Child's death 'not preventable'

A review into the death of a girl smothered by her mother in Newport says it could not have been "predicted or prevented" by the agencies involved.

Full story: BBC News

Court battle of wife and mistress settled

The court battle between the wife and former mistress of an accountant over the £3.2 million property portfolio he built up came to an abrupt halt today.

Full story: The Independent

Children's social workers 'should work in pairs'

Children's social workers are asking to be paired on cases where there may be a risk to their safety.

Full story: Community Care

Children ‘at risk’ over expert witness fee cuts

Vulnerable children will pay the price if social workers are excluded from being expert family court witnesses, family practitioners have warned the government.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Labour 'wastes' £61,000 promoting ContactPoint database

Ministers have been accused of squandering public money after spending £61,000 on mugs and pens to promote a controversial children’s database.

Full story: The Telegraph

Blackpool project helps young victims of domestic violence

Historically, child victims of domestic violence have remained hidden, but a scheme in Blackpool makes them visible to local agencies.

Full story: Community Care

Plymouth girl abused despite social services visits

A girl from Plymouth was repeatedly abused by her parents, despite social services investigating seven times.

Full story: BBC News

Charity blasts Child Support Agency for failing to collect child maintenance debt

The Child Support Agency has been slammed by single-parent charity Gingerbread, after the latest figures revealed efforts to recoup child maintenance debts are slowing down.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

More state cash for singles, says report

The majority of people would receive more state help if they were single rather than part of a couple, a report claimed today.

Full story: The Independent

Christian counsellor loses court fight over sacking

Former Anglican archbishop intervenes but judge rebuffs man sacked for refusing to counsel homosexual couple.

Full story: The Guardian

Shoesmith 'will take some time' to decide whether to appeal

Sharon Shoesmith has yet to decide if she will appeal the decision in her application for a judicial review of her sacking, or continue with her application to the Employment Tribunal.

Full story: Community Care

'Chaotic' child protection worker struck off

A social worker who exposed children to "extended risk of harm" by failing to follow child protection procedures has been struck off by the General Social Care Council.

Full story: Community Care

Increase in violence against children may be linked to rise in care order fees

A report by Cardiff University has found that there has been a 7.5 per cent increase in the number of cases of children aged up to 10 being treated for assault injuries in hospitals in England and Wales.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

NSPCC slams parties' silence on child protection

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has hit out over a lack of commitment from politicians to protecting child protection resources.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Balls warns against move away from universal provision

Labour's children's secretary Ed Balls has warned against "ghettoising" children's services by moving away from universal provision.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Accountant's wronged wife and stablegirl mistress in battle over £3.2m property porfolio

The wife and former stablegirl mistress of a millionaire accountant faced each other in court yesterday in a bitter battle over his £3.2 million property portfolio.

Full story: Telegraph

Smacking Ban Debate

The Government has been criticised from the Council of Europe for failing to introduce a total ban on the smacking of children.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Tory advisers plan to cut red tape in child protection

The Conservatives have put cutting bureaucracy in child protection and a focus on families at the heart of their policies in children's social care.

Full story: Community Care

Shoesmith judge questions children's secretary's role

The powers of the children's secretary to effectively dismiss directors of children's services (DCS) has been questioned by the judge in the Shoesmith case.

Full story: Community Care

High rate of mental health issues in London serious case reviews

Serious case reviews in London identified mental health as a problem affecting the care of children in 60 per cent of families, compared to just 24 per cent nationally, a region-wide study has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

ADCS survey reveals extent of pressure on child protection

Last week's survey of referrals by the Association of Directors of Children's Services showed the extent to which child protection is under pressure.

Full story: Community Care

Court of Appeal approves extradition in long-running child abduction case

The Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal by Elizabeth Prosser in judicial review proceedings in which she claimed that the Secretary of State was wrong to order her extradition to the United States on charges including abduction of her daughter.

