Parents First is a non-governmental non-profit independent and voluntary British organisation which aims through advice, support and referrals to help ALL parents (especially single parents) affected by family breakdown - in its various forms - to overcome their problems and to reunite with their child/ren safely wherever possible. We aim to help parents help themselves! Specifically, we aim to help aggrieved parents by mounting challenges in the UK courts using the Human Rights Act 1998 together with the Children Act 1989!
We seek to build and promote a corp of Lay Advisors, Litigants in Person (LIP's), MacKenzie Friends (MKF's) and Advocates to advance our cause which is to obtain real family justice for parents and families and to reform family law and to hold professionals fully accountable.
Parents First strongly believes in the integrity of the nuclear family as the building block of society. We see the right of the child to give and receive unconditional love and parental upbringing as non-negotiable and inextricably tied up with a meaningful definition of child welfare, which is paramount unless demonstrably proven impossible to achieve. Therefore, Family Life deserves respect.
Parents First endorses precise risk identification, its quantification and its effective management as the modern, enlightened approach, and hence categorically objects to crude over-simplifications in this sensitive area over a child/ren's future within its/their birth family.
In the private law domain, we see ongoing inter-parental conflict post-relationship breakdown as incompatible with the continuing roles as parents and discourage perpetuating any inter-parental hostility as distinctly unhelpful to the child/rens welfare.
Hence we encourage separating couples to consider their child/ren's welfare needs above their own, despite the acrimonies involved.
In the public law arena we view state intervention as the lesser of two evils and only to be used sparingly. We promote due and requisite statutory support for families with child/ren in need to minimise family disruption in order to keep families together and not to split them up needlessly.
There is not one single recorded case where a birth parent has taken on the system to win back his/her child from state care, and then gone on to harm or kill it - because this is simply improbable!
Yet, on the basis of little more than public hysteria and hyperbole over systematic failings by social service departments up and down the British Isles, (in the wake of their spectacular disasters in genuinely tragic cases, eg, Baby Peter, Khyra Ishaq, Victoria Climbie and many others,) over-zealous practice is rife causing unnecessary family breakdown by depriving capable parents of vital opportunities to demonstrate their parenting abilities. This practice is clearly disproportional and must be stopped. Yet that abuse in care continues unabated and is virtually unchallenged is outrageous!
Parents First rejects any form of arbitrary state intervention as incompatible with the right to respect for family life unless it is shown to be both strictly necessary and proportional to a pressing and REAL child protection risk of imminent harm. Hence, we abhor any cutting of corners and taking of short-cuts to bulldoze through forced placements or adoption of child/ren without properly exhausting all prior options first.
We are specifically collating data as evidence of bad NOT good practice to expose the system's failings whenever it occurs, in order to promote reform in the interests of children and families.
We actively promote the right of parents to instruct and call second-opinion expert evidence when faced with family disruption and the irreparable harm caused by severing blood-ties with their child/ren as vital.
Parents First promotes full parental involvement (both procedurally and substantively) in all decision-making over their child/ren and promote the due presumption of reasonable contact with their looked-after child/ren (as well as inter-sibling contact) as far as possible, with a view to eventual phased reunification.
Parents First strictly regards any taking of child/ren into care as a temporary measure which is to be discontinued as soon as circumstances permit, hence the need for continuing reviews of care plans subject to injunctive and directive court control, if necessary - with or without the Independent Reviewing Officer's help, whose role is meant to help plug the gaps in the law.
We do not agree with the routine and automatic dispensing of parental consent to adoption simply because the birth parent objects to their child/ren being adopted by strangers as they believe they are capable themselves of providing safe, consistent and good-enough parenting within the family home to their own children.
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