Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Parental Alienation PA, Social services

Impact Statement – section8.scot

It’s now clear the children have been scarred by this experience and especially by the long delays and the court’s failure to provide them with relief from what they were experiencing. So much then for the principle that the best interests of children must be the paramount consideration in these cases.

A Child Welfare Hearing is meant to provide the sheriff with an informal opportunity to settle a family case quickly for the benefit of and in the best interests of children. It is meant to avoid the need for a lengthy and expensive proof (a proof, I understand now, is the Scottish equivalent of a trial in England; a hearing on evidence in a civil matter.) In my experience – and largely, I think, because the private practice solicitor appointed was unqualified, untrained and unskilled in assessing welfare and risk – the Child Welfare Reporter’s involvement actually exacerbated, inflamed and confused the matter, causing years of delay.

https://section8.scot/2020/08/14/impact-statement/

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Parental Alienation PA, Social services

Training

Training for Lawyers

Lawyers here means solicitors, barristers and Legal Executives.  We have already highlighted the appalling level of ignorance amongst lawyers about PA.  As with CAFCASS officers, UKAP recommends a compulsory PA training module in the CPD (Continuing Professional Development) of all family lawyers.  Use our questionnaire when talking to lawyers.

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Parental Alienation PA, Social services

Health Education continued………………………

CAFCASS

CAFCASS is a major source of injustice for children and APs.  Make no mistake about that.

The reasons are these.

Firstly, the training of CAFCASS officers is woeful.  Courses in PA are only optional.  And the uptake of these courses is lamentable – only 2% of caseworkers take this course (https://voiceofthechild.org.uk/kb/cafcass-parental-alienation-webinar-training/).  Well, Mr Douglas of CAFCASS says that CAFCASS officers are very busy – but not too busy to attend courses on reclaiming their expenses – the uptake for those courses is rather better [link to https://voiceofthechild.org.uk/cafcass-douglas-and-the-high-conflict-pathway]

Second, CAFCASS is institutionally gender-biased.  In July 2017, CAFCASS produced a report

.  Leaving aside a critique for the moment, it is deeply concerning that CAFCASS chose to involve Women’s Aid, but not one group that represents men.  The problem is not just the report itself, but in the narrowness of the consultation.

Third, CAFCASS are only now waking up to PA, despite it having been around for thirty years in its current form.

Fourth – Wishes and Feelings Reports

These are a waste of time and money in PA cases, for the reasons we describe in our case law introduction page, and should be abandoned.  We should judge a child’s capacity to consent to their estrangement from you using something like the Gillick test of competence.

Here is a useful quote from Judge Wildblood in re A 2019:

ix)                There is an obvious difficulty about how to approach the expressed wishes and feelings of children who are living in an alienating environment such as this. If children who have been alienated are asked whether they wish to have a relationship with the non-resident parent there is a likelihood that the alienation they have experienced will lead them to say ‘no.’ Therefore, in this type of case, the approach to the wishes and feelings of children has had to be approached with considerable care and professionalism. To respond simply on the basis of what children say in this type of situation is manifestly superficial and naive. The children in this case have been expressing wishes that they should not see their father for many years now…

Fifth, when there are (and this is very common) false allegations against the target parent then, According to Anthony Douglas of CAFCASS

“you can’t oversimplify it into punish one parent because generally the punishment of a parent rebounds on a child”

There are several problems with this.

Firstly, the use of ‘oversimplify’ implies a value-judgement that has not been proven.  If one parent makes false allegations against the other, that is simple, isn’t it?   False allegations loom large in most PA cases.  AP alleges that TP has assaulted AP.  Or the child.  This is simple.  It is either true or false. The onus, as with all allegations, is, or ought to be, on the party making the allegations to prove the allegations.  As soon as it is clear that the allegations are false, they should be withdrawn, and some kind of sanction levied against AP.

Next, ‘the punishment of a parent rebounds on a child’.  

