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, ( to contact ‘Families Need Fathers’ – tel: 0131 557 2440 ).

(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.

Charter for Grandchildren

Scottish Ministers’ vision for children and young people in Scotland is that they are safe, nurtured, achieving, healthy, respected and responsible, active and included.

This means that parents or guardians, grandparents, teachers, doctors, social workers and other people who are responsible for helping children and making decisions about their lives must do all they can to protect and care for them, to help them to do well at school and to make sure that they are happy, supported and confident.

Families are important to children

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can all play an important role in nurturing children. While parents are responsible for caring for their children and making sure their needs are met, the wider family can play a vital supporting role.

Family life is usually happy but sometimes there can be difficulties. These can range from family quarrels through to divorce and separation to ill health or death. During these times, the children in the family may need extra support. They may want someone to talk to, or simply a safe place where they can have fun. Grandparents can and do play a vital role in helping children to maintain some stability in their lives.

Sometimes, children or young people may lose contact with their grandparents. This can be for a variety of reasons. There may have been a family quarrel, a house move, or a change in who is caring for the children.

When there are problems in families, it can be difficult to see a solution. Tempers can run high, and family members may take sides. Everyone involved should be prepared to put the welfare of the child first and be ready to compromise. Whatever the problem in your family, it is important to look beyond your own feelings to help the children stay in touch with the people who are important to them as well as to adjust to a new situation.

It is important that parents, grandparents and other family members speak to, and treat each other, with respect. You may not get on, but you can still be civil for the sake of the children. Try to avoid arguing with, or criticising, family members in front of the children. It can be very upsetting for them.

On occasions professional organisations such as social work departments or the courts can become involved and may have to make decisions that will have a lasting impact throughout a child’s entire life. In these circumstances it is vital that the loving and supportive role that the wider family, in particular grandparents, can play is respected and protected for the child.

FAMILIES ARE IMPORTANT TO CHILDREN – GRANDCHILDREN CAN EXPECT:

  • To be involved with, and helped to understand, decisions made about their lives.
  • To be treated fairly.
  • To know and maintain contact with their family (except in very exceptional circumstances) and other people who are important to them.
  • To know that their grandparents still love them, even if they are not able to see them at the present time.
  • To know their family history.
  • The adults in their lives to put their needs first and to protect them from disputes between adults – not to use them as weapons in quarrels.
  • Social workers, when making assessments about their lives, to take into account the loving and supporting role grandparents can play in their lives.
  • The courts, when making decisions about their lives, to take into account the loving and supporting role grandparents can play in their lives.
  • Lawyers and other advisers, to encourage relationship counselling or mediation when adults seek advice on matters affecting them and their children.

Further copies available from www.scotland.gov.uk or phone 0131 244 3581.

Grandparents Apart UK

Conclusions

The government is so against giving grandparents automatic legal rights to their grandchildren which I must confess we started out trying for but were getting all kinds of grief from parents.

The government at the time pointed out that it would cause more problems than it would resolve. We have listened to the government and with that in mind we looked for a compromise to bring families together rather than drive them apart.

The Charter for Grandchildren does not give grandparents any rights at all and does not interfere with the parent’s control of the child in any way but still ensures the children have the right to the best that their grandparents can offer if there is no real reason not to or an explanation why they are not included. The miserable rate they pay grandparents must save the council a fortune against foster care payments so why not use them?.

It could be said what we are asking for is already covered elsewhere but they need to be focussed for they are too spread apart for anyone to take notice of or find them.

In our experience the social services with their attitude towards grandparents has caused this conflict in the family ( See the Forgotten Children) which obviously must incur greater cost when grandparents fight to protect their grandchildren in drug and alcohol homes. They need to allay the fear and despair that children feel by letting them know they are not abandoned altogether. By being irrelevant persons it sends a signal to parents that there is a good reason to attend mediation. Children are losing out on so much because of this.

My colleagues and I have spoken to heads of social workers and told them about what goes on and they have said “oh dear, Oh my, this should not happen. It is obvious to us that the heads do not know or they turn a blind eye to the workers tricks on the shop floor. It would appear it is ok to tell lies as long as they say the magic phrase “in the best interests of the child” but it is actually in the social services best interests.

