Social worker training 'not fit for purpose'


Rookie recruits to social work are routinely sent out to tackle the most difficult cases - putting children’s lives at risk, according to a report by MPs published today.

Mother whose 13 children were taken into care is pregnant again


Theresa Winters, a woman who has already had 13 babies taken into care, is pregnant with her 14th child - and says she will keep on trying for more until she is allowed to keep one.

'Serious concerns' about implementation of the Public Law Outline

Family Law Newswatch

Guidelines designed to protect both the welfare of children during care cases and make more efficient use of court time may not be working, according to an early evaluation report commissioned by the Ministry of Justice.

Re Child X: Practical Implications for the Media, Solicitors and Counsel

Family Law Newswatch

Iain Goldrein QC discusses Re Child X (Residence and Contact - Rights of media attendance) - FPR Rule 10.28(4) [2009] EWHC 1728 (Fam).

ADCS welcomes Ofsted shift on unannounced probes

Community Care

The Association of Directors of Children's Services has welcomed Ofsted's decision to revise how it reports on its new unannounced safeguarding inspections of councils, after directors raised significant concerns.

Doncaster uses better pay to tempt child social workers

Community Care

Doncaster Council has started to tackle its high children's social worker vacancy rate, including through better pay, according to director Gareth Williams.

Farewell to the law lords

The Times

Today the law lords sit to give judgment for the last time in the House of Lords and, as Lord Hope of Craighead said there last week, the upper chamber will be “losing part of itself”. From October the law lords will become Justices of the Supreme Court, created under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

One Last Sip…

Pink Tape

I need a drink. Look away if you don’t want to hear me whine with self pity. On 4 August the demise of the SIP (Special Issue Payment), which just about makes the Graduated Fee Scheme worth doing, becomes a reality.

Imputed fairness?

Nearly Legal

Jones v Kernott [2009] EWHC 1713 (Ch) [not on Bailii yet] was an appeal from the County Court on a Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 case. At issue is the question of fairness and whether and how far a change in common intention can be inferred or imputed.

Ofsted inspectors lacking experience, warns child protection chief

The Times

The competence of Ofsted to inspect children’s services and help to protect young people from abuse and neglect has been challenged by the Government’s child protection chief.

NICE issues clinical guidelines to help spot child maltreatment

Family Law Week

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued a new set of clinical guidelines to help healthcare professionals to identify children who may have been maltreated.

LSC Guidance on new graduated fees order

Family Law Week

The LSC has published a summary on their website providing further information on the new graduated fees arrangements due to take effect from 4 August.

Re N: How parents should NOT conduct themselves

Family Lore

I've come across some acrimonious children disputes in my time, but few can compare with N (A Child), Re [2009] EWHC 1807 (Fam). The case is an object lesson in how parents should not conduct themselves.

3 month cooling off period works in South Korea

Divorce-Online Blog

Following on from the story last week about Ian Duncan-Smith’s proposals to introduce a 3 month cooling off period before divorce, I read with interest that a similar scheme in South Korea appears to be having the desired effect with the number of filed divorces having declined 5 months in a row since the introduction of the new scheme.

Divorce 'health scars permanent'

BBC News

Divorce has a lingering, detrimental impact on health that even remarriage cannot fully repair, a study suggests.

Serial bigamist avoids jail term

BBC News

A former glamour model has been spared a prison sentence after admitting bigamy for the fourth time.

Chief executive Anthony Douglas urges courts to review priority cases

Community Care

Family courts body Cafcass is seeking to reduce pressure on its services caused by the surge in care applications since the Baby P trial.

Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster – but are you paranoid?

Marilyn Stowe Blog

"How healthy is divorce litigation for everyone involved: clients, their families, the lawyers and others? How healthy is it for anyone involved in these cases?"

Vulnerable children failed by new laws meant to protect them


"Vulnerable children have been failed by Government guidelines designed to protect their welfare during court battles, an official report has warned."

Father banned from family home by social workers over unfounded allegations


"A father of four who was forced out of his own home by social workers over unfounded allegations of sexual abuse has been reunited with his family."

Newly wed couple faces 18-month separation under Forced Marriages Act

The Guardian

"MPs intervene on behalf of Welshman and Canadian wife who could be forced apart by new minimum age for spousal visas"

Ministers admit more work is needed on family legal aid scheme

Bar Council Press Release

"Government Ministers have acknowledged that controversial plans to impose fixed fees for legal representation for vulnerable families and children cannot proceed without “further analysis”. "

Solicitors and barristers in deal on advocacy pay

Law Society Gazette

"Solicitors and barristers reached an agreement this week that would see both sides of the profession paid the same amount for advocacy work in family cases."

Consultation on national specifications to start in September

Community Care.

"Reforms to the Integrated Children’s System will be considered when government officials and local authority experts meet in August, the government has confirmed."

Baby Barista and the Art of War

Bloody Relations

"No doubt a number of pupils were secretly rather relieved when the identity of the author of the Time’s Baby Barista blog was finally revealed in the Times to be Tim Kevan so that the finger of suspicion was no longer pointing at them."

Preserving Your Wealth With Woolley & Co

Bloody Relations.

"I reviewed the website of a firm called Woolley & Co on the Family Law Week blog. The firm has recently sent me a press release promoting their service in drawing up cohabitation agreements."

The Parental Responsibility Agreement (Amendment) Regulations 2009

Statutory Instrument

These Regulations amend the Parental Responsibility Agreement Regulations 1991. They prescribe a form, C(PRA3), to record an agreement under section 4ZA of the Children Act 1989 (c.41) for the acquisition of parental responsibility by a second female parent. Section 4ZA is inserted into the Children Act 1989 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (c.22) and provides for circumstances in which a woman, who is treated as a parent of a child by virtue of section 43 of the 2008 Act, may acquire parental responsibility for that child.

The Family Proceedings (Amendment) (No.3) Rules 2009

Statutory Instrument

These Rules make various minor amendments to the Family Proceedings Rules 1991.