Children benefiting from child maintenance now over 800,000

The number of children benefiting from child maintenance through the Child Support Agency (CSA) has exceeded 800,000 for the first time.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children kept in care to save adoption cost

More than 1,000 children are trapped in England's care system because local authorities wrongly believe that seeking the help of the voluntary sector to recruit adoptive parents is more expensive than trying to place children themselves, according to a report published tomorrow.

Full story: The Observer

BBC television news: Resolution on the divorce rate drop

Resolution's Nigel Shepherd responds to the news that divorce rates in 2008 were the lowest since 1979.

Full story: Resolution/BBC

Child protection facing shortage of specialist staff as cases soar

A YORKSHIRE council requires an urgent increase in child protection specialists because existing staff are struggling with an increasing caseload and there are fears newly-qualified social workers may not be up to the job.

Full story: Yorkshire Post

Family justice review

Family mediators have called for every couple in dispute over residence or contact to be compelled to go to pre-mediation assessment meetings on their financial as well as their children’s issues.

Full story: New Law Journal (Subscription)

Impact of the recession: more suicides, fewer divorces

Couples may be staying together because they can't afford to split, figures suggest

Full story: The Independent

Edlington SCR summary 'vague', says deputy children's tsar

Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz has questioned Ofsted's inspection of serious case reviews after labelling the executive summary of the Edlington attack report as "vague".

Full story: Community Care

Cafcass guardians not scrutinising local authorities, study reveals

Local authorities' care plans are not always being sufficiently scrutinised by Cafcass guardians which, in the current risk-adverse climate, could lead to children being removed from their families unnecessarily, according to a survey by Nagalro.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Children fear being bullied by proposals to expand media access to family courts

Interim research findings published by the Children's Commissioner for England, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, reveal how some children and young people really feel about the Government's proposal to allow the media to report on evidence from family court proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (Commencement No. 13) Order 2010

This Order brings into force on 1st February 2010 sections 48 to 53 and the remaining provisions of section 54 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (c. 28), and Schedule 9 to that Act.

Statutory Instrument

The Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2010

These Regulations are made under section 12 of the Children Act 2004 (“the Act”) and amend the Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) Regulations 2007 (“the ContactPoint Regulations”), which make provision in relation to the establishment and operation of the database known as “ContactPoint”.

Statutory Instrument

Marriages ending in divorce at 33 year low

The number of marriages ending in divorce has dropped for the fifth year in a row to a 33 year low.

Full story: The Times

Divorce rate lowest for 29 years

The number of divorces in England and Wales has fallen for a fifth successive year to the lowest rate for 29 years.

Full story: BBC News

Forced marriage victims' calls going unanswered

Calls for help from forced marriage victims are being ignored because the Government has cut funding to a new emergency hotline dedicated to helping women escape so-called "honour violence".

Full story: The Independent

New members of the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services

The Secretary of State Ed Balls today announced the appointment of four new members to the Board of the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services.

Press notice: DCSF

Don't stay together for the kids, rowing parents told

Quarrelling parents who stay together for the sake of the children may make their offspring more unhappy than those who split up, the first comprehensive study of child happiness suggests today.

Full story: The Independent

Lesbian mother appeals court decision after daughter removed

A lesbian lost the right to care for her eight-year-old daughter when a court ordered that the girl go and live with her father even though she was "doing well" in her mother's care.

Full story: Telegraph

Doncaster faces in-depth inspection after brothers sentenced

The Audit Commission will carry out an in-depth inspection of Doncaster Council after a serious case review found a brutal attack by two brothers in Edlington could have been prevented.

Full story: Community Care

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Disclosure of Information for Research Purposes) Regulations 2010

This instrument establishes a process by which research bodies working within the fields of health and social care, carrying out research involving assisted reproduction treatments and services, may apply to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to access identifying information held by the HFEA, on a database register, about patients who have undergone assisted reproduction treatments and services and any resulting offspring, where it is not practicable to obtain consent to the disclosure of this information from the persons to whom the information relates.

