Another day, another waste of of time and money?

Thanks to CG for alerting me to the announcement of a CAFCASS and Ministry of Justice initiative in the UK, something which causes alarm bells as well as cold shivers.  The thought of CAFCASS running anything that is supposed to help separating parents actually does give me nightmares, reading this by Anthony Douglas increases that dread a hundred fold.

Keeping the family alive, even if they can no longer be together

This is an exciting time for us as we start to expand our pre-court dispute resolution role in private law cases. Supported by the Ministry of Justice, we are strengthening our pre-court interventions in Newcastle, York, Scarborough, Bristol, Norfolk and Kent, aiming to divert cases from court by supporting parents to establish a line of communication again about their child or children. Our aim is to keep the family alive even if they can no longer be together. In some areas we are carrying out this work directly ourselves. In others, we are commissioning voluntary sector organisations to do this. Common to each of the pilot areas is an emphasis on providing a keyworker to families for a short period of time pre-court, to help them use the best resource available for them and to be on hand to offer advice and support. We hope this will deter people from using the court process just because they do not have enough support and encouragement to consider the alternatives. In those same five areas, we are offering awareness sessions and a telephone consultation service to local mediators about child protection issues, if they have concerns. Mediators often sit outside the local safeguarding mainstream when considering risks to vulnerable children or adults and our service aims to increase mediator’s knowledge and confidence when dealing with such issues in their work, without them always feeling they need to grant an exemption and allow people to go forward into a court application and battle. I hope these initiatives will re-position pre-court private law services into mainstream early help services locally. Dealing successfully with the aftermath of relationship breakdown is a key local public health and wellbeing issue. So much unseen and unreported damage comes from high conflict post-separation which is allowed to carry on without an end for the child in sight. This drains a child of hope and positive emotion. Pre-court private law practice is far from a cost cutting exercise in relation to court applications. It is based upon a strong belief in Cafcass that many disputes which go to court can be more easily resolved out of court. We are putting more time and effort into this, and we will evaluate the outcomes with the Ministry of Justice within twelve months to see if it will be possible in future to establish a viable out of court service, one which is more powerful, accessible and constructive than going to court with all of its attendant risks of escalation and with heightened anxiety for all involved.
Written by Chief Executive Anthony Douglas at 09:00

Mmmmmm…..knowing this sector as I do, let’s read between the lines shall we…

This is an exciting time for us as we start to expand our pre-court dispute resolution role in private law cases. Supported by the Ministry of Justice, we are strengthening our pre-court interventions in Newcastle, York, Scarborough, Bristol, Norfolk and Kent, aiming to divert cases from court by supporting parents to establish a line of communication again about their child or children.( We’ve got some cash and we’re going to spend it

Our aim is to keep the family alive even if they can no longer be together.(Not entirely sure what this means but I think it is a nod to the Coalition’s focus on the family).

In some areas we are carrying out this work directly ourselves. (CAFCASS is going to be the expert on family separation in some of these areas….)

In others, we are commissioning voluntary sector organisations to do this.( in others we are going to get Relate to do it for us).

Common to each of the pilot areas is an emphasis on providing a keyworker to families for a short period of time pre-court, to help them use the best resource available for them and to be on hand to offer advice and support. We hope this will deter people from using the court process just because they do not have enough support and encouragement to consider the alternatives. (We are going to tell separating parents what services are available to support them to make their own arrangements – which of course is ignoring the bleeding obvious – if they could make their own arrangments they wouldn’t be in the court process in the first place…)

In those same five areas, we are offering awareness sessions and a telephone consultation service to local mediators about child protection issues, if they have concerns. Mediators often sit outside the local safeguarding mainstream when considering risks to vulnerable children or adults and our service aims to increase mediator’s knowledge and confidence when dealing with such issues in their work, without them always feeling they need to grant an exemption and allow people to go forward into a court application and battle. (Too many mediators decide that cases are not suitable for mediation, we are going to tell them how to stop being wimps and take on those cases so that they don’t go into court).

I hope these initiatives will re-position pre-court private law services into mainstream early help services locally. Dealing successfully with the aftermath of relationship breakdown is a key local public health and wellbeing issue. So much unseen and unreported damage comes from high conflict post-separation which is allowed to carry on without an end for the child in sight. This drains a child of hope and positive emotion. (We want people to believe that they should be using the range of government funded available services including mediation, which they currently are not doing and jolly well should be).