Full story: Family Law Week

Dr David Southall wins in appeal against GMC

The paediatrician Dr David Southall has won an appeal from a High Court judgment which had dismissed in its entirety an appeal brought by him from a decision of the Fitness to Practice Panel of the General Medical Council.

Full story: Family Law Week

How effective are UK civil partnerships in Spain?

An increasing number of British same-sex couples are finding that their civil partnership may be ineffective in Spain for the purposes of inheritance tax and welfare benefits.

Full story: Family Law Week

High Court judge criticises Balls over Haringey chief’s dismissal

Ed Balls was criticised heavily by a High Court judge for suggesting that Sharon Shoesmith, the former director of children’s services at Haringey Council, deserved to be sacked with no payoff at the height of the Baby P scandal.

Full story: The Times

Shoesmith ruling will continue blame culture in children's services

Sharon Shoesmith’s failure to secure a judicial review of her sacking will perpetuate the demonisation of social workers, sector leaders have said.

Full story: Community Care

Sharon Shoesmith disappointed by High Court verdict

Sharon Shoesmith has said she is "disappointed" by the failure of the High Court to uphold her claim for unfair dismissal.

Full story: Community Care

Baby Peter sacking 'was lawful', the High Court rules

The former head of children's services at Haringey Council who claims she was unfairly sacked after the death of Baby Peter has lost her case.

Full story: BBC News

Judgement expected on Shoesmith case

The High Court is due to rule on on whether Sharon Shoesmith was unfairly sacked following the public outcry over the death of Baby Peter.

Full story: BBC News

Property tycoon in £400m divorce battle declared bankrupt

Woman who claimed husband had hidden his fortune now could end up with nothing.

Full story: The Independent

Foster failure sparks rethink on children’s homes

Figures this week show the yawning gap between the educational achievements of children in care and those of children generally.

Full story: The Times

Wife claiming '£400m' divorce settlement set to lose out as ex-husband declares himself bankrupt

A tycoon said to be worth £400million who was ordered to pay £27,500 a month maintenance to his estranged wife has been declared bankrupt, a High Court judge was told today.

Full story: Daily Mail

Tycoon divorce case returns to courts

Tycoon Scot Young and his estranged wife return to the High Court today over matters said to relate to the £27,500 a month maintenance he was ordered to pay.

Full story: The Independent

Child’s view holds sway in international abduction case

A six-year-old girl has become the youngest child to have her views influence a court’s decision, in an international child abduction case.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Judge criticises social services over baby’s death by heater

A judge has criticised social services for a “startling” lack of urgency in their handling of a vulnerable toddler who was found dead by paramedics strapped in a buggy in front of a heater, in a soiled nappy.

Full story: The Times

ADCS rejects claim over 'rise' in assaults against children

The Association of Directors of Children's Services has cast doubt on a claim, widely reported in today's newspapers, that more children are being assaulted as a result of the cost of putting children into care.

Full story: Community Care

'8% rise' in violence on children

The number of young children injured in violent attacks has risen 8% in a year, according to a survey of accident and emergency units in England and Wales.

Full story: BBC News

Number of children at risk up a third in two years

The number of children considered at risk of harm increased by a third in the two years after Baby Peter's death, but social worker numbers only rose by 10%, a survey found.

Full story: The Independent

Sharp rise in children at risk

The number of children deemed at risk of harm has increased by a third in the wake of the Baby P scandal, a survey has disclosed.

Full story: Telegraph

General Election 2010: study deals blow to marriage tax breaks

The marital status of parents has little impact on a child’s development, a study finds.

Full story: Telegraph

Councils struggling with big rise in child referrals

The number of children made subject to a child protection plan because they are at risk of neglect or abuse has increased by a third in the two years since Baby Peter's death, according to a survey.

Full story: The Guardian

ADCS reveals extent of strain on child protection

The full extent of the crisis facing child protection teams has been revealed by an Association of Directors of Children's Services survey published this week.