They lie about meetings having taken place and tell kids that their family does not want to see them (see attached) and vice versa. The social services say they look to grandparents first which our Grandparents are reporting is not the case. Grandparents are afraid to contact social services if they suspect child neglect or abuse and they try to deal with it themselves.

We advise against this. The reason being they are often the first to lose complete contact with the child/ren altogether as social services tell them “we don’t need to speak to you” In a crises if grandparents cannot take the kids they are told that they will probably be adopted and will never see them again.

Children brought up in the care system are very often non-achievers and are very badly traumatised by the loss of their family it is the worst thing that can happen to a young child. They learn more about drugs and crime in care and turn to gangs for the need to be wanted.

Last night I heard on the telly if a parents suspect their child is part of a gang, report it. Is this so the authorities can say it is the parents fault to make up a list of family reported incidents and ignore the products of the care system?

The main members of gangs are children who have had no stability in their lives or treated like a commodity as something to be disposed of by social services as quickly as possible to save money. In the long run saving money like this is building up for more cost when they are older.

A child who is treated right with all the love and stability of their family are the good citizens of the future or if treated like they are at present are surely the thugs that don’t let you sleep in your bed peacefully at night.


Poetry Corner

To our Grandson ReeceForbes Scott family
Gran, I do love youBob McMillan
Why me?Bob McMillan
To My GranStephen McInally
Where has my family gone?June Louden
Why God Made GrandmasAnon



To our grandson Reece

Reece our grandson our little boy,
We wish we could still buy you your toy
And say see you tomorrow at the same time,
We miss you so much its like committing a crime
That all of a sudden your mum said no
Now its only from a distance we can watch you grow.
Now your growing up so very fast
You are now nearly 7yrs past,
From when you were born we all watched you smile
Every day from 7- till- 4
We watched you grow a little more.
Then one day when you were nearly three
Your mummy said on the phone that we were wrong
As we were learning Reece a really silly song
When we tried to tell her we thought she was wrong
That there was not even bad language in the song.
And to take Reece from us for the sake off this song
Come on you know you must be wrong.
Or was it because our son was not there anymore
She fell out with us and showed us the door.
All this just happened as Christmas fell
We had presents to give him she said go to hell
I will tell Reece you don’t love him no more.
Can you imagine his little face as she tells him those lies
I can hear him now as he lies there and cries
Its took us five years to make up this rhyme as
we have been crying all this time
But we will still miss him till the end of our time.
But as time goes bye and we have lost our youth
The day we all long for is to tell him the truth,
As I write this poem laying in bed,
We never stopped loving you and son I am telling you
No matter what’s been said
I am telling you son your daddy’s not dead.
©Charlie Solomon

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Gran, I do love you

When God made little children
He knew there was a need
For someone very special,
a special one indeed.
He’d made their mum and daddy
But still there was a gap
For one who’d sit for hours
With a wee one on their lap
A very special someone
Who everything would share
Who’d cuddle out the hurting
And chase away each care
A someone who would make things
Who always took the time
To listen to long stories
And took in every line
A very special lady,
No other kind would do
For a Gran is always special
and Gran, I do love you.
© Copyright Bob McMillan 1999-2010
Why did you do it? Bob McMillan
Why did you do it?
You don’t really care!
I brought him up
when you weren’t there.
Right from his birth
No love have you shown
My love is all
That he’s ever known.
Now YOU take him back,
You, a stranger unseen,
Waving court orders about
And making a scene.
Well listen, my friend
About you I don’t care
But your actions are hurting
The life that I share
With the grandson I love
And have treated as mine
So don’t smirk and tell me
that love to resign.
If you’d really cared
You’d ‘ve been there for the lad
But I brought him up
Through the good and the bad
So get out of lives,
Leave good well alone
Leave my darling with me
In our loving home.
© R. McMillan 5/11/2005

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Why me?

