Thirdly, the justifications for interfering with or restricting each right must be taken into account. Finally, the proportionality test must be applied to each. For convenience I will call this the ultimate balancing test. This is how I will approach the present case.
- In Re S the claimant was aged 8. The case concerned the effect on him of press reports that his mother was being tried for killing his older brother. Evidence from a child psychiatrist was placed before the court on behalf of S. This dealt with the possible effects of the reporting on him . Lord Steyn analysed the effect of the reporting on S at  – :
- On the evidence it can readily be accepted that article 8 is engaged. Hedley J observed, at para 18, “that these will be dreadfully painful times for the child”. Everybody will sympathise with that observation.
- But it is necessary to measure the nature of the impact of the trial on the child. He will not be involved in the trial as a witness or otherwise. It will not be necessary to refer to him. No photograph of him will be published. There will be no reference to his private life or upbringing. Unavoidably, his mother must be tried for murder and that must be a deeply hurtful experience for the child. The impact upon him is, however, essentially indirect.
Legal restrictions on publicity in Children Act proceedings
- Unless restricted by statute or by a court order made under the jurisdiction discussed above journalists are free to report what happens in proceedings held in private, as well as what happens out of court.
Section 12(1) of the Administration of Justice Act (“AJA”)
- This provides in so far as relevant:
Contempt of court, habeas corpus and certiorari
12.— Publication of information relating to proceedings in private.
(1) The publication of information relating to proceedings before any court sitting in private shall not of itself be contempt of court except in the following cases, that is to say—
(a) where the proceedings—
(i) relate to the exercise of the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court with respect to minors;
(ii) are brought under the Children Act 1989 or the Adoption and Children Act 2002; or
(iii) otherwise relate wholly or mainly to the maintenance or upbringing of a minor;
(b) where the proceedings are brought under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, or under any provision of the Mental Health Act 1983 authorising an application or reference to be made to the First-tier Tribunal, the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales or a county court;
(2) Without prejudice to the foregoing subsection, the publication of the text or a summary of the whole or part of an order made by a court sitting in private shall not of itself be contempt of court except where the court (having power to do so) expressly prohibits the publication.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as implying that any publication is punishable as contempt of court which would not be so punishable apart from this section (and in particular where the publication is not so punishable by reason of being authorised by rules of court).
- AJA s.12 does not of itself prohibit the publication of:
- a) the fact, if it be the case, that a child is a ward of court and is the subject of wardship proceedings or that a child is the subject of residence or other proceedings under the Children Act 1989 or of proceedings relating wholly or mainly to his maintenance or upbringing;
- b) the name, address or photograph of such a child;
- c) the name, address or photograph of the parties (or, if the child is a party, the other parties) to such proceedings;
- d) the date, time or place of a past or future hearing of such proceedings;
- e) the nature of the dispute in such proceedings;
- f) anything which has been seen or heard by a person conducting himself lawfully in the public corridor or other public precincts outside the court in which the hearing in private is taking place;
- g) the name, address or photograph of the witnesses who have given evidence in such proceedings;
- h) the party on whose behalf such a witness has given evidence; and
- i) the text or summary of the whole or part of any order made in such proceedings.
- AJA s.12 prohibits the publication of:
- a) accounts of what has gone on in front of the judge sitting in private;
- b) documents such as affidavits, witness statements, reports, position statements, skeleton arguments or other documents filed in the proceedings, transcripts or notes of the evidence or submissions, and transcripts or notes of the judgment (this list is not necessarily exhaustive);
- c) extracts or quotations from such documents;
- d) summaries of such documents.
See Re B (A Child) (Disclosure)  EWHC 411 (Fam) at  (Munby J). This working list was said to be a useful practical guide to the ambit of AJA s.12 by the Court of Appeal at  in Clayton v Clayton  Fam 83.
Section 97(2) of the Children Act 1989 (“the CA”)
- This provides in so far as relevant:
Part XII MISCELLANEOUS AND GENERAL
Jurisdiction and procedure etc.
97.— Privacy for children involved in certain proceedings.
(2) No person shall publish to the public at large or any section of the public any material which is intended, or likely, to identify—
- any child as being involved in any proceedings before the High Court …in which any power under this Act or the Adoption and Children Act 2002 may be exercised by the court with respect to that or any other child; or
- an address or school as being that of a child involved in any such proceedings.
(3) In any proceedings for an offence under this section it shall be a defence for the accused to prove that he did not know, and had no reason to suspect, that the published material was intended, or likely, to identify the child.
(4) The court or the Lord Chancellor may, if satisfied that the welfare of the child requires it and, in the case of the Lord Chancellor, if the Lord Chief Justice agrees, by order dispense with the requirements of subsection (2) to such extent as may be specified in the order.
