The Buzz

‘The probe will examine Sweden’s regulations for international adoptions from 1950 to present.’ 🙏🕊️🦋 Xxxx

Researching Reform

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“Abolish what we now call child protection and replace it with a system that really promotes children’s welfare.”

‘As the UK’s child protection sector faces strikingly similar problems to the US’s own system, we thought this paper was important to share.’

Researching Reform

A thought-provoking article in the Regulatory Review argues that the US’s child welfare state should be abolished, and replaced with a system that does not police, or discriminate against families.

The opinion piece has been written by Robyn M. Powell, a visiting assistant professor at Stetson University College of Law.

Powell argues that it is not enough to reform a system within its existing framework, and that in order to bring about meaningful change, the system’s laws and policies must be reviewed, removed where necessary and replaced with better laws which do not enable discrimination or injustice.

In the article she quotes a pioneering legal expert, professor Dorothy Roberts, who said that the United States must “finally abolish what we now call child protection and replace it with a system that really promotes children’s welfare.”

Powell also makes the following observations in her piece, which focuses on children and parents…

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You do NOT have to sign a “contract of expectations”

‘Steps to take if a social worker enters your home with a view to getting you to sign a written agreement:’ 🕊️🦋 Xxxx

Researching Reform

A contract of expectations, which is sometimes called a partnership agreement, a working agreement, or a written agreement, is used by local authorities (LA) to monitor parents where there are child welfare concerns.

Despite the use of words like “contract” and “agreement” in these documents, parents are not legally required to agree to the contract or sign it.

The agreement itself must be written in clear language. It must outline the LA’s concerns, and it must explain what the LA would like the parents to do to address those concerns. It must also explain what the LA will do to support the parents.

These agreements should only ever be used when there are genuine child protection concerns. They should also be properly drawn up, monitored and reviewed regularly.

A properly produced written agreement will include a clause which says that the document is not legally binding. This means that if…

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Children’s experiences of family court proceedings

‘Across the research, there was a clear need for children to be provided with greater support and guidance to adjust and cope in the context of these family changes, and for the court and other professionals to better involve children and communicate with them about the process.”’ 🕊️🦋 Xx

Researching Reform

A review of existing studies on children’s thoughts on parental separation and/or their experience of court proceedings has been collected and distilled into six key messages by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO).

The NFJO examined UK and international research studies from the last 20 years (2000–2020).

While the research focuses on experiences within private family law proceedings which typically involve divorce and child custody (contact) issues, the messages will resonate with children and families who have experienced public family law proceedings, which usually feature child protection, foster care and adoption hearings.

The messages outlined in the paper themselves are not controversial or unknown to child welfare advocates or court-experienced parents but they serve as a good reminder about issues that affect children in family court proceedings and the current and significant gaps in addressing those issues.

The paper’s web page says:

“The family court has a role in resolving…

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Family court president recommends independent domestic violence advocates to protect victims of abuse

For real 🤔🦋 Xx

Researching Reform

Andrew McFarlane, the president of the family division, has endorsed the use of independent domestic violence advocates (IDVAs) for family court cases in his latest speech.

The speech, prepared for the Jersey International Family Law Conference 2021, was made on October 8th, and outlines several recommendations which place children at the centre of divorce and domestic violence (DV) proceedings.

During the speech he also reiterated that individuals would not be allowed to offer expert evidence in the family courts unless they could demonstrate their professional experience was based on “an established body of knowledge” and not pseudo-science. McFarlane also noted that experts would have to be impartial and independent.

The recommendations he made for improving the handling of domestic abuse abuses cases included:

  • Instructing an expert whenever an allegation of parental alienation is made by a parent in DV cases.
  • The involvement of Independent Domestic Violence Advisers [‘IDVA’].
  • The implementation…

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