I’m scared of the shouting
My Gran is upset
A stranger is here
And calls me “Her pet”
She tells me “Get ready”
“you’re coming with me.”
I’ve always been happy
With just Gran and me.
So why should this woman,
A face I don’t know
Take me from my Granny
And tell me to go?
She says she’s my Mummy
And that may be so
But where has she been
And where will we go?
No one has asked me
Like my Gran seems to do.
Its just – do this and do that
And get moving now you.
I cling to my Granny and say
“Please can’t I stay?”
My Mummy says “No dear
We’re going away.”
PLEASE stop this and listen
I’m a person, though small
I don’t what this to happen,
No way at all!
Can’t you ask me what I want,
It’s my life you know.
If you really love me
Then let your love show -
By doing what I want
Not hurting my Gran
Just leave me here happy
To grow to a man.
© R. McMillan 7/11/2005

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To My Gran

This is for my gran
Who loves me and protects me.
Who gives me buns at dinner time.
And if there’s none Gran will run and get me some
Gran’s dinners are all my favourites.
There’s a long list of lovely foods.
And they all taste good. Gran’s buns are just a treat.
And they’re not very cheap.
Gran is great, fantastic and super.
She makes cakes and bakes them in her cooker.
I can’t wait to see my gran.
At dinner time or any time.
©Stephen McInally

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Where has my family gone?

June Louden

Last Christmas was fun and a happy time
Lots of presents from that family of mine
Changes that have happened since those happy days
I don’t understand, they’ve gone by in a haze.
No-one will tell me why my family has gone
My Dad, Gran and Papa and cousins I long
To see them again have fun, laugh and run
Hear stories of old, tell them what I’ve done.
Mum says they don’t want me, but that can’t be right
They loved me last Christmas and try as I might
I don’t know what it is that I’ve done
That’s made them stop loving me, I miss the fun.
Mum’s upset and angry and won’t tell me why
I can’t see my family I just cry and cry
She says I must try to move on like her
But why can’t I see them, I liked how we were.
I know mum and dad were fighting too much
But I didn’t fight, I love them both such
A lot and I know Dad can’t stay here
But why can’t I see him, I like when he’s near.
Mum says it’ll get better, but I don’t see how
I miss my family, can I see them now
Adults don’t care, they don’t seem to see
Why adults don’t listen to children like me?
©Copyright June Loudoun 8/11/2005

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Why God Made Grandmas

God looked down on all his children
And decided then and there
That a grandma was needed
To give special love and care
She’d tell lots of happy stories
Or know special games to play
And with tender hugs and kisses
She’d chase children’s tears away
God thought of all the lovely things
She’d do to make life fun
And so he created a grandma
To be loved by everyone

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Case Histories

A Heartening Story
The Tiff
Hannah’s Daughter
Jim & Jean
The Forgotten Children


The Forgotten Children

Hi James, feel free to post our story on your web site, if our fighting for a change helps just one grandparent, I’ll be so happy, some grandparents must find it hard to talk to people in authority, but they must always remember, firstly, Social Services is run by the government, therefore they are civil servants, they work for US secondly and most important, if a grandparent fights to the best of there ability, and loses, there is no shame in that, they tried their best, and when that child comes in later life and asks what
have you ever done for me? they can say, hand on heart, we did our best. My self and Christine are always here if we can help anybody, get in touch.

3 years ago our grandson was assaulted by either his mother or her boy friend, Social Services didn’t hesitate in putting both children into foster care. we asked Social Services to bring them to us, as we lived next to the sea we thought they would jump at the chance. How wrong we were, so, we started having assessments to become family and friends carers, little did we know that a Social Worker had already begun adoption papers, they held our assessment back for 6 months, then they came to visit, “We’ve come to tell you why you are not getting the kids” we listened, wife in tears, Then she took great pleasure in telling my wife, “they’ll be easy to place” That sentence was
the last straw, I said to the manager “get your bag , get that bag sat over there and get out, and before you go I’ll promise 2 things, I’ll get the kids and then I’ll get your job” and off they went.

