Are you a relative or friend caring for a child long term because they cannot live with their parents? If so, the University of Bristol would like to hear from you.
Research suggests many children benefit because their carer ensures the child feels safe and loved, but such families can face difficulties. The University has been commissioned by the charity Buttle UK to conduct a study into the experiences of these young people (aged 8-18) and their carers to gain a better understanding of their situation and how their lives can be improved. Carers and children each get a £20 voucher as a thank you for taking part. The research team is currently recruiting and is very keen to hear from carers. If you’re interested, please contact Paula Vaisey on 01179546728 / 07580312526, or email Paula.Vaisey@bristol.ac.uk
Take part now : Interviews with families will take place until the end of October this year, and the report will be out around July 2012
April Invaluable role of grandparents as childcarers New research from Aviva suggests that around half of all UK grandparents - now look after their grandchildren and help around the house while mums and dads work. Of these, 99.5% do so without pay. More
6 April 2011 Grandparents who give up work to look after their grandchildren as a kinship carer or foster carer, and are in receipt of child benefit for that child, will no longer lose out on their basic State Pension. From April 2011 Grandparents in this situation receive Class 3 National Insurance credits ensuring an entitlement to full basic pension.
Lynn Chesterman CE said: "The National Insurance credit is available for those below state pension age and getting child benefit for a child under 12 or must be an approved foster carer or kinship carer. Now Grandparents who give up work to look after their grandchildren will no longer lose out on their entitlement to basic State Pension. Many grandparents are in their early 50s and give up work early to provide this vital child care. "
24 February 2011 - Mediation before court says the Ministry of Justice
From April separating couples must assess whether mediation would be a better way of resolving their disputes than battling over them in court. Anyone setting out to contest the terms of their separation in court will first be required to consider mediation, under a new protocol agreed with the Judiciary. More
The government has announced plans to make radical changes to the civil legal aid system. The rationale is to ensure ‘that legal aid is targeted to those who need it most, for those cases in which legal advice or representation is justified.’ But this means cuts and they may affect you if your family is involved or plans to approach the court about contact issues. The government is hoping that resolutions can be made prior to court proceedings and will continue to fund mediation as a means to resolve disputes but legal aid will no longer cover private children and family law cases – except where domestic violence is involved.
The Daily Telegraph reports that a government review is to recommend the introduction of a compulsory mediation stage before any financial or custodial dispute is heard in court. David Norgrove, the chair of the Family Justice Review panel, is quoted as saying that a new mediation stage could reduce the legal aid budget by £100 million. The plan, which it is said will be published early next year, will also introduce briefer and simpler hearings for cases that cannot be resolved by mediation.
Lynn Chesterman, chief executive of the Grandparents' Association, said, 'The study confirms and validates what many grandparents tell us - that it is not always the cost of raising a grandchild or the expense of going to court which is an issue. We hope that the findings will be used alongside other evidence to give us a fuller picture of how losing contact with grandchildren, or raising them full-time, impacts in so many ways.'
21.09.10 by Adam Wagner Top judge says legal aid in family cases may disappear The president of the family courts, Sir Nicholas Wall, has given a wide-ranging speech to Families Needs Fathers. In it he outlined his own vision for change and also sounded a warning that legal aid in family cases may soon be abolished.
