Social workers criticise quality of work by guardians

Social workers say their relationship with court guardians is close to breaking point and having a direct impact on their ability to support and protect children.

Full story: Community Care

Number of looked-after children allocated permanent placements grows

The overall number of looked-after children living in permanent placements is rising, despite figures showing a drop in the number of adoptions, according to the Association of Directors of Children's Services.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Government publishes 'crude' adoption league tables

The government has published league tables which, for the first time, rank local authorities on how quickly they are placing children for adoption.

Full story: Community Care

Milton Keynes Council ordered to pay £319,000 to victims of child abuse

Local authority held vicariously liable for negligence of social workers employed by predecessor.

Full story: Family Law Week

Shortfall in adoptive families for siblings worsens

Adoption agencies are struggling to find permanent homes for siblings in care because prospective parents are reluctant to take on brother and sister groups, new research has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Action pledged against councils over slow adoptions

David Cameron is expected to promise tough action against English councils that fail to place children with adoptive parents within 12 months.

Full story: BBC News

Commonwealth emphasises the need to tackle forced marriage

Commonwealth leaders have emphasised the need to tackle forced marriage during the course of the summit in Perth.

Full story: Family Law Week

Women victims of domestic violence to lose out in legal aid reforms

Half of all women who are victims of domestic violence will no longer qualify for legal aid under government proposals, leaving hundreds of thousands at greater risk of abuse, according to charities.

Full story: The Observer

Jetsetting millionaire couple to divorce in British courts

The multi-million pound divorce of a jetsetting couple whose lifestyle was compared to an 18th Century nobleman's "Grand Tour" will take place in the English courts, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Full story: The Telegraph

‘Crude’ legal aid cuts get a pasting in the Lords

A Labour lord predicted a ‘prolonged and hard winter for access to justice’ as peers condemned ‘crude’ and ‘ill thought-out’ cuts to legal aid fees in a debate last night.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Social workers 'key to keeping children out of care'

Ofsted has backed the importance of the social worker relationship with families, finding it is the most effective way to prevent children from entering care.

Full story: Community Care

Ofsted warns of parent risks to babies

Ofsted has warned of "shortcomings" in the safeguarding of babies under the age of one.

Full story: BBC News

How intervention is keeping children out of care

Intensive family intervention programmes are helping parents and children to enjoy life at home together.

Full story: The Guardian

Judge reveals distress at ruling teenager cannot keep child

A teenage mother has lost her fight to be allowed to bring up the daughter she gave birth to when she was just 14 years old.

Full story: The Telegraph

Government considers 'right to know' on domestic abuse

People could be given the power to find out from the police if a new partner has a history of domestic violence under new government proposals.

Full story: BBC News

Stay-at-home-dads on the up: one in seven fathers are main childcarers

Study by Aviva shows that more than a quarter of dads gave up work or reduced their hours after the birth of their children.

Full story: The Guardian

Ofsted could accompany social workers on child visits

Social workers could soon be accompanied by Ofsted inspectors when carrying out visits to children, Ofsted has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Third reading of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill

Paul Beresford, Conservative MP for Mole Valley, introduced the third reading of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Bill in the House of Commons on Friday 21 October 2011.

Full story: UK Parliament

Child protection destabilised by cuts, says expert

Vulnerable children are now "at greater risk" because the coalition has pared back vital safety measures, according to one of Britain's most experienced child protection officers.

Full story: The Independent

Legal aid cuts will create disturbing new landscape for families, campaigners warn

The Government's planned cuts to legal aid present a ''disturbing new landscape'' which will be ''bad for children, bad for women and bad for families'', campaigners said today.

Full story: The Telegraph

David Cameron in new drive to speed up adoption

David Cameron will within days launch a new drive to make adoption simpler and speedier and to improve the educational opportunities for children in care.

Full story: The Telegraph

Dramatic rise in child protection vacancies in NHS

Vacancy rates in NHS child protection posts are rising dramatically a survey of local safeguarding children boards has found.