(6) Any person who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
The application of Re S in Children Act cases
- The need for this was recognised by the Court of Appeal in Clayton v Clayton (above). See at  – ; . In Clayton the Court of Appeal was critical of the judge for failing to apply this approach clearly and explicitly. See at  and :
…As made clear in In re S (A Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication)  1 AC 593 and A Local Authority v W  1 FLR 1 above, such applications fall to be decided not on the basis of rival generalities but by focusing on the specifics of the rights and interests to be balanced in the individual case.
- Unfortunately, it is not clear that the judge adopted such an approach. The terms of the judgment, as well as the transcript of the proceedings, reveal that the matter before him was essentially dealt with on the basis of an adjudication between the polarised position of the parties (ie injunction or no injunction) rather than refashioning its scope to meet the concerns of the father who was applying for its discharge, while protecting against any substantial threats to the welfare of the child.
Reporting restriction injunctions relaxing or adding to the statutory restrictions
- In  Webster (A Child), Re  EMLR 7 Munby J correctly noted that the Re S jurisdiction could be used to relax or increase the statutory restrictions represented by AJA s.12(1) and CA s.97(2). See .
- He also noted, correctly, that the ECHR rights asserted/in play in Children Act cases may not be simply the Art 8 rights of the children and the Art 10 rights of the press. In Webster three children had been freed by order from their parents and adopted because of concerns about abuse. The Norfolk County Council had started child protection procedures before their fourth child (Brandon) was born. The parents had consistently denied the allegations of abuse and wanted publicity in the current proceedings. Munby J said:
- …Here…what has to be struck, putting the point at its simplest, is the proper balance between publicity and privacy. But in fact in a case such as this the interplay of these various rights is quite complex. There are various rights and interests, both private and public, which have to be weighed and balanced. In the present case the analysis can perhaps be summarised as follows:
(i) The parents seek to assert their rights under Arts 8 and 10 to impart information about the proceedings to the media and others, to tell their story to the world through the medium of the BBC, the Mail on Sunday and other organs of the media. They also seek to assert their rights under Art.6 to a fair trial, rights which they say point in favour of publicity for the proceedings.
(ii) Brandon, through his children’s guardian, seeks to assert his rights under Art.8 to respect for his private and family life—his right to keep his private life private—rights which he seeks to vindicate by preserving the confidentiality of his personal data and the privacy of the proceedings. He also seeks to assert his rights under Art.6 to a fair trial, rights which he says point in favour of protecting his private life by maintaining the privacy of the proceedings.
(iii) NCC may wish to assert its right under Art.10 (and it may be also under Art.8 —I need not pursue the latter point) to impart information about the proceedings to the media, so as to put its side of the story into the public domain.
(iv) There are also the rights under Art.10 of the media and others to receive from the parents and from NCC the information about the proceedings they wish to impart and to publish or broadcast their stories.
(v) There are the rights under Art.8 of the witnesses and others involved in the proceedings: see, for example, B (Disclosure to Other Parties), Re  2 F.L.R. 1017 applying Doorson v Netherlands (1996) 22 E.H.R.R. 330 and Z v Finland (1998) 25 E.H.R.R. 371 .
(vi) There are wider public interests—the interests of the community as a whole—both in preserving freedom of expression and, as recognised in Z v Finland (1998) 25 E.H.R.R. 371, in protecting the confidentiality of personal data and other information received in confidence.
(vii) There is also the public interest—an interest of the community as a whole—in promoting the administration of justice, in maintaining the authority of the judiciary and in maintaining the confidence of the public at large in the courts. This crucially important public interest may pull in different directions:
(a) The parents point to the vital importance, if the administration of justice is to be promoted and public confidence in the courts maintained, of justice being administered in public—or at least in a manner which enables its workings to be properly scrutinised—so that the judges and other participants in the process remain visible and amenable to comment and criticism.
(b) Brandon, on the other hand (and it may be, also, the social workers and others, including witnesses who are involved in the proceedings), can, albeit from their different perspectives, point to the vital importance, if the administration of justice is to be promoted and public confidence in the Family Division maintained, of preserving the privacy of proceedings such as those with which I am concerned. There is an important public interest in preserving faith with those who have given evidence to the family court in the belief that their evidence would remain confidential and in encouraging co-operation from independent experts and other professionals.
- In accepting the general thrust of the submissions for relaxation of the statutory restrictions made by both the parents and the media Munby J said:
- As I observed in B (A Child) (Disclosure), Re  EWHC 411;  2 F.L.R. 142 at , parents—like the mother in that case and the parents in the present case—often want to speak out publicly. I repeat in this context the point I made in Roddy (A Child) (Identification: Restriction on Publication), Re  EWHC 2927;  2 F.L.R. 949 at . In my judgment, the workings of the family justice system and, very importantly, the views about the system of the mothers and fathers caught up in it, are, as Balcombe L.J. put it in W (Wardship: Discharge: Publicity), Re  2 F.L.R. 466 at 474, “matters of public interest which can and should be discussed publicly”. Many of the issues litigated in the family justice system require open and public debate in the media. I repeat what I said in Harris v Harris ; Attorney-General v Harris  2 F.L.R. 895 at – about the importance in a free society of parents who feel aggrieved at their experiences of the family justice system being able to express their views publicly about what they conceive to be failings on the part of individual judges or failings in the judicial system. And I repeat in this context what I said in the same case at :
“The freedom to publish things which judges might think should not be published is all the more important where the subject of what is being said is the judges themselves. Any judicial power to punish such publications requires the most cogent justification. Even more cogent must be the justification for giving the judges a power of prior restraint.”
