Useful Contacts

Contact Tel No. Website
National Family Mediation 0300 4000 636 http://www.nfm.org.uk/
Scottish Mediation Network 0131 556 1221 http://www.scottishmediation.org.uk/
Parentline Scotland 08000 28 22 33 parentline-scotland
Families Need Fathers Scotland 03000 03000 363 Families need Fathers Scotland
Women’s Aid National Helpline 0808 2000 247 http://www.womensaid.org.uk/
Scottish Women’s Aid 0131 226 6606 http://www.mankind.org.uk/
Victim Support Male Helpline 0800 328 3623 Freephone number for men, 12 noon to 2 pm, Mon to Fri
Children 1st 0131 446 2300 http://www.children1st.org.uk/
Social Services Council (complaints) 0845 603 0891
Find your Councillor Search for your councillor
Find your MP Find your MP
Find your MSP Search for your MSP
Grandparents Association 0845 434 9598 Grandparent Association
Grandparents Plus 0300 123 7015 Grandparents Plus
Grandparents Action Group 01952 582621 Grandparents Action Group
Family Rights Group 0808 801 0366 http://www.frg.org.uk/
Scottish Family Law Association check website for Family Law Solicitor in your area Scottish Family Law Association
Family Law Solicitors -
Caroline Paton, McKinstry Group
01292 281711 Caroline Paton – McKinstry Group
Family Law Solicitors -
Barbara Black, Taylor & Henderson
01294 278306 Barbara Black – Taylor & Henderson
Family Law Solicitors -
Elizabeth Welsh Solicitors
01292 284786 Liz Welsh Family Law

Negative support for the Charter for Grandchildren

4th Jan 2006

There must be very few MSPs who have not been contacted by members of their constituency asking them to support making the Charter for Grandchildren legal, yet the response was very negative. In fact zero from the Labour party.

Imagine the shock when our group had 3 Labour MSPs as honorary patrons and the justice minister herself supported us strongly before becoming a minister plus another minister who pledged us his full support. In fact we had quite a few Labour MSPs supporting us.

They have all reneged. What makes it so galling is they were to vote on such an important issue on their own initiatives.

At the 2nd debate the Justice Minister gave Rosemary Byrne MSP the assurances she was looking for on putting the Charter for Grandchildren on the bill which was cancelled by her deputy.

It appears all this is empty words from the Labour party who obviously put politics before the welfare of children and the wishes of their constituents. They dropped their support at the last moment.

At least the other MSPs who did not support us were honest enough to say so rather than being told not to.

By our reckoning, if it was a conscience vote, without the labour party whip intervening we would have been successful.

It is obvious that grandchildren/grandparents will never have legal contact while a Labour government is in power.

Government says it’s none of our business

Government’s policy;-

“We are reluctant to interfere in family life…We have no answer to non compliance of contact orders”.

‘It’s none of our business’   is what the government’s policy is meaning when they say we will not interfere in family life. Fine when all is well, but not according to the latest reports of 60,000 children in drug related homes in the UK and the NSPCC are advertising heavily about the need of protection of children, in their worthwhile well known, Full Stop programme. Children are being abused in their own homes in secret with the full protection of the government’s policy and they will not relent. Yes this policy is protecting abusers.

At the rate NSPCC are advertising their must be a vast amount of children in this situation. So if you doubt us, ask them. It’s your money and they could help more children if grandparents had the right to contact their grandchildren and possibly spot problems earlier on. Can you think of any one else that could best fill this position.

The government’s policy of refusing to enforce compliance of grandparental contact orders made by a court in the best interests of the children compound the situation. They are preventing an army that possibly could, if given the right, get protection for an awful lot of these abused children.

“We demand the governments review this policy.”

Governments are failing to protect abused children.

Immediate. 12.30pm 23rd September 2006

The NSPCC are bombarding us with their adverts. The child has to get his own supper again, or he goes home to a fist. If the NSPCC claims of abuse in the home are correct then all the governments of the UK are turning a blind eye to their findings and are colluding in child abuse.

The governments stance is grandparents having a right of contact is not in the best interests of the children. Is this stance justifiable when NSPCC is constantly advertising on television about how much children are abused in their own home? Contact can simply be by phone, letter, email etc. or visits. Contact to make sure they are safe.

Grandparents agree that a mother is usually the best person to care for her children when all is well. What happens when it is not?

Mothers have the protection of the law and the government at their beck and call. Could this be the problem? It is the children that should have that protection, with grandparents able to support them by seeing what’s happening and to help them in these circumstances.