This is an argument adopted by some judges too, when deciding not to send APs to prison for contempt when then ignore court orders.  It is a nonsensical argument, for the following reasons:

  1. It is probably true that punishment of any parent for any offence will rebound on the child, isn’t it?  If mum or dad is sent to prison for murder, for twenty years, this will affect the children;
  • So perhaps no parent should ever be punished for any crime for fear of the effect on the children – that is obviously an untenable position;
  • If prison must be an option for parents if they murder, or rape, steal, or commit fraud, then prison should be an option for all imprisonable offences including contempt of court (lying to the court or ignoring court orders).  
  • Therefore these things should be punished like any other offence.  Nobody considers the effects on a bank robber’s child of the bank robber going to prison…

Anything less than prison would mean that we regard the psychological abuse of children as less serious than physical or sexual abuse or other criminal offences.  Or perhaps just not serious at all…Worth noting too is that a judge has many other options at her disposal for punishing parties that do not obey the court.

But of course that is EXACTLY why it is not punished.  Nobody seems bothered about psychological abuse of children.  Social workers, including (and especially) CAFCASS, can’t even recognise it! 

We thought CAFCASS might be changing their ways:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/17/parental-alienation-divorce-custody-crackdown-cafcass

But in their blog a few weeks later, Anthony Douglas says this:

Posted in Alienation, Social services

Stepping forward to 2020/21: The mental health workforce plan for England

Following graduation from undergraduate medical school, there are a number of points along the ‘pipeline’ for psychiatrists where potential supply can be lost:
• Not enough newly qualified doctors choosing/able to train in psychiatry. In 2016, only
349 of the advertised 417 Core Psychiatry Training places were filled by a trainee (83%). The percentage of unfilled training posts in psychiatry is consistently higher than any other specialty. Doctors in postgraduate training programmes contribute significantly to the service by delivering care, as well as getting trained. The impact of poorly filled training programmes therefore directly affects care today as well as risking care tomorrow if too few consultants are produced.
• Low direct transition rates from Core to Higher Specialty Training. Historically, for every 100 psychiatrists recruited into core psychiatry, 60 will complete core training and then proceed directly to complete higher psychiatry training. For UK medical graduates, the figure is significantly higher than overseas medical graduates. Trainees may temporarily or permanently step out of training at this transition point to work as locum or nonconsultant, non-training grade doctors.
• Recruitment into higher psychiatry is therefore reliant on non-UK doctors in training
and augmentation from beyond the pool of former core trainees. As many as 48% of
higher specialty trainees in psychiatry have non-UK Primary Medical Qualifications. 67% of our medical staff in mental health services are British (10% EU, 17% non-EU) compared to 75% of all medical staff (9% EU, 16% non-EU). The contribution of overseas doctors to the NHS is highly valued and it is essential that we retain their skills whilst also ensuring we have a sustainable ’homegrown‘ future workforce.
• A quarter of recently qualified consultant psychiatrists do not go on to be employed
substantively by the NHS (although they may be providing NHS-funded services in other settings or working as a locum for the NHS). This figure rises to a third within five years of registering. The GMC annual report2 shows over 8000 psychiatrists on the Specialist Register (across the whole of the UK), but the NHS in England employs fewer than 5000

.
• The psychiatric workforce also relies heavily on non-consultant, non-training grade
(SASG) doctors (24% of the psychiatric workforce). This staff group is unplanned and
therefore does not have a secure supply pipeline, but are a vital and valued part of
specialist medical care. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health and this Workforce Plan identify the need for significant additional psychiatrists to be employed, if these services are delivered using current service models. This is in addition to filling the high levels of vacancies in current services.

Stepping forward to 202021 – The mental health workforce plan for england

Posted in Alienation, Social services

E-learning programmes on the e-LfH Hub

A comprehensive list of proposed e programmes offered by Health Education England

Not one mention of anything relating to Parental Alienation, have we really moved any further forward???

