Thursday, 5 December 2013

More on Social services and family courts

Following my last post and a good twitter debate, I was pulled up about some areas of lack of clarity in my argument.. I intend to rectify that here but more importantly I want to highlight why I am making the points in the first place and to give details of the case that I'm involved with regarding a father who has not seen his daughter for 4 years. I'm afraid it has left me disappointed in our system and has cost this man his happiness, savings and the best part of his daughter's childhood. Worse still, it is repeated all over the UK and probably all over the world.

Now for the clarity part - I don't just respect social workers, I absolutely hold them in very high regard. They have the most difficult of jobs and make decisions you and I would shy away from. Some are good, some are not so good but that doesn't take away what a stressful, tiring job this would be for even the most efficient.

My disappointment is in the whole system, the laws, the inconsistencies, the covering of backs and the fact that family courts are the only secret arena in our judicial system - supposedly to protect children, which I'm sure is a well intentioned rule but whether it's the right thing is cause for debate.

I believe that grandparents should have rights and with them a full say in cases like this, where the parents are the subject of any doubt. This right should have far more weight in court, than the say of a child protection officer. This is my opinion only and I am not asking you to agree!

I want to remind you of a well publicised case - Cootes. This one was instigated on my doorstep and perhaps has similarities to that of the Italian lady.

Let me summarise:

SCC deemed Megan Coote unfit to be a mother before the baby was even born because of her learning difficulties.
They said she seemed emotionless and had a low IQ
Megan and her mother flew to Spain and she gave birth
Spent 3 months in Spain and spent £ 12k of their own money before council did a U Turn
Child now thriving and has been allowed to be with mother, completely vindicating the family and their trust in their daughter to look after the child.

See more about this case here or just google the names.

Now, as I pointed out in several tweets today, I am very much in favour of less (nanny state) = more. More empowerment, more self responsibility and more rights for grandparents, parents and the wider family.

I think the criteria for 'assessing (judging) must leave a lot to be desired if you can threaten to take away a child based on low IQ and how someone might show their emotions.

Do we need to change the criteria or is there more to it than that? Do social workers need more help or training since Baby P? Are the directives now based on accountability instead of what's really right for the child and family? 

How many parents have fled to Spain because of this interference? (again, I am challenging our processes not the people).

Now onto the case I am involved with. This is more complicated and will take time to lay out properly. It highlights how badly we treat men in situations like this and how women have the upper hand and can manipulate custody. This is a current complex case involving Spain as well as the UK because in this instance the father had custody rights in Spain, the daughter was abducted and brought to the UK and the two legal jurisdictions has caused a nightmare. It is a mess and the father (who I will call Roy) thinks that the authorities cherry pick the bits they like from each jurisdiction, which in turn hinders every step he takes.

See you in part 2 - I am gathering4 the info.....

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