Family Justice Review to examine role of Cafcass

The Family Justice Review will examine the effectiveness of Cafcass and where efficiency savings can be made in family courts the government today confirmed.

Full story: Community Care

Family justice – your views on its future

The Family Justice Review Panel, appointed by the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Education, and the Welsh Assembly Government, today launched a ‘Call for Evidence’ so that anyone with an interest in the family justice system can contribute their views on how it can work better in the future.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

'Publishing SCRs in full would attract less media attention'

Publishing serious case reviews in full would make them less interesting to the media, children's minister Tim Loughton has told Community Care.

Full story: Community Care

Eileen Munro’s safeguarding review panel unveiled

The panel that will help Professor Eileen Munro in her review of the child protection system has been revealed exclusively to Community Care.

Full story: Community Care

Divorce lawyers use Facebook to gather evidence

A new study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has found that 81% of their members say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years.

Full story: Family Law

Demos care proposals go against government thinking, says ADCS

Recommendations in a major report on improving the care system will be too costly to deliver and conflict with new government policy, a senior children's professional has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Munro: Thresholds are wrong for children's services

Thresholds should not be applied to children's services, according to Professor Eileen Munro, who has been put in charge of the government's review of children's social care.

Full story: Community Care

Report for Barnardo’s recommends earlier care interventions

In Loco Parentis report suggests better outcomes for the child and savings for the taxpayer.

Full story: Family Law Week

Care delays cost £30,000 a child every year

Delays and instability when taking a child into care cost councils £32,755 a child each year, according to a report from the think-tank Demos.

Full story: Community Care

Permission to appeal granted in Jones v Jones

Wife of oil and gas millionaire seeks to overturn High Court award.

Full story: Family Law Week

Judge presses for abandoned mother's return to her baby

The Home Office will come under pressure this week to reunite a British baby boy with his mother after the High Court ruled that she had been stranded deliberately in Pakistan by her husband and in-laws who wanted to keep her son.

Full story: The Independent

Study reveals financial cost of negative care experiences

Looked-after children who move placement repeatedly and have a negative experience of care can cost councils up to £32,755 more each year than their counterparts in stable homes, a report by Demos and Barnardo's has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Family court body review 'needed'

The body that looks after the interests of children involved in family court proceedings in England is lurching from "crisis to crisis", a union says.

Full story: BBC News

Children should be allowed to remain in care system until 24, Demos says

Children should be allowed to remain in the care system until they are 24, according to a think-tank.

Full story: The Telegraph

Barnardo's boss says more children need to be placed in care

One in three children who should be taken into care are being left with inadequate parents, says chief executive of children's charity.

Full story: The Guardian

Call for early care intervention

Taking vulnerable children into care earlier could save on emotional and financial costs, a study suggests.

Full story: BBC News

Father whose 'shaken baby' conviction was quashed faces new access battle

Ben Butler, whose conviction for harming his baby daughter in a "shaken baby syndrome" case has been overturned by the Court of Appeal, now faces a new legal battle in the Family Courts for the right to see his little girl.

Full story: The Telegraph

Divorce decrees absolute rise in first quarter of 2010

There were 30,400 decrees absolute granted for the dissolution of marriage in the first quarter of 2010 (an increase of 6 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2009).

Full story: Family Law Week

Gas tycoon gareth Jones's ex-wife challenges £5m divorce payout as 'simply not enough'

The former wife of a retired oil and gas millionaire has launched a legal battle to overturn her £5 million divorce payout complaining it is “simply not enough”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Mounting support for a review of Poel and Payne

Following Lord Justice Wall adding his support last February in Re D (Children) [2010] EWCA Civ 50 for a review of Payne v Payne [2001] 1 FLR 1052, Mr Justice Mostyn has said a review of Payne by the Supreme Court is urgently needed.

