Hi everyone and welcome to Bristol Grandparents Support Group blog. Although we are Bristol based we have grandparents from all over the UK and beyond as members.

It is estimated that over one million children in the UK are denied contact with their grandparents due to family breakdown which may have been caused by divorce/separation, alcohol/drug dependency,domestic violence,bereavement or family feud.
Every child has the right to have contact with their grandparents
if they wish and unless proven unsafe for them to do so. To deny contact from a parent or grandparent has to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
I hope to keep you up to date with what is going on in BGSG and I shall continue to campaign for the rights of children to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both parents and their extended family. So please join in as good to hear your views, not just mine!
I also will support via Skype.
There is no membership fee to be part of Bristol Grandparents Support Group.
Esther Rantzen says, " To every grandparent, links of love can never be broken in our hearts."

Please contact during office hours.

Thursday 31 March 2011

This is the recommendations of Family Justice Review.

iii Family Justice Review – List of recommendations

We strongly endorse the continuing value of the framework and core principles of the Children Act 1989. (Paragraph 2.21)

A Family Justice Service

There should be a Family Justice Service. (Paragraph 3.2) The Family Justice Service should ensure that the interests of children and young

people are at the heart of its operation. (Paragraph 3.4)

Children and young people should be given age appropriate information which explains what is happening when they are included in disputes being dealt with by the Family Justice Service. (Paragraph 3.7)

Children and young people should as early as possible in a case be supported to be able to make their views known and older children should be offered a menu of options, to lay out the ways in which they could – if they wish – do this. (Paragraph 3.12)

The Ministry of Justice should sponsor the Family Justice Service. There will need to be close links at both Ministerial and official level with the Department for Education and Welsh Assembly Government. (Paragraph 3.27)

Safeguards should be built in to ensure the interests of the child are given priority in guiding the work of the Family Justice Service. (Paragraph 3.28)

The Service should be led through a Family Justice Board and a Chief Executive. (Paragraph 3.36)

The current range of groups and meeting arrangements should be streamlined through the creation of the Family Justice Service to subsume the work currently performed by the Family Justice Council, Local Family Justice Councils, Family Court Business Committees, the National Performance Partnership, Local Performance Improvement Groups and the President’s Combined Development Board. (Paragraph 3.43)

Local Family Justice Boards should be established, with consistent terms of reference and membership. They should work closely with Local Safeguarding Children Boards. (Paragraph 3.43)

A dedicated post – a Senior Family Presiding Judge – should report to the President of the Family Division and the Senior Presiding Judge on the effectiveness of family work amongst the judiciary. (Paragraph 3.53)

Family Division Liaison Judges should be renamed Family Presiding Judges, reporting to the Senior Family Presiding Judge on performance issues in their circuit. (Paragraph 3.53)

Judges with leadership responsibilities should have clearer management responsibilities. There should be stronger job descriptions, detailing clear expectations of management responsibilities and inter-agency working. (Paragraph 3.54)

26 | Family Justice Review Information on key indicators such as case numbers per judge, court and area, case lengths, numbers of adjournments and number of experts should support this approach to judicial case management. (Paragraph 3.55)

There should be judicial continuity in all family cases. The High Court will be an exception but this should be limited as far as possible. This recommendation applies also to legal advisers and benches of magistrates. (Paragraph 3.60)

Robust case management by the judiciary should be supported with consistent case progression resource. (Paragraph 3.63)

Legislation should be considered to provide for stronger case management provision in respect of the conduct of both public and private law proceedings. (Paragraph 3.65)

Criteria should be established for the allocation of resource to the family judiciary and budgets should be set in terms of money, not in sitting days. (Paragraph 3.75)

Budgets, including family legal aid, should, over time, be consolidated into the Family Justice Service. Decisions on spending should also be taken at the most local level possible. (Paragraph 3.76)

Charges to local authorities for public law applications and to Cafcass for police checks should be removed. (Paragraph 3.86)

Court social work services should form part of the Family Justice Service, subsuming the role currently performed by Cafcass. These functions will continue to be a devolved responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government, performed by Cafcass Cymru. But there should be a close working relationship between Cafcass Cymru and the Family Justice Service, underpinned by service level agreements. (Paragraphs 3.104, 3.105)

The Family Justice Service should be responsible for procuring publicly funded mediation and support for contact. (Paragraphs 3.106, 3.107)

