Family court chief relaunches 26-week deadline for children cases

Researching Reform

Britain’s family court boss, Andrew McFarlane, has started a campaign to get people working inside the family justice system to stick to the guidance in place for public family law (care) cases, including enforcing a 26-week deadline in which to complete these cases.

The deadline was originally designed to ensure that children did not languish inside the care system, but experiences inside the system have shown the deadline to be pointless. Any length of time away from what children know is for the most part hugely detrimental to them, including abrupt removals which mean children are isolated from the people and places they have known all their lives.

While this kind of removal may be appropriate in some cases, it is only appropriate in a very small number of instances, with most children benefitting from regular and safe contact with their natural families in environments they are familiar with, or…

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John Lewis Refuses To Release Complaints Figures For Its Christmas Advert

Researching Reform

John Lewis has refused to say how many complaints it received about its Christmas advert, after a strong backlash to the ad erupted on social media.

The advert, which featured a controversial storyline about a teenage girl in care being fostered by a middle class family, upset a number of care-experienced children and families. Several said the storyline was deeply triggering and an inaccurate representation of the care system, as they discussed the advert on Twitter and Facebook.

Researching Reform reached out to the retailer last week to ask for comment about the negative responses to the advert online, and whether or not they were considering adding a trigger warning or helpline in the advert, for children and families badly affected by their experience of the care system. This site also asked the company how many complaints about the advert it had received so far.

John Lewis said it was…

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Children and Families Truth Commission launches first ever human rights survey for children and families

Please help to get this out there Xx

Researching Reform

The Children and Families Truth Commission has published what it believes is the first human rights-focused survey for children and families going through Britain’s child protection system.

The survey was produced in collaboration with child-protection experienced parents and was designed to be accessible and easy to fill out.

The survey asks families in Britain about their experiences of children’s social care and the courts, including times when they felt that their human rights were not supported. 

We have created this survey so that we can better understand which human rights are being breached inside the system, and how.

We warmly invite you to complete the survey if you are a child or child-protection experienced parent or relative. The more responses we get, the more we can understand the problems.

Please feel this survey out if you can, and share it with others who may want to complete it, too.

If…

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Landmark case in Jersey finds child removal breached family’s human rights

Researching Reform

Social services and police were found to have breached a family’s human rights after removing four children from their homes without cause.

The landmark case which was heard in Jersey, began when one of the children made a comment about a sibling’s sleeping arrangement.

Social services were accused of over-reacting and not following proper procedure, including failing to tell the mother that the section 20 agreement she had signed could be revoked at any time.

There is also a suggestion that the mother may have been forced into signing the temporary accommodation agreement for her children.

The rising movement in courts and among child welfare reformers investigating violations of families’ human rights inside child protection sectors across states is a positive development and one which we hope will continue to grow.

A very good summary of the case can be found on the Jersey Edition of the Bailiwick Express.

This…

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The Children and Families Truth Commission Turns One

Researching Reform

Britain’s first parent-led inquiry into the state of the country’s child protection system turned one on 20th November, World Children’s Day.

The commission is a reactive, real-time project which aims to investigate whether children’s and families’ human rights are being upheld inside the system, and offers families support and help at the same time.

As part of our work we have produced guides with and for child protection and care-experienced families, and we’ve created testimonial walls for children and parents to tell us about their experiences anonymously.

You can check out our work using the links below, and get involved too:

Stay up to date with the commission’s work on Researching Reform, as we publish updates and information about our open meetings, publications and more.

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The Dark Side of The John Lewis Christmas Ad

Researching Reform

The John Lewis Christmas advert was met with rapturous applause by people across the UK as it rolled out last week. But in not-so small corners of the country, children and families who had experienced the realities of Britain’s troubled care system grew upset and angry, and began to file complaints with the retailer.

The advert, which shows a man learning to skateboard, and then later, along with his partner, welcomes a child from the care system into their home who also likes to skateboard, touched people deeply. And no wonder. It’s rose-tinted view of carers, and the system in which they operate, left viewers feeling that the young girl had found her ‘forever home’.

This is a screenshot of the ad. We haven’t added a live link to the video as we know some readers may find the content distressing.

What most viewers watching the advert would not have…

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Man who conned mothers going through Britain’s family courts set to stand trial in 2023, witness appeal

Researching Reform

A man claiming to be a trainee barrister who conned mothers into parting with thousands of pounds for legal advice will go on trial next year.

Tyrone Raymond William Wright was previously jailed for 6 months in 2020 for pretending to be a barrister while advising a mother who was trying to regain custody of her children. The mother gave Wright £1,400 to represent her at the hearing.

The case was thrown out and the mother’s application was dismissed as a result of Wright’s conduct. The children were then forcibly adopted.

An investigation by the police found that Wright had no legal qualifications.

A number of parents going through the family courts have since come forward to make complaints to the police about Wright’s conduct. The complaints have resulted in a second trial set to take place in March.

A police letter to a witness sent in April and seen…

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Call for children and young people who have experienced the child protection system

Researching Reform

Welcome to another week.

Human rights-focused anti-poverty organisation ATD Fourth World, and the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex are carrying out research about how the child protection system negatively affects children and young people.

As part of this research, it is inviting children and young people to take part in online focus groups.

The researchers would like to speak with children or young peoplewho have experienced poverty and who have had interactions with social services. They would also like to hear from parents with the same kinds of experiences, and social workers who have had first-hand experience of risk-aversion in practice, how social services see families in poverty, and involuntary (forced) closed adoptions.

In the press release, Kaydence Drayak who volunteers for Teen Advocacy and ATD Fourth World and who is co-leading the research, said, “Young people are often completely at the mercy of the…

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