What could this latest adoption judgment mean for social workers?
Source: Luke Stevenson in Community Care. Originally published 18th August 2016
Will Re W change practice the way Re B and Re B-S did? Or will the adoption landscape stay the same?
Stuck in the middle were social workers trying to grapple with the practice implications. They did so in a pressurised arena where judges continued to criticise poor practice and attempted to clarify what was expected of social work evidence.
Read full article at source: What could this latest adoption judgment mean for social workers?
Care cases received by Cafcass in August up again
In August 2016, Cafcass received a total of 1,258 care applications which is an increase of 34% compared to those received a year ago in August 2015.
See Cafcass statistics: August 2016 statistics from Cafcass
“Innovation from the ground up”: practitioner consultations with psychologists
Source: Cafcass. Originally published August 2016
A new service providing Cafcass practitioners with access to clinical psychologists is enhancing their confidence and strengthening recommendations to court. Julie Kelly, Cafcass Head of Practice in Birmingham, describes how the service grew from one practitioner’s idea to a nationally embedded service.
‘We saw quite a shift in the family courts following the Family Justice Review. The use of additional experts was limited significantly to reduce delay in family proceedings. It also reaffirmed the role of social workers and Cafcass Family Court Advisers (FCAs) as experts in their field.
‘Although this change was largely welcomed among practitioners at Cafcass, it also created some anxiety. One FCA in my area, Pat Foster, was able to clearly articulate the worry felt by many. Years of overreliance on experts in court, particularly psychological assessments, had left her and colleagues at times feeling deskilled and lacking in confidence. Pat identified that often it was only one small issue that needed clarification from a psychological perspective to progress some cases and strengthen our assessment.
‘I worked with Pat and others to develop her idea further. From this, the Cafcass National Psychology Service was born.
Read the full article: “Innovation from the ground up”: practitioner consultations with psychologists
Cafcass are clients of the KnowledgeBrief Innovation Programme. This article on the KnowledgeBrief websites provides more information: Cafcass Use the Innovation Programme to Stimulate Change and Support a New Way of Thinking
Long-term fostering must be on equal footing with adoption and SGOs in new legislation, says The Fostering Network
Source: Family Law Week. Originally published: 8th September 2016
Calls for amendment of clause 8
‘The Fostering Network is calling for an amendment to clause 8 of the Children and Social Work Bill, to ensure that long-term fostering is on an equal footing with adoption and special guardianship orders when it comes to possible permanence options for children in care.
Clause 8 of the Bill expands the information that courts must have in the care plan when deciding whether to make a care order for a child.
Courts must currently consider the local authority’s long-term plan for the upbringing of a child set out in the “permanence provisions” of the care plan. The clause will mean that, going forward, courts will have to take into account the impact on the child of any harm that they have suffered, the child’s needs, and how the care plan meets those needs now and in the future. It is anticipated that, by ensuring better information is at the forefront of decision-makers’ minds, the right placement – the one that is most likely to meet a child’s needs throughout their childhood – is pursued from the outset.
However, while the clause specifically mentions adoption as a permanence option, it does not explicitly include long-term foster care which will, for the majority of children, be the best possible permanence option. We are calling for an amendment to the clause to include long-term fostering, for which there is now a legal definition’.
Read full article at source: Long-term fostering must be on equal footing with adoption and SGOs in new legislation, says The Fostering Network
ReA (A Child)  EWCA Civ 820
Source: Family Law Week. Judgments (25/08/2016)
Judgment of Black LJ in care proceedings allowing an appeal and directing a rehearing in respect of care and placement orders made only 3 months after the court had determined the child should be returned to the mother’s care.
‘The guardian’s analysis of the consequences for E of being adopted was inadequate as the Recorder accepted, commenting that there was an absence of evidence, from both the local authority and the guardian, about the harm that the child would suffer by being removed from the mother. All of these matters will have contributed to this careful Recorder not focussing upon and dealing with central issues’.
Read full article at source: ReA (A Child)  EWCA Civ 820
Children: Public Law Update (August 2016)
Source: Family Law Week. Originally published 11th August 2016
John Tughan QC, 4 Paper Buildings, reviews two recent decisions:
Re W (A Child)  EWCA Civ 793
‘The first is Re W (A Child) which dealt with the issue addressed by a number of different courts recently and which has formed the basis of comment in this quarterly article before. Those earlier decisions were by Holman J in A&B v Rotherham  EWFC 47 (5th December 2014), the Court of Appeal in M’P-P (Children)  EWCA Civ 584 (June 2015) and Russell J in Re W (Adoption Application: Reunification with Family of Origin)  EWHC 2039’.
Re E (A Child)  EWCA Civ 473
‘The second important case to be published recently involves the evaluation of allegations of sexual abuse. In Re E (A Child) the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal against findings of sexual abuse. The case included a detailed challenge on the evidence that was before the Court as well as more general issues’.
Read the full article at source: Children: Public Law Update (August 2016)