The unnatural justice of secret family courts

The unnatural justice of secret family courts
The Sunday Telegraph, 26/08/2007

The Sunday Telegraph highlights today yet another case in which a mother has been threatened with losing her baby to local authority care. The mother had not shown any sign at all of harming her child, for her baby has not yet been born.

The local authority, however, is convinced that there is a possibility that she might harm the child.

To most people, it will seem grotesquely unjust that any child could be removed on such a basis. Northumberland County Council is, however, far from unusual in acting in this way.The courts have endorsed the removal of hundreds of children from their natural parents on the basis that there is a possibility that they might “abuse their child emotionally”.

Some of those forcible adoptions are appalling acts of injustice. How can such things happen in Britain? The answer is simple: the courts that enforce the taking away of children from parents on local authority say-so operate in secret. It is illegal to reveal their proceedings, or even their judgments.

—————————————————

The above extract from the Sunday Telegraph is from but one of many articles from respected journalists confirming what I myself have alleged concerning the “SS” and “forced adoptions”.

Why do the “SS” act like they do? Well, like most “public servants” social workers NEVER admit to the public that they have made a specific mistake!.

Once they have decided to take a baby or young child away from its parents and into “care”, no matter what new evidence comes out in favour of the parents, they still stick to their original decision . When possible they pursue their instructions from the government to increase the number of adoptions(in order to avoid the expense of paying thousands of foster parents an average of £400/week per child !). Their prime interest then, is NOT the welfare of the baby or child but WINNING their case in court against parents who dispute their decisions. The sad sequel is that the judges nearly always back them up regardless of the evidence of parents who more often than not, have never been accused let alone convicted of any crime! !

It is true that accredited journalists can now be admitted at the discretion of the judges ,who however ban them from any cases likely to be controversial. Even when they are admitted they cannot print names of witnesses or word for word details of proceedings.

It is however the gagging of parents not the media that is so unjust. Protest can only be effective when like rape victims parents (and teenage children who wish to express their views) can shed anonymity and campaign under their own names The new rules (just like the previous rules) state that parties to a case can give information in confidence to individuals who can offer them advice OR support Despite this judges still regularly warn parents whose children have been removed by their courts NOT to discuss their cases with anybody! They pretend to protect the privacy of parents and children by gagging them both ! You couldn’t make it up !

Yes,they gag parents to “protect their privacy” but allow local authorities to advertise their precious children for adoption in the Daily Mirror,and other periodicals, with first names ,colour photographs,birth dates and ethnic origins rather like pedigree dogs ,who of course do not need privacy ! HYPOCRITES ALL !

These are the ten reforms advocated by the Times newspaper and who could seriously disagree?

WE believe that wholesale reforms are needed, which can be summed up in ten points:

1. Open family courts to the press in all but exceptional circumstances (as recommended by the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee).

2.Let any parent or carer accused of abuse call any witnesses they need in their defence. At the moment, they are routinely refused permission to do so.

3.Give automatic permission for parents who are refused legal aid to get a lay adviser to help them present their case. This is routinely refused.

4.Remove the restrictions that prevent families from talking about their case (as recommended by the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee).

5.Review the definition of “emotional abuse” across local authorities, to make sure that it cannot become a catch-all for overzealous officials.

6.Provide an automatic right for parents to receive copies of case conference notes and all evidence used against them in court, just as they would in a criminal trial.

7.Create an independent body to oversee the actions of social services, with proper sanctions. If that body is to be the General Social Care Council, make it easier for parents to go directly to that body rather than having to face delays from the local authority.

8.Let children in care waive their right to privacy if they wish to speak out. For gagging children is surely not consistent with promoting their welfare.

9.Restructure CAFCASS, the Family Court Advisory Service, from being an organisation that reports on the parents to the courts to one that actively promotes the parenting needs of children. The primary focus should cease to be assisting the court process. It should be diverting parents away from contested hearings into the making of parenting plans.

10.Review the recent legal aid cut-backs that are deterring lawyers from taking on these complex family cases. It is quite wrong that desperate parents are unable to find a lawyer to help them in their time of need.

2 Responses to The unnatural justice of secret family courts

  1. tori says:

    These reforms are an absolute must and i am living proof that every single person in my case was bent ( unprofessional) they are like sheep right from CSC, CAFCAS, Legal firms, Judges my case was so unbelievable watching a social worker swear on oath and completely lie and all the wrong information in case notes and lack of support from legal team. I was constantly told i would lose and some horrible one liners from social worker haunt me today!!! it took 18 months of hard work and only 1% chance of having my son returned i won……. However i can not get that time back with my son and the level of bullying and abuse of CSC stills keeps me awake, I can not comprehend the level of untruths and under hand tactics they hold an immense power against parents and they basically need no evidence or very little to remove,,, Mine was a probable risk of harm but so much went wrong not helped by the fact i was allowed no witnesses or help or advocacy as social would not have it. I also got told by police office and different solicitor off the record that my allocated social worker had been on long term leave due to making mistake in previous case so they said i was been made an example of and it was personal. I wouldnt wish family court proceedings on anyone.
    My thread of some of my journey is on family rights group threa getting voice heard by warthog! and on parents against CSC (PACS).