Judges and magistrates should be enabled and encouraged to specialise in family matters. (Paragraph 3.113)

The requirement to hear other types of work before being allowed to sit on family matters should be abolished. A requirement for appointment to the family judiciary should, in future, include a willingness to specialise. (Paragraph 3.113)

There should be inter-disciplinary induction for all those working in the system and a clear framework for inter-disciplinary working for all those engaged in it. The Family Justice Service should co-ordinate the professional relationships and workforce development needs between key stakeholders. (Paragraph 3.118)

There should be quality standards for system-wide processes that build on local knowledge, are evidence-based and replicable. Compliance with practice guidelines should be reviewed regularly and this should include the role and performance of local authorities and wider users. There also needs to be a more co-ordinated and system-wide approach to research and evaluation. (Paragraphs 3.127, 3.128)

An integrated IT system, with the ability to support management of cases, should be developed. In the short term, current IT systems should be adapted in a cost effective manner. (Paragraph 3.142)

Family Justice Review Interim Report – March 2011 | 27

Robust performance information should be fed into the national and local boards, and the judiciary. (Paragraph 3.142)

A single family court should be created, with a single point of entry, in place of the current three tiers of court. All levels of family judiciary (including magistrates) should sit in the family court and work would be allocated depending upon case complexity. (Paragraph 3.151)

Some cases, particularly those with an international element or where, under the High Court's inherent jurisdiction, life and death decisions are made, should be described as being determined in the High Court, Family Division rather than in the single Family Court. (Paragraph 3.152)

Court hearings should be organised in the most appropriate location. Routine hearings should use telephone or video technology wherever possible, and hearings that do not need to take place in a court room should be held in rooms that are family friendly as far as possible and appropriate. (Paragraph 3.159)

The estate for family courts should be reviewed to reduce the number of buildings in which cases are heard, to promote efficiency, judicial continuity and specialisation. Exceptions should be made for rural areas where transport is poor. (Paragraph 3.161)

Public law

Courts must continue to play a central role in public law in England and Wales. But this role should be refocused, with changes in the ways of working that will affect the family justice system more widely. (Paragraph 4.144)

Courts should refocus on the core issues of whether the child is to live with parents, other family or friends, or be removed to the care of the local authority. Other aspects and the detail of the care plan should be the responsibility of the local authority. (Paragraph 4.160)

A time limit for the completion of care and supervision proceedings within six months should be put into legislation. (Paragraph 4.176)

Cases must be managed and timetabled strictly in accordance with the ‘Timetable for the Child’. This concept needs to be redefined and given greater legal force. (Paragraph 4.185)

The Family Justice Service should manage the task of developing and maintaining the detailed criteria that will support judges in drawing up the Timetable. (Paragraph 4.192)

We propose a package of measures intended to enable effective and robust case control by the judiciary in public law cases:

- courts should strengthen the use of the case progression function; (Paragraph 4.206)

- courts must continue to work to apply the PLO. We intend at the next stage to consider the implications of our proposals for the PLO; (Paragraph 4.208)

- the requirement to renew Interim Care Orders after eight weeks and then every four weeks should be removed. Judges should be allowed discretion to grant

28 | Family Justice Review

interim orders for the time they see fit subject to a maximum of six months. The courts’ power to renew should be tied to their power to extend proceedings beyond six months; (Paragraph 4.210) and

- we need to develop the skills and knowledge of judges so they will be better case managers. We shall consider this in public law, in the context of wider workforce skills, in the coming months. (Paragraph 4.214)

The requirement that local authority adoption panels should consider the suitability for adoption of a child whose case is before the court should be removed. (Paragraph 4.212)

We support Professor Eileen Munro’s recommendations in ‘The Child’s Journey’ about how local authorities can contribute to reducing delays in care proceedings. (Paragraph 4.220)

We encourage use of the ‘letter before proceedings’. We recommend research be undertaken about its impact. (Paragraph 4.226)

We recommend that judges should be given clearer powers to enable them to refuse expert assessments and the relevant legislative provisions revised accordingly. (Paragraph 4.227)

Independent Social Workers should only be employed to provide new information to the court, not as a way of replacing the assessments that should have been submitted by the social worker or the guardian. The relevant rules should reflect this. (Paragraph 4.228)

Research should be commissioned to examine the value of residential assessments of parents. (Paragraph 4.230)

The development of multi-disciplinary teams to provide expert reports to the courts has merit. (Paragraph 4.233)