Statutory Instrument

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Parental Orders) Regulations 2010

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Parental Order) Regulations 2010 replace the Parental Orders (Human Fertilisation and Embryology) Regulations 1994 and the Parental Orders (Human Fertilisation and Embryology) (Scotland) Regulations 1994 and ensure that as a result of the changes made by section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, processes are in place for civil partners and couples in an enduring family relationship to apply for parental orders, in addition to married couples.

Statutory Instrument

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Parental Orders) (Consequential, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2010

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Parental Orders) (Consequential, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2010 makes necessary consequential amendments to secondary legislation and makes transitional and saving provisions.

Statutory Instrument

Edlington torture council faces government inquiry

The local authority criticised over the Edlington torture incident could face government intervention after inspectors launched an investigation into persistent management failures.

Full story: Guardian

Inquiry into case of 'torture boys'

The local authority at the centre of the controversy over how two brothers in council care went on to torture and humiliate two young boys is to face an inspection by the Audit Commission "as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made", it was announced yesterday.

Full story: The Independent

Edlington attack 'preventable'

The debate over whether serious case reviews (SCRs) into child deaths and serious injuries should be published in full has intensified after Doncaster Council refused to publish the full account of events leading to the violent attack on two young boys in Edlington last April by two brothers.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted rates Sandwell children's safeguarding as inadequate

Sandwell Council has delayed the launch of its social work practice pilot after an unannounced Ofsted inspection uncovered significant problems in its safeguarding services.

Full story: Community Care

Doncaster council faces snap inspection

A government watchdog is ready to launch a snap inspection into Doncaster council, where social workers have been revealed to have been "reluctant" to get involved with two children who abducted, tortured and battered two other boys they did not even know.

Full story: Guardian

Pie boss Mark Hodson in Doncaster child scandal

A FOOD factory manager who was put in charge of safeguarding children at the local authority where two brothers tortured two younger boys has admitted being appointed to the role despite not having “any relevant experience”.

Full story: The Sunday Times

Balls and Cameron row over marriage

The battle between Labour and the Conservatives over marriage and Britain's "broken society" grew increasingly bitter yesterday after David Cameron was accused of using the Edlington case for political opportunism.

Full story: The Independent on Sunday

EU split over divorce law for mixed-nationality couples

European Union justice ministers were split Friday over a plan to use the bloc's concept of "enhanced cooperation" to develop EU rules governing divorce between mixed-nationality couples.

Full story: AFP

Divorce Enquiries Up To 10-Year High

Divorce enquiries are up a third on this time last year as couples forced apart by the financial pressures of the downturn seek a final split.

Full story: Sky News

Edlington attacks: child protection worker disciplined over brothers

Disciplinary action has been taken against a member of staff from a Doncaster child protection agency involved with the two young brothers detained for torturing a pair of children, it has emerged.

Full story: Guardian

Doncaster: SCR says social workers could have prevented attack

The violent assault of two boys by two brothers in Edlington, near Doncaster, was a preventable incident, according to the serious case review on the attack.

Full story: Community Care

Mother 'not clever enough to raise child' has baby snatched by social workers after running away to Ireland to give birth

A couple who fled to Ireland after social workers threatened to remove their baby at birth have had the newborn snatched after all.

Full story: Daily Mail

Emergency measures in the family courts silence children’s voices, says Nagalro

Association for children's guardians publishes critique of changes in family court services

Full story: Family Law Week

Damning Nagalro survey blasts Cafcass' management

Cafcass has been accused of putting safeguarding at risk because of poor management and high paperwork demands, in a survey of children's guardians.

Full story: Community Care

Media attendance at family court cases limited, Ministry of Justice report confirms

Children's Commissioner's research reveals children's fears about further media access

Full story: Family Law Week

Children opposed to media reporting of family courts

Plans to open the family courts to the media have been rejected by children and young people who remain "unconvinced" of the power of the law to protect their privacy, according to the interim findings of a study by the children's commissioner for England.

