Neglected children happier in care than in stable reunion

Children who have been neglected and emotionally abused are happier in care than in a stable reunification with parents, according to a study commissioned by the previous government.

Full story: Community Care

Law Society formally commences judicial review of LSC's family law tender

The Law Society has formally commenced judicial review proceedings of the Legal Services Commission's recent family tender exercise, which cut the number of firms able to do family law work from 2,400 to 1,300 and, in the view of the Law Society, threatens access to justice.

Full story: Family Law Week

ADCS defends Birmingham's unallocated caseload

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has blamed pressures on departments for Birmingham's failure to allocate a qualified social worker to every child in need and looked-after child.

Full story: Community Care

Children’s Minister calls on local authorities to reduce restrictions on foster carers

Children's Minister Tim Loughton has called on all local authorities to make it easier for foster carers to make decisions for the children in their care, and free them from over-zealous restrictions and bureaucracy.

Full story: Family Law Week

Law Society launches legal action over legal aid cuts

Law Society takes legal aid body to court over outcome of tender in family law contracts.

Full story: The Guardian

Law Society commences court action over tender process

The Law Society is taking the Legal Services Commission to court seeking a declaration that the family tender process and outcome are ‘unlawful’, and asking for a suspension of the new contracts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Birmingham's failure to allocate children in care 'illegal'

Birmingham Council's failure to allocate every looked-after child to a social worker is illegal, the government has confirmed.

Full story: Community Care

Tim Loughton calls on local authorities to cut fostering red tape

Children's minister Tim Loughton has written to all local authorities urging them to make it easier for foster carers to make decisions for the children in their care.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Call to scrap legal aid criticised by The Children's Legal Centre

The Children's Legal Centre has hit out at a think tank's recommendation calling for legal aid to be scrapped in most cases.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

More than 850 Birmingham children-in-need lack social workers

One-third of Birmingham's children in need, a total of 852, do not have an allocated social worker, while 12% of children in care do not have one either, Community Care has learned.

Full story: Community Care

Japan to join Hague Convention on child custody

The Japanese Government has decided that it will become a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, according to news reports.

Full story: Family Law

Gove fury after Balls accuses him of failing social work

Education secretary Michael Gove has defended the government's record in children's social work after Labour accused him of failing the profession.

Full story: Community Care

Cuts could kill off social work reform, says Balls

"Reckless" public spending cuts are putting social work reforms at risk, the shadow education secretary Ed Balls has said.

Full story: Community Care

Councils battle to fill empty social work posts

Over the past year social work vacancy rates have improved in many English councils, but deterioration in others has pushed up the overall rate.

Full story: Community Care

BBC Panorama highlights couple wrongly accused of child abuse

Last night's Panorama programme shown on BBC 1 highlighted the case of a couple whose three-month-old son was put on the Child Protection Register when neither parent could explain how the child broke its leg.

Full story: Family Law

Sterlise parents who abuse children, top professor says

Social workers should be able to recommend irreversible sterilisation for parents who abuse their children, according to a top academic.

Full story: Community Care

Government announces commission on early intervention

An independent commission into early intervention, which aims to ensure that children at greatest risk of multiple disadvantage get the best start in life, will be chaired by Graham Allen MP, the Government has announced.

Full story: Family Law

Parents win legal battle to name doctor who accused them of child abuse

A couple cleared of injuring their baby son have won a legal battle to identify the doctor who gave evidence against them.

Full story: The Telegraph

Legal aid blockage exposing women and children to domestic violence

Warning that crude tender process for publicly funded aid could leave women with no legal options after abusive relationships.

Full story: The Guardian

Honeymoon over for many same-sex couples as 'divorces' double

The honeymoon appears to be over for many of Britain’s same-sex couples as official figures show the number of civil partnerships being dissolved has doubled over the past year.

Full story: The Telegraph

Children's minister calls for foster carers to be given more power and discretion

Children's minister Tim Loughton has called on foster carers to let him know which councils are "excessively bureaucratic" when it comes to allowing them to take day-to-day decisions for the children they look after.

Full story: Community Care

Chancery Lane in legal bid over family tender

The Law Society is preparing a high court challenge against the Legal Services Commission’s family tender process.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Number of civil partnerships dissolutions double in 2009

Civil partnership dissolutions granted in the UK have almost doubled since 2008 - from 180 to 351, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Full story: Family Law

Firms seek to launch High Court challenge to LSC tender process

Some 31 firms across the north-east have joined forces in a bid to launch a High Court challenge to the Legal Services Commission’s recent family tender process, the Gazette has learned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Catholic charity's appeal over gay adoption fails

A Roman Catholic adoption charity's appeal to be allowed to discriminate against gay people wanting it to place children with them has been rejected.

Full story: BBC News

Family lawyers facing redundancies

New research by Resolution, the family solicitors association, has revealed that 90 percent of family lawyers believe the latest legal aid moves will damage access to justice and result in widespread redundancies across the profession.

