Ombudsman Decisions Reveal Startling Number Of Complaints Against Social Workers

Researching Reform

The Local Government Obudsman – which is now calling itself the Local Government And Social Care Ombudsman – has just released the latest set of complaints lodged with the organisation, which show a large volume of complaints against social workers in child welfare cases.

The allegations include dishonest behaviour by social workers, unjust treatment of families, as well as errors and deliberate lying in child welfare and child protection hearings and court reports.

The Ombudsman has also released two reports about the way councils have treated Special Guardians. The first is entitled, “Ombudsman finds council’s special guardian policy left scores of families out of pocket,” whilst the second is called, “Ombudsman challenges councils to ensure appropriate support provided for special guardians.”

We’re adding summaries of the complaints below, many of which were not resolved by the Ombudsman, either due to the case not being within their jurisdiction or because…

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EXCLUSIVE – Lord Patel: We Should All Be Concerned About The Lack Of Regulation In Children’s Care Homes.

Researching Reform

Researching Reform was very kindly invited to the House of Lords by new Social Work England Chair, Lord Patel, to discuss social work in England and what families and children felt about it, as service users.

We met with Lord Patel yesterday, who shared updates on Social Work England’s progress with us, as well as his vision for the sector and his views on the current problems it faces.

Lord Patel also revealed that Social Work England, or SWE (which the sector is pronouncing ‘swee’) began its recruitment drive this week, for several positions within the regulatory body. Amongst the jobs currently available, are:

When we spoke with Lord Patel, we discussed the most significant challenges the…

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Question Time, 2018 24/05/2018 22:45

24/05/2018 22:45
Question Time, 2018
David Dimbleby presents an hour of topical debate from Worthing. On the panel – Conservative MP, former business minister and campaigner for a referendum on the Brexit deal, Anna Soubry MP; shadow minister at the Treasury and former MEP, Anneliese Dodds MP; Daily Mail and Sunday Times columnist and former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Dominic Lawson; professor of American literature, Sarah Churchwell; and the novelist and author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver. 

Can Parents Object To Their Children Being Immunised Whilst In Care?

Researching Reform

An article in Local Government Lawyer outlines the principles around giving children in care immunisations whilst the local authority shares parental responsibility.

The piece, which is very well explained, was written by barrister Sarah Fahy, and offers the backdrop behind immunisations for children in care, as well as the correct approach to them as set out in Re SL (Permission to Vaccinate) [2017] EWHC 125 (Fam).  

As Sarah explains, immunisations in England are not compulsory, and every parent has the right to refuse having their child immunised. Difficulties around consent and refusal come into play once a local authority shares parental responsibility with a parent, over a child inside the care system.

The underlying principle in cases like these is that where a parent objects to the council giving their child a vaccination, the council may not go ahead and immunise that child whilst the objection exists. 

The correct approach…

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“What this government is doing to poor families is atrocious – We shouldn’t add to that awfulness by taking people’s children away.”

Researching Reform

A former deputy director of children’s services in Hackney has called out the government for targeting poor families and traumatising them further by unnecessarily removing children from their care.

Steve Goodman, made the comments at a Frontline Leadership Event. Goodman told the audience:

“What this government is doing to poor families is atrocious. The food banks, the rubbish private housing, the precarious employment position of people is awful. But that does not mean we should add to that awfulness by taking people’s children away when we don’t need to… People’s lives are worse, that doesn’t mean that we need to compound that”.

You can watch the speech in full, below.

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May 21, 2018

Governor Northam Supports Shared Parenting Bill; Ceremonial Signing Expected

RICHMOND, VA. – National Parents Organization is excited to announce another historic event: As of midnight, May 18, 2018, Virginia’s House Bill 1351 became law (effective date July 1, 2018).

This opens the door to a more robust shared parenting law in the future.

Delegate Glenn Davis, R-House District 84, sponsored the bill (HB 1351) and stated, “I am proud to have led the first successful passing of any kind of shared parenting bill in the history of the Commonwealth. This bill represented all Virginian families and children and was supported by both political parties, as well as The Family Foundation and the Family Law Coalition.”

This law is the first step in a longer journey and both the House and Senate unanimously passed it, which is a testament to its bipartisan nature. Importantly, this law leaves in place existing provisions that account for histories of domestic violence or other abuse.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled for the families of Virginia. We want to thank our legislators, especially Delegate Glenn Davis whose collaborative leadership is unmatched, and Governor Northam for acting unanimously on the overwhelming research that shows children do best when the time they spend with each of their loving parents is maximized,” said Christian Paasch, Chair of National Parents Organization of Virginia. “I am proud to now be able to say that the Commonwealth has started to align its child custody laws with decades of child development research. We still have work to do and we look forward to continuing this important work with our legislators, but we are heartened by the passing of HB 1351.”

As The Washington Post reported, more than 20 states have recently considered legislation supportive of shared parenting – a flexible, collaborative, and safe child custody arrangement that seeks to maximize a child’s time with each parent. Virginia’s passage of HB 1351 comes on the heels of Kentucky signing a much stronger, rebuttable presumption of shared parenting into law last month.

Virginia’s new law requires the court to formally consider joint/shared custody on par with sole custody. While some might argue that Virginia’s statutes already allow for such a consideration, the truth is that approximately 85% of the time, sole or primary custody is still awarded. Unfortunately, children in sole custody arrangements are exposed to a multitude of risks, such as teen suicide, school dropouts, and behavioral disorders. Approximately 60 studies from numerous states and countries, and spanning several decades, have shown that on every metric of well-being, children do better in shared parenting situations than in sole custody situations (see “Recent Research” below).

A trend toward shared parenting has gained steam in recent years. It has been the usual arrangement for several years in Sweden, Belgium, and Australia, and research there has shown much better outcomes for children. A handful of states have had similar laws for several years, and each year, a few more states follow suit and join the modern world in doing what is best for children: shared parenting. A soon-to-be-published study on Arizona’s law found that judges, attorneys, conciliation court staff, and mental health professionals evaluated its shared custody law positively overall, and positively in terms of its effects on children.

“Because of this new law in Virginia, the Commonwealth has taken an important first step to improve children’s educational achievements, decrease their use of drugs, give them a greater sense of security, and improve their overall health and adjustment. We look forward to seeing Virginia continue down the path toward true shared parenting, which is good for mothers, good for fathers, and best for children and families.” Paasch said. “Please join us in celebrating this landmark action!”

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Shared Parenting Data

Single Parenting Data
According to 
federal statistics from sources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, children raised by single parents account for:

  • 63% of teen suicides;
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions;No automatic alt text available.
  • 71% of high school drop-outs;
  • 75% of children in chemical abuse centers;
  • 85% of those in prison;
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders; and
  • 90% of homeless and runaway children.

National Parents Organization, a charitable and educational 501 (c)(3) organization, seeks better lives for children through family law reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers after divorce or separation. The organization is focused on promoting shared parenting and preserving a child’s strong bonds with both parents, which is critically important to their emotional, mental, and physical health. National Parents Organization released the Shared Parenting Report Card, the first study to rank the states on child custody laws, and in 2017, National Parents Organization hosted the International Conference on Shared Parenting, bringing in research scholars from 18 countries to share their results on shared parenting. Visit the National Parents Organization website at