The judge should be responsible for instructing experts as a fundamental part of case management. (Paragraph 4.239)

The Family Justice Service should be responsible for identifying and commissioning experts, working closely with local judges to ensure a focus on quality, timeliness and value for money. Multi-disciplinary teams may well have value. (Paragraph 4.240)

The tandem model should be retained but it needs to be used in a more proportionate way. (Paragraph 4.247)

The merit of using guardians pre-proceedings needs to be considered further. (Paragraph 4.260)

The merit of developing an ‘in-house’ tandem model needs to be considered further. (Paragraph 4.261)

There need to be effective links between the courts and IROs and the working relationship between the guardian and the IRO needs to be stronger. (Paragraph 4.269)

There should also be more formal arrangements within local authorities to ensure that the most senior levels, including the Director for Children’s Services and the

Family Justice Review Interim Report – March 2011 | 29

Lead Member, keep fully in touch with how care plans are being implemented. The IRO has a potential role to play here. (Paragraph 4.270)

Alternatives to some current court processes should be developed and extended: - Family Group Conferences can be useful although their effectiveness needs

more research; (Paragraph 4.279)

- formal mediation approaches in public law proceedings may have potential; (Paragraph 4.285) and

- the Family Drug and Alcohol Court in the Inner London Family Proceedings Court shows considerable promise. (Paragraph 4.290)

Private law

No legislation should be introduced that creates or risks creating the perception that there is a parental right to substantially shared or equal time for both parents. (Paragraph 5.76)

A statement should be inserted into legislation to reinforce the importance of the child continuing to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, alongside the need to protect the child from harm. (Paragraph 5.77)

The need for grandparents to apply for leave of the court before making an application for contact should remain. (Paragraph 5.82)

Parents should be given a short leaflet when they register the birth of their child, providing an introduction to the meaning and practical implications of parental responsibility (PR). (Paragraph 5.86)

Parents should be encouraged to develop a Parenting Agreement to set out arrangements for the care of their children post-separation. (Paragraph 5.90)

Residence and contact orders should no longer be available to parents who hold PR, but disputes over the division of a child’s time between parents should instead be resolved by a specific issue order. (Paragraph 5.95)

The terms, forms and evidence required by the court should also be reviewed to reduce their contribution to conflict. (Paragraph 5.95)

A father without PR who wishes the court to consider the child living with him (currently a residence order) should first apply for PR, and then negotiate for this to be included in the Parenting Agreement or apply for a specific issue order. If a father does not wish to seek PR he is still able to make a contact application. (Paragraph 5.97)

The full range of the four orders under Children Act 1989, section 8 should remain available to non-parental relatives. (Paragraph 5.99)

An online information hub and helpline should be established to give information and support for couples to resolve issues following divorce or separation outside court. (Paragraph 5.114)

Provision should be made to ensure that a signed Parenting Agreement has weight as evidence in any subsequent parental dispute. (Paragraph 5.118)

‘Alternative dispute resolution’ should be rebranded as ‘Dispute Resolution Services’, in order to minimise a deterrent to their use. (Paragraph 5.123)

30 | Family Justice Review

Where intervention is necessary it should be compulsory for the parties to attend a session with a mediator, trained and accredited to a high professional standard, who should:

- assess the most appropriate intervention, including mediation and collaborative law, or whether the risks of domestic violence, imbalance between the parties or child protection issues require immediate referral to the family court; and

- provide information on local Dispute Resolution Services and how they could support parties to resolve disputes. (Paragraph 5.125)

Judges will retain the power to order parties to attend a mediation information session and may make cost orders where it is felt that one party has behaved unreasonably. (Paragraph 5.125)

The mediator tasked with the initial assessment will need to be the case manager until an application to court is made. (Paragraph 5.127)

The assessment will allow for emergency applications to court but the exemptions should be narrow. (Paragraph 5.129)

Those parents who are still unable to agree should next attend a Separating Parent Information Programme and thereafter if necessary mediation or other dispute resolution service. (Paragraph 5.131)

Mediators should at least meet the current requirements set by the Legal Services Commission. These standards should themselves be reviewed in the light of the new responsibilities being laid on mediators. Mediators who do not currently meet those standards should be given a specified period in which to achieve them. (Paragraph 5.135)

Where agreement cannot be reached, having been given a certificate by the mediator, one or both of the parties will be able to apply to court for determination on a specific issue. (Paragraph 5.139)