Pre-court private law practice is far from a cost cutting exercise in relation to court applications. It is based upon a strong belief in Cafcass that many disputes which go to court can be more easily resolved out of court. (Why oh why oh why do people insist on going to court when there are so many services that could help them).

We are putting more time and effort into this, and we will evaluate the outcomes with the Ministry of Justice within twelve months to see if it will be possible in future to establish a viable out of court service, one which is more powerful, accessible and constructive than going to court with all of its attendant risks of escalation and with heightened anxiety for all involved. (We would like to establish a new out of court service nationally to reposition the purpose of CAFCASS and protect it going forward because people don’t like it and say we are not good at what we do.  In 12 months time this evaluation, like all of the others funded by government around this issue will sit on a shelf somewhere gathering dust).

All I can say about this ‘initiative’ is this.

When people like Anthony Douglas put all the blame onto parents and spend all their time and money on locating the problem in people instead of recognising that the problem lies not in families but in the services that support them, we will never emerge from this nightmare.  What a futile waste of tax payers money this is. It is nothing more than an attempt to make families fit existing services without a flicker of recognition that the services that are provided are not fit for purpose.

Does anyone really think that if people could make their own arrangements they would not be doing so. Does anyone really think that going into the court process is something that people do just for the fun of it – or conversely just to have a go at the other parent? (Well yes actually they do, a lot of the women’s rights groups believe that fathers use the courts to harrass mothers and see a fathers wish to keep on being a parent as being a form of violence – trust me, go and look at Women’s Aid and Refuge websites for plenty of evidence of that).

The reason people use the family court process is because they cannot make their own arrangements or because the arrangements that they have made have broken down.  People use the family courts because one parent is being obstructive and difficult or because children have become caught in the cross fire and have taken matters into their own hands.  What people want from the family courts is fairness, justice and a clear framework within which they can restructure their parenting relationship. They want guidance, clarity and most of all they want decisions made for them because they cannot make them together.  What they currently get however is mess, muddle and delay.  They get poorly trained and poorly skilled ‘professionals’ making decisions by listening to what children say, they get a plethora of well meaning but largely useless mediation services and they get a judiciary which is scared.  What people want in the family court are Judges who judge and professionals who support them to be skilled in the depth issues facing families who separate.

The problem facing our family courts is this.  All of the services which get government funding and which purport to support separated families are, at the heart of them, carved out of the feminist principles of women’s rights first and children and men a long way behind.  The reason why these services cannot help separated families is because they force this hidden agenda onto the families they are trying to work with and it fails them.  It fails them because it empowers one parent over the other and it ignores the needs of children and it leaves families with arrangements that are not in a child’s best interests and which break down very quickly, resulting in a return to court.  And throwing endless amounts of cash at more government sponsored projects to force families to fit these services is just banging heads against a brick wall – or throwing tax payers money down the drain year after year after year.

Dear Anthony, when you finally face the truth, which is that the core of your approach to delivering services is based upon a political agenda that does not fit the needs of the families that your service works with, you will unlock the door to your problems and make the services you preside over fit for purpose.  Until that day I fear your excitement is less about keeping families alive than offering them the gallows rather than burning them alive at the stake.

I wish I was joking.

30 Comments

    1. I agree with some but not all. I have witnessed the whole cafcass/court situation first hand last year. The first time I met with cafcass at the court house it was a lady officer who was very rude. My ex partner and his solicitor was called first so had his say (I went without solicitor as I had nothing to hide) however I thought we were having to go through all this to come to an arrangement which was best for my son but when I was called it was all about me (who I was seeing, sleeping with, going out with etc). As far as im aware they are supposed to be impartial and not judge what one says because in the circumstances accusations are going to be made in order to get residency.
      However the second time I met with an officer it was a lovely gentleman. Again my ex was called first and tried to go over the accusations he made the first time but kept tripping himself up so when I was called they knew it was lies to try and take my son. As I fought this by myself it was so scary yo think I was the only person in the whole situation that cared about my sons best interests, his happiness and wellbeing. We have got a formal arrangement in place however his dad never sticks to it 😦 as long as my son knows I would fight til my dying breath for him and will love him forever abd ever

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  1. A powerful statement of the issues.