Full story: Community Care

Increase in child safety warnings

Social workers in England have seen a sharp rise in the number of child safety worries brought to their attention, researchers say.

Full story: BBC News

Government to intervene in troubled Doncaster Council

The government will intervene in a failing council after a report found it was not capable of making improvements.

Full story: BBC News

Girls saved from forced marriage

It has emerged that two girls living in Northern Ireland have been made the subject of a court order to stop them being forced into marriage in Pakistan.

Full story: BBC News

Marriage does little for child development, study finds

Tory plans for tax cut questioned as Institute for Fiscal Studies finds parents of children who fare better would marry anyway.

Full story: The Guardian

Doncaster Council faces government intervention

Doncaster Council is facing government intervention as the result of its "deep-seated culture of poor governance", following a report by the Audit Commission into the council's fitness-for-purpose.

Full story: Community Care

Solicitor sues own firm for bad divorce settlement

A solicitor is suing his own firm for negligence and damages in the region of £300,000 in connection with advice he received ­concerning his divorce.

Full story: The Lawyer

Council tried to seize ‘veggie’ child

A COUPLE have won a legal battle to prevent social workers taking their five-year-old son into care after the authorities claimed that his health had been damaged by a meat-and-dairy-free diet.

Full story: The Sunday Times

Up to 75% of births to be outside marriage

THREE-QUARTERS of children in some parts of Britain will be born to unmarried mothers within the next parliament, official figures indicate.

Full story: The Sunday Times

A taxing problem for single-issue campaigners

The Conservatives' promise to give preferential treatment to married couples has mobilised a new force in British politics.

Full story: The Independent

Harriet Harman attacks Tory marriage tax breaks and defends own role

Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, has accused David Cameron of "smug Victorian finger-wagging over marriage", as a campaign is launched to refuse the Tories' £3-a-week tax break for couples and hand the money to charity if the Conservatives get into power.

Full story: The Guardian

Coercing GPs to attend conferences will not work

Coercing GPs into attending child protection case conferences will do nothing to improve safeguarding.

Full story: Community Care

LSCB accused of watering down serious case review

Swansea Safeguarding Children Board has been accused of removing criticisms of social workers made during a serious case review from the published executive summary.

Full story: Community Care

Children's worker struck off for lying about home visits

A children's social worker has been struck off for lying to her manager about 69 visits to eight children on the at-risk register.

Full story: Community Care

Legal first as girl, 5, consulted in 'tug-of-love' court case

A five-year-old girl involved in a “tug-of-love” case has made legal history after being consulted by a court about which parent she wants to live with.

Full story: Telegraph

Boy, 8, who hanged himself 'let down' by social services

An eight-year-old boy who hanged himself in his bedroom was let down by the failings of social services and police, an inquest heard.

Full story: Telegraph

Lib Dems would publish serious case reviews in full

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to publish anonymised serious case reviews in full, as part of their general election manifesto.

Full story: Community Care

Fears over child care lawyer shortage

A shortage of child care solicitors has led to a rise in the use of unqualified paralegal staff to present cases on behalf of local authorities, the Gazette has learned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Media reporting bill ‘threat’ to vulnerable children

Measures rushed through parliament at the ‘eleventh hour’ to allow greater media reporting of the family courts will put vulnerable children at risk, lawyers have warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

BASW wants to meet Lord Justice Wall after court criticism

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has requested a meeting with Lord Justice Wall, the new president of the family division of the High Court, after his comments that social workers are perceived as "arrogant and enthusiastic removers of children".

Full story: Community Care

Council criticised over boy left with child abuser

A council was criticised for the way it investigated complaints that a young boy was left alone with a convicted child abuser, it was reported today.

Full story: The Independent

Boy 'suffered' after Pembrokeshire council 'delay'

Serious shortcomings have been found in the way a council dealt with concerns about the welfare of a child.

Full story: BBC News

Is justice being done for the parents who lose their children?

The new top family judge has a track record in standing up to social workers, says Cassandra Jardine.