Full story: Community Care

Government publishes Green Paper on Families and Relationships

The main proposals and responses outlined

Full story: Family Law Week

Family solicitors report rise in 'collaborative prenups’

Family solicitors have reported a rise in the number of clients asking for prenuptial agreements to be prepared using the collaborative law model.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Osborne rejects claims fuel duty to fund marriage plan

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has rejected reports that a Conservative government could increase fuel duty to fund tax cuts for married couples.

Full story: BBC News

Property tycoon son of Jack Lyons faces 'ruin' in divorce deal

The son of Jack Lyons, the financier convicted for his part in the 1986 Guinness share-trading fraud, is facing "ruin" after judges ordered him to pay off a £1.3 million debt on his former wife's property, a court heard.

Full story: Telegraph

Tories plan green taxes to pay for generous marriage tax breaks

Taxes on driving, flying and other environmentally-damaging activities are to be increased by the Conservatives to fund tax breaks for married couples with children, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Full story: Telegraph

Juicy twist in Vivian Imerman's divorce

A business tycoon’s estranged wife has won the right to use 20,000 documents stolen from his computer in her battle for a slice of his £300 million fortune.

Full story: The Times

Divorce battle centres on downloaded files

A bitter divorce battle is set to go to appeal in a case focusing on the methods used by spouses to obtain sensitive financial information in big money separations.

Full story: Financial Times

Multimillionaire faces Britain's biggest divorce payout

The multimillionaire food and drinks magnate Vivian Imerman is facing what could become Britain’s biggest divorce payout after his estranged wife demanded a £100 million share of his fortune.

Full story: Telegraph

Greater media scrutiny necessary to increase accountability in family courts

Legislative proposals included in the Children, Schools and Families Bill should encourage media attendance at family court cases, the Ministry of Justice said today.

Ministry of Justice

New Families and Relationship Green Paper

The Government today announced a major review into the family justice system as part Families and Relationship Green Paper.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Taking children into care will cost an extra £226m this year

The increasing number of children being taken into care will have cost the taxpayer at least an additional £226 million in the current financial year, according to the Local Government Association.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Divorce courts may be thing of the past under radical overhaul of family justice

Divorce disputes and other acrimonious battles over children or money would be taken out of the courts under plans for a radical overhaul of family justice announced yesterday.

Full story: The Times

Race issues 'delaying adoption process'

Adoption placements are being “unduly delayed” because of agencies’ obsession with finding the perfect ethnic match between parents and child, Martin Narey, the chief executive of Barnado’s, warned today.

Full story: The Independent

'Draining' family courts system to be overhauled

Ed Balls has announced a far-reaching review of the family courts and promised more help for parents who have separated, including greater access to mediation.

Full story: The Times

Fundamental review of the family justice system announced

An expert panel will examine reform of the current family justice system in England and Wales so that it better supports children and parents under a wide-ranging review announced by the Ministry of Justice today.

Ministry of Justice

Government sets out new package of measures to help the 21st century family

Ed Balls is today announcing a new package of measures to support modern families in the 21st century.

DCSF Press Notice

Labour turns to grandparents in fight for the 'family vote'

Grandparents will today be promised new rights by the Government as the battle to win the "family vote" intensifies in the run-up to the general election.

Full story: The Independent

Grandparents to get greater rights over childcare

A comprehensive review of the family justice system will be announced today to give fathers and grandparents greater access to children after separation.

Full story: The Times

Fathers to be offered more help

Fathers are to be offered more support in bringing up children, under new plans being set out by the government.

Full story: BBC News

Grandparents get easier route to see children in family splits

Children's secretary Ed Balls to abolish legal obstacle as he places grandparents at centre of family strategy for election

Full story: Guardian

Neglected children taken into care on the increase

Applications to take neglected or at-risk children into local authority care are running at "unprecedentedly high levels" as the effects of the Baby Peter case continue to be felt.

