Independent Care Review Recommendations.
Independent Care Review Recommendations to the Independent Care Review Group by Parent and Child Advocacy Team member, James A Mackie.
Parents can see where we are coming from and what we are about and the kind of care syestem we all need, theres been far to much recent talk about mothers being the care system’s batering ram thats wrong all parents are currently at risk of losing their children for no other reason than simple SW concerns which can be proved or otherwise and mostly otherwise, this has to change for everyones sakes as this Independent Care Review might be the systems last chance to repair the years of damage and abuse.
1. Remove corporate parents from child protection. Currently 140 departments etc as
corporate parents with very few any experience or knowledge of family and childrens lives.
2. Child protection should be under one organisation such as the Care Inspectorate.
3. A total review of the operation of childrens charities and their role in intervention to have
children removed from family homes.
4. Remove social workers as the lead body in child protection.
5. Remove current Children's Hearing system as is. Out of date and not relevant in todays
6. Have a different system for child offenders to so called “welfare situations”
7. Chair of Children Hearings should be a lawyer and/or a Justice of the Peace.
8. Review training of members of Children's Panels to include knowledge on learning
disabilities/difficulties and other health issues.
9. Child at Risk and Core Group meetings should be chaired by an independent person.
Video recorded and minute taker should be independent of the services involved. Social
work involvement should be restricted to the case social worker only.
10. Unless evidence of a serious life threatening incident towards children, should be
independent led case meeting before any action taken to take child into care. Parents need
to have legal representation if they wish.
11. Reports to Children's Hearing should be made available to parents at least two weeks before
12. At start of proceedings to have children “looked after” children should have the services of
a totally independent person to listen to and giver their opinion of what has happened and
given the chance to stay with parents if they so wish.
13. Children in care not at home, irrespective of age should have an independent person and if
necessary a lawyer to fully defend them and to give the childs own evidence to any hearing
without fear of reprisals by social workers and/or foster carers.
14. Period of appeal to a Sheriff for a Children's Hearing should be removed completely.
Current system does not allow family/lawyer time to prepare a case.
15. Adoption process needs overhauled. State should not have the power to forcibly remove
children and have them adopted against parents will. Child could be taken into
kinship/foster care while mother/family supported to be able to eventually look after child.
16. Full support for mother and families when a child is taken into care.
17. The full intention of the State should be to put in place support and systems to get the
children back under the same roof and care from parents.
18. No child should be taken from the womb and adopted. System should be in place to
support the mother and get her to a position where she can look after her child.
19. The State has no moral rights to separate children and family at birth. Child should have
full access to parents and family for life.
20. Adoption should only be a last resort when parents dead and no family to look after them.
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21. No person has the legal right to have a child. Nature controls the body. Artificial
insemination is available to those who for medical/personal situations are unable to have a
22. Adoptive parents should go through the same scrutiny as the parents from whom children
have been taken.
23. Families should have regular access/contact and support with children when taken into care.
Decisions on when where and how often contact is made should be removed from social
24. Role of safeguards should be enhanced. Safeguraders should be part of the Care
Inspectorate and not managed by a charity.
25. Strong understanding public sector family support teams should be used instead of third
sector and commercial companies to ensure unbiased and non-financial benefit accrues to
organisation’s within child protection.
26. Need for specialist family support workers to work with parents and families where
assumed risk to child. Background should be based on that of a health visitor/foster carer,
not social workers.
27. System should give parents support at all times to keep children at home. Foster carers
reemployed to act as “super nannies” to work with families to ensure children live with
28. Review and introduce a new system of complaints procedures in child protection system.
Current system based on complaint to social worker on the case then escalating up through
management team and eventually to SSSC. In practice complaints ignored. No action
taken. Percentage of complaints from public upheld and action taken by SSSC is about
0.3% compared to 25 – 30% if complaint from employer.
29. For juvenile offenders introduce a form of community service.
30. Remove discrimination against mothers in the key legislation. By discriminating against
them, mothers are demonised and marginalised.
31. Make it a criminal offence for any individual to deliberately place misinformation and false
information in front of a Sheriff, Children's Hearing and/or any other child protection
32. Evidence in child protection should be at the higher criminal proceeding standard, not civil
law standards. Should be based on facts not opinions.
33. The employee not the employer should be liable in any complaint/action for Contempt of
34. Put in place statutory provision that all Children's Hearings and child protection meetings to
be video recorded.
35. Put in place statutory provision that all Children's Hearings and child protection meetings be
professionally and independently minuted/recorded.
36. Empower the Care Inspectorate to investigate single complaints around children being taken
into and being care.
37. Empower Scottish Public Services Ombudsman to reorder a full investigation into a
complaint where procedures were not followed by the relevant agency/department.