    One phrase that particularly strikes me is “…a judiciary which is scared”.

    What, exactly, are they so scared of?

    Perhaps it would be good to have an article which focuses on the perspective of the judiciary, at some point?

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  2. Your comments come from a deep dislike of CAFCASS and a cynical take on what this ‘project’ is all about……
    And you may well be absolutely right!

    But is there not just the slightest possibility that CAFCASS is so badly damaged by negative publicity that it has been decided that change is necessary – and that this new approach might (just might) be the start of the long road to recovery as far as CAFCASS is concerned?
    Or am I just a rose-tinted day-dreamer trying to see the good in this?

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    1. There speaks an eternal optimist – whatever works for you Gary but trust me – 22 years in this business makes one a realist not a dreamer.

      However, let me correct you on one point. These observations do not come from a deep dislike of CAFCASS but a deep distrust. I distrust CAFCASS because of its lack of transparency, its lack of accountability and its lack of ability to understand the most basic rules around service provision which are that the customer comes first, the customer need should be met by the services delivered and the customer is not mad/bad or basically dysfunctional but a person or people who are experiencing one of the most difficult life experiences it is possible to face.

      There are some fantastic CAFCASS officers, I have worked with them. But the top of the CAFCASS tree is managed by people with fixed ideas about the people they serve and they seek to force these ideas upon the people they serve rather than understand the people they serve and meet their needs sensitively and carefully over time.

      CAFCASS have been party to a number of initiatives just like this which have the intention of making families fit the services instead of making the services fit the families. That is because the top of the tree follow the political ideology of women’s rights first and fathers and children second which means that only services which fit this model get delivered.

      Families don’t fit that model, families going through separation need not a political ideology to help them but a service which takes into account everyone’s needs and then helps to broker compromise, shared responsibility and enduring relationships between children and ALL of the important people in their lives.

      This initiative is nothing more than an effort to get people to use existing services which are already not fit for purpose.

      And I have told CAFCASS this, and I have told the government this, I am not belly aching without having done it, I have had the courage of my conviction. But the truth is that they know it and they keep doing it anyway. They keep doing it because the massively funded women’s rights lobby holds far more power than you could ever imagine. It has the power to twist reality, pay for research and dominate policy making.

      You see they know that it doesn’t work but they don’t care that it doesn’t work because the truth of the matter is that there is an underlying motive to force families to fit this political ideology – and men as fathers are the intended consequences of this – and women who get shoved out of their children’s lives as some do – are simply the unintended consequences.

      So deep dislike – NO.

      Deep distrust – YES

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  3. Rose tinted glasses Gary … I’m with Karen on this …. and whilst her analysis of what the Govt have said and what they really mean made me chuckle … when will the Govt and the likes of Mr Douglas realise that for the children and parents being damaged by this broken system …. it is really no laughing matter!

    On that line of thought … the other day I came across and read ‘A Sometimes Coherent Rant’ written by Bob Geldoff back in 2003. As ever, much of what he said cut right across all the crap, but one particular bit near the end he did get wrong and had me in tears.

    “The children are fine now, I’m fine . . . but the things your industry put us through almost destroyed us.”

    Hindsight can often be a wonderful thing….but not in this case….his kids aren’t fine…and this year the industry finally destroyed one of those kids…and there is nothing wonderful about that….as he said elsewhere in that article,

    “It’s broke. Get a new car”

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  4. Like you Karen, this fills me with despair.

    Within the existing framework, from bitter experience, I know that the best chance children have in intractable cases is to get the matter before an experienced and knowledgeable judge, with an equally experienced and knowledgeable family court advisor in tow, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

    As it stands, mandatory mediation sessions, an uncooperative respondent, conciliation appointments, magistrate hearings, preliminary conciliation appointments, safeguarding inquiries, court workload, reports etc. can easily add up to delay of at least a year simply to arrive at a judge’s door.

    One size never fits everyone. Anthony Douglas’ proposals have the potential to add unhappily to a system, which already willingly facilitates alienation by giving time, and cover to an alienator. The existing training on alienation within CAFCASS is sparse. So, instead of dealing with a training and knowledge deficit these proposals increase the capacity for cooperating unwittingly in the harming of children whilst masquerading under a veil of care and child protection.