- The fact that the parents may not be the martyrs they claim to be—something which I am in absolutely no position to assess and on which I express no views at all—[and] the fact that it may turn out that there was no miscarriage of justice, is not of itself any reason for denying the parents their voice.
- In the first place, and in the very nature of things, the initial “official” response to any allegation that there has been a miscarriage of justice is likely to be one of scepticism or worse. But that, it might be thought, is all the more reason why there should not be restraint, why the media should not be hindered in their vital role. I repeat what Lord Steyn said in Simms: “In principle it is not easy to conceive of a more important function which free speech might fulfil.”
- Moreover, freedom of speech is not something to be awarded to those who are thought deserving and denied to those who are thought undeserving. As Lord Oliver of Aylmerton robustly observed in Attorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd ; Attorney-General v Observer Ltd ; Attorney-General v Times Newspapers Ltd  1 W.L.R. 1248 at 1320:
“… the liberty of the press is essential to the nature of a free state. The price that we pay is that that liberty may be and sometimes is harnessed to the carriage of liars and charlatans, but that cannot be avoided if the liberty is to be preserved.”
It is, after all, the underdog who is often most in need of the help afforded by a fearless, questioning and sceptical press…
Social Care Interest
- LAC(2001)33: Adoption
On 5 December, Jacqui Smith, Minister for Health, made the keynote address at the national adoption conference – ‘Delivering the National Adoption Standards for England’. The Minister announced:
- the implementation timetable for the National Adoption Standards,
- an adopter recruitment toolkit; and
- a consultation document on collecting information about adoptive placement stability.
The day provided an opportunity to discuss what needs to be done to implement the Standards and to share practical ideas how to make the Standards a reality. There was also a range of exhibits to disseminate projects funded by the Department through Section 64 grants.
WHY DO THEY DO IT?
“Surely”,I can hear you say “British Justice is the finest in the world,and I just cannot believe things are as bad as all that” and then you add “Social workers take up that profession because they want to help people , so how can I believe they turn into the sort of monsters you portray?” “Why on earth would they do the sort of things you say they do?
THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON :-
Once they have decided something they will rarely admit a mistake ! No matter what evidence turns up in favour of the parent they have initially decided to be “unfit to parent” they will disregard it and only consider evidence that supports their original opinion.”Never admit you were wrong” is the unspoken rule and countless tragedies arise from it as a result;
I repeat “Because like birds of a feather social workers, guardians ,family court solicitors and their carefully chosen “experts” always “stick together” never admitting a mistake and fanatically eager to cover up rather than rectify any errors of judgement they have made ”
If your child has a tragic accident,do not expect comfort or sympathy from social services! Expert instead a merciless attack and the removal of your other children !
Parents’ social service hell after one anonymous letter : Judge attacks Baby P council for ‘knee-jerk’ abuse investigation
- Judge said Haringey Council’s social workers should not have investigated
- They approached child’s GP and her school without parents’ permission
- Child’s mother said her family had gone through ‘a nightmare’
By Tom Kelly
Daily Mail, 14 March, 2013
Intrusive: Judge Anthony Thornton condemned Haringey council for its heavy-handed approach to the abuse case
A mother told of her nightmare yesterday after being secretly investigated for child abuse by social workers who received a single, anonymous letter.
The woman was left ‘terrified’ that her six-year-old daughter would be removed in the probe by Haringey Council – the authority at the centre of the Baby P scandal.
After winning a ‘landmark’ case yesterday, she also spoke of her anger that the local authority had sought to avoid being named in the affair to prevent further public embarrassment.
Officials had obtained three mobile numbers and a landline phone number for the family after contacting the girl’s school without her parents’ knowledge.
The mother – who works as a social worker – said she was ‘horrified’ when a student social worker later contacted the couple to belatedly reveal they were investigating allegations of mistreatment.
Yesterday a High Court judge condemned Haringey for its ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to the unsigned letter, which was riddled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
This included approaching the child’s GP and her school to ask for any signs of ‘emotional and physical abuse’ of the child before they had spoken to her parents.
Pay out: The parents of a young girl have won High Court damages over an ‘unlawful’ decision by social services to investigate whether their child was being ill-treated or was at risk of suffering significant harm
Judge Anthony Thornton said the child was never at risk of harm from her middle class parents, who had never been in trouble with police or had previous contact with social services.
He quashed the ‘unlawful’ decision to start the investigation and ordered the council to pay £2,000 compensation to the couple and legal costs expected to run to tens of thousands of pounds.