HEE e-Learning for Healthcare: Planned Programmes to March 2021
List updated 11th August 2020
Programme name  No. of sessions (estimate)
Launch date
Deterioration
6  Autumn 2020
Emergency Medicine Leadership
3 November 2020
Freedom to Speak Up
3  Summer 2020
Healthier Weight Competency Framework
1  Summer 2020
Maximising Population Health and Prevention in curricula
1  Summer 2020
National Training for Continuity of Carers
1  Summer 2020

Online Safeguarding Conference
6  Autumn 2020
Preventing Cerebral Palsy in Preterm Babies (Precept)
1 TBC
Respiratory Physiotherapy
16 Autumn 2020
Supporting AHP Students
2  Summer 2020
Wound Care
3  Autumn 2020

Covid-19 Recovery and Rehabilitation
4 Summer 2020
Covid-19 IPC in Care Homes
4 Summer 2020

HEE e-Learning for Healthcare: Planned Programmes Updates to March 2021
Existing Programme Name  Updates  New content
Acute Medicine
Yes
Adolescent Health
Yes
All our Health
Yes  Yes
Anaesthesia
Yes  Yes
Antimicrobial Resistance and Infections
Yes
Breast Imaging Academy
Yes
Care Certificate
Yes
Continuing Health Care
Yes
Educator Training Resource: Clinical Educators
Yes
Education Training Resources: Pharmacy
Yes
End of Life Care
Yes  Yes
Endoscopy
Yes
Flu Immunisations
Yes
Foundation
Yes  Yes
General Practitioners
Yes  Yes
General Practitioners: Dementia
Yes  Yes
Genomics
Yes
Healthy Child
Yes
Healthy School Child
Yes
Image Interpretation
Yes Yes
Immunisations
Yes
Intelligent Intermittent Auscultation (IIA)
Yes
Intensive Care Medicine
Yes  Yes
Medical Examiners
Yes  Yes
Mental Capacity Act
Yes  Yes
MindEd
Yes  Yes
National Bereavement Care Pathway
Yes
NEWS and Deterioration

Ophthalmology
Yes  Yes
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Yes
Pain Management
Yes  Yes
Paramedics
Yes  Yes
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Yes Yes
Radiology

Yes
Screening Newborn Hearing
Yes
Sepsis
Yes
Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Yes  Yes
Sexual Health and HIV
Yes
Statutory and Mandatory Training
Yes
Supporting a Smoke free Pregnancy (SCP) Yes

HEE e-Learning for Healthcare: External Programmes to March 2021
List updated 1st July 2020
Programme name No. of sessions Launch date Partner Organisation
Ambulance Services: Dementia
1 June 2020 SWAST
Autism Awareness
1 TBC HEE LD team
Delivering health services in special residential schools and colleges
1 TBC Health and Care Innovations
Genomics TBC TBC Liverpool Women’s Hospital
Hydration 1 TBC Wessex AHSN
Managing medicines for adults receiving social care in the community
TBC July 2020 PrescQuipp
Medical Schools TBC TBC Imperial College London
Mouth Care Matters TBC   Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
National deterioration training for ambulance staff
1 TBC London Ambulance Service
National Literacy Foundation
TBC Summer 2020 National Literacy Foundation
NDTMS – National Drug Treatment Monitoring System
4 June 2020 PHE
NHS Blood and Transplant
3 June 2020 NHSBT
Perinatal Institute TBC TBC Perinatal Institute
PHE: Health and Work in Undergraduate Medical Education TBC TBC PHE
Post-Mortem Consent for Neonatal Deaths 1 TBC SSBC Operational Delivery Network
SecurAcath
4 June 2020 Aquilant Services
Standards for Student Supervision and Assessment (SSSA)
2 July 2020 HEE Maternity team
Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation
1 TBC Oxford AHSN
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) TBC   HFMA

See site for list of current programmes available in the UK.

https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/

 

 

Posted in Alienation, Social services

Psychiatric Social Workers

Psychiatric social workers may also be employed in outpatient centers, working with juveniles and adults. They perform psychotherapy and assessments, educate the patient and his or her family, and make referrals as necessary. Mental health therapies include more than just talk. Social workers may, for example, employ Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing with young trauma survivors.

