The Narrative Around Adoption Is Changing

Researching Reform

As the child welfare sector becomes more open to the idea that adoption is not an easy choice, or cure-all, for anyone involved in the experience, a growing number of voices inside the family justice system are inviting discussion on the best way forward for vulnerable children.

McFarlane, a judge now widely considered to be the front runner to replace Sir James Munby as President of the Family Division in July, gave a speech at the NAGALRO annual conference in which he offered support for the view that adoption should no longer be seen as the first option in cases where children could be at risk of harm. He appears to take an enormous amount of credit for the burgeoning movement looking at more open approaches to contact, and at times seems out of touch with modern life – he mentions adoption programmes produced by the BBC and tells the…

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Department For Education Breaks The Law On FOI

Needs high lighting yes. They’re quick enough to jump on the vexatious bandwagon a lot of these places. Where is Researching Forums reply xx

Researching Reform

The Department for Education has broken the law, after it failed to answer a Freedom Of Information request (FOI) about a controversial new body created to regulate social workers. The breach now means that there will be an investigation into the department and its handling of the request.

Before making the FOI request, Researching Reform wrote to the Department for Education to ask for a full breakdown of the management team at Social Work England, the new regulatory body that is set to replace The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

The Department did not confirm or deny that a management team was in place and refused to offer us any further information on developments at Social Work England, so on 26th February, 2018, we made a Freedom Of Information request and asked for details about the body’s management team and its partners and committee members.

A reply to the FOI request should…

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Hot Topic: Media Access To Family Court Evidence

Ian Josephs on March 27, 2018 at 12:59 pm
It amazes me that so many people have a blind spot over “open courts”” they say “.Let the journalists in” even though the reality is that few if any journalists would bother to go since they are forbidden to print verbatim proceedings and forbidden to name parents or children !
What is needed is “free speech” – the freedom for parents and others to name themselves and their grievances publicly !

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Researching Reform

As the family justice system faces renewed pressure to take a good look at its working methods, calls to open up family courts so that journalists can analyse evidence in these cases are coming from home, and abroad.

The President of the Family Division, James Munby, will be retiring in July, and whilst he has become increasingly vocal about the problems inside the Family Court during his term as president, he’s clearly chosen to use his last few months to push for more radical reform. We announced at the start of 2018 that Munby was our judge to watch this year, and he isn’t disappointing.

His recent comments about allowing journalists to have access to evidence in family cases, which he made at a seminar on13th March, have been followed up by another push to allow this access. Munby repeated his stance at a lecture he gave at Edinburgh University…

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Question It!

Hell yeah xx

Researching Reform

Welcome to another week.

As the government looks set to revamp the social work sector (again), different opinions about the child protection system in the UK are emerging.

Ray Jones, a professor of Social Work at Kingston University recently wrote a piece for The Guardian in which he says that the UK child protection system is praiseworthy and shouldn’t be subject to reform. Ray also claims that the UK has the safest child protection systems in the world.

Two days after Jones’ piece was published, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew Davies, spoke to the BBC and called on the government to instigate a “thorough investigation” into councils, police and health bodies, after authorities failed to act in a case of severe child neglect. The children were discovered after a neighbour called the RSPCA, concerned about the welfare of cats inside the home.

Our question this week, then, is…

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More Councils Using Section 20 Arrangements To Keep Children In Care Illegally

Researching Reform

A damning judgment has revealed that another council is using Section 20 Agreements – which are intended to be voluntary – to force children into care indefinitely. 

Herefordshire county council kept a boy in state care for his whole life without getting the consent of a court, which is required by law. The judge identified 14 other children in the council’s care who had been separated from their parents and placed in care for inappropriate periods of time.

In his judgment, Judge Keehan said he had never before come across a situation in which a council had “so seriously and serially failed to address the needs of the children in its care, and so seriously misused, and indeed abused” its statutory powers.

Unlike Judge Keehan, we have often seen Section 20 Agreements being used illegally, across a number of councils. The practice is so common that in 2015, President of the…

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