38. Composition of Child Protection/ Child /Core Group meetings should be social worker and
their manager, one representative from any other agency/department active within the case.
Facilitator and minute taker should have no voting rights.
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39. Legislate that children/mother/father are each entitled to a representative at all Child
Protection/Child at Risk/Core Group meetings’
40. Legislation changed to differentiate between Mental Health issues and learning
41. Legislation to define what “mental health” issues are.
42. Any allegation that a mother/parent has mental health issues to be confirmed by way of a
psychiatric examination and report.
43. Where required/ordered by a Sheriff and/or Children's Hearing, any
psychiatric/psychological examinations of mother/parent/child should be carried out within
6 weeks of the order.
44. Privately funded medical/mental health reports by qualified persons should not be
challengeable by social workers and other nonprofessional people in a Hearing or Sheriff
45. Social workers to be prevented from giving their own opinion as to whether a
mother/parent/child has a “mental health” issue.
46. Social workers prevented from overturning any diagnoses/assessment made by a qualified
47. Social workers do not have the right/powers to have a mother/parent sign papers confirming
the perceived presence of mental health issues without a professional assessment.
48. Where a child is handed over “voluntarily” into care, a full Sheriff or Children's Hearing
must be heard to confirm within 7 working days.
49. In such a case, mother parent should receive copies of reports and submissions at least 5
days before the Hearing.
50. Where parent/mother indicates that a child may have a learning disability/difficulty, then
that child to receive a professionally qualified assessment within 3 months.
51. Social workers and police officers in child protection to be fully trained to identify the
difference between mental health issues and learning disabilities/difficulties in both parents
52. Police officers and social workers should not be embedded in the same office/organisation.
53. Social workers. Police officers, Children's Hearing members all to be given and have
specific training/qualifications in learning disabilities/difficulties and understand how to
work with such people.
54. Only paediatricians who examine children with injuries, irrespective of how they happened,
have power to call in social workers and police.
55. Stop medical practitioners at all levels automatically contacting police and social workers
when a child appears for medical attention.
56. Where a child has a specific medical condition only a specialist in that field can provide a
medical report eg diabetes, asthma, learning disability/difficulty/mental health issues.
57. Where any agency/department may have a concern about a child, the mother/parent must be
interviewed immediately and before procedures started to have child taken into care.
58. School staff to speak with mother/parent before any other agency called in re concerns for a
59. Automatic transfer of information between agencies and social workers be controlled.
60. Mothers/parents to be informed when a Child Protection Order being applied for.
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61. Mother/parent should be automatically entitled to legal representation and aid and to
appear in front of Sheriff/Children's Hearing when a Child Protection Order is being applied
62. Automatic Legal representation funded by the public purse to be given to every
child/mother/parent/relevant person when consideration that a child be taken into care.
63. Automatic Legal representation funded by the public purse to be given to every
child/mother/parent/relevant person attending Children's Hearings and/or Sheriff Court.
64. Decisions on the granting of Legal Aid should not be done on the basis as to whether the
assessor believes a case would be successful or not.
65. Legal aid should be automatically available to bring appeals to higher Courts.
66. Mothers/parents should not be liable for costs following a failed appeal.
67. Mothers/parents must be informed of and appear at initial Sheriff Court Hearing to take
children into care. Would prevent children being taken into care automatically for
minimum of 48 hours. Would reduce stress on children and mothers/families and ensure
proper procedures on quality of evidence heard.
68. Mother/family must be given 28 days notice for application to a Sheriff for a permanence
order for a child in care.
69. Child/mother/family automatically entitled to legal aid for a permanence order application.
70. Local Authorities to keep and publish record of number of children placed on a permanence
71. Definition of Relevant Person to be changed to prevent current definition being used to
refuse Relevant Person status.
72. Social workers should not give opinion on whether a person is a “Relevant Person” or not.
73. Statutory and Government guidelines should be enforced to ensure a mother/family get
support before and after a child is taken into care.
74. Where a child is taken into care a mother/family should get financial assistance to prevent
75. Mothers/parents should get full support to have the children returned to them as quickly as
possible after children taken into care.
76. Legislation changed to give mother/parent more than 7 days to lodge an appeal to a Sheriff
following a Children's Hearing decision.
77. Chairs of Children's Hearings should have professional legal training.
78. Children's Hearing members should have training to listen to opposing sides information
and decide accordingly.
79. Social workers reports should be submitted to a Children's Hearing at least 28 days in
advance in order that the mother/parents/children receive same at least 21 days before a
80. The instruction to Chairs of Children's Hearings that a Hearing should last no longer than an
hour should be removed.
81. Accurate minutes should be kept of all Children's Hearings in order that a Sheriff fully
understands the reasons behind a Children's Hearings decision at the time of any appeal.