Safeguarding checks should be completed at the point of entry into the court system for cases involving children. (Paragraph 5.142)

The First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA) should be retained. Where further court involvement is required after this, the case will be allocated to a track system according to complexity. (Paragraph 5.146)

Where cases are on a complex track, the judge who is allocated to hear the case after a First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment must remain the judge for that case. (Paragraph 5.148)

Where an order is breached, a party should have access to immediate support to resolve the matter swiftly and the current enforcement powers should be available. The case should be heard within a fixed number of days, with the dispute resolved at a single hearing. If an order is breached after 12 months, the parties should be expected to return to Dispute Resolution Services before returning to court to seek enforcement. (Paragraphs 5.159, 5.160)

There should be no automatic link between contact and maintenance. When contact is continually frustrated and it is in the child’s best interests, the courts should have an additional enforcement mechanism available to enable them to alter or suspend the payment of maintenance. (Paragraph 5.166)

Family Justice Review Interim Report – March 2011 | 31

People in dispute about money or property should be expected to access the information hub and should be required to be assessed for mediation. (Paragraph 5.169)

Ancillary relief should be separately reviewed. (Paragraph 5.172)

The process for initiating divorce should begin with the online hub and should be dealt with administratively in the Family Justice Service, unless the divorce is disputed. (Paragraph 5.175)

The current two-stage process of decree nisi/decree absolute should be replaced by a single notice of divorce. (Paragraph 5.176)

Fees in private law should in principle reflect the full cost of services. However, this will depend on achieving a better understanding of costs, affordability and an appropriate remissions policy. (Paragraph 5.178)

Not Grandparents Rights.

I woke up this morning to headlines and BBC Breakfast saying Grandparent Rights To See Their Grandchildren, I had phone calls and texts from grandparents unbelieving what they had heard and read.
It was a complete misrepresentation as far as I can see, having now read the report from the Family Justice Interim Report, there is no mention at all of this.
Where the media got that info from I have no idea.
I have spent all day talking to media, did an interview for BBC one O,clock news only to have it pulled at the last moment,not unusual with this issue.
I have had The Times and photographer here also, At this moment in time it is to be published in Times2 tomorrow, but............
And another journalist has also been in touch.
It is very hard and emotional to keep doing this stuff and then people not having the ...... to show it, so am very tired now.
But I am trying honest I am.

Family Justice Report

Here is the link to Family Justice Review interim report.http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/docs/family-justice-review-interim-report.pdf

Wednesday 30 March 2011

10 minute Rule, result TC

Charlie Elphicke 10 Minute Rule Bill

On Tuesday 29th March 2011 Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, presented a 10 Minute Rule Bill in Parliament proposing that courts and local authorities be required to take account of the rights of children to have a relationship with both parents following divorce and separation.

Elphicke began by citing Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which states that children have the right to maintain a full personal relationship with both parents following separation and divorce, where doing so would not be detrimental to the child’s wellbeing. He was keen to stress that this was not a Bill concerned with the rights of mothers or fathers, but was for those who the Courts are duty bound to consider first and foremost in family law proceedings: the rights of the children.

Following a description of figures detailing the high numbers of those living apart from their children, including the shocking statistic that 1 in 3 children lose all contact with their father two years following separation and divorce, Elphicke lambasted the fact that contact orders are seemingly ignored with impunity by some parents. He described this as “simply unacceptable”, and a situation which has to be remedied. He also put forward the case for mediation as a strong, child-centred alternative to court, where the interests of children are often forgotten amidst bitter legal wrangling.

To conclude, Elphicke listed a series of case studies which illustrated the harm that the current system inflicts on children and parents alike. Particularly poignant was the story of Tommy, a soldier from Coventry denied by his case judge of the opportunity to even say goodbye to his 6 year old daughter before he went to risk his life for his country in Afghanistan. Whilst cries of ‘outrageous’ and ‘shameful’ rang out across a Chamber clearly appalled by what Tommy had endured, Elphicke derided both the judge and the inefficient, inflexible family justice system which allows cases such as this to occur. He finished by stating that this Bill was necessary to send “a clear message” to the public that the law will support families and the rights of children, rather than deny them the opportunity of maintaining loving relationships with their parents.

Opposing the Bill was Elfyn Llwyd, MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd. Llwyd drew upon his 35 years experience as a practicing solicitor and barrister in family law to argue that, despite the best intentions of the Bill, it would “fall foul of the law of unintended consequences”.

