Kidnapped British girl who was taken to Libya is reunited with mother

Greater Manchester police say Nadia Fawzi, abducted by father more than two years ago, has met Sarah Taylor in Tripoli

Full story: The Guardian

Schoolgirl sues CSA over bid to seize pony

A schoolgirl is suing the Child Support Agency for attempting to recover over £40,000 in child maintenance payments from her father.

Full story: The Independent

The Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (Commencement No.2) Order 2009

This Order is the second Commencement Order made under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (“the Act”) which brings provisions of the Act into force in relation to England and Wales, including provisions of the Act which allow the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to make regulations jointly requiring local authorities to make arrangements to ensure that children in long-term care are visited by a representative of the local authority.

Statutory Instrument

Retirement ages - Armed Forces Pension Schemes; implications for divorcing couples

Most lawyers are aware that uniformed service pensions have issues and that it is best to seek professional advice when dealing with them. This article looks some features of the Armed Forces pension schemes that confirm the need for caution.

Full article: The Ancillary Actuary

'You've bankrupted my dad': 13-year-old girl to sue Child Support Agency after legal battle left father with crippling debts

A girl of 13 is suing the Child Support Agency, which she claims is trying to destroy her 'hero' father to pay off the mother she no longer wants to see.

Full story: Daily Mail

Labour performs U-turn on love and marriage ahead of election

Gordon Brown is preparing to pitch Labour as the party of marriage and the family in an audacious bid for core Tory votes.

Full story: The Times

Baby P council file left on train

An urgent review has been ordered after a confidential report drawn up by staff at the council involved in the Baby P scandal was left on a train.

Full story: BBC News

Tycoon's wife demands £500m on top of her £27,000 a month

The wife at the centre of one of Britain’s most expensive divorce battles is demanding her husband pay her a further £500million on top of the maintenance she has already won.

Full story: Daily Mail

Marriage is becoming preserve of middle-classes, Tories claim

Marriage in Britain is in danger of becoming an exclusive middle-class institution unless action is taken to bolster it, David Willetts, the shadow cabinet member responsible for the family, says today.

Full story: The Guardian

Businessman pays record £70,000 child support after threat to his home

A wealthy businessman who refused to pay full child support for his two sons for more than 16 years has finally handed over a record £70,000.

Full story: Telegraph

Facebook fuelling divorce, research claims

Facebook is being cited in almost one in five of online divorce petitions, lawyers have claimed.

Full story: Telegraph

Unison claims Doncaster is to axe jobs in children's services

A spat has broken out between Unison and Doncaster Council after the union claimed the local authority was about to cut 70 jobs in children and young people's services.

Full story: Community Care

Cash constraints threaten taskforce proposals, say academics

Universities and employers will struggle to implement the Social Work Task Force recommendations in the face of financial constraints, senior academics have warned.

Full story: Community Care

The Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings (Amendment) Order 2009

This Order amends the Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order 2008 so as to remove the jurisdiction of Nelson County Court as a family hearing centre.

Statutory Instrument

The Civil Courts (Amendment No. 2) Order 2009

This Order amends the Civil Courts Order 1983 so as to close the Nelson County Court. It does not deal with the devolution of the business of Nelson County Court but this is transferred to Burnley County Court by direction of the Lord Chancellor after consulting with the Lord Chief Justice. By virtue of judicial direction, Burnley County Court will have jurisdiction in proceedings commenced in Nelson County Court before the coming into force of this Order.

Statutory Instrument

The Community Legal Service (Financial) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2009

This instrument amends the Community Legal Service (Financial) Regulations 2000 which relate to financial eligibility for, and contributions towards, civil legal aid. It takes account of the introduction of the Crown Court Means Testing scheme so that criminal legal aid contributions paid by clients towards the cost of their representation in the Crown Court can be disregarded when their financial eligibility for civil legal aid funding is being assessed.

Statutory Instrument

Girl taken to Libya reunited with mother

A girl from Greater Manchester who was abducted by her father and taken to Libya has been reunited with her mother after two years apart.

Full story: BBC News

Helping London's social workers assess the risk of domestic violence

Fourteen London boroughs have adopted a matrix system to assess the risk of domestic violence.

Full story: Community Care

Spring 2010 deadline for training serious case review chairs

The government has pledged to overhaul the recruitment and training of serious case review chairs by spring 2010.

