Hurrah for independent Guardians

A County Council v K & Ors (By the Child's Guardian Ht) [2011] EWHC 1672 (Fam)

I have not had the chance to fully read this judgment, but this case appears to be an astonishing rebuke to CAFCASS' bureaucratic, authoritarian managerial approach, and firmly reminds them of the need to allow Guardian's to exercise their independent judgment without fetter.

Jordan's Family Law summary here.

Judgment on BAILII here.

Social Workers: Arrogant and Enthusiastic Removers of Vegetarians?

I'm a bit slow off the mark this week but I do want to report this: Lord Justice Wall has been widely reported as criticising social workers for being "arrogant and enthusiastic removers of children from their parents". It doesn't look as if he will be a wallflower of a President, does it?

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In another Times piece about social work 'gone wrong', it is reported that social workers tried to remove a child from his parents because of their vegan diet. I can't really make sense of this report, because it appears to suggest that the parents had their public funding withdrawn on merits grounds, but public funding in care proceedings is not merits tested. I think that the answer is that the parents were pursuing some kind of Judicial Review against the Local Authority, which would be merits tested but they would have been entitled to legal representation as of right in relation to the main proceedings where the removal of their children was in issue.

Lilo & Stitch

I have just taken time out in between briefs to watch Lilo & Stitch whilst feeding the boy his tea. I confess that I had one eye on the tv and one on the tuna sandwiches that were being liberally smeared all over the high chair and his face, and that were threatening to come in my direction, so I may have missed some of the detail. But it still made me cry - just a little bit. But then I am a sap.

Lilo is a Hawaiin orphan being raised by a struggling older sister. She is bullied at school and displaying alarming behavioural problems including violence against her contemporaries. She is odd and sad (she explains to the other girls at school that her home made green doll's head is oversized because it is full of insects - she is shunned). She is at risk of removal by the oddest ex-CIA social worker / man in black I have ever seen and apparently the sisters are left to fend for themselves with no help or support at all. And then they adopt an odd looking 'dog' Stitch, in fact an alien experiment programmed to exhibit destructive tendencies but who longs for a family to belong to. I don't really understand how the squalid living environment, near death through negligence and demonstrably poor behaviour management techniques are miraculously overcome by the simple concept of 'family' (the Hawaiin word is 'Ohana' meaning family, and the concept that nobody gets left behind) nor how the house that was blown up by aliens is rebuilt in a mere blink of an eye (although I think that may have been down to some kind of alien wizardry). But somehow it turns out ok and the family lives happily ever after with Lilo and Stitch, big sis and random male friend who is good at surfing who appears towards the end I think just to make it more of a conventional sort of unit. But it was a touching movie with a refreshing glimpse of the sadness and oddness of children who live with fractured families and loss. But at the end of the day although Lilo is a wierd kid, she is still a cartoon and as cute as a button. Not all survivors of difficult home scenarios are quite so appealing. And sometimes someone is left behind.

Gee I should really lighten up....[Sighs....and gets back to work]...