He agreed with Elphicke on the importance of both parents in a child’s life, and the position of this in both the Children Act 1989 and UNCRC. However, citing organisations such as the NSPCC, he opposed any changes to law which would alter the paramountcy principle in the Children Act, which ensures that child welfare is placed above all other concerns in law. Llwyd elaborated that the courts already operate with an informal presumption of contact, and that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Court Administration research found that this undermined child welfare by placing undue attention on contact rather than welfare issues.

Llwyd highlighted the fact that fewer than 1 in 10 separating or divorcing couples reach Court to resolve parenting arrangements, and that these were often the cases which involved the greatest threat to child welfare, including domestic violence, mental health issues and alcohol/substance abuse. He said that further research was needed on this issue to facilitate evidence-based policy, and that any potential findings on this topic in the Family Justice Review should not be pre-empted. Llwyd concluded with a cautionary tale in the form of a case study, where a woman with serious mental illness was granted unsupervised access to her two children after she was released from care, whom she subsequently killed. He made the point that children are the most vulnerable participants in these proceedings, and that their welfare should never be compromised in law.

Despite Llwyd’s opposition, the Bill passed with overwhelming support. It was ordered that Charlie Elphicke, Penny Mordaunt, Priti Patel, Charlotte Leslie, Kwasi Kwarteng, Margot James, Caroline Dinenage, Chris Heaton-Harris, Tracey Crouch, Nadhim Zahawi, Karen Lumley and Jane Ellison present the Bill, and Mr. Elphicke presented the Bill accordingly. The Second reading of the Children’s Access to Parents Bill will take place on the 13th May 2011,

Thanks to Becky from Families Need Fathers.


A Grandfather Reunited With His Granddaughter.

I had a call last night from a grandfather from our group to say, never give up hope, he is now seeing his granddaughter every Saturday.
It is great to hear that another grandchild is having the love and care from her grandparents and indeed her Dad who is also now also seeing her.
Tomorrow is the day for the interim report from the Family Justice Review, I hope and pray that ministers have been listening to all groups fighting for the rights of the children.

Sunday 27 March 2011

A parent first.

As a parent first, we want our children (what ever their age!) to be happy, safe and to be loved.
So when they find someone to share their life it should be a time to be treasured, we have children on loan, we hope to equip them for life to grow wings and we stand back and watch them spread their wings and fly.
As some of us know, it doesn't always turn out quite that way.
So what should we do when things go wrong?
When our 'children' are torn to pieces,when they are broken and when they want to end it all. When their relationship, is soured and ripped apart.

When our children are little we tend to keep on wishing them on to the next stage,sleeping through the night,feeding solids,play group,school,exams, leaving home,college,job and on......
when things go wrong they need exactly the same things that they needed when they were little.
A hug,a kiss and someone to listen.
Mum and Dad to be there, to be non-judgemental and to support them through a difficult time.

Of course as grandparents we are hurting too, I personally have to put that to one side, for me I was and still am a Mum first and I always will be.
The pain of watching our children going through a relationship breakdown and loosing their children can only be known by those of us who are experiencing it, and I have no words to explain the awful helplessness of not being able to take that pain away.

I could become bitter and 'bad mouth' those I feel are responsible for my child's pain, but where would that get me? Will that make the situation different, no.

The most important people here our the children.
My child and my child's child.

Saturday 26 March 2011

Government Funding

If you are a support group or organisation that is government funded, it is a time for concern.
That is one of the reasons that Bristol Grandparents Support Group is independent and not reliant to anyone.


Friday 25 March 2011

Next Meeting

Just a reminder that the next meeting is on Saturday April 2nd at 7pm.
Look forward to seeing you.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Address for serving soldier.

I have an address for 'serving soldier' if you or members of the media want to contact him.
Please email me.

Family Justice Review draft date.

I understand from the Ministry of Justice that the draft report of The Family Justice Review is out on March 31st.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Media run scared?

Although several national newspapers were approached with regard to L/Cpl story about not being allowed by a judge to say good bye to his daughter before he left to start his tour of duty in Afghanistan, not one responded .
As we know over one million children are denied contact with their grandparents in the UK, a whole generation of children are being alienated against their non resident parent and extended families, those in power should hold their heads in shame.


Tuesday 22 March 2011

Mothers Day.

With Mothers Day looming, remember as a grandparent you were a Mum first.

