Not always the bad guys.

It is absolutely to be expected when we are facing estrangement and alienation as parents, grandparents and all extended family members, that the things we hear about those who can make a difference to our living hell, is almost always negative.

Yes, there are horrendous situations that we are only too aware of.

Hundreds and thousands of mums, dads and grandparents have had the most terrible experiences when dealing with the family law system and all the bodies involved.

You can read article after article, blog after blog and real life stories of what happens when it all goes wrong, and it is stated that none of the ¬†family justice system is ‘fit for purpose.’

Certainly, just with the grandparents that I speak to it does seem as though the odds are stacked against them, that false allegations are banded about, harassment warnings, PIN numbers being issued at a rate of knots.

And even  the justice minister admitted in the May debate, the system is not working.

So we despair.

Experts in their field blame a system in crisis, all of which I concur with.

What about those individuals who are doing their best under a buckling system?

For individual social workers, CAFCASS officers, who are doing their best for the children they are assigned to, it must feel as though they are damed if they do and damed if they don’t.

I don’t imagine for one moment that these individual people, started their day with the aim to destroy families.

I know social workers and CAFCASS offices who work all the hours God sends, not just office hours but late into the night, working hard to do it right.

Of course what we perceive to be right may well not be the same.

They are all working in underfunded, under resourced departments.

I also hear from grandparents who will say how brilliant their particular officer or social worker has been, but those don’t make good headlines.

We as a society have a thirst for negative press.

Have you ever read an article that is how these departments have made the right choice, have done what is right for the children?

No, of course you haven’t.

As with any job, people make mistakes, and when you are dealing with family matters if you get it wrong it is catastrophic for all involved.

The same applies to family lawyers, yes they make a great deal of money, but the ones I know personally, work incredibly hard, it is not unusual for them to still be at their office desks at midnight, whatever we may think because of our personal experiences they don’t set out to destroy families.

One lawyer recently, helped a grandparent way after the fee cap had been reached, and continues to do so, in his own time at his own expense.

I am not trying to paint some sort of rosy glow over what can be far from rosy encounters in family law, but there are some good people out there.

When we are trying to come to terms with all of the devastation of our situation, we need to find someone to blame, in fact in most things that go wrong in our lives we are quick to blame, I do it to.

We do have some great social workers, CAFCASS officers, judges, lawyers ect doing the very best they can in the most difficult of circumstances.

Sadly within this framework one side will lose, it is the nature of the beast of estrangement and alienation.

Until we can have a cultural shift in that denying contact with a parent or family member is socially unacceptable, as drink driving , this debate will continue.




About Jane

Jane setup Bristol Grandparent Support Group in 2007 after a string of incidents led to the loss of contact with her Grand Daughter.

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