Sentiments from families, all too familiar for those who work inside the justice system on a regular basis:
‘Being made to give up on [our granddaughter] would have been like a bereavement.. The shocking thing is how close we came to that point. Essex were so hell-bent on keeping us out that they seemed to forget what was best for India.’
‘There are, unfortunately, certain assumptions made about you when you’ve got a big family: that you’re irresponsible or chaotic, that you’re out for what you can get from the system,’
‘The Parkers describe the process that followed as riddled with incompetence, distortion and dishonesty from social workers who knew that the privacy rules and reporting restrictions then applied in family courts meant their decisions were unlikely to be held to account.’
‘They gave us smaller and smaller hoops to jump through… We were supposed to trip up.’
‘They were accused of missing meetings they’d never been told about — and invited to meetings that never happened.’
‘The only reason that the Parkers were able to halt the [adoption] process is because a sympathetic professional — whom they cannot name in order to protect her identity — told them about a limited two-week right of appeal that had almost lapsed.’
As these grandparents are reunited with a granddaughter they thought they had lost to the care system forever, the article in the media today raises fresh concerns over whether or not the family justice system is moving forward in the judge-led drive to improve the system and make it more accountable, and most importantly, fair.
You can read the full details of the case by clicking on the link above, which highlights how two grandparents fought to care for their grandchild India after their daughter, India’s mother, was unable to due to difficulties with her mental health. Many of the observations these grandparents make are standard flaws inside the system which many of us see daily – routine dishonesty, unethical procurement of ‘facts’, and conscious decisions to exclude family members from a process they are entitled to partake in at various different stages. It’s an interesting case, and worth reading the media article above for more detail.