82. Response from mother/family/children should be with the reporter at least 4 days before a
Hearing to give Panel members time to read and understand both sides.
83. Children’s Hearings should be more about listening to the whole family and not just the
social workers and Panel Members idea as to what THEY believe is best for the child.
84. Consideration should be given to allow Children's Hearings to give community service type
orders against child offenders.
85. Support to families at risk before and after children taken into care should include addiction
problems, long term contraception, literacy, home and domestic training.
86. More breakfast clubs for children living in poverty
87. Provision of more support in schools for children with learning difficulties/disabilities
including classes out with normal school hours.
88. Compulsory for Local Authorities to have children assessed at the earliest time when
mothers/families/teachers identify possible signs of learning difficulties/disabilities.
89. Social workers removed from decision making as to whether a child has a learning
90. Social workers have a statutory requirement to report/refer a child for professional
assessment where any mother/parent has concerns over their child.
91. Strict enforcement at Government level of SIGN guidelines.
92. Parental rights removed from fathers who have not contributed finically to the upbringing of
a child and/or has not had any input to that childs life for a minimum period of six months.
93. Access to a child by an absence parent to be decided in Sheriff Court, not by social workers
and a Children's Hearing.
94. Evidence in all child protection matters to be at criminal proceedings standards, not civil
95. All applications for the issuing of a Child Protection Order whether Sheriff Court or
Children's Hearing to be done under oath with the applicant present at the Hearing.
96. Social worker/others be individually liable and responsible when a Sheriff Court Order in
respect of any child is broken/ignored.
97. A mother should not be legally responsible for any child that refuses to meet with the father.
98. Parents serving custodial sentences for domestic and other abuse/violence should not have
the right to attend Children's Hearings.
99. Foster carers should have the choice and support to be responsible and care for children in
care should they so wish once the child has attained the age of 18 years.
100. Foster carers should be entitled to the same financial support for fostered children
who have left school.
101. Foster carers should get an incentive to encourage foster children to enrol in colleges
102. Children over the age of 12 years and in care should have the right to choose to live
with their parents/mother/other family.
103. If a child requires to be removed from the mother/family, then first and automatic
choice of residence should be Kinship care. Social workers would be required to prove
that such an approach had been taken and explain in full details why any Kinship care
would not be possible.
104. Adoption should be the very last option for any child.
105. The wishes of the mother/parent on whether a child should be adopted or not should
106. Forced adoption against the wishes of the parent should not be allowed.
107. Pregnant mothers, especially mothers with addiction problems should be supported
through the pregnancy to help them kick the addictions. That support should be continued
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after the birth of the child, even if it is necessary to place the child in Kinship or Foster care
in the short term. Every attempt should be made to retain the bond between mother and
child with the direct aim of the mother being able to support her child on her own with or
108. Schools should receive more funding for physical activities for pupils both during
and after school.
109. More support and funding should be made available to schools to encourage pupils
who show exceptional skills/talents in non-curriculum activities/skills.
110. More domestic and technical studies should be taught within schools.
111. Class/school competitions should be mandatory to show children the benefits of
112. Social workers should not have a dual role. It is a complete clash of interests to be
both a support worker and one who compiles information to have a child taken into care. A
dual role gives mothers/parents a feeling of total distrust.
113. For child protection and supporting families there should be a new system of family
support workers. These could comprise more input from Health visitors and the re
employment of foster carers as home visitors/family support workers. More support with
and in the family would reduce the number of children in care and reduce the financial
burden on the state together with far better outcomes for children deemed to be at risk.
114. Volunteers should be encouraged to engage with “problem families”.
115. No part of any Child at Risk/Child Protection/Core Group meeting should be held in
camera with mother/parents/representatives excluded.
116. Complaints against named social workers in child protection should be investigated
by a Department other than Children's Services
117. Where (for many reasons mothers/family move from one Local Authority area to
another) and a dispute has occurred within their former area, the MSP covering the area in
which the dispute has arisen should be able to help the mother family. Currently GDPR
prevents elected members helping if the complainer does not reside in their constituency,
even if the complaint is about a service in that area. Worst case so far Children's Hearing
in Thurso and mother in Darlington and has to use her local MP, not MSP’s in Highland and
118. In child protection Local Authority for the area the mother resides should be
responsible for the case. Other Local Authorities should transfer case load as soon as
possible after the mother/parent moves area.
If parents want add to this list its never to late as we want to be your voice, shout it out and email us your recommendations and we will add it to our list and send them to Fiona Duncan Directly.
Please email your Independent Care Review Recommendations to us Here
Independent Care Review Recommendations by Parent and Child Advocacy Teams.