Full story: Family Law

Council adoption services criticised for mistakes in matching children with families

Council-run adoption services have been criticised for a series of blunders and delays in matching looked-after children with families.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Nottinghamshire picks up £1.5m bill for social work agency staff

Nottinghamshire County Council has spent more than £1.5m on social work agency staff to help deal with an increase in child protection cases.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Strasbourg court rules that states are not obliged to allow gay marriage

European Court of Human Rights finds that there was no violation of human rights for Austrian couple denied the right to marry.

Full story: The Guardian

To wed or not to wed? Not, say statistics

People who never marry will outnumber wedded couples for the first time within a generation, an official report showed revealed yesterday.

Full story: The Telegraph

Consultations on local courts published

Ministers announced today proposals to modernise and improve the use of courts in England and Wales.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Doncaster council children's services 'still poor'

Child protection services in Doncaster remain "unacceptably poor" more than a year after the government intervened to run them, a report has revealed.

Full story: BBC News

Fundamental look at legal aid system begins

The government today announced a fundamental look at the legal aid system, designed to create a stable and sustainable system providing access to justice for those who need it most.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Benefits: Families and disabled people will be hit by 'Thatcherite' cuts

Yvette Cooper warns families with young children will suffer and severely disabled people will be worse off.

Full story: The Guardian

Budget 2010: Single parents must work when child turns five

Income support initiative estimated to save £380m by 2015, but concerns raised over lack of part-time, flexible work.

Full story: The Guardian

2010 Budget: Child tax credits cut and child benefit frozen

From April 2011 families with an income of more than £40,000 will see their eligibility for child tax credits reduced, George Osborne announces.

Full story: The Guardian

Emergency Budget: Campaigners fear child poverty will worsen under coalition plans

Child poverty in the UK is set to get worse as a result of today's emergency Budget, a leading campaign group on the issue has claimed.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Salford children's protection service 'inadequate'

Children's safeguarding services in Salford have been criticised as "inadequate" by Ofsted.

Full story: BBC News

Mr Justice Mostyn calls for review of Poel and Payne

Last week's judgment in Re AR (A Child: Relocation) advances the debate concerning the permanent removal of children from the jurisdiction against the wishes of the remaining parent.

Full story: Family Law Week

Facebook poses risk to adopted children and families, charity warns

Facebook and other social websites pose a serious threat to adopted children, according to a charity.

Full story: The Telegraph

Fathers 'should be paid' to stay with partner and children

Fathers who stay with their partner to look after their children should be paid up to £2,000 a year in tax credits, Frank Field, the government's 'poverty tsar', has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Court orders local authority to pay £100,000 towards LSC costs

HHJ Bellamy, sitting as a Judge of the High Court, has awarded parents £50,000 each towards settlement of their costs, funded by the Legal Services Commission under high costs contracts, in failed care proceedings.

Full story: Family Law Week

Landmark legislation for children and young people’s rights in Wales

Wales is set to become the first part of the United Kingdom to embed the rights of children and young people into legislation.

Full story: Family Law Week

Mother whose children were taken for adoption joins class action

More than 100 British families who say they have been treated unfairly by social services departments and the family courts are preparing to launch an unprecedented case at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, arguing that their human rights have been breached.

Full story: The Telegraph

Surrey denies child protection report link with Dispatches

Surrey Council has promised to deliver an annual report on child protection in the county in return for the removal of government intervention, put in place two years ago.

Full story: Community Care

Dame Jill Black appointed to Court of Appeal

Appointment follows Sir Nicholas Wall’s appointment as President of the Family Division.

Full story: Family Law Week

Torbay director apologises for failing to resolve safeguarding issues

The director of children's services at Torbay Council has apologised personally after Ofsted uncovered several problems with local safeguarding procedures in a no-notice inspection.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Lesbian mother cannot be forced to pay maintenance

A lesbian whose former partner bore a child through artificial insemination cannot be ordered to pay any maintenance, a High Court judge ruled today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Clegg outlines plans to improve children's fortunes

Nick Clegg has outlined plans to make the UK a better place for children, saying for too many childhood is a time of "stress, anxiety and insecurity".

Full story: BBC News

Twin babies case reopens debate over when social workers should act

SOCIAL workers and health experts admit the decision to remove a baby from its parents' care is a difficult one to judge.

