Cafcass have supplied a copy of some stories that they say they use when training FCAs.
Here are the 4 stories they supplied:
Story 1 – Hermione
Hermione aged 6 lives with her mother and younger half-sister aged 1. Hermione is subject to a CAO application by her father who she has not seen for nearly 18 months. Hermione’s father works away for weeks at a time on oil rigs and has done for most of her life. The mother contends that he is ‘useless’ and says he has no idea how to look after a small child. The father admits that his parenting skills could be better but states he will never learn unless he is given a chance to spend time with his daughter. Hermione tells you that she doesn’t want to spend time with her Dad because she likes being at home with her Mum and little sister – she tells you that they enjoy ‘movie night’ and watching X Factor.
Story 2 – Ava and Kayden
Ava aged 5 and Kayden aged 18 months live with their mother. Ava and Kayden were born in a small village in Cumbria. Following separation, the children spent time with their father for six months. This went smoothly until father moved in with his new girlfriend. Mother then took the children and moved to Margate, Kent. Mother told staff at Ava’s new school that she had moved to Kent with the assistance of social services as Ava had been sexually abused by her father and paternal uncle, who had been charged and were awaiting trial. LA checks reveal that the children were not known in Cumbria and the Police had no record of any allegation against the father or uncle. When mother sees this written in the safeguarding letter she makes a complaint against the FCA and reports them to the HCPC. The school are concerned that mother has been dishonest with them and invite her in to see if she needs any support. Mother removes Ava from the school and moves to a caravan park on the Sussex coast. She starts a ‘crowdfunder’ on social media asking for money to help her move to the USA and posts videos calling father a paedophile and a rapist.
Story 3 – Amir
Amir aged 11 lives with his mother and maternal grandparents. He tells the FCA that he remembers at least three occasions where his father came home drunk and started shouting at his mother. He recalls seeing his mother with a grazed and slightly bruised cheekbone and whilst no one ever told him what happened he suspects his father caused it. Amir is frightened of his father and says he doesn’t want to see him unless he ‘stops being mean’ and says sorry for hurting his mother. Safeguarding checks show father accepted a caution for assaulting mother and that he has repeatedly breached the non-molestation order that mother obtained after moving in with her parents.
Story 4 – Joshua
Joshua is 22 months and lives with his mother. His parents were never in a relationship and father believes mother never wanted him in Joshua’s life, he has made an application for one overnight every fortnight and wants this to build up to full weekends by the time Joshua is 3. Mother says she isn’t opposed to overnights but every time she tries to hand over Joshua he becomes upset. On the one occasion when Mother actually left Joshua, the father had to call her 2 hours later to pick Joshua up as he became hysterical.
Now we don’t know about you but these stories bear very little relation to the stories that we hear every day. One would wonder where the “normal” stories are and why aren’t Cafcass referring to these in their training?
In a Family Law system designed for combative parents there is no real allowance for the views of children and any understanding of how Family Law ultimately impacts on children most of all.
We speak for the children in Family Law so that, finally, the children have a voice.