Grandparents Apart UK

Grandparents Apart UK
"Bringing Families Together"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Charter for Grandchildren.

It is important that parents, grandparents and other family members, speak to, and treat each other, with respect. You may not get on, but you can still be civil, for the sake of the children. Try to avoid arguing with or criticising family members in front of the children. It can be very upsetting for them.

On occasions professional organizations such as social work departments or the courts can become involved and may have to make decisions that will have a lasting impact throughout a child’s entire life. In these circumstances it is vital that the loving and supportive role that the wider family, in particular grandparents can play is respected and protected for the child…

Grandchildren can expect:

To be involved with and helped to understand decisions made about their lives.

To be treated fairly

To know and maintain contact with their family (except in very exceptional circumstances) and other people who are important to them.
To know that their grandparents still love them, even if they are not able to see them at the present time.

To know their family history.

The adults in their lives to put their needs first and to protect them from disputes between adults - not to use them as weapons in quarrels between adults.

Social workers , when making assessments about their lives, to take into account the loving and supporting role grandparents can play in their lives.

The Courts, when making decisions about their lives, to take into account the loving and supporting role grandparents can play in their lives.

Lawyers and other advisers to encourage relationship counseling or mediation when adults seek advice on matters affecting them and their children.

Along with others, Grandparents Apart put a lot of hard work into “The Charter for Grandchildren” demanding to be heard about the gaps in the family law concerning their grandchildren. Why? Because we really do have the best interests of our grandchildren at heart, if it was not for love of them why would we bother?

We are happy to promote the Charter for Grandchildren and the Parenting Agreement because they are essential for the welfare of children.

Grandparents Apart Uk Revised proposal for the protection of children.

Our revised proposal is considering the child in as much as not to have the protection of their grandparents in child neglect and abuse cases is devastating to them and not at all in their best interests. In this revised proposal we have listened to the government and strive to work towards their wishes as much as possible.

The Governments of the UK have refused point blank to give grandparents legal rights of contact with their grandchildren. Their wishes are that grandparents should not have individual legal rights, the say it would cause more problems than it would resolve because grandparents would have more rights than fathers and it is not the answer for every child. (Neither are existing polocies)

Further wishes of the governments are that families get together without legislation and The Charter for Grandchildren was produced for that purpose but there has been no encouragement from the government and the situation is not improving and grandparents are being by-passed for strangers like the wee girl given to two men when the she was afraid of men...The grandparents in this case were willing and available..

We therefore propose that ‘The Charter for Grandchildren’ in Scotland should be adopted UK wide and ‘and be mandatory for professionals dealing with children thereby ensuring in the absence of one or both parents that the love and protective role grandparents can play is not wasted as is the case at present because grandparents are regarded as irrelevant (not important) persons and therefore rarely considered in practice.…(despite the social services statements to the contrary)

Being mandatory for professionals would not be an imposition on the rights of parents as was stated if they had individual rights. If the governments were to adopt this proposal as an example it would send a message of encouragement to families that grandparents can be a huge asset in the family and inspire mediation focusing on the best interests of the children especially when there is a huge rise in drug and alcohol abuse, and amid the fear of the ever increasing cases of child abuse. There cannot be a more child centered proposal.

It is generally agreed by governments and most organisations dealing with children that grandparents are very important in the family.. It is also agreed that they can be vital in the early detection of child abuse (children 1st) and in the care and stability of children when they are in a crisis situation especially in the middle of the night. That is if they are informed about it at all, being irrelevant persons, this is not always the case. If the crisis has been violent and very upsetting it would be in the best interests of the children to be settled as quickly as possible with someone who they know cares for them.

In any event, the following statements are proof enough that there is common ground to build on for the benefit of our children and the governments should act without delay.

Responses from concerned parties.

Children 1st. Response to PE 1156
Grandparents should be given the right of information about their grandchildren’s welfare.
Grandchildren’s Charter which is not about grandparents’ right to contact with their grandchildren, but about their grandchildren’s interests – these documents are available at:

CHILDREN 1ST is a strong supporter of this approach. The Committee may want to ask the Government about how widely these documents are used, and whether any further non-legislative measures are needed to help embed their use. Children 1st. Response to PE 1120

I totally agree that grandparents are often best placed to detect any kind of abuse or addiction that harms children and are often left picking up the pieces with no support when things fall apart. I think resolving that bit should be a priority (i.e. offering financial and emotional support) and then perhaps there’s scope to move on to greater recognition of the role grandparents play and how this could be established in law.
H. C. Woman’s Aids recent communication. Not necessarily the final word of W. A.

You are totally right: grandparents are among the most skilled professionals when it comes to looking after children. Grandparents can play an essential role in not only boosting their grandchildren's well- being. But also - as you rightly say - in detecting child abuse. MS Miller has kindly agreed to this quote in firm belief that grandparents have a crucial role to play in a child’s life in the over whelming majority of circumstances.
Maria Miller MP

Thank you for your email. I have much sympathy with your case and have
noted that my fellow Hampshire MP and frontbench colleague, Maria
Miller, has made a point which I fully endorse.
Gerald Howarth MP
Member of Parliament for Aldershot & Shadow Defence Minister

Making the Grandparents' Charter mandatory for professionals effectively means that you create legal duties - in other words individuals cannot enforce rights directly but can expect state institutions to follow the principles of the Charter. It might be worth you exploring the implications of this with the government.
Robert Brown Euro MSP

Former Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson MSP, also a former social worker, said
“Grandparents play a hugely significant role in children's lives. They are often the people who step in to care for children when parents can't cope due to drug or alcohol misuse and many find themselves struggling financially as a result. I would expect every social work department to look at what they can do to help in these situations, to ensure that the best interests of the child are promoted at all times. Supporting grandparents is often the best way to support the children."
Cathy Jamieson MSP Shadow Justice Minister

During my four year term as an MSP (2003-2007) I encountered many problems relative to grandparents and their grandchildren. I regularly raised the issue of 'Kinship Carers' in Parliament and complained about the lack of funding for grandparents who had their grandchildren given into their care by social workers.

The new proposals by the 'Grandparents Apart UK organisation' would act as yet another safeguard in the welfare and wellbeing of vulnerable youngsters. It is imperative that the Government acts now to help to reduce the chance of any more children becoming the focus of media attention due to abuse which has gone unnoticed by social workers and allow the Charter for Grandchildren to be mandatory by professionals.
This is a cost free simple way to help to bring to an end this new trend in society whereby vulnerable children become helpless victims. All too often there is drugs at the root of the problem. Social workers need all the help they can get therefore should welcome this new proposal NOW!
John Swinburne. Leader of the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party.