Full story: this is Nottingham

Increased legal rights for grandparents under new family reforms

Grandparents are to have increased legal rights to see children when couples split under proposals to be announced by Nick Clegg on Thursday.

Full story: The Telegraph

Baby P: Government lawyer apologises for handling of Sharon Shoesmith court case

The head of the Government’s legal team has apologised for failings in the preparation of a high-profile court case involving Sharon Shoesmith, the council chief blamed for the Baby P scandal.

Full story: The Telegraph

Fostering services underfunded by £580m, report says.

A further £580m is needed to develop a properly resourced fostering service that meets the needs of children in care a report out today has claimed.

Full story: Community Care

Nick Clegg to unveil new taskforce on childhood and families

Proposals to resolve fundamental coalition differences on family policy and whether marriage should be recognised in tax system.

Full story: The Guardian

Threat of cuts could cause crisis in foster care facilities

A crisis is looming in the foster care system. There is a shortage of 10,000 foster parents and a demographic time bomb means that two thirds are approaching retirement.

Full story: The Independent

Shannon Matthews: Kirklees social services cleared

The abduction of Shannon Matthews could not have been foreseen by social services involved with her family, a serious case review has concluded.

Full story: BBC News

Serious case review of Shannon Matthews first to be published since Government pledge

The role of social services in the chaotic life of Shannon Matthews, the schoolgirl abducted by her own family, will be published in a serious case review on Wednesday.

Full story: The Telegraph

Parents with learning disabilities feel harshly judged by social workers

Parents with learning disabilities feel the most harshly judged by social workers according to a report from the children's commissioner published today.

Full story: Community Care

Warning for Munro review from former taskforce members

Former members of the Social Work Task Force have warned that the government's review of child protection in England must deliver "quick and meaningful" conclusions.

Full story: Community Care

Lynne Featherstone requests Baby P public inquiry

A Liberal Democrat Home Office minister has called for a public inquiry into the death of Baby P, despite this being ruled out by the government.

Full story: Community Care

Ministers halt child abuse vetting scheme

The vetting scheme for nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is to be halted.

Full story: BBC News

Sir Roger Singleton quits child protection role

Sir Roger Singleton has announced he will step down from his role as the chief adviser to the government on the safety of children following the scrapping of the cross-departmental National Safeguarding Delivery Unit.

Full story: Community Care

£4bn in child maintenance targeted

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says he will force the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (Cmec) to collect almost £4 billion in unpaid money.

Full story: Press Association

Child protection referrals to increase by almost 35%

An estimated 61,000 children will come into the care system in England in the next two years, according to the Local Government Association.

Full story: Family Law

Sector experts urge Munro review to focus on workloads

Sector experts have called for the Munro review of child protection to focus on what really needs to be improved in the current system and not just "change for change's sake".

Full story: Community Care

Baby Peter doctor 'missed unique opportunity'

The GP who saw Baby Peter missed a "unique opportunity" to send him to hospital just eight days before his death, a hearing has been told.

Full story: BBC News

GP faces GMC over Baby P abuse

A GP will appear before the General Medical Council today accused of failing to investigate whether Baby P was suffering abuse after the little boy attended his surgery with bruises and other injuries.

Full story: The Independent

President issues guidance to judges and Magistrates on split hearings but guidance does not constitute a practice direction

The President's office has confirmed to Family Law Week that advice given to judges and magistrates recently by the President in relation to split hearings is guidance only and does not constitute a practice direction.

Full story: Family Law Week

CSA sees rise in parents paying maintenance in Wales

NEARLY 15,000 more children in Wales are receiving child maintenance payments than five years ago.

Full story: WalesOnline

Munro Review to look at children’s social work and frontline child protection practice

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has appointed Professor Eileen Munro of the London School of Economics to conduct an independent review of children's social work and frontline child protection practice.

Full story: Family Law Week

Serious Case Reviews must be published, says Government

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Tim Loughton MP, has written to all chairs of local safeguarding children boards, and directors of children's services to confirm that the overview report and the executive summary of all new serious case reviews initiated henceforth should be published.

