This week John and I bring you the latest news on the Family Justice Review as the government publishes its response, the latest plans to modernise the family courts, The House of Lords and the Welfare Reform Bill, why applying to have your passport returned to you for humanitarian reasons may not go your way and one charity who is not terribly impressed with the BBC’s latest documentary on social services.
The government’s response to the Norgrove Report, which was created to look at the problems within the family court has been released this morning. We are still wading through the ninety two pages, but within the first few pages we noticed something that will no doubt lead to much debate.
In its response, the government is hoping to “where there are no significant welfare issues…. reinforce the principle through law, that it is in the best interests of the child to have a full and continuing relationship with both parents”. What do you think? Should the law be used to address this issue or are we asking for trouble?
Possible answer: Whilst there can be no doubt that loving and capable parents should be able to spend time with their children, the focus on parental rights makes us very un-easy. The Children Act 1989 already has at its heart the welfare of the child and this in itself is enough to ensure that both mothers and fathers who can look after their children are able to do so. The fact that this principle is often thwarted has less to do with law and more to do with working practice. Do we need another label to act as a placebo for parents? We would say, absolutely not, and especially where room for error is increased with potentially disastrous consquences as in domestic violence cases.