Up to £300m of child maintenance debts to be written off

More than £300million worth of historic child maintenance debts is to be written off, in a new move by ministers.

Full story: The Telegraph

Police to target domestic abuse among older couples

Serious case review into death of woman, 81, after alleged attack by husband, 88, recommends more education on issue.

Full story: The Guardian

Parents 'ask for children to be put into care so they can party on New Year's Eve'

Some feckless parents ask for their children to be looked after by the state over New Year's so they can spend the party season drinking, it has been claimed.

Full story: The Telegraph

Only 6% of new mothers believe Government is family-friendly

Only a handful of parents believe that David Cameron has fulfilled his promise to make his Government the most family-friendly ever.

Full story: The Telegraph

Arab Prince did marry model in Islamic ceremony but it is not valid under English law

A billionaire Arab prince had a "secret marriage" to a former model in London but because it is unrecognised in English law he will not be liable to pay a million pounds a year alimony, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.

Full story: The Telegraph

Adoptive parent checks: overhaul planned in England

The government is to overhaul the way people in England are checked to see if they are suitable to adopt children.

Full story: BBC News

Affair baby must be adopted - court

A baby at risk of becoming the victim of an "honour killing" because she was born as the result of her Muslim mother's secret affair must be adopted to keep her safe, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Full story: Belfast Telegraph

More money for children, as minister proposes end to child maintenance exemptions

Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller promised a new child maintenance system that was "fairer for children" today, as she answered questions on the exemption from maintenance liability for some part-time public servants.

Full story: Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

FJC MARAC Guidance

The Family Justice Council has published a report on multi-agency risk assessment conferences & disclosure into court proceedings.

Full story: Family Justice Council

Guidelines on children giving evidence

The Family Justice Council has produced a set of guidelines in relation to children giving evidence in family proceedings.

Full story: Family Justice Council

Young couples shun marriage over divorce fears

Young adults avoid getting married because they fear it will end in divorce, research suggests.

Full story: The Telegraph

Domestic Violence Protection Orders let victims 'escape'

More than 100 domestic abusers have been barred from their partners' homes in Greater Manchester.

Full story: BBC News

Foster family shortage puts more children at risk

Children in care rose sharply after Baby Peter case in 2008, with crisis building as recession contributes to family breakdowns.

Full story: The Guardian

Maria Miller targets CSA debt mountain

A consultation is launched today on plans to deal with some of the £3.8 billion in unpaid child maintenance.

Full story: Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Joint Committee publishes report on Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill

The Joint Committee on Human Rights today publishes its legislative scrutiny Report on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

Full story: UK Parliament

Fathers could be obliged to sign birth certificates

Fathers could be obliged to sign their baby’s birth certificate under proposals being considered by Downing Street.

Full story: The Telegraph

Clegg attacks Conservative plans to give married couples tax breaks

Nick Clegg is to attack Tory plans to introduce tax breaks for married couples, claiming ministers must not try to preserve a “1950s model” of family life in “aspic”.

Full story: The Telegraph

Girls’ secret father wins right to be on birth certificates

A father of twin girls must be identified on their birth certificates even though his children do not know he is their father, judges have ruled.

Full story: The Telegraph

Government rejects Munro early intervention duty

The government has refused to implement a key recommendation in the Munro Review of child protection to create an early intervention duty on councils.

Full story: Community Care

Social workers should be given more discretion to judge suitability of potential adopters, say Directors of Children’s Services

Local authorities and the family justice system must improve their procedures to speed up the adoption process, according to the Association of Directors of Children's Services.

Full story: Family Law Week

DfE publishes information on the outcomes for looked after children

For the second year the Department for Education has published information on the outcomes for looked after children – on this occasion as at 31 March 2011. Outcomes reported include education, health, offending and substance misuse.

Full story: Family Law Week

Resolution response to Law Commission recommendation on cohabitants' rights

Resolution responds to the Law Commission's recommendation today that certain cohabitants should be entitled to inheritance rights without a will.

Full story: Resolution

Extending domestic violence protection

Young people under 18 could be included in the cross-government definition of domestic violence for the first time, under a consultation launched by the Home Secretary Theresa May today.

Full story: Home Office

Law Commission draft Bill seeks to simplify intestacy and family provision claims on death

Commission also publishes draft bill governing inheritance rights of cohabitants.

Full story: Family Law Week

Government may expand definition of domestic violence

The government is launching a consultation on whether the definition of domestic violence should be widened.

Full story: BBC News

House of Lords urged to reject challenge to civil partnership rules tomorrow

Religious leaders have written an open letter to the House of Lords calling on them to reject the challenge facing the regulations for religious civil partnerships tomorrow.

Full story: Pink News

Parents who abduct children should face longer in prison, says top judge

Parents who abduct their own children could face life sentences because of the “unspeakable cruelty” they cause, the country’s most senior judge said yesterday.

Full story: The Telegraph

MP claims 1,000 children "wrongly" adopted every year

A Liberal Democrat MP is claiming up to 1,000 children a year in England are being adopted for the "wrong" reasons and should stay with their families.