    The slavish adherence to the doctrine of the voice of the child, without properly training those that hear it, is also an overt effort to adultify children and assist in the emotional abuse dished out by the intractably hostile parent. I understand that there is also some enthusiasm for involving children in the mediation process, without educating those involved, in the possible pitfalls that exist.

    It’s bad enough now but can you just imagine how much worse the situation will become with the added “assistance” of well intentioned but unskilled mediators and family councillors, shepherded by an equally unskilled family court advisor? Furthermore, it appears that there is pressure from “on high” to squeeze as many bits as possible into the jigsaw without looking at the picture on the box. The additional time and uneducated “help” might satisfy corporate and ministerial whims but THEY WILL HARM CHILDREN.

    The prognosis for any alienated child unfortunate enough to be caught up in this fiasco is indeed bleak. It is analogous with sending Stevie Wonder and David Blunket on a hunting expedition with Ray Charles as the guide.

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    1. padrestevie, you say ‘the existing training on alienation within CAFCASS is sparse’. I think sparse may be something of an understatement. As I understand it, Cafcass officers get no training at all on alienation. However, they are able to access ‘a document which gives basic information and research links on the topic’. This is called – I kid you not – a ‘Knowledge Bite’. One if the most complex and critical issues that children going through separation may face, something that renders the organisation’s preferred tool, ‘Wishes and Feelings’, completely useless and is likely to result in the most serious
      harm to children, and the Cafcass hierarchy provide a ‘Knowledge Bite’. You couldn’t make it up.
      [Thank you to CT for using FOI to highlight this issue].

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      1. and on such knowledge bites do children’s relationships with a parent live or die – though i note on Pink Tape there is mention of the article I wrote for Seen & Heard by a CAFCASS officer so perhaps it is trickling down

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      2. I attended a meeting where two CAFCASS officers were present. When asked about what to do if an allegation is made against the non resident parent (usually father) the answer was clear: “Our first concern is the safety of the child, so we have to stop contact until we can investigate this should not take more than 12 weeks” They were unprepared to even acknowledge that this might be detrimental to the child stating that if the father child relationship was not strong enough to survive 12 weeks apart then there was probably something wrong with that relationship.
        How on earth do they think a father child relationship can survive 12 weeks where the child is indoctrinated against the father and then magically resurface when child sees father for 2 h in a contact center. 2 h that come with a message from mum that I will only love you if you reject dad. I am truly delighted that they have a “knowledge bite” to address this issue.
        And by the way when asked what CAFCASS should do if the same allegation was raised against the resident parent the answer was equally clear. That is not their concern, they might refer it to social services. Thus they freely admit that there are double standards for dealing with the relationship of a child between resident and non-resident parent.

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      3. This is really for Karen – is there any specific research (or your own) that you can point us toward, which focuses on Kats observation above…that the children can pick up an internal ‘message’…that mum will only love them – if they reject dad’?

        There is a current situation of this that I am trying to assist with.

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      4. For info – the (edited) FOI answer relating to what training Cafcass Family Court Advisors are given is as below. You can find these documents via a Google search. They are actually on Cafcass’s own website but somewhat hidden:

        3) Can you detail specifically what training is offered with regard to Cafcass’s own in-house guideline/template, “Coached Children: Understanding the Impact of Parental Alienation – Knowledge Bite”

        This ‘knowledge bite’ does not have training as it is a document which gives basic information and research links on the topic.

        4) Can you detail specifically what training is offered with regard to Cafcass’s own in-house guideline/template, “Impact of Parental Conflict Tool”.

        There is no specific training for this as it is covered in other general training. There is one relevant mention in an eLearning course:

        This final tool should be used post-interview to analyse the impact of parental conflict and the level of parental influence on a child’s wishes and feelings.

        You should complete this tool after you have conducted your interviews with the parents and the child (if appropriate). It will help you to identify, and clarify, any emotionally harmful influence of one or both parents on the child. Your findings can then be referenced in your report in the relevant section(s).

        5) What recommendations or instructions does Cafcass give it’s practitioners about how, and when, these two documents, referenced in Q 3 and Q 4 should be used?

        Other than mentioned in the response to question 4, there are no specific recommendations and use depends on the nature of the case and the professional judgement of the Family Court Adviser.

        6) How is use of the “Impact of Parental Conflict Tool” recorded.

        Use of these tools is recorded in the case file and referenced in the report.