Full story: Guardian

The Children Act 1989 (Amendment of Miscellaneous Regulations) (No. 2) (Wales) Regulations 2009

These Regulations revoke The Children Act 1989 (Amendment of Miscellaneous Regulations) (Wales) Regulations 2009 which contained drafting errors.

Statutory Instrument

Cafcass: 40 per cent rise of children in care since Baby P tragedy

Over eight thousand children have been taken into care in the year since the Baby P tragedy came to light — an increase of some 40 per cent.

Full story: The Times

GSCC 'over-using powers to suspend social workers'

The General Social Care Council is overusing its powers to issue temporary bans against social workers who are the subject of complaints in a knee-jerk response to public safety concerns, a lawyer has claimed.

Full story: Community Care

Cost of increased care referrals estimated at £226m

The cost of taking children into care will rise by £226m this financial year, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

Full story: Community Care

Cafcass facing unprecedented levels of referrals

Care order referrals to Cafcass remain at "unprecedentedly high levels" in the wake of the Baby P case and look likely to stabilise at record highs, according to the family courts body's latest quarterly figures.

Full story: Community Care

Married couples set to get Tory tax breaks only if they have children

David Cameron has been given “permission” to scale back his proposals for a marriage tax break from Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of the original policy.

Full story: The Times

Appeal for new foster parents after surge in care proceedings

A leading charity has issued an urgent appeal for new foster carers to help cope with the surge of children being taken into care since the Baby P tragedy.

Full story: The Times

Most post-Baby P care cases 'appropriately timed', survey finds

Although the increase in section 31 applications "can be attributed to the 'Baby P effect', local authorities have taken the appropriate action in making most applications", according to a Cafcass survey looking at the reasons behind the rise in applications.

Full story: Community Care

ContactPoint database suffers 'serious' security breaches during trial phase

The controversial database containing personal details of all 11 million children in England has suffered at least three security breaches even before its nationwide launch.

Full story: Telegraph

Ed Balls attacks Conservative family tax break plans

Conservative proposals for tax breaks for married couples are "unfair" and amount to "social engineering", Schools Secretary Ed Balls has said.

Full story: BBC News

The Marco Pierre White recipe making divorce courts shiver

The chef’s battle over evidence used by his wife in their break-up could change the way such cases are held

Full story: Sunday Times

Social services shake off tainted image as 40,000 recruits sign up

More than 5,000 people registered to become social workers on a single day this month, a sign that the beleaguered profession may be shaking off its poor image.

Full story: The Times

Child maintenance confusion under the spotlight

Many children are still missing out on vital support out as parents remain in the dark

Full story: Guardian

Government refuses local authorities further funds in wake of Southwark judgment

Local authorities express concern about extra responsibilities incurred under section 20 of the Children Act

Full story: Family Law Week

US Supreme Court hears Hague Convention case

Court determines whether ne exeat rights are 'rights of custody'

Full story: Family Law Week

BASW to join national college group after all

The British Association of Social Workers will join the development group for a national college of social work despite its initial concerns about government interference.

Full story: Community Care

Art historian paedophile's six-figure divorce bid

An art historian and author who sexually abused the grandchildren of his former wife has failed in a second attempt to win a six-figure divorce settlement from her.

Full story: Telegraph

Frisbee heiress launches bid to overturn 'monstrously unfair' divorce settlement

An heiress to the hula hoop and Frisbee toy fortune launched a legal bid to overturn a "monstrously unfair" divorce settlement in which she was ordered to pay her husband £5 million to cover losses he suffered in the property crash.

Full story: Telegraph

Heiress fights order to pay ex-husband £5m in divorce

The ex-wife of a property tycoon returned to court yesterday in a bid to overturn a divorce ruling that she has to pay her former husband £5million to cover half his losses in the credit crunch.

Full story: Daily Express

Baby P: One in six Serious Case Reviews still inadequate, Ofsted claims

One in six investigations into serious child abuse is still inadequate, according to Ofsted.