No solicitor would touch the case, apart from one. Up to this point all people had read about us, is what had been written by Social Services. I managed to contact the guardian, he came to visit, he was very abrupt, obviously had read Social Services lies, 3 days latter he phoned, “I want to see you both in Bradford in the company of the kids”, so off we went, we spent the afternoon at Alphabet zoo with the guardian looking on. A week went by, the guardian rang, ” I want to see the children in your home” the guardian came, we live on a leisure complex, I asked if he would like a look round he said “I’ve seen enough”.

He stopped the adoption, he spun the case there and then, Social Services were having none of it and started mud slinging, they even made us go to a shrink for an assessment thinking they’d get some dirt on us, after 12 months of court and £10,000, we walked into Bradford crown court, our barrister, a little gem came over, we could see the tears in her eyes, “YOU’VE GOT THE KIDS” Social worker sat there face like thunder I said “remember 12 months ago I promised 2 things, I’ve got number one.( tomorrow, how to get number2)

The next weekend I picked up the children from the foster carers to start their new life with us, driving home my g/d who then was 4 years old said “were getting a new mummy and daddy” I asked her who? “you and grandma silly” my heart melted, after all the fighting, all the tears and sleepless nights I knew myself and my wife had gone into hell, but came back with 2 soles that we snatched from a devil.

Many a person would have left it there, content that they had the kids, but we made a promise, and we intended to keep it, I started a complaints procedure, we got letters back saying nobody had acted improperly, I sent letters back saying we were not satisfied, and took it to another level, you see, a few months ago we were paying £250 per hour for a legal team to fight for us, now the boots on the other foot, it would cost me 37p to send them a boat load of complaints, every department had to read them, refer them and
answer them, until after 14 months we ended up back in Bradford, this time to the Town Hall. In we walked, met by the head councillor, through a door we could see about 8 people sat round a big table, the councillor said “before we go in, remember, you’ve got the children, its all over”, did this clown think I was a muppet?, we’d gone to hell and back and I wanted answers, we went in, 3 councillors, 2 complaints officers from the council, 2 from Social Services, and there she sat, the director of Social Services, they rattled on for an hour or more, excuse after excuse, then it was our turn, tie off, jacket off
sleeves rolled up, we didn’t hold anything back, but every point we put, we backed up with proof, a copy for all of them. The director of Social Services was made to face us and apologise. I was asked for one last comment I said “there’s a lot of good grandparents out there can give kids a loving home, but for the sake of a couple of hundred pounds, you’d rather put them into care. 3 days
later we received their findings, all points in our favour, “the panel would like to thank Mr and Mrs Green for their written and oral submissions and the manner in which they were presented, we further recommend the following improvements.

  • Legal entitlement of significant relatives
  • Their rights for their opinion to be heard
  • A change in family and friends procedure

We hope our story gives you some hope in your fight.
Don’t give up ,best wishes, Andy and Chris G, East Yorkshire.
________________________________________

A Heartening Story

In September 1993. our oldest granddaughter came to stay with us and when we saw that at almost six years of age she weighed only 30 lbs. we decided to apply for custody of her. After a long court battle we eventually received full custody of our granddaughter in March 1998.

We were first contacted on 15 December 1 999. by the social worker in Slough who informed us that they had become involved with a horrific case of abuse concerning our grandchildren and would we be willing to provide a home for them. As we had full custody of our oldest granddaughter we replied that we were more than willing to provide a home for these other children. We were further informed that if we stayed in the background everything would be all right regarding the children. On 10 February 2000 the four children were taken into care.

On 25 May, the Guardian ad Litem arrived in the afternoon to introduce himself and explain his role in the proceedings. He stayed for approximately 3 hours and took no notes. Before leaving he stated he had arranged for the children to come the following day and stay for a short visit. The children duly arrived the next day for a week’s holiday and returned home to their respective carers on 2 June. After their return home contact remained with the children on a weekly basis by telephone, this was arranged through the social worker. It was also arranged at this time that a local social worker would visit us on a regular basis to prepare an assessment for the court case in Slough.

He had a good relationship with the Slough social worker until 7 July 2000, when there was a court hearing and the social worker was changed. The Guardian ad Litem appointed a solicitor to act on behalf of the children and a child psychologist.