Full story: Family Law

Scrap Cafcass, council leader tells minister

Cafcass should be scrapped and the roles of local safeguarding children boards and the Youth Justice Board watered down in order to cut bureaucracy, a council leader and government adviser has stated.

Full story: Community Care

Redundancies predicted over family legal aid tender

Some 90% of family lawyers think the legal aid tender result will lead to widespread redundancies across the profession, according to a survey of Resolution members.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Legal aid cuts put access to justice at risk, say lawyers

Critics of shake-up say changes are devastating for smaller practices, where specialists in family law are often found.

Full story: The Guardian

Survey reveals grave concerns over future provision of family legal aid in England and Wales

90 percent of family lawyers believe the latest legal aid moves will damage access to justice and result in widespread redundancies across the profession.

Full story: Resolution

Ofsted warning over 'untracked' children

Some children are not being educated because local authorities are often unable to track youngsters who are not being taught, inspectors have warned.

Full story: BBC News

More social workers using the web in adoption services

Social workers are increasingly using the web to place children with adopters and foster carers.

Full story: Community Care

Three quarters of child protection social workers have experienced an increased caseload over the last 12 months

73 per cent of social workers say they are now spending significantly less time with vulnerable children and adults than they were 12 months ago.

Full story: Family Law Week

Firms await result of family tender appeals

Hundreds of legal aid solicitors are currently awaiting the outcome of the Legal Services Commission’s appeals process for family legal aid contracts.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Ofsted highlights best practice in ten best performing children’s services

Ofsted has produced a report highlighting aspects of best practice in the ten children's services judged by it in December 2009 to be performing excellently.

Full story: Family Law Week

Time to stop legal aid

The Law Society has demanded an immediate halt to the legal aid tendering process after it emerged that almost half of firms providing family law services have lost their contracts.

Full story: New Law Journal

Family legal aid tender crisis

The Legal Services Commission is facing strong criticism from the law society and practitioners for its handling of the recent tender round of family legal aid contracts.

Full story: Family Law

Common assessment framework 'could fill ContactPoint gap'

An improved common assessment framework (CAF) would fill the gap left by the government's scrapping of ContactPoint, according to a study of frontline practitioners and experts commissioned by the Children's Workforce Development Council.

Full story: Community Care

High Court backs boy who rejected father

A schoolboy who was told by a judge that he must live with the father he claimed to hate yesterday succeeded in forcing the High Court to reverse its decision.

Full story: The Independent

Fears for family courts in £2bn Ministry of Justice cuts

Fresh concerns have surfaced over the future of the family courts and the Youth Justice Board with the disclosure that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) budget will be cut by £2bn.

Full story: Community Care

Four in 10 social workers have 'unmanageable' caseloads

Four in 10 social workers feel their caseload is unmanageable and two-thirds say it has increased in the past 12 months, a survey has found.

Full story: Community Care

‘Every part’ of child social care under immense strain

A senior councillor has issued a fresh warning that ‘every part’ of the child social care system is under immense strain as demand continues to increase in the aftermath of the Baby Peter case.

Full story: Public Finance

The need for a cheaper family justice system based on mediation

Professionals can help create a cheaper and more responsive family justice system with mediation at its heart, says justice minister Jonathon Djanogly.

Full story: Community Care

Family judges alarmed over legal aid tender

The head of the family courts has warned the Legal Services Commission that he has been ‘inundated’ by family judges expressing serious concerns over the outcome of the family legal aid tender, in a letter seen by the Gazette.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Law Society calls for suspension of family tender result

The Law Society has called on the Legal Services Commission to suspend the implementation of the family legal aid tender round in a letter to its chief executive Carolyn Downs.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

LGA calls for overhaul of family courts as extent of delays revealed

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for a radical reform of family courts after figures obtained by Barnardo's revealed that some are taking up to 65 weeks to rule if it is safe for children to stay with their parents.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Barnardo's says court delays damage children

Vulnerable children are being "damaged" by delays in care proceedings in England and Wales, a charity has said.

Full story: BBC News

Vulnerable children forced to wait a year for care home verdict

Vulnerable children are being forced to wait more than a year before finding out if they will be taken into care, because of unprecedented delays in the family courts system.

Full story: The Telegraph

Barnardo’s criticise delays in family courts

Leading children's charity Barnardo's has published new data today revealing the extent of court delays in family courts in England and Wales.

Full story: Family Law

Children left in danger by court delays

Barnardo's says vulnerable children typically waiting more than a year for decision on being taken into care permanently.

Full story: The Guardian

Lib Dems to vote on full marriage rights for gay couples

The Liberal Democrats are to use their first party conference in government to adopt a radical new policy calling for gay marriage.

