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grandparent new laws

(132 Posts)
ednamode Wed 20-Jan-10 08:48:12


Really worried. I have deliberately cut myself away from family to get my life together as they were dragging us down with their disgusting attitude. and I have managed after years of pain to get our lives on track. Now I hear that this stupid government wants to give grandparents automatic rights to see their grandchildren, this is not a good thing for everyone infact for some of us it will cause real issues. What action can i take. and please no "well may be things have changed" answers i am not in the ball park for platitudes, this is serious.

many thanks

drloves8 Fri 22-Jan-10 23:51:56

Nananina , a proposal means a slim chance that some grandparents (toxic) may realise that they can apply to court for access , when previously it would never have occured to them.

NotAnOtter Sat 23-Jan-10 00:24:33

the thought of a grandparent thinking of my kids is enough to cause stress let alone this

usualsuspect Sat 23-Jan-10 00:30:23

I think its quite sad really ..I know of some gps that would love a relationship with their grandchildren but are denied ....

atlantis Sat 23-Jan-10 00:35:18

" I doubt what she says, as it is not within the gift of a McK friend to "win" or "lose" a case. A McK friend is there to offer support to a parent in court. "

Actually your right and wrong a MCK is their to offer support to the parent/s but also if you look under;

Re N (A child) (McKenzie Friend: Rights of Audience) [2008] EWHC 2042 (Fam).

MCK's are also granted the right to speak for the parent/s in court, which is what I do, i'm surprised you have never come across this in your extensive career.

" It is for the Judge to decide on whether a Contact Order should be made and on the terms of any such Order."

Yes it is but how do you think a judge makes his/her decisions? Do they not hear arguement and evidence from both sides? You have been to some very strange courts if this is not the case.

drloves8 Sat 23-Jan-10 00:43:48

usual . some are denied because the parents want to protect their kids.

usualsuspect Sat 23-Jan-10 00:45:45

I know that...but some are denied for other reasons ..

atlantis Sat 23-Jan-10 00:46:38

"(incidentally there is no such thing as custody any more - children's permanent living arrangements are now decided on the basis of Residence Orders or Special Guardianship Orders."

And how many lay persons know what an RO and a SGO is?

NotAnOtter Sat 23-Jan-10 12:31:17

usual - i would love grandparents for my kids

abusive ones not a good idea

TheArmadillo Sat 23-Jan-10 13:32:26

NanaNina a lot of the worries about this arise because of the publicity of theses proposed new laws. Whereas before people may in many cases have had the assumption that they had no legal right to see their grandchildren, the fact that a legal process that may let them win the right (however slim the chances maybe) to see those grandchildren terrify those who have stopped access for what they believe is very good reason.

Emotional abuse is hard to prove, by its nature. And it is still something that is not recognised by everyone. Add into that the grandparent has not yet caused harm to the grandchild (though the parent believes that there is a big risk of this). Also that the grandparents have never been accused or investigated by any agency of abusing their own children.

The grandchildren may have had previous contact with grandparents, regular contact, that has now been withdrawn.

It comes down to the parents word against the grandparents. With no concrete proof either way. No way to prove the parents allegations.

And that is why people are scared.

NanaNina Sat 23-Jan-10 23:06:49

I take your points Armadillo - but it can't be fair or just that g/parents "Have the assumption that they have no legal right to see their g/children" - you must surely acknowledge that there will be many g/parents who are prevented from having contact with their g/children without any good reason.

You say it comes down to the parent's word against the grandparents, with no concrete proof either way. I think however this is too simplistic and these cases are subjected to investigations and assessments carried out by social workers, who will be able to assess the validity of the view of both parents and g/parents. I know there are a lot of posters casting doubt (and in some cases insulting) the competence of social workers to carry out this work, but in my experience most sws are competent and work extremely hard in these matters to properly assess the situation.

If I am involved in disputed contact (between parents) I will always want to see the child in the company of both parents (seperately) of course. I observe very carefully the interaction between the child and each parent and this pays dividends. Parents can try to "put on an act" for the sw but children don't do this. It is clear to see if a child is uncomfortable, wary, anxious etc in the company of a parent. This is particularly important where the mother is saying the father is unfit to have contact. Children do NOT act - they show it how it is and I am very influenced by the way the child is in the company of the father in such cases.