The majority of children are well looked after, but too many are not. These children are left out, maltreated and unnoticed until they end up in hospital or the abuse is so far gone that neighbours report it to social services and they take the children, scarred for life, into care. This is a huge emotional and financial expense that could be avoided with early intervention.

Government figures say 60,000 children are living in drug related households in the UK. They are not helping them or letting anyone else help them either.

Grandparents are asking for a legal right of contact, not parental rights. They ask for the right to contact their grandchildren a couple of hours a month or by negotiation through mediation, letters and birthday cards, presents and phone calls. Children need this right unless their safety would be in danger by doing so.

But the governments are closed to this idea and allow more and more children to be abused in their own homes when it could be spotted earlier if grandparents were allowed that right of contact.

The governments adamant stance is not in the best interests of children. We need them to wake up to the very strong advertising of the NSPCC that there is wide spread of abuse of children in their own homes.

Or is the Governments assuming the NSPCC are telling lies?

Grandparents to care for children on the cheap.

Grandparents and extended family are to be used as a cheaper alternative to foster carers. Does it not cost the same for grandparents to look after children as foster carers? We know grandparents have a special magic with children, but this is going too far.

Presently grandparents are being penalised for looking after their grandchildren because of love and to keep them in a home environment, often with no financial help or a mere social service handout and we have already reported of children living in poverty and grandparents running into huge debts to make ends meet.

Renfrewshire Director of Social Work Recommendations:

2. 2.1 Payments for Fostering Allowances is £345 rising to £353 per placement per week.

Renfrewshire Council admits (letter to community and Family Policy Board on 20th December 2005) Revised Operational Guidance : Kinship Carers.

3.2 “it is predominately grandparents who take on the care of children.”

3.3 Over time this arrangement has proved to be successful in supporting children coming into the care of the Local Authority. The revised scheme continues on these bases as it fulfils the requirements of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. that the council support families to discharge their parental responsibilities. It also avoids the Council in the far greater expense of accommodating a child in foster care or a residential setting which is considerably more expensive.

3.7 The level of payment made to carers who benefit from the schemes operated by Renfrewshire and other Councils has been subjected to challenge. Renfrewshire Council rates are age related and range from £ 21.89 to £43.78 per week. Renfrewshire Social Work (complaints Review) Appeals panel dealt with a complaint where the key argument concerned whether related carers should receive the same level of allowance as a foster carer would for caring for a child.

A similar argument was presented in judicial challenge to South Lanarkshire Councils Scheme. Neither challenge was successful and the proceedings have confirmed that the status of related carers is different from that of foster carers.

The Scottish Executive have written in the “Charter for Grandchildren” grandparents are to be recognised for the role they can play in their grandchildren’s lives. But! Still, our children lose out on the legal protection of their grandparents. This is reflected in the way we are treated. Like second class Citizens.

Older people now have the voting power to be listened to. The authorities are saying nice things about grandparents just now (Lip Service) don’t be taken in by smooth talk. Demand rights to our grandchildren. Demand equal payment as carers. Demand the respect the authorities robbed you of. Threaten to withdraw your grey vote. So write your MPs or MSPs for that recognition we deserve now!

Bullying, Bungling, Social Services.

Did you know that they:

• Falsify reports and twist facts.
• Claim meetings have taken place that have not.
• Alienate children from their natural family to make adoption quicker.
• Blackmail grandparents into looking after children without support.
• Have meetings in secret without notifying those involved.
• Shut out family members who are willing to help.
• Take control and you have no recourse.
• Still get away with this despite authorities being made aware of the problem.
• Remove children from families without good reason.

We continually receive complaints, concerns, worries and fears from families about Social Services and how they operate. We have highlighted this to the UK Parliaments but the damage to children is continuing.

Children’s welfare is involved here. ‘The Best Interests of the children’ principle is supposed to be the criteria that Social Services work with, but it has been replaced by ‘the cheapest and quickest way possible’ which is resulting in children and their families being mentally scarred.

We ask you join with us and sign up to demand action to stop the power crazed actions of Social Services (SS). Remember the Orkney fiasco – heavy handed removal of children without due cause, without listening, which has ruined the lives of families for ever. This is still happening.

We are a voluntary Free self-funded Scottish Registered Charity. SC.031558. We do not receive funding from outside sources. Thank you for caring.

Guidelines for Fathers

The Guidelines for Fathers has been created by Grandparents Apart UK based on experience.