Full story: Telegraph

Five-year-old stabbed 52 times by mother was 'let down' by health service

A five-year-old girl stabbed 52 times by her mother in a ritualistic-style killing was let down by the health service, a report published yesterday has found, more than six-and-a-half years after her death.

Full story: Guardian

Legal adviser duped couples into thinking they were divorced

A legal adviser tricked two estranged couples into believing they had been divorced in order to pocket their fees.

Full story: Telegraph

Cafcass Greater London is inadequate, says Ofsted

Ofsted has published a damning inspection report for Cafcass Greater London area classing its overall effectiveness "inadequate", the lowest grade possible.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

A quarter of separated parents don't know how to make private maintenance arrangements

Children could be missing out on maintenance because too many parents don't know how to sort out child maintenance after separation, according to a new survey.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Will children be any safer in 2010?

For anyone involved in child protection the last year must have felt like a traumatic roller coaster ride.

Full story: BBC News

Labour to unveil plans to help families stay together

Parents and families going through separation and relationship breakdown are to be promised more support, in plans expected from the government.

Full story: BBC News

Marco Pierre White challenge could change divorce battles for ever

Take one celebrity chef, separate him from his wife, sprinkle with allegations of intercepted letters, simmer and serve with a landmark ruling.

Full story: The Times

Marco Pierre White case shows how family lawyers can get into a stew

It may surprise those unfamiliar with acrimonious divorce battles that courts condone a degree of DIY detective work.

Full story: The Times

Union to take part in initial discussions on setting up national college

Setting up a national college of social work must not become a "distraction" from vital reforms such as tackling excessive workloads, Unison has warned.

Full story: Community Care

David Cameron: family matters to children more than income

Encouraging ‘warm’ and committed traditional two-parent families is a greater priority than tackling poverty with state handouts, David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has said.

Full story: Telegraph

Child maintenance confusion among parents 'is failing young'

YouGov says many children are missing out on maintenance payments as separated couples do not understand system

Full story: The Guardian

Gay Muslims made homeless by family violence

A UK charity is dealing with an increasing number of young gay Muslims becoming homeless after fleeing forced marriages and so-called honour violence.

Full story: BBC News

Father whose daughter is suing the Child Support Agency over their £43,000 demand is given two-year payment repreive

The Child Support Agency has issued a reprieve to a “hero” father whose daughter was threatening legal action over its treatment of him.

Full story: Telegraph

More children at risk as cases of neglect soar, charity warns

One of the UK's leading children's charities has issued a stark warning that the child protection system is failing neglected infants, sometimes with fatal consequences, despite the number of children being placed on protection plans for neglect rising by almost 30% in five years.

Full story: The Observer

Breaking up is even harder to do in a recession

Difficulties in reaching an amicable financial settlement make divorce an even more painful process

Full story: The Times

Negative equity forces rowing couples to continue living under same roof

The recession is ... to blame for forcing couples that want to split up to remain living together, according to housing charity Shelter.

Full story: The Independent

Social workers failing women facing forced marriage, says report

Vulnerable women and girls at risk of being forced into marriage are being failed by social services who are not using powers to protect them, according to a government review seen by the Guardian.

Full story: The Guardian

Special protection orders save nine-year-olds from forced marriages

Children as young as nine have been rescued from forced marriages under new special protection orders, The Times can disclose.

Full story: The Times

Divorce lawyers launch campaign to help couples end marriages more easily

Divorce lawyers have launched a campaign for new laws to allow couples to end their marriages more easily.

Full story: Daily Mail

David Cameron admits he 'messed up' over tax breaks for marriage

David Cameron was forced into a rare 'mea culpa' today, admitting that he had made a mess of describing his party's policy on tax breaks for married couples in an interview on Monday.

Full story: The Times

Rise in sham marriages to beat UK immigration laws

The number of suspected sham marriages by illegal immigrants has leapt by more than half in the past year.