An experienced sw with high quality assessment skills will be able to determine the validity and authenticity of differing points of view. There are all kinds of "tools" for good assessments which should lead to the sw making a recommendation that can be tested in court and on which the judge can make a decision. I know that no system is foolproof but to totally disregard the assessment skills of sws in these cases is unfair and I think could cause more anxiety to parents than is necessary.

OK I will now get some posters telling me that sws are rubbish and incompetent but what's new.

NanaNina Sat 23-Jan-10 23:14:40

yes Atlantis of course I am aware that the Judge hears evidence from all parties in court matters and makes a decision based on all the facts of the case. However for you to declare that you have won every case with which you have been involved suggests that the Judge has made his/her decision based on your evidence. I think this is grandiose thinking on your part and that you may have an over inflated sense of your own importance, which comes across on these threads too. Incidentally if the person you are a McK friend for gets what she/he wants in court, how do you arrive at the conclusion that this was related to your involvement?

As for how many lay people would know what a Residence Order or Special Guardianship Order is, may I ask you how many lay people would know what a LIP is ...........very few I suspect but it doesn't prevent you from using the term in almost everyone of your posts on these threads.

I appreciate that it may look as though I am involved in a "point scoring" exercise with you, but I think that your determination to discredit the entire court system and all professionals involved and engage in scaremongering is unfair and I feel that i should try to point this out to other posters.

maryz Sat 23-Jan-10 23:36:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

diddl Sun 24-Jan-10 08:53:00

On the face of what you´ve written of course, maryz

How did it occur that she looked after them so much?

Sakura Sun 24-Jan-10 08:53:30

Thank GOD I fled the country (have emmigrated) so my psycho mother can never get her grubby hands on my kids. A law like this has been my worst nightmare.

My mother is a health professional and is very persuasive figure in the public sphere. She is articulate and convincing.

My mental health problems have cleared up since cutting my mother out of my life. I just thank GOD again that I am not in the UK if this law comes in because WITHOUT A DOUBT she would use it to gain access to my kids for a power trip.

Sakura Sun 24-Jan-10 08:59:57

Just to add, 4 years ago when DD was born my mother sent me lots of threatening letters about how she was taking me to court to get access to her granddaugter. She'd have loved that. She'd have rather taken me to court to force me to give my daughter to her than have a chat with me about the problems in our relationship...
As I say, I've emigrated so she can't.

HerBeatitude Sun 24-Jan-10 11:18:19

I would like to know exactly what "symptoms" children are supposed to display which prove that they are being abused (emotionally or otherwise) by someone.

Children don't know that abuse is anything other than normal, so they're not ncessarily going to display fear, upset etc. when in the company of an abuser, especially one who limits his/ her abuse to the emotional variety. How exactly does a highly trained highly competent SW spot that then? hmm

And actually the idea that there is "no good reason" for some gp's not to see their GC's is wrong. There is a good reason. The parent has said they would rather they didn't. Unless there is evidence that that parent is incompetent or malicious, it should be assumed that they are perfectly capable of deciding who is a good influence on their children or not.

atlantis Sun 24-Jan-10 12:03:54

"However for you to declare that you have won every case with which you have been involved suggests that the Judge has made his/her decision based on your evidence. I think this is grandiose thinking on your part and that you may have an over inflated sense of your own importance, which comes across on these threads too."

How unlike a sw to take something out of context and run with it. hmm. And as for the over inflated sence of own importance,-pot=kettle black.

" I will always want to see the child in the company of both parents (seperately) of course."

And if the status quo is the child hasn't seen the abusive parent in x amount of time your one of these sw's that push for the child to face emotional abuse by shoving it into a room with the abusive parent are you. Nice to know.

And no, children do not show a set of abuse signals that can be picked up otherwise all those abused children who have contact with ss would be safe wouldn't they?