Full story: Family Law Week

Rocky start to the Court of Protection

The Court of Protection has published its first report since it was set up in October 2007 which reveals that it has suffered a number of setbacks that have led to long delays in dealing with applications.

Full story: Family Law

Women’s charity fears World Cup surge in domestic violence

Police forces and hospitals across England are preparing to deal with an increase in binge drinking, domestic violence and street crime during the World Cup.

Full story: The Times

Millions may lose out in reform of child benefits

A radical reform of child benefits, including ending payments to more than seven million families when their children reach the age of 13, is being considered by the Government’s new poverty adviser.

Full story: The Times

Database that logged the names of 11m children is scrapped

A computer database meant to list the names and details of all 11 million children in England will be scrapped, ministers said today.

Full story: Daily Mail

Help for families of children at risk

An audacious charity project that places volunteers with families of children on the at-risk register has won a significant award for its achievements.

Full story: The Times

Munro Review: Loughton warns councils not to skimp on safeguarding

Local authorities will have "no excuse" to "skimp" on funding social work, despite cuts to council grant funding, the junior children's minister has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

New social work model brings hope

Three years ago, the inner London borough of Hackney undertook a radical reform of child protection.

Full story: BBC News

Overhaul of child protection will put social workers back on frontline

Review will slash bureaucracy faced by social workers, freeing time to spend with vulnerable families, says government.

Full story: The Guardian

Eileen Munro spells out child protection review brief

The government's review of child protection, led by Eileen Munro, professor of social work at the London School of Economics, will look at early intervention and transparency as well as at slashing bureaucracy and improving inspections.

Full story: Community Care

Government orders review of child protection in England

An independent review of child protection and social work in England has been ordered by the government.

Full story: BBC News

New rules address ‘appalling’ child care delays

New rules for appointing guardians in care proceedings were introduced in London this week, in a bid to reduce ‘appalling’ delays which family solicitors have warned are ‘worse than ever’.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Barristers turn brokers as credit crunch hits divorce

The wife of the celebrity chef Marco Pierre White was due to enter the divorce courts on her own next week, without lawyers, to battle for a share of her husband’s estimated £50 million wealth. But publicity in The Times about her case has prompted a potential rescuer — in the unlikely shape of a criminal set of barristers’ chambers.

Full story: The Times

LGA report finds social workers' morale damaged by Baby P case

The Baby P case has been responsible for a "significant and marked decline in morale" among social workers, according to a report by the Local Government Association (LGA).

Full story: Community Care

National Children's Bureau to continue its work on residential child care

Following the news earlier in the year that government funding for the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care had been lost, the National Children's Bureau has announced that it will continue its long-standing work supporting the residential child care sector with a new service called NCB Residential Child Care.

Full story: Family Law

Lord Justice Munby confirmed as keynote speaker at Hershman/Levy Memorial Lecture

Lord Justice Munby has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at this year's Association of Lawyers for Children (ALC) annual Hershman/Levy Memorial Lecture, sponsored by Family Law.

Full story: Family Law

Baby Peter NHS Trusts make improvements

Four NHS Trusts that were criticised for their role in the Baby Peter scandal have made good progress in improving the way they safeguard children, according to health inspectors.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

The 40-year itch: Divorce is falling in every age group except the over-60s - so why ARE so many couples splitting after a lifetime together?

The catalyst is not infidelity, just a slow retreat into crushing, rancorous silence. Divorce in Britain is dropping sharply in every age group - except among the over-60s.

Full story: Daily Mail

Manchester City Council agrees to compensate alleged child abuse victims

Victims who claimed they were abused while in the care of the children's homes run by Manchester City Council's social services from the 1950's to the 1990's have agreed a settlement with the council.

Full story: Family Law

Campaign launched against World Cup domestic violence

Staff at West Yorkshire Probation Trust have teamed up with local police in a campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence and support its victims during the World Cup.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Child abuse reports are to be published

Full reports of official investigations into recent notorious cases of crimes against children are to be published, ministers have confirmed.

