Child Protection Industry

 

 

 

 

The website remains unchanged. The items in red below are very damaging. They represent a betrayal of ManKind's membership. I think Mark Harris will not be the only member of ManKind to resign because it is on our website. This matter is urgent.   Ivor Catt   12oct02

 

Now that ManKind is playing footsie with risk assessment, we realise that the blue phrases, on  http://www.mankind.org.uk/cafcass.html , are hopelessly ambiguous;

 

Inadequate risk assessment processes also enables unsuitable non-resident parents to exploit the weaknesses of the current service to gain contact against the best interest of the child.
In both cases( ie resident/non-resident parent ), the checks and balances are wholly inadequate for ensuring that the interests of the child are paramount.

 

The prime task of the CWO should be to ensure that this remit of care and responsibility can be fulfilled by both parents.

 

Subject to a clean bill of health from the risk assessment process

 

Failure for either parent to uphold the standards of care

 

 if it can be seen to be in the interests of the child

 

risk assessment checklist

 

the process of risk assessment

 

Risk assessment combined with professional training

 

Ivor Catt   12oct02

 

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I sent out an email on 30july02 voicing deep concerns about http://www.mankind.org.uk/cafcass.html

 

Today on http://www.mankind.org.uk/cafcass.html I found the following

 

Family Policy Cafcass Reform Family Abuse Against Men Men's Health

Family Policy Document

Court Services Cafcass

Coalition of Equal Parenting
Equal Parenting Council . ManKind FNF ( Scotland & N.I.) . MATCH . Children of Divorce .Caspar . UKMM DADS . Both Parents Forever

Statement
We wish to work with Cafcass to help create a service which is :

Child centred
Respects the human rights of both children and parents

Works with parents to create a culture of equal parenting based on the responsibility of both parents to care for their child
Safeguards the well-being of children

Preamble
The current culture is one of hostility brought about by the creation of resident and non-resident parents where the winner takes all and the loser is left fighting for contact.
It is based upon a background of inadequate training , the crude notion of an exclusive need for resident parents , entrenched and outmoded ideas relating to the gender of the resident parent , and gender politics.
The follow through in many cases is one of the resident parent exercising total and unreasonable control on both the non-resident parent and children.
Inadequate risk assessment processes also enables unsuitable non-resident parents to exploit the weaknesses of the current service to gain contact against the best interest of the child.
In both cases( ie resident/non-resident parent ), the checks and balances are wholly inadequate for ensuring that the interests of the child are paramount.

A resident parent should only be created as a result of the proven unsuitability of the other parent to be treated as an equal parent. In all other cases they should both be treated as equal parents in terms of rights and responsibilities. Any other development outside of this should be regarded as a failure of the system.

Working together

The way forward is :

Children First
It is in the interests of the child to have two caring and responsible parents. The prime task of the CWO should be to ensure that this remit of care and responsibility can be fulfilled by both parents. The CWO should not be making recommendations on who is the better parent - this creates division and hostility and contributes nothing towards encouraging the parents to work together in the interest of the children.

Risk Assessment
This remit can be fulfilled by assessing both parents in order to ensure that they pose no risk to the children in terms of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Other areas should include parental alienation, false allegations, the use of drugs or the subsequent breaking of equal parenting arrangements. All serious allegations should be investigated by the police.

False Allegations
Risk assessment is a serious matter and should be treated as such. False allegations should form part of the risk assessment process and treated as posing a risk to children inasmuch that it places them under stress.
The burden of proof should lie with the person alleging risk, not the Court Welfare Officer. Nor should the accused person be required to prove their innocence. However, any criminal investigation by the police or social services should be included in the evidence.
A parent guilty of false allegations should face criminal charges .

Non-Resident Parent
The decision to create a non-resident parent should only be reserved for cases where one parent is proven to be unsuitable to be an equal parent on the grounds of being a risk to the child as outlined in the section on risk assessment and false allegations.
The status of non-resident parent would subject them to having to make application for contact, where the causes for their status would be carefully examined in deciding on the nature and level of contact.