And what if they child has not had contact with their abusive parent for a long time, they would be no more uncomfortable than with a stranger.

And many children who are abused are more willing to please their abuser so as to not upset them, or have you not read psych 101?

Are you a trained child and adolescent psychiatrist by any chance? because only someone trained to that standard in child behaviour can say for certain ( and then with a margin for error depending on the abuse suffered) if a child has been abused.
Or should we just do away with child psychiatrists and psychotherapists because sw's are more competent?

NotAnOtter Sun 24-Jan-10 12:58:12

sakura ditto my father - high standing in community
i got the threatening letters - solicitors 'my grandchild' after my son was born 6 years ago

i was shock and also wth???

years passed and mental health problems sought me to take action - legally

needless to day there is no way that grandparent is getting near my dc

the law is not always an ass wink

NanaNina Sun 24-Jan-10 18:15:08

Atlantis - your response to my Q about how do you know it is your intervention that means that the parent gets what/she wants in court, does not answer the question.

I do not "push a child into a room to face emotional abuse" though I can see that it will please you to think the worst of me. If a child was reluctant to meet with the absent parent I would find out why and this may well provide good evidence of a child's fear etc. This has never happened, conversely I have had quite excited children bouncing up and down in my car as they were going to see daddy and were happy.

And no I am not talking about a "set of abuse signals" in a child - there is no such thing as you say. I am thinking of something far more ordinary, like the child's body language, if she sits on daddy's lap, is she relaxed, or tense. Is she "watching" daddy for signs from him (this is quite telling as this can indicate a child is anxious) is she relaxed in playing with him, is she trying to please him, is she spontaneous in her interactions or is she wary of things etc etc etc. Obviously I observe the parent too but my main observation is that of the child. If I am concerned (or a bit unsure) I gain permission for a colleague who is a very experienced play therapist to join the observation and we can produce a joint report.
Oh and if a child had not seen a parent for a long time I think I might just be able to realise that that would make a big difference and I would need to take that into account in my observation/assessment.

I do not agree that it is only child & adolescent psychiatrists who can detect child abuse. However I am not talking about trying to detect child abuse, I am trying to ascertain whether contact would be in the child's best interests or not. The cases with which I have been involved have not been related to child abuse but to one parent or another feeling that contact was not a good thing for whatever reason. In some of the cases the mother did not want the father seeing the children as she was afraid he was going to introduce them to his new partner. In another case the father thought the mother had mental health problems and was attempting to get a Residence Order. She didn't actually - the father was being manipulative and I was able to say so in my comprehensive assesssment and his application was turned down. In another case the mother was afriad the father would take the children out of the country and so was refusing contact.

But what the hell Atlantis why don't I just give you a nice lump of sugar and say I'm really a nasty piece of work, an incompetent know all social worker who hasn't a clue about real life and should just crawl under a stone.

HerBeatitude Mon 25-Jan-10 12:46:06

Oh God. Nana are you aware that children who have been abused, emotionally or physically, still look forward to seeing the parent who has abused them and are excited and happy and bouncing up and down in anticipation? Please tell me you know that.

NanaNina Mon 25-Jan-10 13:43:26

Oh god no HerB - you are so wise - I think you should immediately enrol on social worker degree course as you have all the asnwers where child protecion is concerned.

I accept that when children are living under the same roof as an abusing parent, they have to do what all children do (though not at a conscious level) and try to keep themselves safe. This can be seen inthe "frozen awareness" of very young babies but I won't enlarge as I'm sure you know all about this HerB.with all your superior knowledge on child behaviour.

Very often children living with an abusing parent will try to please him and act as though they are fond of him (and I have heard many a mother who is living in a situation of DV say that her children "love" their father) which of course is not true but it can look as though they do. However once the abuser and the children are separated, children will always show some sort of adverse reaction to being in their company. This will vary dependent on the nature and extent of the abuse and the disposition of the child of course, but a skilled practitioner will be able to observe these reactions. What they categorically don't do is what you say - show enormous pleasure and excitement at the prospect of seeing the abuser.