Full story: BBC News

Full disclosure of past tragedies will be damaging, warns sector

Social care professionals have warned against publishing the full serious case reviews of Baby Peter, Khyra Ishaq, the Edlington brothers and Shannon Matthews, fearing another media storm against the social work profession.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Law Commission seeks proposals for law reform projects

The Law Commission is seeking proposals for its Eleventh Programme which is due to begin in the summer of 2011.

Full story: Family Law Week

14 EU states ‘go it alone’ on divorce reform for ‘international couples’

Justice ministers meeting in Luxembourg last week have reached agreement allowing couples of different European nationalities to choose which divorce laws will apply to them.

Full story: Family Law Week

BASW child protection poll reveals serious staff shortages

More than one in 10 child protection social workers say their team is working at half-capacity, a survey by the British Association of Social Workers has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Sir Mark Potter: children in danger due to court service crisis

Former president of the family division claims 'poorly funded and overburdened system' leaves children in violent environments.

Full story: The Guardian

Marco Pierre White’s wife will stand heat of the divorce court – alone

The wife of the celebrity chef Marco Pierre White knows all about the heat of the kitchen. But next week she enters the equally torrid forum of the divorce courts — and alone, without lawyers.

Full story: The Times

Sir James Munby to deliver this year's Hershman / Levy Memorial Lecture

The speaker at this year's Hershman / Levy Memorial Lecture, hosted by the Association of Lawyers for Children, will be Lord Justice Munby.

Full story: Family Law Week

Nominations sought for ALC's 'Outstanding Newcomer in Children Law' Award 2010

Now in its sixth year, the ALC's 'Outstanding Newcomer in the Field of Children Law Award' is looking for its 2010 winner.

Full story: Family Law Week

New online tool helps legal professionals assist victims of forced marriage

The Government's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has launched an online resource to help legal professionals working with young people identify and provide appropriate support to potential victims of forced marriage.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child's death would not matter, social services official tells undercover reporter

A senior social services official has said that it would not matter if a child was killed after their case was closed because it would not be the council's responsibility.

Full story: Telegraph

Supreme court prepares to rule on heiress's prenuptial agreement battle

A supreme court ruling expected this week is being seen as setting a precedent for divorcing couples who have signed prenuptial agreements.

Full story: The Observer

Ikos hedge fund couple row over court hearing

Elena Ambrosiadou, one of the best known hedge fund bosses in the world, was on Friday night forced to seek a high-court injunction to block publication of "private" information by the firm's co-founder - who also happens to be her husband.

Full story: Telegraph

Ofsted praises child protection in five local authorities

Cumbria County Council is among five local authorities to receive glowing Ofsted reports for their child protection services following unannounced inspections.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Loughton takes on responsibility for social work taskforce

Tim Loughton, children's minister, will take on responsibility for the majority of the social care remit, the Department for Education has confirmed.

Full story: Community Care

Government appoints new Doncaster Council chief

The government has appointed a new chief executive and three commissioners to lead a council which was criticised over the deaths of seven children.

Full story: BBC News

British men to pay £38,000 'deposit' for Indonesian wives

British men planning to marry Indonesian women will have to pay a £38,000 "security guarantee" in a new law tabled by the country's conservative religious affairs ministry.

Full story: Telegraph

Munro panel to revamp Ofsted inspections

Ofsted's inspection criteria and processes will be reviewed by the expert panel being set up to slash bureaucracy within child protection, Community Care has learned.

Full story: Community Care

Children in care sector in the dark about future

The government is yet to determine its policy on looked-after children, despite growing fears that local authority cuts could reduce the quality of provision for children in care.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Ofsted may lose social care role

Education Secretary Michael Gove has given his strongest indication yet that Ofsted will no longer inspect children's social care.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

BAAF marks National Family Week with ‘adoption champions’ scheme

As part of National Family Week, the British Association for Adoption and Fostering is launching a scheme in local communities across the UK to recruit ordinary people as 'adoption champions' in a bid to find more permanent families for children in care.

Full story: Family Law Week