(Avoiding Conflict, Protecting children)

Separation and divorce can be a nasty and bitter experience for every one concerned especially the children. It appears that 90% of fathers lose out on the relationship with their children, but it can happen to mothers too.

In our experience of dealing with grandparents that are denied contact with their grandchildren, there is often at least one parent involved too. In the end it is the children we care for when too often the conflict of hatred, spite and revenge ruins their lives.

We just hope you will not experience any of these horrors but! Some of you certainly will. Too often we have heard “I just can’t believe that she/he could go to these extremes like telling lies about domestic violence and using the children for revenge and blackmail to get back at me for their own selfish means”.

If you are experiencing marital problems or thinking of separating get in touch with a family group for advice. Do not delay and do not force your will on anyone. You don’t need to try to work it out alone. Contact any of us listed on the contacts list before you do anything, and we mean anything. If we can’t help we will know a person that can.

1. Urgent! Firstly contact an outside family agency, someone not involved with the family and keep contact throughout. You must resolve the situation without any aggression or incidents or you will fail. If you don’t heed this you will possibly lose your children as well.

2. Speak to someone in a help group before contacting anyone you are in conflict with. You will be too emotional to handle this on your own.

3. Do not swear or raise your voice or obstruct in any way if you do come in contact with your ex-partner or their family.

4. If the police become involved move away as directed immediately. The police have no stomach for family problems. Do not argue or try to reason as you will be removed and possibly charged with breach or harassment. This will never be removed from your record, even if you are innocent. It could be used against you if courts or Social Services become involved. Don’t give any excuse or you will be indefensible and nobody can help.

5. You will have to fight for any rights you do have regarding your children. Both parents can have equal rights on paper but don’t be fooled by this, in reality if you don’t live with your children, in the eyes of Social services, schools and the police you have no rights at all. Always have witnesses to everything you do and record everything in a diary.

6. If you need a solicitor make sure they are family law specialists as others could possibly take your case and lack the necessary expertise. Be prepared to do most of the case work yourself, they are your children, make sure you get things right, you will only get one chance.

7. Mediation has resolved many disputes before a molehill becomes a mountain, before it goes into the real slanging match with accusing and condemning in court. You don’t want to be the cause of the other parent saying, “you are angry and aggressive so I won’t attend mediation”. Give no excuses to refuse to attend. Make sure that the mediation is provided by an independent organisation like Family Mediation. They ask for donations only. You will find them in your local phone book or internet. Mediation is not necessarily to help you get back together; it is to help you reach a reasonable agreement about your children.

8. It has been reported the parent with residency, man or woman can be guilty of false accusations so be prepared in case you find yourself falsely accused and branded as:-

a) Violent
b) Controlling
c) Abusive
d) Aggressive
c) Sexual abuse.

All of these will be used to alienate your children from you.

9. If you gain a court order for contact it is not always complied with and is often not enforced making a mockery of our family laws. Your children don’t always gain from the involvement of solicitors and courts and these agencies can sometimes cause very real significant harm by their adversarial and lengthy procedures.

10. Remember to put your children first, not your fight with your ex-partner!

The Ten Commandments of Family Law

Created by Grandparents Apart

(What needs to change for our children’s best interest?)

1. Our motto is “Bringing Families Together” so we think the best interests of a child starts with Equal parenting when there is no factually proven reason not to. (This does not necessarily mean equal time spent with the child as this is not always practical, but does mean that both parents are equally important to the child).

2. The ‘Charter for Grandchildren’ to be Mandatory for Professionals working in Children’s welfare and answerable in law.

3. Children are human beings. Stop treating them as commodities like a business deal. Cost only criteria and can ruin children’s lives.

4. If adopted, contact should be maintained between the child and their birth family where appropriate, in line with article 8 of the UN Convention on the rights of the child. (Should only be prevented in the worst case scenario).

5. Kinship care before strangers – to be the first choice.

6. All below accountable to law.

  • (a) False accusations.
  • (b) Erroneous reporting by social workers.
  • (c) Flouting of court orders
  • (d) Social Services Orchestrating “cover up’s”, when children are failed

7. Proper recording of all social work meetings and discussions e.g. Dual tape recording similar to police proceedings (to prevent and combat item 6b and 6d)

8. More “transparency” and especially “accountability” for Social work and their managers.

9. Specialised training for social workers in the best interests of children.
(Only the most highly experienced social workers to deal in child protection)

10. Accusations removed from record, when not proven.