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FRG logo 2 New Year 2012

Welcome To Our Newsletter

Family Rights Group is the charity in England and Wales that advises parents and other family members whose children are involved with or require children’s social care services because of welfare needs or concerns.


Thank you

Many thanks to all of you who have helped support our work in so many different ways over the year. We wish you a wonderful Christmas break and a very happy and peaceful 2012.


Local Authority Family and Friends Care Policies

As part of Government guidance on family and friends care, all English local authorities should now have a family and friends care policy in place. We have therefore written on behalf of the Kinship Care Alliance, under the Freedom of Information Act, asking each authority to send us a copy of their policy, and who is the senior officer with responsibility for family and friends care.

Responses are coming in although it appears many policies are still being drafted! We are now loading responses onto our website, so check it out for information about your authorities' family and friends carer policies and named contact.

Thanks to funding from the Family Justice Council, we are analysing those policies we receive, to identify how authorities are measuring up to the guidance, and examples of excellence, that others can learn from. We are doing this in partnership with Grandparents Plus. This will be explored at three regional workshops, details below.


Have you looked at our
NEW website?

•  There's a new interactive advice and information section on child welfare procedures and the law. This easy-to-use guide for parents and family and friends cares will provide you with information about your specific circumstances.

•  There's excellent advice materials including a new DIY guide on how to apply for a special guardianship order for family carers.

•  There are contact details for local family and friends carer support groups in the UK and a map to help locate your local groups.

•  Following our groundbreaking study of sibling carers, Big Bruv, Little Sis, there is a section of the website to provide advice and support for carers who are bringing up their younger brothers and sisters.

•  You can now order and pay for training courses and publications from our online shop.

FRG website re-launch 2Family Rights Group's
NEW website

FANDFC BOARD 2Family and Friends Carers
Discussion Board

Discussion Board


Family and friends care research study exploring the link between need and support

Thank you to the many family and friends carers who filled in the internet survey and also took part in indepth interviews conducted by ourselves and the University of Oxford. Your input is vital in helping explain to policy makers and practitioners why it is so important for family and friends carers to get the support they and the children need. An interim report will be launched in Spring 2012 and will be emailed to everyone who was interviewed. Thank you to the Big Lottery Fund for funding this work. The interim findings will also be discussed at the workshops detailed below.

As part of the next stage of the research we wish to test out the interim findings and to work through some of the barriers and dilemmas for professionals and how these can best be addressed. Please contact us if you are willing to be interviewed and are:

•  A family judge
•  A lawyer with any experience of representing family and friends carers
•  A social worker if you work in any capacity (e.g. a kinship team, children in need etc) with family and friends carers
•  A social manager or commissioner who is responsible for policy or practice in work with family and friends carers;
•  CAFCASS workers/guardians

Contact: droth@frg.org.uk.

Developing an accreditation system for family group conference projects

Over the last year we have been working with family group conference (FGC) services across England and Wales and Dr Louise Brown (University of Bath) to develop a framework for the accreditation of FGC services. The project is funded by the Department for Education and the aim is to ensure consistent high quality standards FGC services are offered to families. Once agreed the accreditation framework will be trialled by a number of FGC services from April 2012 and evaluated.

To help us to develop a well thought out, affordable sustainable model, we:

•  Are asking all FGC projects to fill in a survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/survey-of-FGC-projects by 12 January 2012.
•  Would like to conduct a telephone interview with you, if you commission FGC services, are a senior children's services manager, are a family judge or lawyer, or a family member with experience of an FGC, lawyers. Please contact: sharesnape@frg.org.uk.

•  Will be holding a challenge event 8 February 2012, central London. This is your chance to hear what is proposed? We want to test out key questions with you. For example,
•  Will it achieve its aim of driving up standards?
•  Will local authority commissioners buy into it? Is it affordable?
•  Will it be too onerous on FGC projects or not sufficiently rigorous?

The challenge event is for: Family members and young people; Commissioners of FGC services; Service managers with responsibility for FGC projects; Family court judges; Lawyers (local authority and private practice); FGC educators and trainers; Local authority social workers and managers; FGC managers and practitioners

For further information or to book a place email krobinson@frg.org.uk.


Family Rights Group's 2011 Fundraising Dinner

Thank you to Polly Toynbee, and all our guests at our fundraising dinner. We raised over £1300 towards setting up local family and friends care support groups.

Fundraising dinner 2011 2Polly Toynbee and guests

Parliamentary working group on family and friends care

We are setting up, on behalf of the Kinship Care Alliance, a working group of MPs and Peers on family and friends care. Be sure to encourage your MP to join the group – they can contact cashley@frg.org.uk to find out more.

fun in the park 2011 2Children enjoying a family and friends care support day in the Autumn


Campaign news:

We have been lobbying hard on the Welfare Reform Bill and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill as they are considered in the House of Lords. We have been working with partners including the Welfare Reform Consortium, the Kinship Care Alliance and the Law Society to highlight concerns about the impact of both bills. In drawing up amendments and briefings, we have particularly focused upon the significant, if unintended adverse affects on family and friends carers, which could result in more children ending up unnecessarily in care. We have held constructive meetings with Ministers including Lord Freud and Lord McNally and are confident that some progress will be made in the new year. An extra big thank you to Baroness Tyler, Baroness Drake, Baroness Massey and Lord Beecham for all their support and hard work.

Forthcoming training

New training course for solicitors:
Family and Friends Care: what lawyers and legal advisers need to know
£75 (10% discount for FRG members). Kindly hosted by Withers LLP.
7 March 2012 3.30-7pm, central London

Family and friends care workshops:
We are holding three seminars which will present and consider:

•  findings from the new research studies outlined
•  analysis of local authority family and friends care policies including best practice
•  Consider what is feasible in terms of data collection and analysis.

The seminars are aimed at local authority family and friends care leads, local authority legal departments, senior children's services managers, lead councillors, judges, as well as family and friends carers.

21 st March 2012, York
28 th March 2012, Birmingham
30 th March 2012, London

To find out more email droth@frg.org.uk.

Three day Family Group Conference training for new co-ordinators
21, 22 and 23 February 2012, London

Looked after children – advanced law and practice course for IROs and social workers
8 March 2012, London

Essential legal information for family group conference co-ordinators
14 March 2012, London

Working with fathers who present a risk to their children
27 March 2012, London


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