Full story: Community Care

Judge scrutinises ill man's removal from foster home

A High Court judge has ordered a local authority to provide details about its decision to remove a man with severe medical difficulties from his former foster parents.

Full story: The Independent

Gove urges local authorities to 'intervene more vigorously' to speed adoptions

Local authorities should "intervene more vigorously" in child protection to help speed up the adoption process, according to Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.

Full story: The Telegraph

Councils prompted to step up efforts to improve paperwork in family law cases

Local authorities must improve their quality assurance processes if problems in the family law system are to be successfully overcome, a member of the family justice review panel has said.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

'Adoption template will highlight best practice locally'

The government is about to publish an "adoption template" highlighting good practice around the country, the children's minister has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Councils warned not to cherry-pick child protection

Local authorities must not be selective of child protection reforms recommended in the Munro review, a senior civil servant has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Loughton argues for a 'change in mindset' over safeguarding

Lead members for children's services have been told to keep a focus on safeguarding or risk another Baby P tragedy, children's minister Tim Loughton has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Decision on early intervention duty due next month

The government is still undecided on whether to create a legal duty on councils to provide earlier intervention to families in need, as recommended by Professor Eileen Munro in her review of the child protection system in England.

Full story: Community Care

LSCB's to be reminded of duty to publish SCRs in full

Children's minister Tim Loughton is to write to local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) reminding them of their duty to publish serious case reviews in full in the near future.

Full story: Community Care

Call to curb scrutiny powers of family court judges

Family court judges should have their powers of scrutiny limited to core decisions, such as whether to take a child into care, kinship arrangements and permanency planning, according to a major report on the family justice system due out soon.

Full story: Community Care

Family Law Awards Winners

Family lawyers from across England & Wales came together yesterday evening at the Hilton Park Lane in London to celebrate Jordan Publishing's inaugural Family Law Awards, sponsored by Trimega Laboratories.

Full story: Family Law

Local Safeguarding Children Boards to be scrapped

Boards set up to help safeguard vulnerable children in Wales are being scrapped by the Welsh government.

Full story: BBC News

Award good news for alternative dispute resolution

Resolution tonight congratulated Family Law in Partnership for being named Family Law Firm of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony in London, saying that the judges’ praise for the firm’s collaborative law services highlighted the crucial importance of alternative dispute resolution in any modern family law firm.

Full story: Resolution

Nottinghamshire makes headway in tackling child protection concerns

Child protection services in Nottinghamshire are no longer inadequate, an Ofsted inspection of the council has found.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Casey Brittle murder: IPCC criticises domestic abuse care

Nottinghamshire Police has been criticised for its handling of domestic abuse cases after the murder of a woman by her former partner.

Full story: BBC News

Spouses have no right to lottery winnings

It is the legal ruling to have couples competing for the job of going out to buy the lottery ticket.

Full story: The Telegraph

Postcode lottery for care leavers setting up home

Care leavers face a postcode lottery in support when they attempt to set up home, with local authority grants to ease the transition to independent living ranging from £750 to £2,500, an investigation by CYP Now has uncovered.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Take adoption services role away from councils, says top paediatrician

The head of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has called for local authorities to lose their powers to run adoption services.

Full story: Local Government Lawyer

Lottery win share awarded to ex-husband by court

A hotel porter has won £85,000 of his ex-wife's £500,000 National Lottery prize in the High Court because she had used some of it to buy a family home.

Full story: BBC News

Almost 700 children detained by UK Border Agency in three months

The Children's Society has revealed that between May and the end of August 2011, 697 children were held at all Greater London and South East ports.

Full story: Family Law Week

Supreme Court feels the strain as cases back up

The country’s most senior court is being put under severe strain by a surge in disputed matters that are taking more than two years to pass from the appellate court to the Supreme Court.

Full story: The Lawyer

Top divorce lawyer pays up to £100k to socialites for referring cases of unhappy couples

A leading divorce lawyer paid a £100,000 referral fee for an introduction to a wealthy heiress so she could represent her at a hearing.