Full story: Telegraph

Devon children's workers 'behaved like Stalinists'

The actions of social workers in Devon have been characterised as being "more like Stalin's Russia or Mao's China than the West of England" in the Court of Appeal.

Full story: Community Care

Judge shocked by social workers who split families

New head of family courts warns against 'arrogance' as care applications soar in wake of Baby P case.

Full story: Guardian

Judge in charge of family courts criticises ‘arrogant social workers’

Social workers have been criticised as “arrogant and enthusiastic removers of children from their parents” by the judge who takes charge of the family courts today.

Full story: The Times

Judges criticise social workers in Devon and Greenwich

A judge at the Court of Appeal has criticised attempts by Devon social workers to take a baby away from his teenage mother and have him adopted.

Full story: BBC News

Great Ormond Street report on Baby P 'not disclosed'

Detailed criticisms of the failings of Great Ormond Street Hospital over Baby Peter were never disclosed to the original inquiries into the toddler's death, it has emerged.

Full story: BBC News

Social workers 'enthusiastic removers of children'

Social workers in Greenwich have been strongly criticised by the Court of Appeal over moves to permanently remove young children from their mothers.

Full story: The Press Association

Social worker 'faked visits to at risk children'

A senior social worker falsely claimed to have made 70 visits to children at the 'highest level of risk' when in fact she had delegated the job to a student colleague, a hearing was told.

Full story: Telegraph

Glimmer of hope for parents as court halts 'forced adoption' of their 18-month-old daughter

A couple who fled to Spain to prevent their unborn child being taken away by social services were today battling to prevent their eldest child being adopted.

Full story: Daily Mail

Government thinks Cafcass can do better

Children's minister Baroness Delyth Morgan has said Cafcass will not be allowed to axe the named guardian system while its statutory duties remain in place.

Full story: Community Care

Child maintenance changes expected to lift children out of poverty

Child maintenance payments will no longer be curtailed for parents receiving income support, under changes to the system, which come into effect today.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Child protection expert Lord Laming defends reforms Tory want to scrap

Conservatives claim changes have added to bureaucracy and buck-passing.

Full story: The Guardian

George Osborne says Tories will 'consider gay marriage'

The Tories would be "very happy" to consider same-sex marriage if elected, George Osborne has told gay activists.

Full story: BBC News

Gordon Brown: marriage tax break will harm children

GORDON BROWN yesterday attacked the Conservative plan to give married couples a tax break, warning that it would take money away from children and hurt widows.

Full story: The Times

Plan to end ‘gold digger’ divorces

ONE of Britain’s leading family lawyers, Baroness Deech, says that assets built up before a marriage should be excluded from divorce settlements.

Full story: The Times

Tories to offer tax breaks for married couples

The Conservatives are proposing to give four million married couples and civil partners an annual £150 tax break.

Full story: BBC News

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”. These Regulations come into force on the day after the day on which they are made.

Statutory Instrument

Children, Schools and Families Act 2010

An Act to make provision about children with disabilities or special educational needs, school and other education, and governing bodies’ powers; to make provision amending the Education Acts; to make provision about Local Safeguarding Children Boards; and to make provision about publication of information relating to family proceedings.

Print version (PDF)

General Election 2010: Ken Clarke admits 'scepticism' about marriage tax breaks

Ken Clarke, the shadow business secretary, has admitted he was "sceptical" over Conservative plans to reward marriage in the tax system.

Full story: Telegraph

Lords approve further media access to family proceedings

Last night the House of Lords agreed to Part 2 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill, paving the way for the Bill to become legislation and allow further media access in family proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Children, Schools and Families Bill could be made law by Monday

The Children, Schools and Families Bill has been caught up in the rush to push through legislation before Parliament is dissolved on Monday for the general election.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

NSPCC calls for reform of child abuse inquiries

The NSPCC has urged a major overhaul of the system for investigating cases of child abuse and neglect, saying it is too costly, too slow and may not work.

