01483 826 470


Children & Child Custody

More countries sign up to child protection conventions

The Russian Federation and Lesotho have deposited their instruments of accession to the 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.

Education of looked after children slowly improving

The educational attainment of looked after children and young people is improving slowly but there is too much variation in attainment, inconsistent support and a lack of clearly defined outcomes against which progress can be assessed. These are the findings of a report published by the Auditor General for Wales.

High Court rules on care consent case

The High Court has ruled that social workers were wrong to obtain consent from a woman to take her new-born baby into care when she was still under the affects of drugs administered during a difficult birth, reports the Daily Mail.

The emotional impact of children moving away

We live in an increasingly globalised and fast-paced society. It is more common than ever for us to move overseas to work, and marriages between partners of different nationalities are on the increase. This creates obvious problems where children are concerned. While me may hope that our moves abroad, and our marriages, are permanent, often our work situation changes or our relationships break down. In these types of situation, children can become the subject of custody disputes of a transnational (or perhaps even just trans-regional) character. One partner may wish to return to their native land (or indeed remain in an adopted homeland) when a relationship breaks down.

Landmark court ruling may prevent expats from taking children 'home'

The case, reported in the Telegraph, concerned a Canadian divorcee who had been living in the UK with her former husband and two children. The woman wished to return to her native Canada after her divorce, and take her young children, aged two and four, with her. The mother complained of feeling 'lonely' and 'isolated' in Britain. She applied to the court for permission to take the children with her and was initially successful. However, her former husband, and father to the children appealed and the Court of Appeal struck the first ruling down. It did this on the basis that the father had been playing a 'major role' in the lives of the children since the couple had separated, seven months before the divorce. The father looked after the children for two nights per week (35% of the time, as the Telegraph point out).

Adoption UK statement on new adoption figures

Adoption UK has issued a statement in response to recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which show that there has been a 6% increase in the overall level of adoptions in England and Wales.

Lord Chief Justice’s Report laid before House of Lords

The latest Lord Chief Justice’s Report has been laid before the House of Lords.

Committee protests against shared parenting proposal

The Chair of the Justice Select Committee, the Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, has written to the Prime Minister in relation to the Government’s proposals to change the Children Act 1989 in an attempt to promote shared parenting.

More babies in care to receive a stable home more swiftly

The Prime Minister has announced plans to reduce radically the time it takes for a baby to move in with their permanent family.

New investigation into adoption

The Family Rights Group has responded to the news that a new select committee investigation into the adoption process in England and Wales has been launched.

Care system places children in danger

Children who go missing from care are being systematically failed and placed in great danger by the very professionals who are there to protect them, according to a parliamentary inquiry report.

Government consults on child access after separation

Ministers have put forward proposals to strengthen the law to ensure that children can continue to see both parents if they separate or divorce where it is safe and in the child’s best interest.

Grandparents risk poverty raising grandchildren

A new study by charity Grandparents Plus has revealed that lack of support from Government and local authorities means that many grandparents face poverty after dropping out of the labour market to raise their grandchildren.

Quicker action to keep children safe

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) has published new research which shows that local authorities are acting more quickly to keep vulnerable children safe.

Commission's cost reduction report published

The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report of its review of the the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission's (the Commission) cost reduction plans.

Adoption delays revealed

The Government has recently published the first local authority adoption scorecards, which have revealed widespread delays throughout the adoption system in England.

Government pledges to tackle child maintenance arrears

The Minister in charge of the child maintenance system has pledged the Government will take greater action to tackle parents who avoid their child maintenance responsibilities.

Children missing from care

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults and the APPG for Looked after Children and Care Leavers has taken oral evidence from witnesses as part of its inquiry into the care and support provided for the thousands of children who go missing from care every year.

Children who go missing from care are in great danger of being physically or sexually abused. Research from The Children’s Society reveals that a quarter of the 100,000 children who run away from care or home each year have been the victims of significant harm or abuse.

The opening session, led by Ann Coffey MP, focuses on trafficked children who are disappearing from local authority care.

Children as young as three are trafficked in the UK for purposes of exploitation. This can include forced labour such as cannabis cultivation and domestic servitude, as well as forced begging, forced marriage and sexual exploitation.

Frontline practitioners are very concerned by the numbers of child victims of trafficking going missing from care and never being found.

Study into the role of Children’s Guardians

A pilot study by researchers at Lancaster University and the University of Bradford has found that involving children’s guardians in vulnerable families may avoid the need for care proceedings.  

The pilot study, listed in the Family Justice Review and Government response to that review, examined whether earlier involvement of the Children’s Guardian might ensure more cases are prevented from going to court, or where cases go to court, that they are resolved more quickly.

The research team found that the Guardian’s independence of the local authority was seen as particularly advantageous in terms of enabling parents to engage with concerns for children.

One lawyer for parents involved in a case said: “...the Guardian can put it in layman's terms - make it easier to understand - the parent will listen and open the parents' eyes. At this point the parents are very vulnerable, but if the Guardian can advocate for the child and get the parent to listen ... that's good .. the Guardian can be the voice of calm when the parents are very upset with the local authority. “

Dr Karen Broadhurst, from Lancaster University’s Department of Applied Social Science, said: “The courts are dealing with a huge number of cases and it’s better if the Guardian can divert cases and reduce that volume of applications. In cases where diversion plans unfortunately fail, we found that the Children’s Guardians were very positive about being involved earlier as this enabled them to provide a stronger steer  for the courts, reducing the likelihood of time wasting, duplicate assessments.”

The report from the pilot project will go to the Ministry of Justice and the project will now be extended to Liverpool.

Figures show rise in care applications

Barnardos has issued a statement following the release of figures by Cafcass, the children's court advisory service, which show that the number of applications from local councils to take children into care in England has exceeded 10,000 for the first time.

Barnardo's Deputy Chief Executive, Jane Stacey, says:

“While the increase in the number of children being referred into care might seem alarming, I am pleased that decisions are being made more quickly to remove children from damaging situations.

“We must intervene early to support families but where parenting is still not good enough, urgent action must be taken to protect children from damaging situations. Care can and does improve the lives of vulnerable children. This is why it is essential that we ensure that there are more foster or adoptive parents available to provide them with a stable and loving home.”

The figures from Cafcass also reveal that there were a total of 886 applications in March 2012. Applications received between May 2011 to February 2012 this year have been the highest ever recorded by Cafcass for these individual months.

Contact us

Please let us know your name.

Please let us know your email address.

Please enter a valid telephone number

Please select one option.

Please select one option.

Please let us know your occupation.

Please let us know your selection.

Please let us know your message.
Please tick the box below.

Call now to arrange a consultation01483 826 470