My Mum.

My Mum, my friend, everyones mum,

Open arms and open heart,

Time for me, time for everyone.

I was special, I know because she said so,

I miss her yesterday, today and tomorrow,

Her eyes so blue,sparkly and wicked,

We would laugh until our faces ached,

The biggest gift of all your love.

Happy Mothers Day Mum, wherever you are.


Monday 21 March 2011

Off to Afghanistan.

This is a photo of L/Cpl Tommy Coombes who is to depart to Afghanistan within the next 48 hours. Please add your name to the group to help him have contact with his daughter, he has said he will talk to anyone who can help. There are over 1000 people supporting him now, http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_206754009341511&ref=ts.
He was able to spend just one special hour with his little girl last week to say goodbye.

Not funded by government.

I would just like to stress that Bristol Grandparents Support Group is not in anyway funded by government, and membership is free.
It is important to me that I am independent to enable me to be free to say and do what I like and not have any restraints.

Sunday 20 March 2011

4 years denied contact.

At Easter it will be exactly 4 years since we saw our granddaughter and 4 years since our son had any contact with his daughter.
It is difficult to describe the enormity of sadness that fills every part of you, how it is always there,someone so dear to all of us is not sharing in our lives, not being able to receive the love and care we all feel for her.
The last time she was here she spent hours playing in the garden hunting for Easter eggs that the Easter bunny had hidden, squeals of delight rang out and if I listen very hard I can still hear her laughter.
Sometimes I need to remind myself why I am doing what I do, and its for her.
I am not looking for sympathy just support, support for all families who are enduring this heartbreak.

Saturday 19 March 2011


I would like to thank the grandparent who sent me a donation for the group, hopefully might be able to get some leaflets printed now!
Thank you so much.

Friday 18 March 2011

Pictures speak louder than words.


A very happy little girl saying goodbye to her Dad, before he goes off to Afghanistan.


Update on soldier denied request to say goodbye to his daughter.

It is great to be able to tell you that TC has gone off to spend and hour with his daughter at school before he is deployed to Afghanistan.
Thank you for all your RT and support for this young man and I am sure you join with me and wish him a safe tour of duty and speedy return.

Family Justice Review draft due.

Family Justice Review draft report due next week.
I will post it when it appears and please do comment.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Stop the war on each other.

It is not always Mums who decide to use their children in family conflict, to get back at the ex and his family, but sadly it is predominately so.
As a Mum myself, I can't think of anything that could happen to make be behave in this way, my children,(actually they are grown men now) are my life and I would do anything for them. Children are born into this life, children were once part of a loving relationship.
Obviously, if Mum or the children are at risk that is quite a different issue.
As a female, I am ashamed that some women appear to be so evil, where does all this hatred come from.
Life is too short, people all over the world are suffering, homeless,without food and water, without family due to natural disasters. They have no choice within 8 minutes they have lost everything.
Hold on to what is dear, stop this war on each other.


Wednesday 16 March 2011

My opinion.

Obviously everything I write on here is my opinion, and I hope it is not offensive in any way.
Heaven forbid that any MP I might have had contact with feel that they can't endorse the blog, I didn't ask them to, and would never want to make them feel uncomfortable.
A reply I received recently is utterly patronising and shows that no MP will have the ........ to stand up for the million children in the UK denied contact.
Within the reply it also says that family conflict can be very complicating, and that only the close family really know the truth. How dare they say that, WE ARE close family to our granddaughter and we know exactly the truth.
I had better stop now before I explode.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

As a human race we need each other.

I understand that L/Cpl Tommy Coombes will be back from Afghanistan in July for 2 weeks, lets hope that he will be able to see his daughter then as time is running out as he is due to be deployed in less that a week.
It is a complete disgrace that we expect young serviceman to go and serve their country, without being able to say goodbye to their children, there are many like Tommy.
What on earth is this doing to a whole generation of children who are being denied contact by resident parents , children must be part of both parents lives ie: equal parenting.
When you watch the total devastation in Japan and the incredible way they are all supporting one another and determined to rebuild their country, it is time for resident parents to stop alienation ,we never know what is around the corner, it will be the resident parents who will reap what they sow, as a human race we need each other, we must not use children as weapons in adult disputes, they are this worlds future and are only on loan to us, as parents and grandparents, time to respect them as they deserve.
Look to Japan and take note.

Monday 14 March 2011

Help me!