        7) How is use of the “Impact of Parental Conflict Tool” moderated to ensure that practitioners are using it competently and consistently? Who undertakes this moderation?

        Competent use of tools is covered by the manager quality assurance check of every report that is filed to court.

        ——-

        I have to say I found it alarming to also discover that whilst FCA’s recieve face to face ‘supported’ training on issues such as case work and legal issues, in relation to training as a Guardian (arguably when they are at their most powerful and have the most responsibility) this training is just a mandatory ‘e-learning module’.
        Another FOI detailed that Cafacss no longer measure whether any complaints made to it are ‘upheld’.
        Cafcass say “…following the simplification of our complaints process in 2012(,)The number of stages involved were reduced from three to one and the classification of complaints as ‘upheld’ was ended. ……..The focus of the complaints system is now on putting things right for service users while their case is ongoing so that any necessary remedial action can be taken.”
        I take this to mean that Cafcass no longer records the outcome of any complaint because they say they are focussed on ‘putting things right’ whilst cases are ongoing. But since this is a ‘complaints’ procedure it suggest that a number of service users don’t think Cafcass are putting things right – but it seems no-one now is tracking how many complaints are received and what the outcomes achieved are – so its seems like its much easier to hide the vast number of service users who think Cafcass does anything but ‘put things right’. If you’re not showing that any complaints are ‘upheld’ it gives the (false) illusion that as a body you’re not either (a) getting something wrong, and/or (b) owning up when you do get something wrong.

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  5. I read this yesterday and it sent shivers down my spine too. We have poorly trained social services and poorly trained CAFCASS officers neither of whom can see beyond the feminist description of what goes on in family separation and hence regularly miss glaring abuse of children in private law cases. To this we are now going to add even more poorly trained mediators and suddenly all is well. CHILDREN ARE GOING TO SUFFER!
    As long as you have CAFCASS officers who are prepared to state that the only reason a father would apply for residence is to gain more money we are not getting fairness or justice. CAFCASS is not fit for purpose never will be until they are prepared to be gender aware, take responsibility for their own actions, such as keep proper records and investigate outcomes for children and move away from just blaming parents for what is going wrong.

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    1. For “the only reason a father would apply for residence is to gain more money” read “the only reason a mother would deny contact is to gain more money”

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  6. The money should be spent on mental health professionals and psychologists. I may be wrong but behind a lot of hostile parents lies an unresolved childhood issue, a dysfunctional family background, a history of emotional or psychical abuse…. I could go on.

    This is about getting the right support tailored to needs of the family in question, recognizing those patterns of behaviour and working with the families in the children’s best interests.

    Mr Douglas if you read this, listen to Karen, she’s bang on the money on so many fronts.

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    1. No – you’re not wrong at ALL, Fergal!

      It can be pretty much ASSUMED that parental conflict (and especially alienation) = a mental health issue (usually undiagnosed) somewhere…on one side or both.

      It is generally completely obvious which parent is the healthier – by looking at their level of consideration for and relationship (when they have had the opportunity) with the children.

      In my experience mental health professionals THEMSELVES – are unwilling to address this, and wanting to shunt conflicting parents off to the courts!

      Their excuse in this regard will probably be overwork – so more money here would obviously be necessary, but a sea-change in accepting the need to get involved (for the sake of the children – at the very least) is also required.

      GP’s, if anything – are even WORSE in this regard…so some education there will be essential too.

      All of this will involve challenging the feminist discourse that wishes to entirely dismiss the issue of mothers as having mental health problems deriving from their PAST…rather than automatically assuming this as being stress from a problematic male in the present.

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  7. When will people in powerful positions wake up and realise what the hell is going on!
    Mediation should be scrapped full stop! I am forever telling people not to proceed with anymore than the required one session. Mediation is not legally binding and like most things in family court, is not cheap. Mediation is just another thorn in the side that promotes another business…..thank goodness mediation figures are falling.

    As for CAFCASS, I met with Anthony Douglas at The 8th Family Justice Council debate last week in Parliament to where I challenged him. I asked “instead of running from your critics, why don’t you have a meeting and face them, then perhaps CAFCASS can move forward….Mr Douglas agreed. He was also give some questions by me to answer and I have been told that I will receive answers by the end of next week. CAFCASS need less work.