BUT why am I bothering because you have all the answers - how many children have you transported to absent parents (abusing type or not) and how many observations have you made of parent/child interaction and how many assessment reports have you written and been extensively cross examined on in court and what are your qualifications/experience on which you base your assertions.

atlantis Mon 25-Jan-10 16:35:12

"BUT why am I bothering because you have all the answers - how many children have you transported to absent parents (abusing type or not) and how many observations have you made of parent/child interaction and how many assessment reports have you written and been extensively cross examined on in court and what are your qualifications/experience on which you base your assertions."

Now I'm not (accussing) saying this to you in particular but...

How do you know when your doing it right?

As someone previously pointed out (this or another thread) fad and fashion are a by product of social work, if you took the course someone enrolled on in 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and this year and a lot in between you will see how social work has evolved into the beast it is today, what was percieved as right in the 70/90/00 is now percieved as 'how did we think that', there are constant courses to enlighten on the new ways and thinking but (again not to you) you can't teach an old dog new tricks (I know i'm an old dog and my degree in physics has changed so much since I took it that I still look at string theory and think ????? 'Really?, but, huh?'

NanaNina Mon 25-Jan-10 18:30:05

Atlantis - I don't see social work practice in quite the polarised way that you do. For me it isn't about an individual's practice being "right" or "wrong" - it is more a matter of keeping abreast of developments in social policy, in legislation and in sw practice in general. I have always seen this as an absolute duty on my part as an independent social worker and indeed in order to re-register with the GCSC it is necessary to provide proof of your post qualifying development. I have also ensured that I gained the advanced award in social work for which I had to pay myself.

Having said all that I don't believe that qualifications necessarily make a good social worker. All the academic success in the world is no good without the skills and personal qaulities for good quality social work. As far as I am concerned it is to do with the ability to "get alongside" people, to properly listen to their concerns and to be warm and non judgemental in our dealings with service users.

Look Atlantis you and I are never going to agree - you say that "social work has evolved into the beast it is today" and tbh it does frustrate me that you consider it OK to discredit an entire profession, which seems to me to both unfair and unreasonable. I do accept that there may well be some social workers who might not possess the skills and qualities needed but this is true of all professions - it is part of the human condition.

The comments you make about people who trained many years ago is not only relevant to social workers - it is relevant to all professionals and non professionals for that matter. When seeing a GP I sometimes wonder whether I would prefer an older one with more experience who will be many years out of training or a newer one who may be more conversant with new thinking. For me I usually opt for the experience but that is a matter of personal taste.

I am not trying to put myself forward as always getting it right and I appreciate I may come across like this but that's something to do with internet posting. I just cannot accept your view, that the entire social work system is staffed by incompetent idiots (or somesuch). I think to "write off" an entire profession (of whichever kind) detracts from anything that could be considered reasonable especially when it includes snide comments and insults, and I'm afraid prompts me into trying to defend the many many hard working social workers who struggle to do their best on a daily basis for troubled children and families.

Is there any possibility of us finding some middle ground.......

HerBeatitude Mon 25-Jan-10 18:38:35

No I suspect there isn't Nananina, because your idea of the middle ground is not the same as anybody else's.

You keep setting up this Aunt Sally of Atlantis and others characterising all SWs as being incompetent idiots. I don't think anyone has consistently argued that POV on any of these threads, but you insist on pretending they have because obviously anyone who thought that would be an idiot.

And then there's the inordinate length of your posts - if you can't win the argument, just make it so long so that people inwardly groan and can't be bothered to trawl through it.

And you are simply wrong to say children don't love their abusers. That's just fashionable nonsense. Some abused children do, some don't.

NanaNina Mon 25-Jan-10 19:13:48

My question about middle ground was not addressed to you HerB - and maybe Atlantis will share your point of view. If you find my posts too long why not just ignore them - and I quite understand people not wanting to trawl through them as you say. I often ignore posts or skim through and don't bother with the content. That to me is one of the brilliant things about internet posting - it isn't like having a conversation - you can dip in and dip out at will. I suggest you ignore my posts in future and I willtry to do likewise with yours..........

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