Master’s level social workers serve as case managers for individuals who have severe needs, those who may require periodic hospitalization as well as intensive use of community resources. Clients may include those with schizophrenia and those with complex sets of co-occurring conditions.

Governmental agencies and residential care facilities are among the other employment options for psychiatric social workers. Some eventually go into private practice as psychotherapists. Continue reading “Psychiatric Social Workers”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Parental Alienation PA, Social services

Social work education and training in mental health, addictions and suicide

Social workers are among the largest group of professionals in the mental health workforce and play a key role in the assessment of mental health, addictions and suicide. Most social workers provide services to individuals with mental health concerns, yet there are gaps in research on social work education and training programmes. The objective of this scoping review is to examine literature on social work education and training in mental health, addictions and suicide.

So why do they get it so wrong!

Continue reading “Social work education and training in mental health, addictions and suicide”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Parental Alienation PA, Police, Social services

“surveillance” of Facebook accounts was common

What The Times say is that the study they are referring to found ‘“surveillance” of Facebook accounts was common. Social workers used fake profiles to “friend” parents in cases where their posts were not publicly viewable. They watched parents’ relationships and behaviour, looking out for factors such as abusive partners or drug use.

Oddly, I’ve been able to find no trace of this study and it has been suggested that what is being referred to is some sort of leaked draft. No matter, the point is that it chimes with my own experience. Social workers do this stuff because it is a very effective way of seeing whether parents are walking the walk as well as talking the talk. You’d be surprised how often parents will insist that their lifestyle is all Little House on the Prairie, but their Facebook feed suggests it is rather more Kardashian (I don’t really know who the Kardashians are but I believe they have big bottoms and very exciting lifestyles). And of course parents/ex partners harvest and produce this stuff too when warring over children or divorce.

Many would say that if it’s on a public Facebook page it is fair game, and if it shows a child is at risk it should be admitted in evidence (and can you just stop complicating things please, Reed?). Those are reasonable perspectives. But just because something is a good idea or is a means to an end, doesn’t mean its lawful. And where it is the state gathering and using this material there is a pretty good chance that it isn’t lawful at all (parents need not panic this applies to situations where social workers are looking at and gathering data about private individuals).

So. The law. Do you have a caffeinated drink and a stress ball handy? Then I’ll begin. What follows is merely a sketch, not a comprehensive guide.

  • Social workers are employed by local authorities. As such, when they are carrying out their job they are acting as agents for a public authority. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 regulates surveillance of private individuals (you and me) by public authorities (NB same probably also applies to CAFCASS guardians and reporting officers).
  • The 2000 Act regulates this activity not by saying what is unlawful, but by providing a route to give authorisation for specific types of covert surveillance – it’s a piece of shield legislation. That is to say that if a public authority sticks to the requirements of the Act it is protected against claims under the Human Rights Act. If it doesn’t, it’s fair game and may find itself liable under various bits of law (tort, criminal, human rights, privacy etc etc). Unless of course some other law specifically authorises the activity.
  • Surveillance ‘includes monitoring, observing or listening to persons, their movements, conversations or other activities and communications.’
  • It’s ‘covert’ if it is carried out in ‘a manner calculated to ensure that any persons who are subject to the surveillance are unaware that it is or may be taking place’.
  • RIPA divides covert surveillance into ‘directed’ or ‘intrusive’ surveillance. In short intrusive is surveillance of people’s homes and cars. Directed surveillance is surveillance that doesn’t qualify as ‘intrusive’, but is conducted for the purposes of a specific investigation and likely to result in the obtaining of private information about any person.