    Family law needs judges to do their job properly and if they are posed with a breach of court order where the breacher has shown no regard to the court, then regardless of gender, that breacher should be punished. If the other person has paid to get back into court, then costs should be awarded back. However, judges haven’t got the balls to do this and upset the resident parent.

    GOOD RIDDANCE TO LEGAL AID!!

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  8. There is something ghoulish about CAFCASS trying to keep families alive; you can almost hear Douglas muttering to himself, “It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.”

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  9. Interesting discussion. My own experiences of CAFCASS, of lawyers, of mediators and of judges are similar – namely: Your mileage may vary. Differences of age, ideology and competence all contribute to a broad spread of outcomes. And my feeling is that separating parents get rather poor value for money from all of them on average and especially so in cases described here of intractable hostility.

    Managing quality in such large organisations is very hard and whilst the leaders of such systems are nominally responsible for their performance, they are not dictators and change can be a tough ask for any organisation, especially if there are deep systemic flaws to correct. So just because sufficient change has not yet taken place is not a reason to rubbish what the leaders say – even if insisting on their competence is perfectly appropriate. Moving on, one especially encouraging point made by Mr Douglas is “we will evaluate the outcomes with the Ministry of Justice within twelve months “. I look forward to ample statistics and key performance indicators being recorded and disclosed for this purpose!

    Personally, I agree with the moves towards mediation and thus towards keeping people out of the adversarial court system for dispute resolution. Simply because the courts inevitably increase hostility. I would like to see in the future standard solutions for shared parenting being expected (even if the time allocation varies according to circumstances) by all by default and for it to be treated as an exception if one parent wants to change contact materially following separation. As Karen indicates, a particular kind of feminist ideology seems to be blocking the way to a sensible and logical resolution of the question of children’s arrangements post separation. Allegations which are obviously false are accepted with impunity in court and contact orders are too often broken and almost never enforced. Delays and adjournments are endemic. Once these three huge flaws are engineered out of the system, the wheels will start turning again.

    There is another point I would like to comment on. The term implacable hostility seems to have given way to intractable hostility. Why? As I understand it implacable refers to someone who will ruthlessly and almost obsessively pursue their aims. Intractable refers to someone who cannot be managed or negotiated with. To me this change in the nomenclature suggests that such people are now being labelled as incurable whereas before they were previously being treated as on the strong side of very naughty. To my way of thinking implacable meant someone who needed strong discipline or other incentives to behave in a civilised manner, but intractable suggests on the contrary that nothing can be done to ensure such people behave properly. Is that change of emphasis a retrograde step? Are we now giving up and implicitly accepting that people who lie, break orders and otherwise cheat their children out of one parent are simply to be allowed to do so because they cannot be in any way made to do otherwise? Maybe we should call a spade a spade: how about abusive hostility?

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  10. I think your somewhat optimistic view of what will happen to the evaluation of this ‘initiative’ is a little on the naively hopeful side myself. Having witnessed at least six of these initiatives none of which have proved anything or offered anything or even seen the light of day in terms of evaluation I see this as just another cosmetic exercise. As for leaders – I can think of no other organisation which serves customers which has the arrogance, distance, lack of care, lack of accountability and lack of transparancy that AD presides over in CAFCASS. It is nothing short of shocking to be honest. This man relies upon being able to say to any dissatisfied customer – it must be your fault you are dissatisfied because the system isn’t broken so you must be. What kind of madness is this? This is in fact institutionalised abuse and anyone who cannot see what is being done to parents in this manner must be either hopelessly devoted to the system or a little dim in my view. There is no defence of CAFCASS or the leadership that stands up to any kind of scrutiny and anyone supporting parents in this system should be as sharp as a tack in understanding that in my view. To not do that is to fail the people we desperately need to protect from this abuse.

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  11. Karen, spot on. My opinion is the powerlessness of a Court/ Cafcass to bring change on behalf of children. Punitive tools of a Court, illogical and impotent. Courts surely gave up the fight years ago and exists today in an atmosphere of dull, muted, acceptance of failure? – ‘Best Welfare’ for children is systematically failing.

    A child’s health and welfare above any other consideration. Nothing controversial about that? So moving on from a Courts impotence, lets pass by it’s a ‘social problem’ or ‘feminist beliefs’ as none of these help this child issue. Instead medical practitioners can educate the organisation that deal day to day with the reality of adults physiological issues physiologically harming children. The safest most appropriate environment.

