OFFICE OF THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SW1A 0AA
Dear Ms Turtle,
I am writing on behalf of David Cameron to thank you for your letter of 21st February 2009.
We are grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to get in touch, and we certainly do take on board the points you make in your letter regarding grandparents' rights and your suggestions for a grandparents' day.
David is grateful to you for raising this important issue with him, and he understands the sadness and frustration which many children and grandparents feel because of separation.
We believe that the family is the most important institution in Britain, and that we must look into ways of supporting families and encouraging marriage if we are serious about tackling the causes of poverty and social breakdown.
While we would like to see more parents stay together, we do understand that there are times when sadly the separation of parents is the only course of action available. In these circumstances, it is very important for children to enjoy stable relationships with members of their extended family. David very much agrees with you that it is in the interests of children to be able to have contact with their grandparents, and has said publicly that grandparents should continue to have access to grandchildren when families break up unless there is a good reason to the contrary. Many children benefit enormously from the care, support and attention of their grandparents. We would like to see these opportunities exrenaea TO more children whose parents live apart.
Following on from the UNICEF report in 2007 which showed that British children were the unhappiest in the Western world. David Cameron commissioned David Willetts to look into the problems of modem childhood as part of the Childhood Review. The Review
emphasised the importance of the extended family for children's well-being and called for the law to be changed so that Courts must take into consideration the desirability of contact between the child and their extended family.
The Shadow Cabinet is examining closely the recommendation the Childhood Review about
grandparents' access to children from broken families.
Thank you again for writing.
Dear Mr Pendlington 13th March 2009
I have just read a copy of your letter to Maggie Tuttle dated 24th February 2009.
This is the most encouraging letter that I have read so far for the best interests of children.
My own case started with the bereavement of my daughter and then loss of contact with my grandchildren, like losing my daughter all over again.
Our relationship with my grandchildren was:- Joanne, we looked after her daily since birth as my daughter and her husband were working Nicola was born a week before my daughter died from breast cancer and we looked after her full time for three years until my son-in-law met another woman who wanted to separate them all from us and his family totally. As you will appreciate a child that comes out of hospital from birth bonds with the woman who cares for her like a mother and at 3 years old and 5 years old it was devastating all round to be separated so abruptly. We went to court in Liverpool and regained contact by Mediation.
We set up Grandparents Apart UK in 2000 because at the time there was no where we could get support or advice with our problem. Since then thousands have used our helpline and we have worked with The Scottish Government in the creation of The Charter for Grandchildren which was made advisory only to accompany the New Family law Bill (Scotland) 2006. With a grant of £10,000.00p from the Big Lottery we toured Scotland promoting The Charter and The Parenting Agreement..
Enclosed is ‘The Charter for Grandchildren’ and I would ask if you could bring it to the attention of Mr David Cameron. Our proposal is for it to be made mandatory for social services, courts, lawyers and professionals who work in the welfare of children. This would ensure children will have the best that grandparents can offer without overshadowing the authority of the parents.
We feel that every effort to protect children must be used and there is an army of grandparents only too willing to step in and help if the need arises at a very substantial saving to the public purse.
Grandparents Apart UK
22 Alness crescent
Glasgow G52 1PJ
0141 882 5658
encl:- The Charter for Grandchildren.
CC. to all Conservative MPs.
Grandparents Apart UK is non-profit staffed by volunteers Charity NO. SC 031558. 0141 882 5658