(Sorry, this story is no longer available.)

Government proposes the abolition of CMEC

The Government is inviting views on plans to transfer the functions of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission into the Department for Work and Pensions, under direct Ministerial control, in order to improve accountability and assist in the process of reform.

Full story: Family Law Week

Children's support services struggling to cope, warns Action for Children

A new report warns that a combination of more children, young people and their families needing urgent help, their problems becoming more serious, and substantial budget cuts to the services available in their communities, is making it increasingly difficult for those most in need to get any help.

Full story: Family Law Week

More British spouses contest ‘international divorce race’ for better divorce settlements

Increasing numbers of British spouses are 'racing' each other to secure more favourable divorce settlements.

Full story: Family Law Week

Domestic violence training for GPs increases disclosure and referral rates

General medical practitioners and practice nurses who have been given specialist training concerning domestic violence are 22 times more likely to refer women to advocacy organisations, according to research published online in The Lancet.

Full story: Family Law Week

Councils pressurise foster carers to become special guardians

Foster carers are facing increasing pressure to become special guardians as local authorities try to balance their budgets, Community Care has learned.

Full story: Community Care

Spending cuts 'could threaten' innovative court

Spending cuts could threaten the future of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court, the judge behind the innovative institution has warned.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Operation of the Family Courts: Government Response

This is the Government's response to the Report of the Justice Select Committee on the Operation of the Family Courts published in July 2011.

Full story: Ministry of Justice

Cultural misunderstandings contributed to baby's death

Social workers failed to understand the Ghanian cultural values attached to weight and size in the case of a 10-month-old baby who died after her mother force fed her, a serious case review has concluded.

Full story: Community Care

Litigants in person numbers soar

The dire state of the economy has already led to a dramatic increase in the number of litigants in person, new figures from a voluntary organisation suggest.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Scrapping forced marriage law is "unwise" says Supreme Court judge

A Supreme Court justice has criticised his fellow law lords as "unwise" for using human rights legislation to "frustrate Government policy" over a law introduced to crack down on forced marriages.

Full story: The Telegraph

Louise Casey to head national unit for troubled families

Labour's former respect tsar Louise Casey is to lead the government's Troubled Families Team, charged with fulfilling the Prime Minister's goal to transform the lives of 120,000 troubled families by 2015.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Foster children locked out of home until carer returns

Foster children are being locked out of their homes after school until their carer returns from work, the Department for Education has revealed.

Full story: Community Care

Supreme Court says forced marriage rules are unlawful

A government ban on non-EU foreign spouses under the age of 21 entering the UK is unlawful, judges have ruled.

Full story: BBC News

The child with two mothers and two fathers who went to court over her

A high court judge's ruling reveals the importance of deciding on parental roles before embarking on artificial insemination.

Full story: The Guardian

Better information-sharing could have saved girl, finds serious case review

The death of a five-year-old girl might have been prevented if there had been better information-sharing between agencies, a serious case review has found.

Full story: Community Care

British spouses 'race' to European divorce courts

Increasing numbers of British spouses are ‘racing’ each other to file for divorce in Europe to secure more favourable divorce settlements, according to legal sources.

Full story: The Telegraph

High Court judge's blast for four gay parents fighting over two little sisters

A High Court judge issued a stark warning yesterday about the traumatic effects on children when complicated homosexual parenting arrangements unravel.

Full story: Daily Mail

Homesick mum wins custody of Aust kids

A "homesick" English mother who refused to return to Australia with her two children after coming back to England has won a "tug of love" battle in Britain's Court of Appeal.

Full story: Sydney Morning Herald

Leeds makes strides for vulnerable children

Leeds City Council has made significant improvements in services for vulnerable and at-risk children, according to Ofsted inspectors.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Local safeguarding boards in Wales need to evidence their child protection work

Local safeguarding children boards in Wales are failing to evidence their child protection work and need stronger leadership and accountability.

