Firstly; when a couple separates instead of making for the family lawyer, they should in fact sit in front of a mediator who will assess the situation and generally offer 'both' parties £500 legal aid and a single court appearance, putting the onus on a couple to find a resolution to their difficulty and to agree to a contact and financial contract which is binding in law until the youngest child leaves full time education. This should then make 'both' parents equally responsible for child welfare and maintenance! Should either parent wish to take the matter back to court beyond this, they have to fund this themselves and this should focus their minds on getting it right first time and stop 'fee earning' solicitors exacerbating matter so they can bankrupt Dad, whilst plundering the legal aid purse indefinitely for Mum!
Secondly; No intervention by CAFCASS or other social services at this stage and once a timetable (that may be allowed to vary as the child grows) and finances have been agreed with a judge (not a court reporter) if he still has a concern then the judge should be empowered to contact the family GP and schools for a report on the health and well being of a child who would have a better understanding then a 'snap shot' taken by a social worker. This will then release the social service from a duty they are ill informed to pursue and normally results in them generating future work for themselves, when they should be reformed and working harder to prevent cases such as Baby'P', Victoria Climbe and Khyra Ishaq!
This should be regarded as law and the law is Parental Responsibility which should be enforceable with the prospect of a 6 month jail term minimal for 'either' parent if they break the terms of this contract for life! (Childhood is such a short span of time)
It would also be useful to inform a child at the age of 11 that both parents on the birth certificate are responsible for their children till the age of 18, it may then focus their mind as they entre the peer and social pressures of secondary education that under age sex could have a lasting effect on their lives, not only from a personal health stand point, but also the prospect of 16 to18 years of child care when they are at an age when they probably want to do something else.This should help them wait to become mature enough to take on such an undertaking. Also if a child was to commit a crime between the age of 10 and 16 with the current perceived immunity, their parents would face the court and be prosecuted for dereliction of duty under the care of their children with a fine or if serious enough prison.
The Tory party have also announced that they wish to make Grandparents and extended family the first port of call for child care rather then social services, who should be a last resort after the possibilities have been explored for a grandparents to take charge whilst a parent resolves their difficulties offering continuity and and stability at a fraught stage in a child's life something once again social services will never do so it is better they concentrate on more extreme cases as described recently by the director of Barnardos.
I really hope Gloria Hunniford, in her capacity as patron of the parents organisation, can encourage these bastions of commonsense and stability to consider the welfare of a grandchild , niece or nephew and in turn put right this God awful law that has blighted people for so long and in my view poses a greater risk to normal society then the threat of terrorism!