Full story: Community Care

Assuring Quality in the Independent Reviewing Service for Looked After Children

Liz Gosling and Alison Williams, qualified social workers, consider the status of the independent reviewing officer and propose a framework to provide a truly independent and quality assured service.

Full article: Family Law Week

Website to tackle honour violence

Victims of forced marriage or honour violence can now turn to online counsellors for help.

Full story: BBC News

Public law children applications rise by 35% compared with last autumn

Court statistics released for children proceedings, divorce, ancillary relief and domestic violence.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family contact lost, the longer children stay in care

The Keeping in touch report highlights the difficulties of maintaining family contact for children in care.

Full story: Family Law Week

Christmas is season for divorce

January could see surge in divorces after solicitors report sharp rise in number of inquiries

Full story: The Observer

'Indecent Proposal' divorce case to be heard in public

A divorce case in which an ageing businessman claims his wife was lured away from him by a banker who offered her £500,000 is to be heard in public.

Full story: Telegraph

Ex-wife wins £27,500-a-month divorce deal from 'broke' property tycoon

A wife at the centre of a £400million divorce battle yesterday won £27,500 a month in maintenance - after a court accepted that she needed to fund a luxury lifestyle.

Full story: Daily Mail

Protecting children is a top priority

The Government today set out its priorities for the new year for driving forward continued improvements in child protection in order to deliver the step-change called for by Lord Laming.

Full story: DCSF

Middlesbrough council 'failed' abuse victim

A Teesside council has apologised for failing to identify that a teenage boy with serious health problems was being abused at home.

Full story: BBC News

Forced marriage law not being used enough

Laws introduced to stop forced marriages are not being used widely enough and social workers' efforts to tackle the issue are also being hampered, according to experts.

Full story: BBC News

'I want £35k a month', says £400m divorce wife... but her husband claims he's broke

A wife at the centre of a £400million divorce battle is demanding more than £35,000 a month from her estranged husband, it was revealed today.

Full story: Daily Mail

Police reprimanded over serious domestic violence failings

Police forces were urged today to become more skilled at dealing with domestic violence after serious failings were exposed in the way officers handled the case of a woman who was stabbed to death by her husband after a long and volatile relationship.

Full story: Guardian

Law firm offers divorce gift vouchers

A London law firm has come up with what it calls a “must have” Christmas present for unhappy couples – divorce gift vouchers.

Full story: Telegraph

Interview with Anthony Douglas, Cafcass Chief Executive

Family Law Newswatch Legal News Editor Hugh Logue talks to Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of Cafcass.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Judiciary must speak out on 'parlous state of family law'

The judiciary must ‘come off the bench’ and speak out about the ‘parlous state of family law in 2009’, Lord Justice Wall has said.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Mother abducted five-year-old daughter and fled to America in tug-of-love battle

A mother has abducted her five-year-old daughter and is believed to have fled to America in a bitter tug-of-love battle.

Full story: Telegraph

CPS delivers justice for more victims of domestic violence

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has brought more prosecutions against perpetrators of domestic violence and secured more guilty pleas and convictions for the third year running.

Press release: CPS

Christian registrar loses same-sex partnership case

A Christian registrar disciplined for refusing to conduct same-sex civil partnerships has lost her appeal against the ruling.

Full story: BBC News

Academics round on taskforce criticism

Social work lecturers have rejected claims made in the Social Work Task Force's final report that they are out of touch with the realities of frontline practice.

Full story: Community Care

Law Society guidance on new family fee scheme for 2010 contracts

The Law Society has published guidance on the new family fee scheme recently announced by the Legal Services Commission.

Full story: Family Law Week

Media Access to the Family Courts: the Latest Proposals

Adam Wolanski of 5RB summarises the provisions of the Children, Schools and Families Bill relating to media access to the family courts and highlights some potential difficulties.

Full article: Family Law Week

ONE NEGLECTED BRITISH CHILD DIES EVERY WEEK

ONE neglected child is dying every week, a shocking study has revealed. The report also shows that the same “failures and deficiencies” behind the tragic deaths are being repeated despite a string of high profile abuse cases, including baby Peter.

Full story: Sunday Express

Tory women revolt on marital tax break

David Cameron is facing a rebellion from women within his own party against his decision to reward marriage through tax breaks.

Full story: Sunday Times

City broker forced to hire detectives in divorce battle

A city broker, Richard Grey, hired a team of private detectives to prove his wife was living with another man and should not be entitled to £125,000 a year in maintenance, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Full story: Telegraph

Domestic abuse effort hindered by course delays

Domestic violence offenders are waiting months, even years to get on programmes to stop reoffending, figures suggest.