Between 30 August and the 2 September the psychologist came to assess my wife, son, his fiancé and myself After these assessments were carried out all contact with the children was cut. We realised at this stage that we required a solicitor in England.

On 8 September at our- request the social worker that had been assigned to the case arrived at our house, introduced herself and outlined what bad been happening as regards the case She stayed for about 2 hours and at no time did she take any notes. I later found out that on leaving my house she went to the local social work department and stopped the assessments being prepared since June.

Court case was held in Uxbridge on Jan 23rd 2001 when it was decided that the two youngest children would be put into care. Since the case we have heard nothing from Slough Social Services about where the children are or if the two older ones are together. We later discovered that we are entitled to view all reports held by the local authority on us but to date all requests have been ignored.

.There was only one person who carried out assessments on the extended family and yet they state the clinical psychologist, guardian ad litem and social worker came independently to the same conclusion. The judge made his decision on the assessments made by all three and in fact marked out praise on the social worker in his summation. We asked through a solicitor in December 2000, for all the papers in the case but only received a copy of the assessments carried out by the psychologist. To date we have requested to see all the reports and assessments held by Slough Social Services but all requests have been ignored. We have now received a complaint form but only after a number of requests were made through the Department of Health. Everything that has been stated we now have documented evidence of these facts.

Taking into account all the solicitor fees, court and travel costs we have paid out approximately £ 18.000.oop but like a lot of grandparents it is not the money. We only wish to know that the children are being well looked after and having access to see the children
If the law was changed to allow grandparents the same rights as parents then the costs of protracted court cases would be less to the tax payer through legal aid costs as a greater number of grandparents would qualify for legal aid. Grandparents may be the only persons who can inform these children in later years about their family and medical history.

Hugh and Margaret Rennie
9 Whitletts Road
Ayr KA8 OJA Tel – 01292 289 658
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________________________________________

The Tiff

by Sandra Docherty

Sandra, a Grandparent from West Lothian and her daughter Jan had a fall out a TIFF. It was one week before Christmas 1999 a special time for all families, especially Grans and their and their Grandchildren. Sadly Jan took it as far as stopping her children from seeing their Gran who, as stated in court, was for the past 11 years a loving Gran until the TIFF.

During the next 3 years Sandra was forced to revert to court proceedings because of her daughters determined attitude however, Sandra was always ready to resolve the matter out with court at any time if an agreement or reconciliation could be reached. Alas, Jan dug in deeper making all sorts of allegations towards her mother – none of which were true. Jan also managed to convince Sandra’s only son that his mother was a bad person and that Jan’s story was the true version of events. Sandra now has no family contact with either her own 2 children or her Grandchildren.

I ask you all ‘WHAT MAKES A DAUGHTER DO THIS TO HER MOTHER?’, all I can say is Jan will have to live with herself and her conscience for the rest of her life. Over a TIFF.

Many court appearances took place over the 3 years in question. Sandra’s first solicitor dropped her when it came to the fight. Sandra’s ‘eleventh hour’ solicitor, who is a fighter, tried his heart out for Sandra but pressure from the Sheriff even had him asking Sandra to call it off, but although the court proceedings were proving futile, Sandra was adamant, they fought on. The Sheriffs attitude to Sandra’s case was ‘Grandparents have no rights at all. (Prejudgement). Her solicitor was not given a chance to bring in solid witnesses to prove that her daughter was telling lies about her. It all came down to Jan’s solicitor’s cunning ploy, to state that the Grandchildren wanted no more to do with their Gran – they simply did not want to see her any more. WHY? Why would 2 young children who, as proven in court had a loving, caring relationship with their Grandmother, suddenly not want to see her anymore – was there something here that the Sheriff was not picking up on. Can children of 10 and 7 (their ages at the time their ALIENATION took place) really all of a sudden, decide a person is bad for them? Or are they being brainwashed into thinking this by another party? These children, I believe, are pawns in a game. They are being used as ‘power tools’ in a game their parents are trying to win.