Full story: The Independent

GMC calls for evidence on the role of doctors in child protection

The General Medical Council is asking doctors, other health professionals, social workers, police, lawyers, children and young people as well as their families and carers, to submit evidence about doctors' roles and responsibilities in child protection work.

Full story: Family Law Week

Family court system could implode, warns its top judge

The family courts system is in "grave danger of imploding", Sir Nicholas Wall, the judge in charge of it, has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

Britain's forced adoptions: the hidden scandal we can't ignore

Our social workers normally hit the headlines when some Baby P-type horror story comes to light, showing how they failed to intervene when a child was so maltreated by its parents that it died.

Full story: The Telegraph

Families 'hit by legal aid cuts', Law Society warns

Thousands of vulnerable families could be left without any legal representation following a shake-up in legal aid, the Law Society has warned.

Full story: BBC News

Family justice system to 'implode', warns top judge

The family justice system could "implode" with nearly half the family legal aid law firms set to lose their contracts, according to the head of the family justice system.

Full story: Community Care

Unison suggests social workers double up on child protection investigations

BASW says Unison are over simplifying complex social work.

Full story: Family Law Week

Marriage counselling makes people think their relationship is over

Marriage counselling can do more harm than good as it makes couples feel like a failure and that their relationship is already over, a government report suggests.

Full story: The Telegraph

Lawyers see 'explosion' in cohabitation cases

The recession has caused an ‘explosion’ in the number of cohabiting couples seeking advice on relationship breakdown, according to family lawyers who have called for the ‘complex’ laws applied to them to be updated.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Database closure could put children at serious risk, warns charity

NSPCC says shutdown of ContactPoint could lead to vulnerable children being harmed.

Full story: The Guardian

Council branded 'barbaric' by family of man wrongly taken by social workers

The family of a teenager with severe learning difficulties has branded a council “barbaric” for wrongly taking him away from his home.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child protection database to be switched off

A £235m government database containing the records of England's 11 million children is being switched off.

Full story: BBC News

LSC chief: family tender outcome 'unintentional'

The Legal Services Commission did not intend the outcome of the recent family tender which saw a 46% fall in the number of providers, its chief executive told the Gazette this week in her first press interview since her appointment.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

BASW rubbishes Unison call for social worker pairings

The pairing up of social workers on child protection home visits may not make the job easier, the British Association of Social Workers has claimed.

Full story: Community Care

Baby P death led to acute foster carer shortage, warns charity

Rise in number of children being taken into care means there are 10,000 fewer foster families than needed.

Full story: The Guardian

Foster carers 'urgently' needed, says charity

More foster carers are urgently needed as the care system in the UK struggles to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children, a charity warns.

Full story: BBC News

Response to Baby P 'has pushed foster care network to the brink

Britain's fostering system is being strained to breaking point in the wake of the tragic death of Baby Peter, and the system will collapse unless more carers are recruited, a leading charity has warned.

Full story: The Independent

Call for ‘urgent action’ on children’s services

A group of 18 legal, medical and child care organisations has called for urgent action to reform the delivery of court services to children in family proceedings.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Public sector pensions 'embargo' delays divorcing couples

Government moves to link public sector pensions to the CPI mean projected pension values cannot be calculated.

Full story: The Guardian

Cafcass chief responds to IAC's position statement

Anthony Douglas, chief executive of Cafcass, has written to the Interdisciplinary Alliance for Children to respond to their joint position statement with NAGALRO and the Association of Lawyers for Children.

Full story: Family Law

May scraps power to ban domestic abusers from victims' homes

A scheme to protect women from domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home is being scrapped by the Government as part of its drive to cut public spending.

Full story: The Independent

BASW highlights 'national scandal' of children's social work in Munro review submission

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has described children's social work in England as "a national scandal" in its formal response to Professor Eileen Munro's review of the child protection system.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Council's 'lack of action' over abuse fears

A council has been criticised for its failure to investigate suspicions that two children were being abused by their father.

Full story: BBC News

Cafcass future in doubt as alliance urges different model

Family courts body Cafcass is ­facing an uncertain future after an alliance of 18 organisations called on the government to consider alternative models.

Full story: Community Care

ALC writes to Cafcass to express ‘deep concerns’

Association resolves not to comply with Cafcass’s pro forma letter.

Full story: Family Law Week

Public sector pension schemes suspend implementation of pension sharing orders

Private sector schemes likely to follow.

Full story: Family Law Week

‘Cafcass could have responded more quickly to increase in care cases,’ says National Audit Office

Although Cafcass could not have predicted the sustained increase in care cases from November 2008, it could have responded more quickly and cost effectively to the large and sustained increase in care cases from local authorities. That is the conclusion of a report by the National Audit Office, published last week.

Full story: Family Law Week

Ofsted survey of social workers’ views published

Ofsted has published its first national annual survey of social workers' views, Safeguarding and looked after children, with responses from over 4,000 practitioners.

Full story: Family Law Week