  2. derbo says:

    Dear Nottingham City Council,

    I would like, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for information
    on action taken when a Children’s social worker ( criminal suspect Lorraine
    Edwards, based: at Howitt Court, Sir John Robinson Way Nottingham NG56DB description – ethnicity: Nigerian origin inhabitant, special characteristics: poked eyes, suffers with paranoia, pedophilia,disorders of sebaceous glans) who persistently
    fails in the following. Complaints to the GSCC and LGO have been
    exhausted. All have failed to acknowledge evidence, or take into
    account the law, what would the next steps be in the following
    questions?
    1. Failing to follow public law, even when pointed out to them they
    are in breach of the law and some examples of their actions listed
    below.
    a. Act beyond their powers.
    b. Ignore relevant information.
    c. Fail to undertake a sufficient enquiry.
    d. Mislead professionals.
    e. Clearly showing biasness towards one parents.
    f. Not informing parents what the case is against them.
    g. Not taking into account evidence or factors which he or she was
    not aware of.
    h. Not allowing the individual to put his or her case forward.
    i. Not giving the individual the facilities to put his or her case
    forward.
    j. Refusing to hear evidence that may have led to a different
    decision.
    k. Denying access to relevant documents.
    l. Holding a hearing in the absence of the individual when they had
    good reason for not being able to attend.
    m. Changing the time / date / location of a hearing and failing to
    inform the individual or failing to notify the individual of the
    time and place of the hearing that would lead to the decision being
    taken.
    n. Record keeping being grossly inaccurate, cheery picking
    evidence, falsifying evidence.
    o. Social Workers attempt to cover up mistakes that they or other
    team members have made in the past.
    p. Bullying or intimidating a service user with the removal of
    their children to remain silent on social services past mistakes,
    making complaints or highlighting any of the above.
    2. Failing to follow the Children’s Act, even when pointed out to
    them they are in breach of the law and some examples of their
    actions listed below.
    a. Failing to put the best interests of the child first.
    b. Failing in the due of care towards a child.
    c. Ignoring or showing no concerns of either imminent or future
    risk towards a child.
    d. Ignoring professional advice or concerns.
    e. Ignoring parents / family or friend’s advice or concerns
    3. If a social worker or social services had, ignored professionals
    / service users and failed in their duty of care to a child and the
    risk came to light by another social services, would this be
    grounds to instigate a Serious Case Review. Would it be justified
    of social services or a social worker to carrying out any of the
    items listed in Q1 or Q2 against a service user to keep quiet?
    4. What is the next course of action when LA have no concerns,
    refuse to satisfactory answer complaints, refuse to look at
    evidence.
    5. What is the next course of action when GSCC have no concerns,
    refuse to satisfactory answer complaints, refuse to look at
    evidence.
    6. What is the next course of action when LGO have no concerns,
    refuse to satisfactory answer complaints, refuse to look at
    evidence.
    7. What action would be taken if LA refused to act on guidelines /
    policy / recommendations by OFSTED, LGO, GSCC.
    8. What action would be taken if LA refused to act on guidelines /
    policy / recommendations by professionals?
    9. Please can you supply statistics for the last 5 years where
    concerns or complaints have been raised on a social worker within
    your borough (either other staff or service users) for any of the
    above? Please supply information on any action taken, outcomes, no
    further action or passed to GSCC to investigate. Please give
    reasons why.
    10. Have any of the social workers, over the last 5, years had two
    or more concerns or complaints made against them, as per Q6, from
    unrelated service users or staff. By this I mean the individuals
    that raised complaints were not related.
    11. What course of action would be taken if a social worker refused
    to answer emails, or questions?
    12. If all service users agreed, would the LA set up a support
    group for all service users who have had dealings with social
    services. i.e. give out leaflets to service users or inform them of
    support network meetings run by other service users. (Similar to
    Women’s Aid coffee mornings)
    13. We acknowledge that GSCC is responsible for the conduct of a
    social worker, but have no authority over social services as a
    whole, therefore proving difficult to bring a case of misconduct
    over a particular social worker. Please can you tell us who is
    responsible for the conduct of social services?
    We have now taken legal opinion on the criminal behaviour of this Nottingham social worker -Lorraine Edwards. This was what we were told, “she has recently been the subject of parliamentary comment openly alleging corruption by a gang of council officers and police officers, one of whom is Lorraine Edwards. The evidence we have collected against her is overwhelming, has been reviewed by a leading criminal barrister and there is no doubt in his mind or our that there is enough to arrest and convict Lorraine Edwards for very serious offences.”
    Yours faithfully
    Lord Justice

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