Full story: BBC News

Opposition to the Media Bill

A briefing paper on Part 2 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill has been sent by the Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children to 647 members of the House of Commons in readiness for the Second Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons on Monday 11 January.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Family mediation pilot achieves mixed results

A pilot scheme making family mediation available at court to legally aided parties in disputes involving children has cost more than expected and achieved modest settlement rates, the Gazette has learned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Solicitors predict number of divorces will rocket following surge in enquiries

Family solicitors reported a surge in divorce enquiries before Christmas and have predicted that the number of divorces will rocket in 2010, with January likely to be the busiest month.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Leading lawyers call for quicker 'no-fault' divorces

Britain's medieval fault-based divorce system must be reformed so that couples are free to end their marriage without having to blame each other for the break-up, an overwhelming majority of lawyers have told the Government.

Full story: The Independent

Child services in Leeds still 'inadequate'

Children's care services in Leeds have been branded "inadequate" by inspectors for the second time in five months.

Full story: BBC News

One in five children live in married couple families

The proportion of households that make up a 'traditional' family unit in Great Britain has almost halved in 50 years.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

BASW ponders its role in social work college talks

The British Association of Social Workers is considering pulling out of efforts to develop a national college of social work because of fears over government interference.

Full story: Community Care

Birmingham social services children's director told to 'stop making excuses'

The man brought in to fix Birmingham Council's troubled children's services has been told to "stop making excuses" after blaming stress levels for high absence rates among social workers.

Full story: Community Care

Conservatives search for marriage tax break solution after ruling out Duncan Smith's solution

The Conservatives have ruled out using the marriage tax break that their former leader Iain Duncan Smith has advocated in his report into ‘Broken Britain’ because it is too costly.

Full story: Telegraph

Tories downgrade their promises on tax breaks for married couples

The Tories have downgraded their promise of tax breaks to married couples, saying that due to the dire state of the public finances it will only be possible to offer a limited scheme.

Full story: The Times

Cameron stumbles over marriage tax breaks

Labour claimed last night that the Conservatives are in disarray over their pledge to recognise marriage through the tax system.

Full story: The Times

Tories restate their tax commitment to marriage

The Conservatives say they remain committed to supporting marriage through the tax system, amid Labour claims that the plans are in disarray.

Full story: BBC News

Shop around at

It has already revolutionised the travel and personal finance industries - and now the price comparison website may do the same for marital break-ups with the launch of

Full story: The Times

Divorce Day heralds rising toll of marital strife in 2010

The number of couples seeking a divorce is set to peak today - the first working day after the Christmas and New Year break - according to research.

Full story: Daily Mail

Legal aid cuts could prevent crucial cases being heard, say lawyers

New plans to slash the legal aid bill will deprive the public of a crucial way of challenging government policy in the courts, preventing some of the most important cases from being heard, experts warn.

Full story: The Guardian

Court of Public Protection should be opened to media, top judge says

One of Britain’s most secret courts is set to be opened up to the media in a move that could boost public confidence after widespread criticism of its workings.

Full story: The Times

Why former City high-flyers start the new year by planning to divorce

Upmarket law firms are bracing themselves for a surge in divorce applications after Christmas as the pressures of the credit crunch make January an even busier time than usual.

Full story: The Observer

Tories would send thousands of children in care to boarding school

Thousands of places at state boarding schools would be created under Tory plans to give children in care access to benefits normally reserved for those who can afford a private education.

Full story: The Times

Third of abducted children not returned home after a year

Hague convention lets down youngsters forcibly taken from England and Wales, says campaign group

Full story: The Guardian

Economic recovery boosts the divorce rate

Divorce lawyers predict record business in January after takings plunged during the recession.

Full story: Daily Mail

City broker wins right to contest £125,000 maintenance

A 'stellar' City broker who hired a team of private detectives to prove his ex-wife was living with another man has won the right to contest in court the £125,000 maintenance he pays her.

Full story: Telegraph