Continue reading ““surveillance” of Facebook accounts was common”

Posted in Alienation, Covid-19, Social services

What if the resident parent won’t let me see the child[ren]?

If you accept that this is for public health reasons the resident parent should agree to facilitate alternative arrangements so that your child[ren] can still see you at the same intervals as would have been the case if you were have face to face contact.  This should be via Telephone/ Skype/ FaceTime/ WhatsApp and or Text and Email.  If you are unable to achieve agreement about this you should return this matter to court if proceedings are pending or where proceedings are not currently pending you should consider issuing a court application.

If you are of the view that the resident parent is failing to act reasonably and is relying on the public health advice inappropriately in order to obstruct you from having contact with your child[ren] then you should either return this matter to the court, if proceedings are pending or issue an application.

What if the non-resident parent refuses to return the children?

If you accept that this is for public health reasons the non-resident parent should agree to facilitate alternative arrangements so that your child[ren] can still see you at the same intervals as would have been the case if you were have face to face contact.  This should be via Telephone/ Skype/ Facetime/ WhatsApp and or Text and Email.  If you are unable to achieve agreement about this, you should return this matter to court if proceedings are pending or consider issuing a court application.

If you are of the view that the non-resident parent is failing to act reasonably and is relying on the public health advice inappropriately in order to obstruct you from having your child[ren] returned then you should either return this matter to the court, if proceedings are pending or issue an application. Continue reading “What if the resident parent won’t let me see the child[ren]?”

Posted in Alienation, Covid-19, Social services

What if the “other” parent or I have a new partner?

The new ruling means that couples who do not live in the same household should not see one another. That means that if one parent has started a new relationship, they should not continue to see their new partner. If the other parent is already living with a new partner, it is acceptable to ask questions to reassure yourself that they are also adhering to the Government’s ruling, for example, are they only going outside for reasons the Government has indicated would be acceptable.   These are all identified in the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.  For the sake of clarity these are all listed below:

Section 6.—
(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need—

(a ) to obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same household (including any pets or animals in the household) or for vulnerable persons and supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the household of a vulnerable person, or to obtain money, including from any business listed in Part 3 of Schedule 2;

(b) to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household;

(c) to seek medical assistance, including to access any of the services referred to in paragraph 37 or 38 of Schedule 2;

(d) to provide care or assistance, including relevant personal care within the meaning of paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006(1), to a vulnerable person, or to provide emergency assistance;

(e) to donate blood;

(f )to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living;

(g) to attend a funeral of—

(i) a member of the person’s household,

(ii )a close family member, or

(iii) if no-one within sub-paragraphs (i) or (ii) are attending, a friend;

(h) to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;

(I )to access critical public services, including—

(i) childcare or educational facilities (where these are still available to a child in relation to whom that person is the parent, or has parental responsibility for, or care of the child);

(ii) social services;

(iii) services provided by the Department of Work and Pensions;

(iv) services provided to victims (such as victims of crime);

(j) in relation to children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children, and for the purposes of this paragraph, “parent” includes a person who is not a parent of the child, but who has parental responsibility for, or who has care of, the child;

(k) in the case of a minister of religion or worship leader, to go to their place of worship;

(l) to move house where reasonably necessary;

(m) to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1), the place where a person is living includes the premises where they live together with any garden, yard, passage, stair, garage, outhouse or other appurtenance of such premises.

(4) Paragraph (1) does not apply to any person who is homeless.

You will have seen that some Government advice has been for couples who are living apart to move in together at this time.  However, where there are children involved, and the “other” parent plans to arrange for their new partner to move in to live with them and the child[ren] or if they have already done so, you may want to know about the new partner and in particular their background and suitability to live with your children.  In such circumstances, you should not hesitate in asking reasonable child focused questions which should be on the advice of your solicitor if you are legally represented. Continue reading “What if the “other” parent or I have a new partner?”