03.08.10 PRESS RELEASE - INTERDISCIPLINARY ALLIANCE FOR CHILDREN JOINT POSITION STATEMENT ON THE DELIVERY OF COURT SERVICES TO CHILDREN IN FAMILY PROCEEDINGS DOWNLOAD THE JOINT POSITION STATEMENT for DELIVERY OF COURT SERVICES TO CHILDREN IN FAMILY PROCEEDINGS – INTERDISCIPLINARY ALLIANCE FOR CHILDREN
A powerful Alliance of eighteen legal, medical and child care organisations have come together to issue the attached joint position statement which sets out their grave concerns about the services currently being provided by the Children and Family Courts Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). The Alliance questions whether the CAFCASS model of service delivery is either the most effective in terms of outcomes for the vulnerable children involved or the most cost effective use of all the available resources both human and financial. This week’s publication of the results of a National Audit Office review of CAFCASS and the announcement of the referral to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee reinforces the concerns of the Alliance. The Alliance calls on the Government to act quickly as matters are now too serious to await the outcome of the forthcoming Family Justice Review. The Alliance offers to assist the Government in initiating a constructive exploration of possible alternative arrangements which do not pose a serious threat to the statutory framework protecting children’s welfare and rights - painstakingly developed through research and evidence-based clinical practice over the last four decades.
NOTES TO EDITORS For media enquiries contact: NAGALRO - ALISON PADDLE (Press Officer) 01539 737 232 (mobile 07789 252453) or NAGALRO office, Karen Harris - 01372 818504, or ALC - BARBARA HOPKIN (Press Officer) (m) 07970 620156, or ALC office, Julia Higgins - 0208 224 7071
17.06.10 Why it's time for families to come first - by NICK CLEGG, Deputy PM Grandparents are to get sweeping legal rights as part of government plans to put ‘strong, stable and loving families’ back at the heart of British life. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says it is ‘crazy’ that millions of grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren after a family separation or divorce. Ministers now plan to change the law to give greater access rights to grandparents when couples split. Mr Clegg, has set out his proposals in a speech on the family today.
‘We are looking at how to provide greater access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents when couples separate.’ "When marriages and relationships break down, a child’s whole world can collapse too. Strong, stable and loving families are the cornerstone of a happy childhood. We all know the role grandparents can play in helping children through these difficult times. But often grandparents don’t feel empowered to step in. That’s crazy, and it needs to change. That’s why today we are announcing a new Childhood and Families Task Force composed of senior ministers, chaired by the Prime Minister, to take action to remove some of the biggest hurdles that millions of families face every day."
The Task Force will also work on making parental leave much more flexible, allowing parents to divvy the time up to better suit their needs, and allowing fathers to take a much more hands on role with their children when they’re young.
08.06.10 UK is lagging behind other countries in recognising crucial role of grandparents.
Lynn Chesterman CE of The Grandparents' Association says:
"The Grandparents’ Association, the only national membership organisation for grandparents, supports the findings of Grandparents Plus. However grandchildren's voices are often ignored and Children's Voices, is to be launched by The Grandparents Association on 1 July which will add to these findings by listening to the children.”
28.05.10 - Queen’s Speech highlights key children’s rights issues in the following Bills being considered in the 2010/11 Parliamentary session [opens PDF]
12.05.10 - Michael Gove MP is the new Secretary of State for Education. The Department for Education was formed on 12 May 2010 and is responsible for education and children's services.
11.05.10 - BBC News - Grandmother wins Kent County Council foster care ruling Comment from Grandparents-Association - The Grandparents’ Association was pleased to hear of this verdict as we know that thousands of grandparents step in to care for their grandchildren. Often this is at a crisis point or with little notice as the only alternative is for the child to go into local authority care. These grandparents are often given little emotional or financial support and at a time when they had expected, and planned for, no responsibilities for dependants they find themselves struggling to survive and give their grandchildren the care they deserve. We get around 50 calls a month to our welfare benefits service from carer grandparents fighting to get some financial support and we have been campaigning for the government to give better recognition and support to carer grandparents. This could be a landmark ruling and we are disappointed Kent County Council is appealing but will be following this case closely. Lynn Chesterman CE
20.01.10 - DCSF - Families and Relationships Green Paper ** for a quick summary view page 114 of the download Chapter 6 - "Services have an important role in supporting families and good family relationships. Key to this is making sure they are welcoming — not just to mothers and fathers but also to grandparents and all family members who may play a significant role in a child’s life.
Published today by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the Rt. Hon. Ed Balls MP – download for free