Full story: BBC News

Baby P whistle-blower to sue council

The senior social worker who first warned the Government about serious failings in the investigation of childcare cases – six months before the death of Baby Peter – is suing Haringey Council for victimisation.

Full story: The Independent

Napo and Cafcass reach agreement to avert direct action

Napo, the family court union, has reached and agreement with Cafcass management to avert the balloting of its members on taking direct action.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Lord Justice Wall warns of under-resourcing in the family justice system

Lord Justice Wall has said that senior family judges must speak out for children, their rights and their welfare.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

DCSF told to save £350m in Darling's pre-budget report

The first sign of budget cuts in children's services has been heralded in the government's pre-budget report with the Department for Children, Schools and Families told to save £350m.

Full story: Community Care

Lawyers attack government plans to extend family reporting

Family lawyers have attacked government plans to extend the media’s right to report family cases, warning that they will clog the courts with preliminary hearings and lead to miscarriages of justice.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Child protection is a top priority

Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo today welcomed Ofsted’s findings that the majority of children’s services are performing well, with10 graded as excellent. She also said that there is no room for complacency and stressed that she expects Local Authorities to continue to focus relentlessly on improving children’s services against the new higher standards.

Full story: DCSF

Haringey social services still 'poor', says Ofsted a year after Baby P

Haringey Council has failed its latest Ofsted inspection a year after the Baby P tragedy, despite the arrival of new management and an overhaul of the entire children’s services department.

Full story: The Times

Inspectors in Wales highlight child protection flaws

Inequality in service provision and standards persist across Wales, according to a report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales.

Full story: Community Care

Children's boss axed after death

The director of a children's services department which admitted failings in the protection of a murdered toddler has been sacked.

Full story: BBC News

Ofsted rates nine children's services as 'poor'

Children's services in nine local authority areas, including Haringey where Baby Peter was killed, have been rated as "poor" in a report by Ofsted.

Full story: BBC News

Childcare service Cafcass gets extra £1.6m to cope with case backlog

An extra £1.6 million has been given to the organisation representing children in care proceedings in the face of a huge backlog of cases.

Full story: The Times

Baby P clinic 'was understaffed'

Doctors at a clinic that failed to spot a broken back in Baby Peter two days before he died were under an "excessive workload", a report has said.

Full story: BBC News

Judge leaves court to calm down during case of ‘abandoned’ sick child

A senior family judge took the extraordinary step of leaving court to calm down because he was so angered by two local authorities who “abandoned” a sick boy to save money.

Full story: The Times

‘Barbaric’ family courts behind ‘state sponsored kidnap’ – Bob Geldof

The singer and anti-poverty campaigner described the current child custody laws as “barbaric and abusive” and dismissed the system as a “disgraceful mess”.

Full story: Telegraph

Dawn Primarolo: Agreed Action to improve Leeds City Council’s Children’s Services

Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo today wrote to Leeds City Council setting out the agreed action to be taken to improve the Council’s children’s services.

Full story: DCSF

Napo threatens industrial action over Cafcass crisis

Family court union Napo has threatened industrial action unless Cafcass resolves issues of "soaring workloads, management bullying and low morale".

Full story: Community Care

Closure of Manchester Adoption Society 'could be first of many'

The government has been urged to look again at the structure of inter-agency adoption fees amid fears that more voluntary agencies could follow Manchester Adoption Society in closing.

Full story: Community Care

Teenage Briton forced to leave the UK to live with her husband

A teenage couple in a genuine marriage have lost a High Court battle against a Government immigration policy aimed at combating forced marriages.

Full story: The Times

Migrant marriage teenagers lose High Court battle

A couple have lost a High Court battle against a government immigration policy aimed at combating forced marriages.

Full story: BBC News

Unmarried couples need new legal rights, says reform judge

Two million unmarried couples need new legal rights to protect them from injustice if they separate, the new senior judge in charge of law reform has said.

Full story: The Times

Obese children taken off at-risk register after genes found to be at fault

Two children considered to be at risk of abuse because they are severely obese have been removed from the protection register after scientists discovered that they carry a newly identified genetic abnormality that explains their weight.

Full story: The Times

Harriet Harman attacks Tory tax break ‘for philanderers’

HARRIET HARMAN is to accuse David Cameron of planning to reward philanderers on their second or third marriages with tax breaks, while stigmatising former wives left to bring up the children.

