Increased trauma for families experiencing local authority involvement – new research

Researching Reform

Local authority intervention leads to increased trauma scores in parents, according to research approved by St. Mary’s University in London.

The research, titled, ““How does the experience of going to court affect the relationship between doctors and parents making best interests decisions on behalf of children?” was produced by Nicola Adolphe as part of her Masters in Bioethics and Medical Law, at the university.

The research looked at the levels of trauma experienced by parents in two key categories: local authority intervention, and domestic abuse. Adolphe interviewed 25 parents for her research, 13 of whom were victims of domestic abuse.

The research found that in the domestic abuse group, the average ‘trauma score’ was 53, a figure consistent with a ‘severe’ post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rating.

However in the LA intervention group the average score was nearly 61, a number considered to be consistent with ‘extreme’ PTSD  symptoms, and…

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Cost of living crisis: how can we help? Children and Families Truth Commission Meet-Up

‘The call will take place on Wednesday 14th September from 6pm to 7pm on Zoom.’ Xx

Researching Reform

Britain’s first parent-led Truth Commission looking at children’s social care is holding its monthly Zoom meeting on Wednesday 14th September from 6pm to 7pm.

Attendees can get involved with the work of the commission and ask its members any questions they wish about the commission during these calls. We’d love you to join us.

This month we’re holding a session for families looking for information and support on how to deal with the impact of the cost of living crisis for families experiencing the child protection process. The commission understands that this group of families are likely to be among some of the worst affected, and we want to help.

The commission will answer questions, find resources and offer ideas on how to ease the financial, psychological and emotional burdens associated with the crisis for families.

During the event you will also be able to ask commission lead Michele Simmons…

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Parliament debate on the removal of parental responsibility for people convicted of serious offences – Update

‘For those interested in the topic, you can watch the debate live or read a transcript of the debate:

Watch the debate (from 4.30pm, Monday 12 September)
Read the debate transcript (available a few hours after the debate has ended)’ Xx

Researching Reform

Welcome to another week.

Following the announcement of an e-petition which asked the government to change the law around parental responsibility (PR), the House of Commons library has published a brief ahead of a debate in Parliament on 12th September about the petition.

The petition asked the government to create an automatic suspension in law of a parent’s rights in relation to their children, if they are found guilty of murdering the other parent. Parliament is required by law to discuss petitions which gather 100,000 signatures or more.

The House of Commons library has offered some helpful information explaining PR, how to acquire it, how it is lost and how it is restricted under certain circumstances.

The brief is added in full below:

“The Children Act 1989 defines parental responsibility as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation…

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The latest child welfare complaints published by the Ombudsman

Researching Reform

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has published the latest round of complaints submitted by parents and carers to the body, and its decisions about those complaints. They touch on children’s social care, local authority handling of child protection cases and the provision of education and educational support.

Children and Education

Please note: decisions are published six weeks after they are issued to councils, care providers and the person who has made the complaint. The cases below reflect the caselaw and guidance available.

Cases of concern this week include Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (21 010 557), which highlights the culture of “fostering as income” and the poor handling of allegations of child abuse by foster carers; a case where the council “lost” all care records belonging to a man who had been in care as a child — and paid out a paltry £1,000 for the loss…

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The latest

Researching Reform

The latest child welfare items that should be right on your radar:

The second and third news items are courtesy of Michele Simmons. Many thanks to Michele for sharing these with Researching Reform.

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Family court chief publishes update on Domestic Abuse Act

Well said Xx

Researching Reform

Welcome to another week.

Judge Andrew McFarlane, the head of the family division in England and Wales, issued an update on key measures in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (DAA) which have come into force and which affect Britain’s family courts.

The interim update, which forms part of his “View from the Presidents Chambers” series (and we think he needs to change this name to a more accessible one), mentions two key measures which have come into force:

Lower threshold for Children Act 1989

Section 67 of the DAA 2021 includes a new section 91A for the Children Act 1989 [‘CA 1989’].

“The CA 1989, s 91A establishes a new, lower, statutory threshold for the deployment of a s 91(14) prohibition by which the power may be exercised when the court is satisfied that the making of an application for a CA 1989 order of a specified kind would put…

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