    Leaders within (Cafcass) and legal brigade are politicised and untrained seemingly and therefore blind. Replace them with leaders with a medical training who can see.

    It’s a medical problem, handed directly onto children, not a social problem. The origin a medical issue, not a social problem.

    Does anyone including Anthony Douglas visit a Judge or social worker to get his bad back sorted?

    Anthony Douglas has a free path before him. No need to challenge feminists or legal interests. No one can logically argue against a medical professionals knowledge and expertise brought into resolve the ‘bread and butter’ medical issues that psychologically harm children?

    Cafcass Board of governors are by political appointment. Governors set the culture. Anthony Douglas personally appoints these people. Just be aware though- look at the ‘beliefs’ that got appointed last time, when the governments propaganda was support for pro-shared parenting!

    At least it’s been recognised/revisited six times. Damaging to children, parents and institutions, including governments. Fear of change. Denial versus preventing harm to children, erm? Like a horse backing away from a fence that really needs jumping this time.

    Medical organisations encouraged to join the discussion. Questions Anthony Douglas can ask-

    If given an active role in Cafcass, can your skills/support bring about a significant reduction in harm to children and adults in this difficult time in their lives?

    Will this reduce mental health issues of the general population later on in life?

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  12. As usual those who understand the problem are kept out of the solution, Brussels is well aware of the systemic problems within UK family courts, this is the actual title they use. The UK is considered to be in the dark ages by MEP’s responsible for children’s services. To that end there is a questionnaire currently being sent to all member states from the Euro Parliament who are sick of being fobbed off by meaningless platitudes from UK powers that be. A combination of Euro pressure and effective top down management from Sir James may bring about small overall improvement. The real problem is the virtually if not actually
    unregulated services at the bottom of this monster, DV/MARAC/SS/Cafcass are the real obstacle to progress. Therein lies the real task for those of us who seek better outcomes for children.

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    1. I could not have put that last line any better myself and I am delighted to hear that Brussels is well aware and that something can be done. Unless all of us who understand what is happening across this country join forces, the mirages created by the women’s rights lobby, which are upheld by all of the major charities working with government on family separation and which are bought into by civil servants and thus fed to Ministers, will NEVER change.

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    2. Thank you Vincent – your response…and then Karens’ reply – will be VERY useful for us trying to persuade senior local figures (i.e. MP, Council leader, Police Commander) to make this a matter of serious concern.

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  13. I agree. You sum up the modus operandi of this Institution to a “t”.

    One of the main problems is that they deal with the present and completely ignore neither the past nor the potential for a better shared parenting arrangement. Presumably nobody told them about time-lines at school.

    Working practice.

    There is no fundamental desire for any family restorative processes to be pursued. You may have noticed they have neither psychologists nor psychiatrists in their midst and precious little evidence of any counselling skills.
    What they do is look at things how they are today and then try to impose the will of the dominating parent who has control over the children. It’s a bit like the game of divide and conquer. They will visit the dominating parent with children and listen to their needs. Then they visit the other parent, make notes, and ignore them. In a pathetic attempt at offering advice they may tell you not to worry you can always go and look for your children once they have grown up.

    Unbelievably whilst you suffer from not seeing your children Cafcass will be hoping you give up your pursuit of them. They will do their utmost to get rid of you. Then when you give up complaining about their unfair reports Cafcass will mark you down as one of their successes. That’s because in their words you and your partner have sorted the problem out for yourselves………what clever and sensible parents you are.

    Of course the truth is you have all but given up on your children, a shattered and broken ex-parent, stunned by the lack of support for your desire to continue a relationship with your children. This reality is probably best illustrated by Anthony Douglas when he says, “we hope to deter people from using the court process”

    Kind regards

    Like

  14. Demelza,

    I have yet to be crucified under cross examination for my public views which I make clear are my views about the system. I am interested in a transparent and clear family court system and family court practitioners who are not riddled with bias – which I am aware exist and, if you read my comments AND my blog I speak highly of on many occasions. And you can speak directly to me, you don’t need to speak about me in the third person in your postings, I am a real person and I moderate my own blog as well as write it. I am well aware of my role as Expert Witness and I carry it out seriously and with great care so not too sure what your intent in your comment actually is but if it is to silence critics of what in itself is a highly politicised system, it won’t wash on here.

    Like

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