It was proven in court that Sandra was a loving Grandparent and that the separation from her Grandchildren and herself started because of a TIFF between herself and her daughter Jan. The problem therefore is between mother and daughter not Grandmother and Grandchildren.

Sandra wants everyone now to know how she feels. This is worse than a death for her. She is grieving for 2 little girls who live so nearby her but she is unable to hold them, give them a cuddle, tell them she loves them – not even by letter (the Sheriff would not even allow that) they are ‘so near to her – and yet so far away’. “No contact” as spoken by the Sheriff, means exactly that, no birthday cards, no Christmas presents, no phone calls – NOTHING! His summing up comments were, [Avizandum following parties submissions],( whatever that means), the sheriff did however note that he would be awarding no award of contact and went on to say, that, “what Mrs. Docherty had done to upset the children in raising this action was nothing short of a disgrace.”

If this so called “wise man” (the Sheriff) had really been wise surely he would have saw through this charade and told mother and daughter to resolve their TIFF for the sake of the children. Families should be brought together by people like himself, not torn further apart. HE REMOVED THE PERSON, NOT THE PROBLEM.

Although Sandra’s hearts broken she lives for the day when, hopefully her Grandchildren will be old enough to decide for themselves if they want contact with their Grandmother. And I have no doubt that day will come. Until then she resolves herself to commit her time to helping other Grandparents out there who are going through much the same as she has been through, and with her charity work for Grandparents Apart Self Help Groups she will push for the rights that all Grandparents should have in this world ( if no other reasons involved) the right of contact, not by the whim of another.

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Hannah’s Daughter

Hannah’s daughter Jill had just come out of prison serving 3 years for shoplifting and drugs. Jill’s daughter Jenny had been living with Hannah her Granny for 4 years and was set in her ways with friends at school who knew nothing about her mothers past life.

Jill decided she wanted Jenny back and Hannah was horrified as Jill had moved back to her old haunts.

Hannah contacted Social Services who told her they did not want to know, then she contacted a lawyer who started custody proceedings and lost costing her £8000,oop
Jill kept custody by saying she had learnt her lesson.

Hannah contacted Grandparents Apart Self Help Group Scotland and went to one of their meetings, pouring her heart out to the group she found a great comfort in knowing there was other people to support her and give her a friendly ear and a cup of tea, and to realise they were not only a support group but are trying to do something about it. Hannah has been a stout member ever since trying to change the law to give grandparents the rights they so deserve.

She has been to the Scottish Parliament to lobby and hand in petitions and the social life is pretty good too dances, race nights, karaoke nights, keeping herself really busy giving her a sense of worthwhile knowing she is doing something about it, with really dedicated mates, she finds when she is down one of the gang is there to help.

Jenny is Still with Jill and the reports are not to good, Hannah is standing up to be counted and is determined to get grandparents rights.

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Jim & Jean

Grandparents Jim and Jean were horrified to find that when their daughter fell out with them and told them they could not see their grandchildren.

They thought the tiff would blow over and she would come round but alas she stuck to her guns and the worse thing about it she had the law on her side.

Jim investigated to see what rights he had and was devastated to find he had literary no rights at all, and that grandparents had went to court and spent thousands of pounds of their nest egg with no results, they were broken hearted.

Jean saw an advert in a local newspaper and called the helpline Grandparents Apart Self Help Group Glasgow and went along to one of their surgeries staffed by volunteers who have undergone the same heartbreak and are dedicated to helping others experiencing the same problems.

The Group formulated a letter to send to Jim and Jeans daughter inviting her to attend a mediation session, she did and with the help of the group mediator reached an agreement and realised things had got out of hand, glad of the chance of intervention they are now a happy family again avoiding the trauma of going through courts that harms children and makes the problem worse, where children are used as weapons to get at one another, brainwashing the children for their own gratification, thankfully the daughter had the good sense to realise this and Jim and Jean realised the futility of further arguments.

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The value of grandparents

Too many children are living in danger homes and are suffering neglect, physical or sexual abuse with no one to protect them until it’s too late.