Full story: BBC News

MPs take evidence on intervention thresholds in child protection inquiry

The Education Committee takes evidence on thresholds for intervention with families in a further session as part of its child protection inquiry.

Full story: UK Parliament

Babies safety concern high in study

Child protection campaigners call police or social services six times a day with concerns that babies are in serious danger, with most cases involving parental drug and alcohol abuse, figures have shown.

Full story: Press Association

Forced marriages in England could number 8,000

Data puts cases between 5,000 and 8,000 as government considers making coerced unions a criminal offence.

Full story: The Guardian

Moor J's judgment in middle income divorce reported

'Needs' case highlights the difficulties of achieving satisfactory outcomes in middle income disputes.

Full story: Family Law Week

Social workers 'sex up abuse claims to snatch children for adoption'

Social workers regularly “sex up” dossiers on problem parents to take children into care and even to put them up for adoption, a whistleblower reveals today.

Full story: Sunday Express

Bullies face prosecution in domestic violence crackdown

Men who bully or abuse their partners in a "controlling" fashion could face criminal charges under a shake-up of domestic violence laws being planned by ministers.

Full story: The Telegraph

Fears of another Baby P as child care cases soar

Cases of vulnerable children needing the protection of Yorkshire’s care services are rocketing to “unprecedented levels” as social workers warn public spending cuts are increasing the risk of another Baby P tragedy.

Full story: Yorkshire Post

Government accused of breaching international law on children’s rights

CRAE says that the Coalition has made progress in only 18 of 118 recommendations.

Full story: Family Law Week

Child abuse rates 'have not declined'

Child maltreatment has not declined in spite of numerous policy initiatives to tackle the problem, research claims.

Full story: The Telegraph

Study urges authorities to break link care-custody link

Local authorities across the country are failing to divert looked-after children from "the dreary, damaging route from care to custody", according to research published today.

Full story: Community Care

Divorces total increases by 4.9% in England and Wales

The number of divorces in England and Wales increased by 4.9% last year, according to official figures.

Full story: BBC News

Record £130,000 child data error fine for Powys council

A council which sent details of a child protection case to the wrong person has received a record £130,000 fine for breaching the Data Protection Act.

Full story: BBC News

Couple who used Indian surrogates can bring children up as their own rules judge

An English couple who paid Indian women to have their babies can keep them and bring them up as their own ruled one of Britain's top judges, Sir Nicholas Wall ruled today.

Full story: The Telegraph

Most not part of 'proper' families

Eight out of 10 people say their family set-up does not conform to the traditional stereotype of two married parents with two or more children, according to a survey.

Full story: Press Association

Council 'put child, 5, into care for being obese'

A schoolchild aged five has become one of the youngest children in Britain to be taken into care for obesity reasons, it has emerged.

Full story: The Telegraph

Court of Appeal considers Art 13b of Hague Convention in the light of Supreme Court’s decision in Re E

The Court of Appeal in S v C [2011] EWCA Civ 1385 has allowed the father's appeal against the decision of Charles J refusing an application for a return order under the Hague Convention.

Full story: Family Law Week

Second report criticises Pembrokeshire County Council's poor child protection measures

Poor child protection and safe guarding measures have been criticised in a second report on services in Pembrokeshire.

Full story: Western Telegraph

Church of England insists it will not have to host civil partnerships

Vicars will not be forced to hold civil partnership ceremonies just as “a gentleman’s outfitter is not required to supply women’s clothes”, the Church of England has said.

Full story: The Telegraph

Number of children in need in England rises to 382,000

The Department for Education has published its annual update on Characteristics of Children in Need in England.

Full story: Family Law Week

Research demonstrates the ‘crucial role’ of child protection volunteers

Research carried out by Anglia Ruskin University looking at the benefits of training volunteers to support families with children at risk of serious harm and subject to child protection plans has been presented to the Children's Minister, Tim Loughton.

Full story: Family Law Week

Tory MPs try to stop civil partnerships in places of worship

Prominent Tory backbenchers are trying to stop homosexual couples holding civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship.

Full story: The Telegraph

Child maintenance: absent parents will have to pay more

Absent parents who lie about their incomes to avoid paying child maintenance will be targeted through their tax records and forced to pay more, under government plans.

Full story: The Telegraph

Family division head seeks ‘immense’ culture change

Family judges need to undergo an ‘immense’ cultural change to help tackle delays in the family justice system, the head of the family division said this week.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Wilson SCJ highlights importance of collaborative family law

Supreme Court Justice Lord Wilson has reaffirmed his commitment to collaborative family law and other non-court methods while slamming the Government’s plans to cut legal aid, which he called a “false economy”.

Full story: The Lawyer

Fairer and faster, better for families and the taxpayer

Proposals for new child maintenance scheme unveiled today include boost for poorest single parents.

Full story: Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Ken Clarke postpones legal aid reforms and tendering

The government has postponed the implementation of its legal aid reforms by six months and its consultation on price-competitive tendering for crime work by two years.

Full story: Law Society Gazette

Family judges must take bigger role to curb court battlegrounds

Judges should take a more active role in family cases to stop them becoming “battlegrounds” for warring parents who use children as “ammunition”, one of the country’s most senior judges said.

Full story: The Telegraph