Full story: Sunday Times

Why caring can sour a happy marriage

A paper that correlates occupations with divorce and separation rates, to be published in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, reveals that those employed in extrovert and stressful jobs are highly likely to divorce, as are those who work in the caring professions.

Full story: The Observer

The Child Support (Management of Payments and Arrears) Regulations 2009

These Regulations are made under powers in the Child Support Act 1991 (c.19) (“the 1991 Act”) and come into force on 25th January 2010. They are, in part, consolidating regulations which revoke and re-enact some provisions of the Child Support (Arrears, Interest and Adjustment of Maintenance Assessments) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/1816) (“the AIMA Regulations”), with some changes.

Statutory Instrument

Dawn Primarolo: Government to strengthen intervention in Essex

The Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, has today announced that the Government intends to strengthen its intervention in children’s services in Essex.

Full story: DCSF

Multi-family approach meets PLO deadlines

Professionals in Essex have slashed the time it takes to compile care proceedings assessments yet still secure vital information about children and parents

Full story: Community Care

GPs to be encouraged to be more involved in child protection

GP attendance at child protection case conferences should be audited by primary care trusts to ensure GPs are more involved in child safeguarding measures.

Full story: Community Care

Lack of funds could delay full adoption of new child support IT system

A new IT system to facilitate child support payments will not be used properly unless the agency that runs it receives adequate funds from government, according to the agency's head.

Full story: Computing

Baby P case puts strain on Somerset social workers

People working in child protection in Somerset say their workload has 'shot up' in the last few months due to people being more aware of children at risk.

Full story: BBC News

Dawn Primarolo: Children’s Services a priority - further action to improve areas of concern

The Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, today announced that the Government will be taking further important action in three Local Authorities – Cornwall, Doncaster, and Rotherham - to improve children’s safeguarding services in each of these authorities.

Full story: DCSF

Baroness Morgan: We will keep up momentum on taskforce report

The government has promised to "keep the momentum going" on the social work taskforce report to ensure its recommendations do become a reality.

Full story: Community Care

Couple's son, 2, taken into care by social workers after they 'refused to feed him junk food’

A two year-old boy was taken away by social services and put into foster care after his parents, Paul and Lisa Hessey, refused to follow doctors’ orders and feed him junk food, they have claimed.

Full story: Telegraph

Former ICI chairman wins right to evict ex-wife from £14m Chelsea home

A former chairman of ICI has won a court battle to evict his ex-wife from their “super-prime” £14 million Chelsea home so that he can sell it.

Full story: The Times

Former ICI chairman wins battle to evict ex-wife from £14m home

A former chairman of ICI has won his legal battle to evict his former wife from their £14 million Chelsea mansion so he can sell it.

Full story: Telegraph

Baby P emails: judge demands explanation from Ofsted

Newly disclosed court documents suggest Ofsted inspectors who wrote a damning report on Haringey children's services were ordered to delete emails relating to Baby Peter and the council, a high court judge disclosed today.

Full story: The Guardian

Welsh social services directors told to boost joint working

Welsh social services directors have been challenged to improve collaboration both between councils and with health partners by Welsh deputy minister for social services Gwenda Thomas.

Full story: Community Care

Profession applauds aims but questions remain about funding

The Social Work Task Force's recommendations on a probationary year, a college of social work and a binding standard for employers on caseloads and continuing professional development (CPD) have been welcomed by academics, charities and social workers. But there are concerns about how the recommendations will be funded.

Full story: Community Care

Ministers back taskforce plan to overhaul social work

Social workers will gain a stronger collective voice through the first ever national college for the profession, after the government accepted all of the recommendations in a 10-year reform programme proposed by the Social Work Task Force today.

Full story: Community Care

Agency workers scaled down as Americans fill posts

Haringey council has recruited social workers from America to boost the quality of children's services and rely less on agency staff.

Full story: Community Care

Ambitious reforms to transform the social work profession

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls and Health Secretary Andy Burnham today announced the Government’s acceptance of a radical package of recommendations from the final Social Work Task Force report, to transform social work and public understanding of social workers’ crucial contribution to our society.

Press release: DCSF

Sweeping change to social work standards

Taskforce set up in wake of Baby P convinces government of need to reform workloads, supervision, training and recruitment

Full story: The Guardian

Social workers licence plan in wake of Baby P case

Social workers will need a licence to practice, a report aimed at boosting standards and morale is to recommend.

Full story: BBC News