The Glasgow City Council minutes pertaining to the meeting relating to The Charter for Grandchildren which was held on 26th August 2010 without our knowledge or invitation.
3.1. The attached charter outlines the rights of children and the responsibilities of
statutory agencies which are already in legislation, primarily the Children (Scotland)
Act 1995 and the Adoption Act (Scotland) 2009, which ensure that in making
decisions on the lives of children a full assessment of need should be undertaken
involving all relevant people. The definition of relevant people includes grandparents.
3.2. It is proposed therefore that the Council is able to acknowledge that the rights of
children and the role that grandparents play is already understood and part of the
practice in working with children and their families.
We would like to respond as follows.
The definition of relevant people includes grandparents:-
Have social services made a new law now accepting that grandparents are relevant persons in their grandchildren’s lives. H. Burgess from the Scottish Government law division has just sent me a letter telling me grandparents have no rights to their grandchildren. Has this head of social services lost the plot?
The Scottish Law Society is also considering this letter from H. Burgess as we put to them that lawyers are saying on Radio and TV that grandparents do have rights, causing massive confusion to our members. They said they will reply after consideration by their sub committee.
The head of Glasgow Social services has stated what is contained in the Charter for Grandchildren is already part of their standard practice. If that be the case then they are implying that thousands of grandparents that have contacted us for help have been untruthful (telling lies) in saying they were not considered by social services regards their grandchildren.. “What a bloody cheek”, yes I repeat “what a bloody cheek” coming from an organisation who are infamous in every country of the UK for the very untruths they infer grandparents are telling.
The reason for campaigning for “The Charter for Grandchildren” was because our experience and research has shown that Grandparents were not being considered to be relevant and were being left out by Professionals, in particular Social Workers, when decisions were being about the welfare of children.
There was clearly enough evidence of this to convince a Labour Scottish Government to create the Charter for Grandchildren and promote the need for grandparents to be considered more in children’s lives. When labour GCC was the first council in Scotland to adopt “The Charter for Grandchildren” we were very proud to be notified of this but we now feel it has been abandoned by the omnipotent power of Social Services and communication from GCC councillors has been skimpy and some have ignored us altogether.
1, Does your Social Work Dept. recognise that there is a shortfall in considering Grandparents more fully?
2, What new Guidance has been brought in to help guide and support your Staff in implementing The Charter for Grandchildren if you already practice it.
3, Which monitoring procedures are being used to police what social workers are telling grandparents? Is it true Social Workers can tell lies as long as they say it is in the best interests of children.
4, Every member of Grandparents Apart UK has been referred to their MSP in Scotland and MP in England and they in turn ultimately have been unable to help because Social Services do not regard grandparents as relevant persons.
5, Social services have taken advantage of grandparents in a crisis by telling them if they don’t or can’t take their grandchildren in they will never see them again as they will be adopted. What grandparent could or would refuse their flesh and blood in the middle of the night or if their parents were in jail or hospital then lose them again when it is convenient for social services.
6, Grandparents are afraid to contact social services because they are always first to lose contact with their grandchildren when social services become involved.
Our group is not just on a campaign against social services we really believe that the facts strongly tell us that social services’ policies are not the best that can be done for vulnerable children.
Social Services are an essential service because of today’s drug and alcohol culture where grandparents could/should play a role caring for children and in early detection of child neglect and abuse. Our aim is to improve the communication of grandparents and social services in our children’s best interest and to promote the use of mediation that the governments would like to see practised.
Before we really start talking seriously about mediation there are a few points that need to be cleared up. Attitudes need to change somewhat to lay the foundations for mediation to succeed.. The set up as described below does not in anyway encourage mediation. In fact it is detrimental to mediation
Why would mothers consider it when everything is going their way as it is? The government funds these organisations and their very working is in contradiction to the government saying families should work in harmony and grandparents are important to children. How can grandparents be important in children’s lives if they don’t get the chance and are regarded as irrelevant?
1a) It does appear the system works on the basis that women are the only parents capable of rearing children in the traditional family.
b) The government claims grandparents are important to children but refuse to recognise them as relevant people in their lives.
2 a) Social services rarely include grandparents or extended family because the law does not recognise them.
b) Fathers rights are also seldom recognised by social services.
3, Woman’s Aid focuses on protecting woman. The very name tells us that the real best interests of children are secondary to their cause when they are tutoring women how to avoid contact with the paternal side of a child’s family even if grandparents or fathers have done no wrong. This encourages flouting of contact orders because they get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again with it. (Non-compliance is a major issue)
Millions could be saved to families and the public purse if these organisations focussed on what is best for children. It would cut down on legal aid and social service and welfare costs.
Grandparent’s Apart UK
22 Alness crescent
Glasgow G52 1PJ
0141 882 5658