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family courts - times campaign

(140 Posts)
tatt Mon 07-Jul-08 14:50:31

I've no personal experience of these courts but the stories I have read make me pretty concerned about the secrecy around them. Read the story here and if you are also concerned sign up to their campaign

fryalot Mon 07-Jul-08 14:51:35

here's a clickable link


constancereader Mon 07-Jul-08 14:52:27

I just read this.
The most frightening thing I have read in a long time.

Quattrocento Mon 07-Jul-08 15:03:08

Most people involved in these processes (I am led to believe, because I am not) truly believe that they are unfair.

The trouble is finding the balance. Remember all the horrible cases of children neglected, beaten or starved to death? Too little intervention = potential nightmare/illness/abuse death of a child. Too little intervention = potential horrible consequences for families.

What is wrong is the lack of scrutiny and openness of these processes making it so difficult for injustices to be reversed. There's also far too much reliance on allegedly "expert" witnesses.

tatt Mon 07-Jul-08 15:24:10

Thank you, Squonk. I know someone involved in the system from the court side so I have nothing against intervention, only the secrecy that surrounds it. The adoption of children whose parents can never get them back means you need to be evry sure you're doing the right thing. In any system mistakes are paid and publicity ensures lessons get learnt.

zog Mon 07-Jul-08 19:53:17

Just seen the Times article and came straight on here to see if anyone had linked to it - thanks tatt.

Please, if you feel that something should be done, follow the link at the start of the article to email your MP. It's easy to think that this is something that happens to other people - I'm sure all the parents involved believed the same before it happened to them sad

Callisto Mon 07-Jul-08 20:06:14

sad I feel sick, having read the article. It is terrifying to think that any contact with SS could result in losing one's child forever.

zog Mon 07-Jul-08 20:27:52


zog Mon 07-Jul-08 22:03:09


CoteDAzur Mon 07-Jul-08 22:08:14

It's frightening.

Rosaline Mon 07-Jul-08 22:16:47

Very scary. Agree with Quattro- it should be possible to protect vulnerable children within an open system.

Jux Mon 07-Jul-08 22:33:48

Reading this article in mum's paper this morning, my heart was thumping like a ... a thing that thumps a lot(blush). It is the secrecy surrounding it which is so frightening.

tatt Tue 08-Jul-08 06:20:45

not only can you lose your child but they can be told that you didn't want them when in fact you have fought through the courts to try and keep them.

I really do sympathise with most social workers as they can't win. However a few should be sacked. Secrecy protects the incompetent more than the children, it makes mistakes more likely because they can't be exposed as mistakes and that undermines the good people.

I know my MP will not care at all - but I've still e-mailed him.

fiodyl Tue 08-Jul-08 07:53:01

I am one of the people this has happened to and you are all right to be frightened. They took my newborn baby from me and destroyed our familys life for 2 years.
I was one of the lucky ones that got my children back but what happened still affects me everyday.

I would speak out if it would help to stop this happening again to other innocent families. but of course I would be scared that they would take my babies away again.

CoteDAzur Tue 08-Jul-08 07:56:38

sad fiodyl

tatt Tue 08-Jul-08 08:08:08

fiodyl you can post your story anonymously on the times website, it helps their campaign. You are not the only person to have posted on mumsnet about such problems, so you're not alone.

Callisto Tue 08-Jul-08 08:16:11

Oh Fiodyl - you must have been through hell and I am not suprised you're scared of telling your story.

I have written to my MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown. He was very helpful with asking Lord Goldsmith to review the sentencing on the Webster-French abuse case a couple of years ago, so I'm hoping that he will lobby Jack Straw. Even if he does, I doubt JS will do anything.

CoteDAzur Tue 08-Jul-08 08:39:01

What is wrong with the UK?

Where I was born (Turkey) and where I live now (France), it would be unthinkable to remove babies from parents and place them with strangers, especially with no evidence of abuse and in secret.

In fact, there are very few 'adoptable' children in France (who tend to be abandoned) and the vast majority of adoptions each year are from other countries.

shock that you people are not revolting against this.

edam Tue 08-Jul-08 09:09:00

Brilliant article. Spot on. And fascinating detail about Ofsted appraisal of Cafcass.

I know of one case where the wronged mother lost her children on the evidence of the discredited Roy Meadows. He had never met her, or her children. There was no evidence of abuse - merely supposition. The judge barred her from approaching her MP, a shocking abuse of democracy. How are parents meant to defend themselves if they are accused, convicted* and gagged in secret?

Have emailed my MP.

* I know 'convicted' is generally reserved for criminal proceedings but the effect of family court child protection proceedings is such that 'convicted' is the right word.

AtheneNoctua Tue 08-Jul-08 09:16:12

This is so horrible that words fail me.

Callisto Tue 08-Jul-08 09:16:41

CoteDAzur - sadly the UK general public seems to care more about reading the latest Heat magazine or watching the latest episode of Big Brother than caring about civil liberties.

I am constantly depressed at how subservient people are in this country. 42 days detention without trial? Fine, won't affect me anyway. ID cards at huge personal cost and no discernible benefit? Inevitable really. Risk of children being taken away without fair trial and accountability of authorities? Oh well, life isn't fair and the parents are probably to blame anyway. Argg, makes me sooo mad.

Callisto Tue 08-Jul-08 09:18:38

I remember the case where the lady wasn't allowed to contact her MP - disgracful.

fiodyl Tue 08-Jul-08 09:37:43

I probably will post my story on there but will have to run it past DP first, but if it helps stop the injustice of forced adoptions in the secret famly court then Im willing to do it.

I strongly belive that if a parent is willing to stand up in court and fight for their child then no matter how much help and support is needed the family should be kept together. Unfortunatley with the system as it is at the moment it is easier(and cheaper) for the child to be adopted by strangers instead. This has to change.

No child should be separated from their family unless there is absolute proof that they are in immeadiate danger if they stay. Even so the family should be reunited ASAP once the danger is removed/protective measures are put in place.

A baby under 1 year old should NEVER be forcibly removed from its mother. Even if this means 24 hour one on one supervision is required.

zog Tue 08-Jul-08 10:59:19

sad fiodyl

Cote D'Azur, I agree completely and it makes me despair, it really does.

cornsilk Tue 08-Jul-08 11:11:38

I have read about the family courts before in the Times. It is shocking. Camilla Cavendish is wonderful for taking up this cause.

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