Where can I find help, who will listen to me,
People say, just sort it out, just tell them its wrong,
If only it was that easy, just a call to put it right,
But it isn't.
Children told we don't love them, we don't care,
If only they knew the hours spent in the dark,
Sobbing, sobbing for hours on end.

You are not alone, we are in this together,
For how ever long it takes, email, phone or have tea,
Our grandchildren deserve everything we can think off,
To show we do care, we have not forgotten them and never will.
They are our children's children, part of each and every one of us.

I am here to listen, to hold your hand and pass the tissues,
I will make cake and brew the tea,
We will share are memories and look forward to good times,
Times when we will share that love and laughter once again.

Jane.( Rights Reserved)

Sunday 13 March 2011

One week to go to say goodbye to his daughter?

L/Cpl T C is back in barracks tonight , next weekend off before being deployed to Afghanistan, he is not holding out any hope of being able to say goodbye to his daughter.
How can we be letting this happen?
Judge should be named and shamed. Family Justice, were is the justice in this dreadful case.


Saturday 12 March 2011

Sign petition-soldier denied request to say goodbye to his daughter before his tour of duty.

Thank you everyone for the support you are giving this young soldier who has been denied the request to say goodbye to his daughter before he embarks on his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
There is now a petition on FB on his behalf

Friday 11 March 2011

Afghanistan tour but not allowed to say goodbye.

I have had the most hits on my blog over the young soldier denied contact with his daughter before he goes to Afghanistan, an appalling decision by the judge.
If you haven't read the case please do and share with all the FB friends or RT on Twitter. No longer can these cases go unnoticed someone must be accountable to these children.

Thursday 10 March 2011

A Young Soldier not allowed to say Goodbye to His Daughter.

When you read or hear cases of non resident parents do you really think how appalling The Family Justice System is?

I am disgusted at the case I have just heard, and I hope you will be as well.

This week a soldier who is about to go on his tour of duty to Afghanistan went to court to ask the judge for permission to see his daughter before he goes, his request was rejected.

The background is that Mr. has a six year old daughter and the daughter lives with her mother. Court proceedings were kicked off last year and contact was occurring until January this year. There was a hearing in January 2011.


Mr ... is a serving solider and is being deployed to Afghanistan at the end of March. This was raised at the January hearing. CAFCASS said they could not do anything in the time available and suggested that the case was deferred until October 2011 after Mr ... tour of duty in Afghanistan was completed. The Court agreed, said that no Order would be made and that it should all come back to the Court at the end of the year.

The mother has prevented any contact since January because she doesn't want it to happen. Mr .. feels that it is important that his daughter gets to see him before he goes to the front line in Afghanistan. He acknowledges the very real possibility he may be killed in action and wants to see his daughter before he leaves.

Mr ... applied for a Specific Order Issue at court this week. It was an ex-parte hearing to seek an Order for some contact this coming weekend, his last in the UK before deployment.

The Judge refused the application saying that it was inappropriate to ask for an ex-parte hearing as it had been known since January that Mr ... was going to Afghanistan. The Judge further said that it was unreasonable for Mr ….to ask for his daughter to see him and that he should wait until October 2011 before asking the Court to resume proceedings.

Mr ... was clearly heartbroken on leaving the Court having heard that his daughter was being denied the opportunity to say goodbye to her father, solely because the Court system was unable to deal with matters in a timely fashion.

Mr… said today " I just went to her school for parents eve and I went well early, my baby saw me and ran over with tears in her eyes and wrapped her arms around me kissing me non-stop. She said she thought i was already in afgan as thats what her mother said. She was so so happy to see me and even i was crying. I had taken my camera and one of her christmas presents with me but before I had a chance to give her it or take the photo, my ex pulled her out my arms and forced her to get in the car. She was crying her eyes out bless her. "

We are expecting this young man to go to Afghanistan to fight for his queen and country and yet our Family Justice System has no compassion at all.


Where are their grandparents?

Looked After Children talking to Childline.