After the hearing, the girl’s mother urged the Government to step in to sort out Haringey’s beleaguered child protection department.
She expressed fears that while the council squandered taxpayers’ cash investigating spurious complaints it risked overlooking genuine cases.
She said: ‘This has been a dreadful ordeal that has taken a huge emotional and financial strain on my family. Although I knew it was groundless, I was terrified they would take my child away.
‘We were accused of smacking our child. As it happens, we don’t smack, but if the council starts investigating all parents who occasionally smack their child to discipline them, they would end up looking at 90 per cent of families in the borough.’
The woman and her partner are both experienced social workers and so knew the council’s reaction was excessive.
Decision: A judge ruled there was no basis on which the London Borough of Haringey’s social workers should have started the inquiry. Haringey council building is pictured
Tragic: Haringey council has faced devastating criticism in the past over the Baby P, pictured, and Victoria Climbie cases
Gone: The former director of children’s services at London’s Haringey council Sharon Shoesmith is pictured
They brought a legal challenge to the council’s decision to investigate them under Section 47 of the 1989 Children Act, which the judge described as an ‘intrusive’ assessment of a child and her parents to determine if she was being harmed.
The mother said: ‘Because we know the system we had the courage to stand up to the council and take it this far, but I pity the many other parents who aren’t able to do this and have to suffer in silence.
This is the first time that a section 47 investigation has been successfully challenged and overturned.’
The council launched the investigation after its ‘social services child abuse department’ received the unsigned letter dated March 2011 from someone claiming to be a neighbour of the family saying he was worried about the child.
The judge ruled that approaching the GP and school without seeking the parent’s permission was ‘erroneous’.
He said: ‘These were serious departures from permissible practice and these actions were unlawful.’ The child was not at risk of significant harm and it… was highly likely the anonymous referral was malicious.’
A Haringey Council spokesman said: ‘Our handling of this case fell below the standards that we would expect, and we apologise to the family concerned.’
Daily Mail November 23, 2006 – A DEVASTATED couple had a child taken away by social workers as their 20-month-old son lay dying in hospital. Tyler Black, who had fallen into the family pond 24 hours earlier, died the day after the other youngster was removed. The coroner attributed no blame and sympathised with the parents for what he described as a tragic accident with NO suspicious circumstances. The social workers however still refused torestore the surviving child to the grieving parents !
|Mother wins fight to get her baby backScotsman.com by SHAN ROSS, 15 Jun 2006
Corellie Bonhomme now happily reunited with her daughter Fifi after the sheriff’s ruling. Picture: Colin Templeton
A SHERIFF has condemned social workers who removed a newborn baby from her mother only minutes after the child’s umbilical cord was cut. Two social workers and two sheriff officers entered the birthing suite as Corellie Bonhomme went into the final stages of labour. Immediately after her daughter, Fifi, was born, they took her away after obtaining a sheriff’s order giving them permission to take custody.
Key quotes He said Ms Bonhomme’s long-running dispute with social workers in Camden had led to the authorities in Scotland taking the baby into care unnecessarily. He also criticised the way Fifi was taken.
Story in full: http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=877002006
And 7 years later nothing has changed ……!!
Social workers arrived at hospital to take woman’s baby while she was in LABOUR over concerns for its welfare
By Chris Brooke
PUBLISHED: 15:04 GMT, 6 March 2013 | UPDATED: 01:37 GMT, 7 March 2013
A mother has told how social workers turned up while she was giving birth in hospital to say they would be taking her baby into care.
Without consulting her, social services chiefs had decided Kelly McWilliams was unfit to look after her baby because she had suffered from depression five years earlier after her ten-year-old son was found hanged.
The officials arrived without warning to say the baby would go straight into foster care as they were concerned about Mrs McWilliams’s mental health.
Kelly McWilliams is demanding an apology from Doncaster Social Services after her daughter Victoria, now 18 months, was taken into foster care after her birth
But the baby, a girl named Victoria, had serious breathing problems and was transferred to intensive care.
Mrs McWilliams, 36, said she was only allowed to spend two hours a day with her daughter, supervised by a social worker.
She was forced to call a lawyer from hospital and ended up in court two days after the birth to plead her case.
Victoria’s father, who lived apart from Mrs McWilliams, was given temporary custody of the baby when Victoria was discharged from hospital ten days after her birth, and for four months Mrs McWilliams was only allowed two hours of supervised time each day with her child.
Miss McWilliams has since been reunited with Victoria
Last night, the mother of five from Doncaster said: ‘I feel very, very angry and very, very let down because I had overcome my mental health problems and was in a very good place and I was feeling proud and ready to be a mother.
‘Then this came along and crushed me. I lost precious time with my daughter. I missed her first smile, I missed so much.’
The social workers were able to take Victoria into care after obtaining an emergency protection order from Doncaster Magistrates’ Court.
