John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, January 11, 2009
  Debate moves up a couple of notches
I have been pleased with two stories about
experts in The Times and the S31 (2) threshold in The Telegraph.

These go to the nub of why so many odd decisions are made by the Family Courts. They are written without reference to some of the really odd cases. The issue about parents not being allowed a second opinion is being looked at by the European Court at the moment. That of the vagueness of "risk of significant harm" and the almost random way in which it is being interpreted is key within the Telegraph editorial.

I am pleased that the Sunday Telegraph recognise that this is in part why England is so bad at protecting children.
There is no doubt that those two bad practices are connected. The resources of social work departments are, as directors of those departments frequently point out, strictly limited. Time spent investigating parents who do not threaten or endanger the children in their care is time not spent investigating, visiting or intervening in the cases where there is a threat. If genuinely at-risk children are to be protected, resources have to be targeted at cases where parents pose a clear and present danger.
 
Comments:
Quote

They are written without reference to some of the really odd cases. The issue about parents not being allowed a second opinion is being looked at by the European Court at the moment.""

Then there is the opposite scenario when people who get multiple positive expert witness reports are pressurised into having more assessments until Social Services or the Guardian get the negative report they want. So they can use that to stop children coming home etc.

One woman was criticised by a judge for refusing a 4th assessment. It's a form of bullying and another abuse in the family court.
 
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