Full story: BBC News

Sir Nicholas Wall: a doughty fighter for family justice who will speak up

So it’s Sir Nicholas Wall, after all. The impasse between judges and the Government ended last week when Wall was announced as head of the Family Division, the most senior family judge in England and Wales.

Full story: The Times

Family courts to be open to media as Bill is pushed through ahead of the election

Family courts are likely to be opened up to the media following government moves to rush the Children, Schools and Families Bill through parliament before it dissolves this week.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted says serious case reviews take too long

Most serious case reviews are taking too long to complete, according to a recent report by Ofsted.

Full story: Community Care

Survivors of forced marriage go on UK tour

Victims will travel country urging children at risk to tell the authorities of their fears.

Full story: The Independent

Stay-at-home fathers 'up by 900%'

The number of stay-at-home fathers in the UK has risen 10-fold in the last decade, a survey suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Cafcass plan to tackle mounting court applications slammed

Guardians body Cafcass is planning to introduce a category of guardian which would see guardians employed by the family courts body having a 'watching brief' over cases.

Full story: Community Care

Child abduction alert service set for May launch

A nationwide alert system to enlist members of the public to help find abducted children will be launched next month.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Couples who pay surrogate mothers could lose right to raise the child

Childless couples who acquire a baby using a surrogate mother abroad risk not being recognised as its parents in Britain if they flout British law by paying fees, fertility lawyers have warned.

Full story: Guardian

Conservatives to announce £600m marriage tax break

The Conservatives are putting the final touches to a £600 million plan to help married couples which will be a cornerstone of their election manifesto.

Full story: Telegraph

Cameron puts £1bn marriage support plan at heart of campaign... and insists 'the message matters more than the money'

David Cameron is to put support for marriage at the heart of the Conservative push for power.

Full story: Daily Mail

Ed Balls denies influencing Baby P report on Sharon Shoesmith

Children's secretary says he would make the same decision today over Haringey's head of children's services.

Full story: Guardian

Baby P boss Sharon Shoesmith in line for £1m

Sharon Shoesmith could be in line for a payment of up to £1 million for unfair dismissal over the “Baby P” case after the release of previously unseen documents.

Full story: Telegraph

By the final draft, all criticisms of police and NHS had been deleted

Almost three years after the death of “Baby P”, the row over who was to blame shows no sign of diminishing.

Full story: The Times

Baby P report on Sharon Shoesmith 'was beefed up to remove her'

Lawyers claim dossier on Haringey's handling of Baby Peter case had positive notes about its children's services director overwritten with harsh criticisms after interference from the office of Ed Balls, the children's secretary.

Full story: Guardian

New family law and policy network

As family policy becomes a hot topic for the General Election, experts from the University of Bristol's School of Law are collaborating with four other leading universities to set up a new family law and policy network.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

Sharon Shoesmith papers released by court

Key court documents have been released relating to the sacking of social services chief Sharon Shoesmith after the death of Baby Peter in London.

Full story: BBC News

Government-funded guide 'teaches grandmothers to suck eggs'

A government-funded guide telling grandparents how to help their families will be launched today, risking accusations that the state is trying to teach grandmothers “to suck eggs”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Baby P: local child abuse and care statistics

Where has the highest number of sexual abuse cases? How many children get taken into care? These are the latest figures.

Full story: Guardian

Lord Justice Wall appointed President of the Family Division

Downing Street has ended months of speculation from family lawyers by confirming that Sir Nicholas Wall has been appointed as the President of the Family Division with effect from 13 April following the retirement of Sir Mark Potter on 5 April 2010.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch

New family practice direction promotes mediation

A new practice direction that will encourage parties in family proceedings towards mediation comes into force today.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

President renews Interim Guidance

The President of the Family Division, Sir Mark Potter, has announced he is extending the Interim Guidance intended to assist Cafcass for a further six months.

Full story: Family Law Newswatch