Mrs McWilliams said: ‘They literally just walked in very coldly and said as soon as I had delivered my baby she was going to get placed into foster care.
‘I was in labour when they came in. To be honest I didn’t actually believe them, at first I thought it was some kind of joke.’
When she asked why Victoria had to be fostered, she said they replied: ‘Because you are not well.’
According to Mrs McWilliams’s lawyer, Doncaster social services had gone too far when Victoria was born in August 2011, having failed to carry out a pre-birth assessment or case conference to discuss any possible intervention.
Solicitor Sarah Young said that if proper procedures had been followed, social services may not have needed to take action.
Miss Young added: ‘I think it’s a shocking example of a massive over-reaction by social services in Doncaster.’
Victoria is now 18 months old and happily living with her mother. But Mrs McWilliams is demanding an apology from Doncaster social services, which she fears has not learned from its mistakes.
Miss McWilliams was in labour at Doncaster Royal Infirmary with her daughter Victoria when social workers arrived to take her unborn daughter away
Her case follows a series of major failings by care bosses. In November, an Ofsted inspection found that children’s care in Doncaster was still ‘inadequate’.
The service had already been criticised over the deaths of seven children and failures that led to the torture of two boys by two brothers who were in foster care.
Mrs McWilliams said: ‘People need to know what Doncaster social services are like, because they make mistake after mistake but they are not paying for it.
‘To me, they have got more power than the police, they can do what they want when they want.
‘Nobody can make up for what they have taken away from me. They need to change the way they work. It can’t happen to anyone else. I was an experienced mum and yet I had to be supervised all the time I was caring for Victoria.
‘I am constantly terrified that there will be a knock on the door and that someone will come to take Victoria away from me.’
Chris Pratt, director of Doncaster’s Children and Young People’s Services, said: ‘It’s inappropriate for us to comment on cases involving individual children. However, when any matter of concern is raised with me I do ask for this to be examined and I have done that in this case.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2289027/Social-workers-arrived-hospital-womans-baby-LABOUR-concerns-welfare.html#ixzz2N7xj68J9 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
In common with the majority of civil servants social workers feel that “the State knows best”.They have gradually convinced themselves that huge numbers of single mothers or parents who have been abused while “in care” or by their partners,or who have learning difficulties,a low income,or a lack of routine just do not have the requisite parenting skills!A dirty and untidy house, a disorganised way of life ,or even simply a hostile attitude to social workers is usually enough for them to remove children from their parents .Often without consulting medical opinion they conclude that a parent has inflicted an injury that could just as easily have been a routine accident ,or worse still they have accused thousands of mothers of deliberately causing injuries to their children to gain attention for themselves!They believe that it is in the interests of these children to place them for long term foster care or adoption with families better equipped to fulfill the children’s material and/or intellectual needs! The result is that large numbers of largely healthy and happy children have been abruptly removed from their homes and transferred to the care of complete strangers!
“And what about Victoria Clmbé ” I hear you cry,”and other children who have been brutalized or even killed by their parents ?”Well ,Victoria was not with parents, SHE WAS IN THE CARE OF SOCIAL SERVICES !! They allowed her to stay with with “carers” .Victoria was covered from head to foot with bruises,cigarette burns, and had obviously broken bones.No medical qualifications were needed to prove the sort of brutality she had certainly endured .She was however callously left to die in agony;maybe because social workers consider that children who have been physically or sexually abused are not really as suitable for fostering or adoption as those from poor but happy homes. These social workers,prefer the easy risk free routes so they tend to avoid the dangers of being assaulted by the brutal type of parent and pass on to easier targets ! In any case the sort of mother who comes weeping into court to beg for the return of her children is not usually the type of person who would physically injure her child or allow others to hurt it;Cruel parents who physically mistreat their children almost never come to the family court and would rarely oppose any plans for fostering or adoption if any were made;
“Surely” you say, “A concientious social worker who found after all that there was no good reason to remove a child would then leave it where it was ?” Well, have you ever heard local goverment officials admit that they have made a mistake?Not often I’m sure! And that is where the trouble begins….Not with the error but with the cover up and the determination not to lose face and to be proved right in the end.The initial assessment must always be proved right whether favourable to parents or not and only evidence favourable to that initial conclusion is noted .Anything unfavourable to SS conclusions is usually discarded.The call by Tony Blair to increase adoption figures and the setting of adoption targets by local authorities has further exacerbated the situation as social workers are motivated more by achieving adoption targets than by helping families to stay together,With these targets in view social workers tend to come to a swift opinion of the parents they visit,and if that opinion is unfavourable they try very hard to maintain that opinion against all opposition.To this end they collect all the evidence they can to support that opinion,discarding any evidence that tends to criticise or undermine it .
Parents who resist are usually labelled ” in denial” “suffering from personality disorder”,or even “paranoiacs!”The worst sin the parents can commit is to persist in asserting their innocence! The ” social service thought police” supported by the family court judges usually insist on “confession” before any question of restoring the children or even arranging regular contact can be considered. The same process is seen in the family courts if parents fight to retain their children.Social workers ,keen above all to be vindicated, fight to win their case so that the welfare of the child is often lost in the overwhelming desire desire to WIN at all costs!
