The Story Of Kerry and Mark McDougall Continues

Parents Rights Blog

The Story Of Kerry and Mark McDougall Continues

Yesterday afternoon, after a five hour wait with police sitting in their living room keeping them under house arrest (without an arrest, of course)  Fife Social Services came and took Ben and Lochlan McDougall into their custody. This will be a terrible long fight and both boys will need your help and support for them, and for Kerry and Mark.  The boys have been removed.  No one knows why?

The police turned up at midnight last night with Social Workers who asked if the family were going to return to Ireland  (where Social Workers deemed the family fine).  Mark asked if they could go out and visit the grandparents today. Social Worker said they could go wherever they pleased, there was nothing to stop them.

Yesterday, police turned up at approx 1pm.  Asked Mark and Kerry to remain in the house until…

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Hair Strand Testing in Children – An Imperfect Science Plaguing The Family Courts?

Researching Reform

Widely respected and considered to be the leading McKenzie Friend for family matters, Shaun O’Connell over at Southern Family Aid has asked us to highlight an issue which may be a growing cause for concern within the family courts.

It seems that there is an increased use in the family justice system at the moment of hair strand testing of children, despite clear evidence which shows that these tests on their own can be unreliable. There is a good summary on this issue over at the McKenzie Blog, which mentions case law and precedent on the matter.

In the wake of DNA Testing firm Trimega Labs going bust due largely to the changes in legal aid which made the service unsustainable, it seems that other paternity, drug and alcohol testing companies are seeking to cash in on the potential to test children for the presence of drugs and alcohol…

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MPs Recommend 10 Hour School Days For Underperforming Children, And Fail Our Families, Once Again

Researching Reform

It beggars belief, but a Committee tasked with looking at the performance of white working class children as they’re being called, have recommended in a recent report that underperforming children in this social demographic should spend 10 hours a day at school.

The thinking behind this stems from the alleged desire to allow these children to do their homework at school away from what are being termed ‘distractions’, at home. The report cites those distractions as other people in the home who may be eating, or watching television. The last time we checked, this happened in every home across the country during homework time, to varying degrees. The Chairman of the Select Committee, Graham Stuart MP, has already explained that no one has any idea why these children are under-achieving. Stuart tells us, “We don’t know how much of the underperformance is due to poor attitudes to school, a lack…

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MPs Back “Negative Register” of Care Workers, Following Abuse Scandals

Researching Reform

Community Care reports this morning that MPs in the Commons health committee have backed proposals made by The Health and Care Profession Council’s (HCPC), that a register should exist detailing all those social workers who have been deemed unfit to work in adult social care, after investigation. The move would, it is argued, offer greater protection to service users.

We think this is a good idea, but we would like to see this extended to those social workers and CAFCASS officers in child social care who have also been investigated and deemed to be unfit to practice. If we consider it right to protect service users, then we must consider it imperative to protect vulnerable children who are at risk of abuse too.

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Second Voice of The Child Conference To Be Held in London

Researching Reform

The second Voice of the Child Conference, which is designed to inspire the family sector to look to more child-friendly practices, is to be held on 24th July in London, this year.

The conference is organised by Cafcass’s Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB), which is made up of around 40 children and young people who have either been through the family justice system or have an interest in it. There are no details on the site about who these children are.

The FJYPB have published a Charter entitled The National Charter For Child Inclusive Justice, which aims to put children at the centre of all proceedings and to be mindful of their welfare throughout.

We like The Charter, we like the idea of the conference and we like that Cafcass is trying. Now all we need is to ensure that the Cafcass officers are properly trained, adhere to…

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Parliament Debate Child Welfare: Lots of Lords A-Leaping

Researching Reform

The House of Lords looks set to be quite busy next week, as they debate a number of topics related to child welfare. Our Pick of the Week is Thursday 26th June’s offering:

  • In Grand Committee: 11am – A debate promoting British values in all educational establishments in the UK in the next year, introduced by Lord Storey
  • In Grand Committee: 11am – This debate is set to look at preventing and addressing the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. Motioned by Baroness Walmsley / Baroness Northover
  • In Grand Committee: 1pm – A debate focusing on reducing the number of women (which includes mothers) given custodial sentences – Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill / Lord Faulks
  • In Grand Committee: 1pm – This discussion looks at ways of improving the response to women (which includes mothers) with multiple and complex needs including homelessness, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and physical…

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Criminalisation of Forced Marriage Becomes Law Today

Researching Reform

Forced marriage becomes a criminal offence today.

Under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, forcing someone into marriage in England and Wales will carry a maximum 7 year jail sentence. The law also extends to British Nationals being forced to marry outside of the UK.

We welcome the news, and despite the concerns over whether or not this measure will work in the long run, we hope that it will help tackle this awful practice and provide much-needed protection for those vulnerable to this kind of abuse.

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