“I feel really upset. I have a terrible life in care. I just want a family. I just want to be loved.” (Jenny, aged 13)

“I feel angry at having to be in care. I feel isolated and sad...I feel powerless. I have bottled up my emotions. I cannot trust anyone or build relationships as I am moved about so much.” (Sam, age unknown)

“I moved into a care home today. I am scared to leave my room. The home is full of other girls who scare me.” (Abigail, aged 16)

“I have been in care from when I was a baby. Life has always been a problem for me. I went to live with a foster family a year ago. I am unhappy there and depressed. I cut myself.” (Adrian, aged 11)

“I live with a foster family. I don’t like my foster parents. I feel scared because I used to know when my parents were going to hit me, but I don’t know when these people are going to hit me. They have never hit me, but I expect them to because that’s what people do.” (Jackie, aged 13)

“I have just moved in with a foster family. It's really nice. They are nice people; it’s a nice house. I am being looked after.” (Alice, age unknown)

“Sometimes they [children] express that they don’t feel worthy of care. They lack trust because they can’t understand why somebody would want to care about them.” (ChildLine counsellor)

“For looked after children who receive ongoing counselling from ChildLine, ChildLine may be the only constant in their lives. Everyone else can be transient and may come or go, but ChildLine would always be there.” (ChildLine counsellor)

Why are they doing this to the children?

I had a very special visitor last night, a very new baby who is just gorgeous and he spent the evening with us. As all babies he is full of promise and expectation, completely reliant on the adults around him.
The way the adults in his life behave,care and support each other will be his role model for his future.
So what happens to over one million children who are denied contact with their grandparents and the children denied contact with both parents who are not able to have the love and care they deserve?
How will they regain their trust in adults?

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Positive Youth Summit.

The Positive for Youth summit is all about gathering views on how the the lives of young people can be improved through Government policy. We'd like to hear what you want changed for young people in England and we'll send these onto Tim Loughton, Minister for Children and Families .

Pulling together for the sake of our grandchildren.

Several grandparents from the group are being pro-active with regard to applying for funding and raising awareness , posters have been requested to go into medical centres, libraries,community centres etc.
So thanks to all concerned.
All we need is a very small grant to enable us to get some leaflets and signs printed, designs already done.
It is so important that we continue to reach grandparents out there, to show them they are not alone and that we are here to give advice and support.

Sunday 6 March 2011

The importance of grandparents.

Being a grandparent is important, being a well loved and respected grandparent must be earned.

They are a window to the past.
They are a mine of information.
They are children's history.
They are a support network.
They provide a feeling of belonging.
They have time.
They give advice form the roots of the family tree.
They provide comfort and security.

The aboriginal people of Australia strongly believe in family ties. Last century the government "adopted" many children and sent them to live away from their families. Almost an entire generation of children grew up without knowing their family history. Many could not cope and had trouble fitting in to society. Perhaps this is extreme but it does prove that children need stability and family history to feel they belong.

Grandparents are an umbrella, they provide shelter and shade, under its protection the family are safe.

Funding applied for, finally!!

Constitution written, signed, bank account open ,trustees agreed.
So I am now in the process of applying for small funding for printing cost etc.
It has taken ages to get all the necessary paperwork done, but all up and running now. Hooray.

Friday 4 March 2011

What Big Society?

I have discovered that trying to get small funding for printing is very hard, so many hoops to jump through.
If the government want 'The Big Society' to work they need to make it easier for those of us trying to move forward with support groups etc, get rid of some of the red tape.
It would also help if my local MP who is supposed to be fronting 'TheBig Society', doesn't even reply to my emails.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

When did you last see your Father?


Letter to Charlotte Leslie MP (my MP)

Hi Charlotte,
I have had several grandparents contact me very concerned at the report in the papers last week regarding single mothers no longer having to put the fathers name on the birth certificates.
Surely this goes against everything the government have been saying about family values.
These children have a human right to know who their fathers are, it is fact that many young woman make the decision to get pregnant to receive all benefits available.
Fathers are being treated appallingly with regard to no contact as it is, this is a catastrophic decision.
I have asked you when The Family Justice review is due in a previous email but had no response, but in all honesty after this decision I am not holding my breath for anything constructive to come from it, no doubt children's right will once again be ignored, and families will continue to be fractured.

(Interesting to note that Charlotte is to front David Cameron's Big Society, and she doesn't reply to my emails. Mmmmmmmmm.)

Family Justice Review.

We should soon be able to see the draft report on The Family Justice Review, I would ask you to comment and write to your MP's with any concerns you may have.
This is a golden opportunity for the government to put into practise what they have been saying, that they value families.
Lets hope they are going to address the million children in the UK who are denied contact with their grandparents.


I have noticed that we have some new 'followers' which is great, welcome to all and I look forward to reading your comments.