Social Workers always try to escape responsibility by saying “the courts decide so it’s ,not up to us”, but of course the judges rarely refuse care orders or adoption placements when social services request them.They treat social workers like police whose word is always to be preferred to the parent’s if there is a conflict. Judges have publicly admitted that usually they “go along with social services” as the “safest option” but probably it is really because they feel that to refuse would be taking a risk for which they could be crucified in the press if disaster followed! THESE COWARDLY FAMILY COURT JUDGES ARE THE REAL VILLAINS ! Many family court judges should themselves be punished .THESE RENEGADE ESTABLISHMENT JUDGES SHOULD BE SENT TO PRISON for authorising the snatching of newborn babies at birth from mothers who have never harmed them but who chose “the wrong man” to father their babies! A jury would in most cases come to conclusions and consequently verdicts quite opposite to those of the judges as they would be for the most part very reluctant to remove children for such hazy concepts as “emotional abuse” or worse still “risk of future emotional abuse”,and there would of course be no risk of a comeback for a jury if a single mistake was made.
All over the world there are famines ,random killings and genocides.Unfortunately in this country there are hundreds of cases of child abuse by parents, but also by fosterers, social workers,and paedophiles working in children’s homes!
BBC News Bradford – May 22 2006, Foster carers abused young boys – A gay couple have been warned they face lengthy prison sentences after being found guilty of sexually abusing young boys placed in their foster care. Ian Wathey, 40, and his partner Craig Faunch, 32, were found guilty at Leeds Crown Court of a series of sex offences against the boys. BBC News
Friendly neighbours who had lived peacefully side by side for years in Kosovo and in Bosnia suddenly turned on each other savagely slaughtering babies and young children .It is a sad fact that seemingly normal ,decent people can very often be persuaded or tempted to perform extremely cruel and horrific deeds .It should not therefore be too hard to understand that the desire of social workers (who are certainly no exception) to be proved right ,more often than not outweighs the welfare of the child .The secrecy of the family courts and the gagging of aggrieved parents who are unable to protest to the media when they lose their children combine to facilitate wins in court for social services and losses for parents !
In Spain,France, Italy,and most of the countries in Western Europe children are only forcibly separated from their parents when they suffer extreme physical violence or sexual abuse.Professionals from European counties are horrified when they see social workers and secret courts in England taking young children and worse still new born babies for such spurious reasons as “risk of emotional harm” . This concept just does not exist on the continent.Children simply cannot be removed from their parents unless a crime has been committed. Separating children from their parents for past behaviour in different circumstances many years ago is considered a violation of the Human Rights of both child and parent The UK was condemned by the European Court in the case of p,c,and s, for actions considered “draconian” and the UK was fined.Unfortunately the UK family courts still largely ignore human rights and parents are strongly advised to consider pursuing their cases in the European Court when all else fails.
There is of course also the money racket that really oils the wheels of the SS adoption and fostering machine,and all the official figures,and government statistics supporting claims made in this section plus other details of these horrors can be found in my “introduction section”.
150 years ago very young children worked in factories and went up chimneys.We look back in horror nowadays and wonder how our great grandfathers let such things happen.I believe that future generations in the UK will take a similar view when reading about the family courts of this era in Britain.Nevertheless such things did happen in Victorian Britain, and the horrors in the family courts that you read about in the papers are equally true at the present time.
Extreme Power can corrupt even the nicest people and it is no exaggeration to say that in many ways social workers certainly have more power over selected individuals than any government minister! Social workers can and do get emergency protection orders on the flimsiest pretexts (suspicion of devil worship for instance!) and on allegations against parents that frequently have no foundation.No evidence need be presented as simple allegations by social workers or anonymous “referrals” are nearly always sufficient. Conveniently there seems to be no penalty if subsequently the allegations against parents (who must be absent and are not allowed defend themselves at this stage) prove malicious and false.
Judge Condemns Council Staff
Daily Mail, Saturday March 18, 2006
Social workers ‘took girl from her family on a whim’ By Steve Doughty – Social Affairs Correspondent
SOCIAL workers took a nine-year-old girl away from her family for more than a year on a whim, a High Court judge said yesterday.
They embellished facts, told untruths and misled a court after deciding to take the girl into care on the spur of the moment, according to a judge.
Social workers decided the child’s mother suffered from Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy – a condition which is said to make a parent wish to harm their child, Mr. Justice McFarlane’s Judgement revealed.
They did not consult a doctor about their assumption until the girl had been living in council care for three months.
He said he suspected one social worker of a ‘malevolent and unprofessional motive’ and said the attitude of he council bosses who defended her and her colleagues was ‘astounding’.
The judgment said that shortly before the girl was taken from her parents for 14 months, a council meeting on the case had noted: ‘home and care good. Mother and child have good relationship. Detrimental to move.’