Resident Parent
The resident parent would have the full responsibility for the care of the children. There would be an obligation upon them to uphold any contact orders awarded to the non-resident parent. Failure to comply with a court order would bring into question their suitability to be a resident parent and the possibility of the children being taken into care.

Equal Parent
Subject to a clean bill of health from the risk assessment process both parents would receive equal parent status where they would be equally responsible for the care and protection of their children.
The remit of the CWO should be to develop a practical programme of support for the children which involves both parents. Whilst not being too prescriptive this should range from between 50/50 through to 70/30 care time for the parents.
Any departure from this should be on the grounds of either the agreement of both parents or the work commitment of one of the parents e.g. the father/mother travels extensively in his/her work and is only available for 20% of the care time.
Any temporary changes ( ie.serviceman/woman being posted away ) should not prevent a return to the original agreement. During this time, all care time arrangements should be agreed ( eg. phone, e-mails, video etc. )

Safeguards
It is essential that safeguards are built into the equal parenting arrangement. Failure for either parent to uphold the standards of care required for equal parenting may result in their status being reduced to that of non-resident parent. This would oblige the non-resident parent to apply for contact with their children.

Contact arrangements for non-resident parents
All non-resident parents should have the right to apply for contact which would relate directly to the reason for their denial of equal parent. For example, drug abuse may allow for no contact until the parent is clear of the problem.
There should be no reason for denying improvement of contact in designated cases if it can be seen to be in the interests of the child.

Gender Politics
Any outside body seeking to influence the decision making processes on grounds of gender or sexual orientation must be barred from the Family Court Service. The new service must not be seen to be favouring either gender - this is discrimination and does not serve the interests of the child.

Training
Professional training of the officers must be the lynchpin of the new service. CWOs will need full knowledge of the various aspects of risk assessment which will be the key to correct decision-making.
They will also require clear guidelines in order to set consistent contact times for non-resident parents. We would now be dealing with a range of known criteria eg.Family Abuse against children, and it would be advisable to have a set tariff rather than leave it to chance.

Care Plan
CWOs will also require practical training in developing care programmes for equal parents and resident/non-resident parents. This will be a difficult period for the whole family regardless of the outcome of status. A variation of practical guidelines based on best practice could be developed over a period of time.

The report
All reports should be recorded ( audio/video ), with copies available for interviewees in order to safeguard the validity of statements made and information recorded.
This should consist of the risk assessment checklist based on proven and accurate factual information. It should be supplemented by background notes on the family in terms of health, living conditions, schooling and an impartial assessment on their current state of affairs.
The decision on the outcome of status should lie with the court and the obligation of the CWO should be that of supplying accurate information for this purpose.

Complaint Procedure
A valid complaint procedure is required to underpin the decisions made in court as a result of the process of risk assessment. Both parents should have the right to challenge the accuracy of the factual evidence entered into reports or the omission of vital information.
To safeguard the validity of the complaint procedure there should be an ultimate right for either parent to request an independant investigation.
There must be an obligation placed on the CWO to present accurate information and a comprehensive complaint procedure should be in place to ensure that this is undertaken before it reaches court.
The final recommendation should lie with the court, which is the reason for having a report which is accurate and is free of complaint and places the final decision where it belongs.

Summary
The Coalition of Equal Parenting express their hope that our Family Policy Document will make a major contribution towards reducing the adversarial culture in the courtrooms whilst safeguarding the interests of children.
We also hope that we will help to create a new culture of keeping families together in terms of care, despite the rigours of divorce.
Most importantly, we aspire to remove the misery being inflicted on thousands of children by clearly defining the difference between an equal parent, a resident parent and a non-resident parent. Risk assessment combined with professional training will remove problems at the start of the process, rather than create problems which will last for years.
Finally we wish to emphasise the need to transform the work of the courts into that of developing care plans for families regardless of outcome of parental status.

 

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Today 12oct02 on http://www.mankind.org.uk/charter.html  I found;

 

The principles of sound risk assessment should be applied to ensure that both parents are suitable to care for their children.

 

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