Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission calls for improved protection of the rights of children in care

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission calls for improved protection of the rights of children in care

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in News

A new report has been published by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission examining the rights of children in care in Northern Ireland.  The report highlights that at present there are more children in care than ever since the Children Order came into force.

According to the Chief Commissioner, at the time that the report was compiled, there were approximately 2,800 children in care in the region and nearly one fifth of them had been in care between 5-10 years.

The Commission calls for reform and identified certain areas in need of improvement:
•    The practice of moving children
•    Delays in the Northern Ireland adoption process
•    The right of the child to be heard and taken seriously
•    The criminalisation of young people in residential care

To read the full article, please click on the following link: http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed146495

Please visit the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s full report.

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Barnardo’s urge Government to set aside 20,000 apprenticeships for care leavers

Barnardo’s urge Government to set aside 20,000 apprenticeships for care leavers

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in News

According to Barnardo’s, 20,000 apprenticeships should be set aside for those leaving the foster care system between the ages of 16-18 as they are in need of Government support.

The charity went on to say that these apprenticeships should take into account the care leavers’ potential and not be solely dependent on entry qualifications.

This follows on from the Government’s pledge to create 3 million new apprenticeships as statistics show that two in five existing places go to those who are already in work.

Figures on unemployment show that young people are three times more likely to be unemployed  than anyone else.  To add to this, care leavers are twice as likely than other people their age to not be in education, employment or training.

To read the rest of the article, please visit the Family Law Week website.

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Ofsted publishes data on children’s social care in England

Ofsted publishes data on children’s social care in England

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in News

Ofsted has published data on inspection grades for 2,787 children’s social care providers and 59 local authority children’s service departments in England for 2015.

The inspection outcomes data relates to inspections of:

  • local authority (LA) services for children who need help and protection, children looked after and care leavers. The inspections of LA children’s services are carried out under the Single Inspection Framework (SIF)
    children’s homes
  • other children’s social care providers and residential accommodation for children.

The providers and places data includes:

  • children’s social care providers, for which Ofsted has a regulatory and/or inspection responsibility
  • providers of residential accommodation for children in boarding schools & further education colleges, for which Ofsted has an inspection responsibility.

According to the data, 14 local authorities were judged to be good for overall effectiveness for the SIF (single inspection framework for inspecting services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers), however, 31 or just over half of local authorities need improvement in order to be considered good.  14 local authorities were deemed to be inadequate.

To read the release, please visit the GOV website.

To read the full article, please visit the Family Law Week’s website.

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Ombudsman warns that B&Bs are never suitable to house homeless children and young people

Ombudsman warns that B&Bs are never suitable to house homeless children and young people

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in News

The Local Government Ombudsman has said again that housing homeless young people in B&Bs is not appropriate, even in an emergency situation.
This statement was prompted by the fact that Lancashire County Council had placed a teenager with complex behavioural issues in a B&B after his home life had broken down.  The teenager in question was a cannabis user and demonstrated violent behaviour.

The court ordered that the boy should stay with whomever the council directed him to stay with, however, as there were no family members that were willing or able to take him, the council’s Children’s Services department placed him in a B&B for five days despite concerns surrounding his violent behaviour.

In addition to this, the council only visited him two days into his stay at the B&B and did not carry out a new assessment of the boy’s needs, which it is required to do by statutory guidance on young people who are homeless.

The council has been asked to apologise to the mother of the boy in question for failing to do the necessary assessments and has accepted to improve its policy for homeless teenagers.

To read the full article, please visit the Family Law Week’s website.

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More than 30 children have been made the subject of family court orders due to radicalisation fears

More than 30 children have been made the subject of family court orders due to radicalisation fears

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in News

The police have stated that over 30 children have been made the subject of family court orders due to radicalisation fears.

The Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley stated that some of these children were “almost babes-in-arms” as they range from as young as two or three up to sixteen or seventeen.

On the 4th August 2015 the adult members of two families were court ordered to be fitted with electronic monitoring tags for fear that they would be taking their children to areas controlled by Isis.

To read the full article, please The Guardian’s website.

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Benefits cap has affected single parents with children under five

Benefits cap has affected single parents with children under five

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in News

According to statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions, 64% of the households that have capped are single parent households, and of those, 76% have children under five years old. Whilst this cap was introduced by the Government in order to provide an incentive for parents to work, many critics say that this cap is in fact just creating another obstacle for single parents with young children.   The Chief executive of Gingerbread – a support group for single parents – said:

“The cap is billed as a policy that incentivises parents to find work. However, we know that single parents are already highly motivated to work and that for those with very young children it is low pay, the high cost of childcare and lack of the right part-time jobs that make it particularly difficult for them to work.”

Since the benefits cap was introduced in April 2013, 62,571 households have had their benefits capped. The worst affected area is London, where there are more than 45% of these households. However, the next worst affected area is the south-east where there are more than 10% of households affected and where there are soaring property prices.

To read the full article, please visit The Guardian website.

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Kids Company trustees accused of not taking into account finance warnings

Kids Company trustees accused of not taking into account finance warnings

Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in News

According to the Guardian, senior directors at the Kids Company charity warned the trustees on numerous occasions that reserves needed to be built up. However, this advice was not taken and two finance directors at the charity left in less than three years because of it.

Two finance directors at Kids Company left in less than three years because of their frustrations that no one – from the board of trustees, led by the BBC’s Alan Yentob, to the chief executive, Camila Batmanghelidjh – heeded warnings of the need to build a financial cushion to protect the charity from catastrophe, the Guardian understands.

In the Guardian’s analysis of five years of the charity’s accounts, whilst the latter received millions of pounds in Government funding, they never built any reserves because they spent almost all of their income every year. Between 2009 and 2013 the charity’s income increased by 77% from £13m to £23m, however, during the same period its outgoings also increased by 72%. This increase in outgoings also included senior management pay increases.

To read the full article, please The Guardian website.

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Too much emphasis is placed on guidance given in Payne v Payne according to Court of Appeal

Too much emphasis is placed on guidance given in Payne v Payne according to Court of Appeal

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in News

In a judgment issued by the Court of Appeal the 6th August 2015 in F (A Child) (International Relocation Cases) [2015] EWCA Civ 882 it would seem that the court is attempting to distance itself from the guidelines outlined in Payne v Payne.
Since Payne, many believe that a gender discriminatory approach has been adopted concerning leave to remove cases; however, at paragraph 18 of the Court of Appeal’s judgment, Lord Justice McFarlane stated:
“In the decade or more since Payne it would seem odd indeed for this Court to use guidance which out of the context which was intended is redolent with gender based assumptions as to the role in relationships of parents with a child.”
The trial judge in Re F had initially granted the mother leave to move the child to Germany, however, it was decided by the Court of Appeal that an error in law had been made by relying too much on Payne v Payne and by not evaluating the harm of leave being refused against the harm that the child would suffer from being separated from her father.
For the full judgment, please visit the Bailii website.

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