Sometimes the Social services behave so outrageously that it is too much for even the most “SS tolerant” of judges in the family court .However,the clearly wronged parents in a case like the recent one portrayed above, still took a year to retrieve their daughter and nobody was prosecuted for perjury or held in contempt for misleading the court !
Once the order is granted the social workers can demand a police escort to break into the parents house (often in the middle of the night) to drag the children away without giving any reason for their actions!Alas once the children have gone and are “twin tracked” for fostering and adoption it can be very hard indeed for parents to retrieve them.No politicians have powers like these and it is just human nature that powers this great will be abused and used to achieve the social worker’s target objectives rather than the reunification of the family and the welfare of the child.
The only way to improve the present situation is to bring in some or most of the reforms suggested on this site and similarly on the “fassit”site .
More than 200 MPs have called for the abolition of all secrecy in family courts; http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=29194&SESSION=875 . There should be no gagging orders on parents who should be free like rape victims to waive anonymity and go to the press with their history, their identities, and their complaints (including details of the court proceedings, the witnesses who testified, and the judgement) if they believe their children have been unjustly taken. These children are routinely advertised for adoption like pedigree dogs by social services in magazines “Adoption UK” etc., on the internet,and even in the Daily Mirror (see below)!
All with full colour photos, first names and birth dates, allowing easy identification by the neighbours! The secrecy exists to gag protesting parents not to protect the identity of the children and should be scrapped! Also abolition of “jail with no public hearing” (a parliamentary question revealed that more than 200 persons were sent to prison in secret last year by family courts!).
2. HARM & RISK
The notion of “emotional harm” is a vague concept impossible to either prove or disprove and should be scrapped. Most important of all however is “RISK”. Parents and children are split up, and in effect punished not because of anything they have done but only for what the “professionals” think someone might do in the future! Perfectly happy and healthy children are declared to be at risk of harm at some time in the future by social workers and hired “experts” (psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists and the like!) who base their opinions very largely on the reports from social workers which are always so thoughtfully provided for them! Parents are asked how they can possibly know better than these highly qualified (and very highly paid!) professionals! In fact the answer is both simple and financial. In the Louise Woodward case for example, top experts disagreed about a possibly shaken baby but each expert gave evidence for the side that paid them!! Some supposedly “top experts” like Professor Meadows, Professor Southall and Dr Marietta Higgs, caused literally hundreds of children to be legally kidnapped on evidence based on their crackpot theories that have now been thoroughly discredited! In any case, the experts hired by social services always tend to take the side of their social service or family court paymasters so children and worse still, newborn babies, are then sent for adoption. This is said to avoid any more risk from parents who are naturally angry and upset that their children have been removed and who can then be declared to be emotionally unstable. A result as unjust as it is absurd! Would any genuinely loving mother be able to remain calm and cooperative with those who had taken her children or worse still, her newborn baby? On the continent in France, Spain, Italy etc. children are only taken from parents if they have suffered severe physical harm. The concepts of “emotional harm” and “future risk” quite rightly do not exist there! Children from these countries are only taken if a parent has committed or at least been charged with a CRIME against their child. “NO CRIME NO CARE ORDER” should be the rule also in the UK. The simple fact that “other children from the same mother have previously been taken into care” should no longer be considered an adequate reason for removing children, and ESPECIALLY NEW BORN BABIES from parents. Circumstances can and often do change, and it is wicked to ignore such changes. To take a baby from a mother of sound mind who has never in any way caused it harm must be a CRIME (as an article in The Times clearly states). Every completely blameless mother in the UK is at risk of having her baby taken at birth because the father has merely been “suspected” (not charged or convicted) of some violent incident in his distant past. “Too bad you chose the wrong man to father your baby and he/she will now be adopted by strangers” the distressed mother is told! http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/camilla_cavendish/article759348.ece The perpetrators should be punished! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6297573.stm
Decisions in contested cases in family courts THAT INVOLVE LONG-TERM FOSTER CARE OR ADOPTION must be decided by jury. Any burglar or other criminal facing a possible 6 months or more in prison has the right to demand a jury so why not a parent facing the loss of a child to adoption? In effect a life sentence! A jury would be less likely to “rubberstamp” demands of social services than “establishment judges”, who inevitably take what they often describe as “the safe option” and agree with highly-paid experts who foretell that children are at risk of emotional harm! It is very rare that any judge will restore children or babies to parents against opposition in court from social services. THESE JUDGES ARE THE REAL VILLAINS AS THEIR JUSTICE SHOULD PROTECT THE WEAK NOT OPPRESS THEM. I believe (like The Times article) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/camilla_cavendish/article759348.ece that these establishment judges commit a wicked crime every time they condone the taking of newborn babies from sane mothers that have never caused their babies harm. At Nuremburg after World War II the Nazi judges were condemned to prison as criminals and many of our family court judges deserve the same fate. Most of the decisions that now divide children from loving parents would be decided quite differently by a jury! This would soon reduce the number of cases brought by social services before the courts!