Full story: Community Care

Master of the Rolls sees a fertile future for expert evidence in the civil justice system

In the keynote speech to the Expert Witness Institute, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, addressed what he described as the 'growth of an inquisitorial approach to expert evidence'.

Full story: Family Law Week

David Cameron to revisit forced marriage crime plans

The government is to consult on making it a criminal offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to force a person to marry against their will.

Full story: BBC News

Families feel the pressure as the slump takes its toll

A far-reaching study is spelling out the alarming consequences for our personal lives in the gloomy economic climate.

Full story: The Independent on Sunday

MP criticises government 'obsession' with adoptions

An MP has accused the government of being "obsessed" with adoption while ignoring other permanency orders for children, despite not knowing how many adoptions end up breaking down.

Full story: Community Care

Women’s views are often ignored in the family law system, says charity

Information leaflets published to help women through the separation and divorce process.

Full story: Family Law Week

Father has £108,000 taken from bank in record child support payment seizure

A father had £108,000 forcibly taken from his bank in a record child support payment seizure.

Full story: The Telegraph

Barrage of child protection cases dilutes health professionals' early intervention work

Health professionals are struggling to cope with the "vast increase" in the number of child protection cases being referred to them, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Social worker suspended after child protection failings

A social worker who allowed a man under investigation for sexual abuse to stay at a house where children were living has been suspended for nine months.

Full story: Community Care

Adoption review to focus on black children in care

Government seeks to change system where black children are three times less likely to be adopted than white children.

Full story: The Guardian

Birmingham's child protection services have 'improved'

Birmingham's Safeguarding Children's Services are improving, despite facing another serious case review, the chairman of a watchdog has said.

Full story: BBC News

Support staff take on social worker duties

Social work assistants and support workers are being called upon to undertake the work of qualified social workers, trade union Unison has warned.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Conservative Conference 2011: Cameron reaffirms commitment to families

Prime Minister David Cameron has reaffirmed his pledge to make the coalition the most "family-friendly" government in history during his keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Children's commissioner hails 'profound' transformation in care for young people in Wales

Wales’ children’s tsar has hailed the “profound and underestimated” transformation of children’s care as his office marked a decade since it was created.

Full story: WalesOnline

Solicitors should ‘get real’ over legal aid cuts, says Tory MP

An influential Tory MP yesterday condemned The Law Society’s claim that people will die as a result of legal aid cuts as 'irresponsible'.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Council could charge parents who put children into care

Parents who put their children into care could soon be forced to foot the bill, under plans being considered by a council in England.

Full story: Community Care

Conservative Conference 2011: Adoptive parents' leave and pay 'should be aligned with maternity arrangements'

Parents who adopt should be given the same leave and pay entitlements as mothers receive under maternity arrangements, according to the chief executive of Adoption UK.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Loughton vows to boost profile of reviewing officers in system reform

The government is considering how to eliminate any crossover between the roles of independent reviewing officers and children's court guardians ahead of an overhaul of the family justice system to be unveiled this autumn.

Full story: Children & Young People Now

Tax breaks for married couples, IDS insists 'We must end bias against marriage’

Married couples must be given tax breaks to end the “bias” against stable families, Iain Duncan Smith will say today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Growing gang problem is linked to missing fathers, says Duncan Smith

A collapse in traditional fatherhood is driving children as young as 10 into gang culture, Iain Duncan Smith has claimed.

Full story: The Guardian

Fiona Shackleton: legal watchdog warns lawyer fees market needs 'urgent reform'

Exclusive: Lawyers are under pressure to adopt more “consumer friendly” fee structures amid thousands of complaints from clients about inflated billing charges, the legal watchdog has warned.

Full story: The Telegraph

The top divorce lawyer, her big name clients, and 'marked up' bills

Baroness Shackleton, Britain’s highest-profile divorce lawyer, has increased the bills of celebrity clients beyond the time she recorded having spent on their cases, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Full story: The Telegraph