The non resident parent, the grandparents and the extended family are banned by the law with very easily obtained court orders and children’s agencies cannot know of the abuse until it has happened. The children are in effect at the mercy of anyone in the home, even temporarily, that would and do abuse them and the law, is condoning it. The present unjust family laws provide a legal fortress for abusers to hide behind.

The governments of the past have not taken this gap in the protection of children seriously and have failed the thousands of children who suffer because of it.

Grandparents can have insight into their own family’s characters because of the unique relationship and can sense when something is wrong. This intuitive insight should not be ignored by governments or authorities. Grandparents are the biggest carers of children saving the public purse a fortune.

Money is rarely the reason they take on these responsibilities but an awful lot are living in poverty to do so. They are being taken for granted. Some are afraid to ask for financial help in case they lose the children to ‘the system’ that is supposed to help them.

All the UK governments say that grandparents play an important role in the life of their grandchildren, but ignore the benefit that role can really be to the children.

It is time to respect grandparents and allow them to protect the grandchildren that are caught up in drug and alcohol problem homes. We have been told by a drug addict that they regularly give their children drugs to make them sleep when they themselves intend to get high.

These are dangerous times for children when a resident parent can be high on drugs or drunk and no-one is allowed access to ensure the children are OK.

There was someone in the past that did actually check up on children and their homes. They were called The Green Lady and were very effective in spotting potentially abused children. The problem was they cost the government a fortune and were cut back like everything else, but the way the child abuse rate is rising there is a need for such a service now.

Will the government be able to afford it? Will the government be able to cope with the constant rise in child abuse without grandparents help? Prevention has to be better than cure.
The majority of grandparents would be delighted to have the right to look out for their grandchildren without fear of excommunication.

Grandparents do save children from abuse because it is inherent in them and could save the public purse further on child care and abuse. They are an army of helpers that should be utilised to the full.

We are asking the new Scottish Government to right these wrongs and look to grandparents in helping with the welfare and protection of their grandchildren. Menzies Campbell said recently words to the effect, ‘we are not past it, we may be older but we are wiser with life’s experiences.

Jimmy Deuchars
Grandparents Apart UK
22 Alness Crescent
Glasgow G52 1PJ
0141 882 5658

Brave granny 72 travels over 1000 miles to see her granddaughter.

I saw Jimmy and Margaret Deuchars of Grandparents Apart UK talking on GMT TV about grandparents losing contact with their grandchildren and immediately felt a warmness from them and after a while I felt a compulsion to contact them.

I Explained to them that I lost my daughter to a brain illness and because of the devastation and mixed emotions I lost contact with my granddaughter and her paternal family. I felt It was the end of my world and being on my own I was so confused and in so much pain I didn’t know where to turn.

Jimmy and Margaret were very reassuring and understanding and after a time invited me to come up to Scotland to try and reconcile with my granddaughters family who had moved from England to Scotland.

Jimmy said, “she is a very brave lady to put her trust in strangers and travel all this way on her own not really knowing what was ahead of her but her determination to see her daughter’s child is very strong”.

The Gran said “Over two days we visited the paternal grandparents and with Margaret at my side to mediate it gave me the courage to go through with it”.

I was terrified as we approached the door, what if they reject me I thought. We were very courteously invited in by the granddad and with Margaret’s help explained why I was there and was listened to with interest and courtesy but after a while we left.

On our way back to Glasgow the phone went and it was my son to tell me the dad had come in from work and could I call back as he was very anxious to see me after what the granddad told him.

We put everything else on hold and about turned and headed straight back . My granddaughter whom I had only seen as a baby was waiting at the door and was overjoyed with excitement and said she will tell her whole class about her grandma from England visiting her.

My son-in-law gave me a cuddle and we talked for a long time” and parted with cuddles and phone numbers and promises to keep in touch. I was over the moon. Jimmy and Margaret took me to see my daughters grave and now I will die a happy lady knowing that my daughter in heaven will be overjoyed at our reconciliation.

Margaret said “when people really put their heart into it and putting the welfare of child first it is amazing what can be achieved. Mediation certainly worked for this family and could work in 75% of problems in families if it is widely enough promoted.