Telephone contact must never be forbidden between parents and children. Letters and conversation between parents and children must NEVER be censored or restricted by the social service “thought police”. Frequency of contact visits between parents and children in care should be decided specifically by a court and NOT left to the discretion of social services who sometimes use their discretion as a weapon to subdue “difficult” parents.
Parents accused of neglect that has not endangered the life of the child (absences from school, dirty or cluttered house etc.) should be given a written warning to put matters right, and a chance to do so before children can be taken.
The Government’s own research in 2001 already showed “concern that the needs of the children were being overlooked because of the struggle to meet adoption targets” http://www.local.dtlr.gov.uk/research/beacyr3/adoption/07.htm .The first step should be abolition of “closed adoption” i.e. where the baby or child is given to new parents whose names and addresses are wrongly kept strictly secret from the birth parents. As a second step, abolition of forced adoption, i.e. when a parent who has not been convicted of any crime that might affect the child opposes adoption in the family court. Adoption targets and large government rewards for achieving those targets (under public service agreements) should be scrapped. Kent got £21million(!), fosterers get as much as £400 per child per week, Special Schools up to £7000/week per child, adoption agencies around £18000/placement, lawyers as much as £50,000 per case, “experts” up to £4000 for a 3-hour interview with a parent. Without these rewards, social workers and others might be more motivated to keeping families together instead of splitting them up! Over 60,000 children are in care and more than 3000/year are adopted, of which over 700/year are taken after hearings contested by distraught parents who nearly always lose! These figures are extremely disturbing. 20 MPs from all parties have signed early day motion 626 deploring the way social workers take babies and young children into care NOT for the benefit of the child but to meet the adoption targets set by the Government. http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=32301&SESSION=885
So-called “experts” and “professionals” should no longer be allowed to make “prophecies” and “risk assessments” in court but should confine themselves to what has happened not what might happen! Gypsies often claim to foresee the future using a crystal ball and maybe one or two actually do have a gift of sorts! What is certain is that social workers, and their hired and very highly paid psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists do NOT have that gift and these so called “experts” and “professionals” should stop demanding that the courts authorise the removal and possible adoption of babies and children purely on the basis of their unreliable future predictions! It is incredible that in the UK families are ruthlessly split up NOT for events that have happened but for events that so called “experts” think one day might happen! As already stated the Louise Woodward case demonstrated the fallibility of “professionals” when the most distinguished experts in the country disagreed about a “shaken baby” case. Each expert by hazard testified in favour of the side that paid their fees! “Experts” that are selected by social services or by “the court” unsurprisingly almost always end up by deciding that the hapless parents are “in denial” suffer from “paranoia” or have a “personality disorder” simply because like many journalists, from The Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail, broadcasters of programmes like “The Real Story” and thousands of other people, they see social workers as “childsnatchers” rather than kindly helpers devoted to the public good! No more forecasts of “risk” from hired experts should be considered in family courts. Parents are rarely allowed by their lawyers to call their own “experts” and if they represent themselves they cannot afford to. Most legal aid lawyers are widely known as “professional losers” because they collect large fees for simply advising parents to give up the fight. They almost never win cases in the civil family courts as they rarely call all the witnesses and often forbid parents to say anything in court at all!! Parents should be able to testify and to call their children, their family doctor, and other family members as witnesses. According to the UN convention on children’s rights, to which the UK subscribes, children capable of understanding the nature of a court have the right to testify in proceedings that involve them, and the right to an undisturbed family life including contact with their siblings .These rights are normally completely disregarded by the secret UK family courts. Both parent’s human rights and their children’s rights should be respected at all times. Hearsay and recorded or video material should no longer be allowed as evidence in family courts.
8. EMERGENCY PROTECTION ORDERS
These must be abolished as parents have no opportunity to oppose them or defend themselves. The police have authority (police protection) to remove children they believe to be in danger and they alone should decide if any immediate danger really exists.
A McKenzie friend (parent’s lay advisor) should be allowed to present the parent’s case and cross-examine witnesses. This clause is doubly important when parents have been refused or are not eligible for legal aid. Such a person would usually stand a better chance of winning a case for parents than most of “the legal aid lawyers” (PROFESSIONAL LOSERS) who collect huge fees for advising hapless parents not to fight social services but to go along with everything they say. Parents have no need for lawyers to do that, but how those legal sharks must laugh as they cash in!Parents who represent themselves and who wish to appeal should be supplied by the court with a copy of the judgement within 7 days so that they can put the appeal into court before expiration of the time limit
A parent who loses custody of children to an ex-wife, ex-husband, or ex-partner should have an enforceable right to such contact as the court awards. If such contact is denied or persistently prevented by one parent the court should warn the offending parent that if there is any more refusal to obey a court order for contact then the court will transfer custody to the parent that has been deprived.
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