Well may you ask.

This year has been a wonderful one for Researching Reform and we’re hoping to crown the end of 2013 with something really special, if we can, but as the Summer holidays are approaching, we thought we would let you know what we’ve been up to so far.

As always, our pro bono work is our priority, and with an unprecedented number of referrals since January, which we attribute in part to the new thresholds for legal aid, but also other factors including a growing dissatisfaction with the amount of time lawyers now spend tending to their clients, we have not been as active on the blog as we would have liked.

And contrary to the perception that litigants in person and families going through the courts in general are difficult specimens to deal with, we have encountered very little aggression and found that on the rare occasion we did, that upset was easily dispelled. It’s amazing what a little kindness and some listening will do for trust and people’s general well-being during such a difficult time. And it’s free….

There are as always some truly amazing parents out there and we are very lucky to cross paths with them, often. From mothers and fathers who are stoic about the wrongful removal of their children and who face the courts with dignity and empathy, to enormously brave children who summon the courage to speak out about abuse they have suffered, there isn’t a day that goes by when we are not earth-shatteringly humbled by the bravery and the elegance of these families.

We have also had the privilege of working with a truly courageous lady, on a ground-breaking domestic violence report which aims to revolutionise the way domestic violence is handled in the family courts and we hope to be able to tell you more about this in the future.

Researching Reform continue to work with DadsHouse and its founder Billy McGranaghan, on their fabulous “In Dad’s Shoes” tour, which includes photographs of lone fathers and their children taken by Harry Borden, renowned portrait  photographer, who has snapped some of the most famous icons in the world today. The photographic tour has been viewed by over ten thousand people and is going strong, with several exhibitions popping up all over London this Summer. The exhibition celebrated it’s one year anniversary on 25th June.

Our series, Children in The Vine, controversial accounts of families going through the courts, was started this year and we’ve currently penned nine episodes. If you want to catch up with the series, you can do so by clicking on the Children in The Vine tab under the ‘Categories’ section.

The Encyclopaedia on Family and The Law was born at the end of last year, and although the project is moving slowly, we continue to work on it. The encyclopaedia is a free resource for families and professionals going through the family courts and aims to offer content in simple language, which is easy to access and digest. We will be holding a meeting for the editors shortly so that we can unveil a big reveal; we hope it goes down well, rather thank sinks like a battle ship…… and very much hope content will be forthcoming by the end of the year (please cross your fingers for us).

Researching Reform were also lucky enough to be included in a list of organisations to follow on Twitter for social work commentary and news. We were placed number 31 in a list of 100 accounts mentioned and for us at least it is testimony, not that we deserve to be included, but that independent minds do exist inside the system and are open to critical thinking. The award was given by an educational organisation, offering social work undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Thank you for supporting the Researching Reform project; every family is special to us, and our posters and readers are our family too. (That’s a segue into our next post, how slick are we……)