16th June 2004
CSA statistics for February 2004 released (incomplete)
“ From the 3rd March 2003, all new Child Support applications have been assessed under a new scheme. These cases are stored on a new computer system. In addition, approximately 144 thousand old scheme cases are also administered on the new computer system. Technical issues continue to prevent reliable figures on compliance, throughput and other more detailed statistics from this new system. The Department continues to retain around 15% of each monthly payment due to EDS, the service provider, due to the continuing problems with the computer and telephony systems. The Agency are working together with EDS to come to a commonly understood view over the accuracy of figures from the new system. ”
Department for Work and Pensions
These statistics are useful because they represent almost exactly one year since the new scheme started. (They apply from 3rd March 2003 to end February 2004).
It is clear that the new scheme is a shambles. But, since the new computer system can't provide reliable numbers for various aspects, it isn't clear just how much of a shambles it is. (It is covering up its own failings!)
The total number of cases on the old computer system continues to fall. Some have been transferred to the new computer system, but apart from the number, there are no details available.
While there are plenty of statistics from the old computer system, such as ages, amounts, etc, there are no such numbers available from the new computer system. Yet it was supposed to improve the availability of information! MPs were getting fed up with being told, in response to their questions, "the information you ask for is not available on the current computer system".
New Scheme applications, in 1000s
||By end May 03
||By end Aug 03
||By end Nov 03
||By end Feb 04
|Work in progress
|Number of NRPs who have made at least 1 payment of regular maintenance
Numbers of Old Scheme live cases, 1000s
|Live cases on old computer system
|Cases transferred to new computer system
12th June 2004
Queen's Birthday Honours to CSA staff
Civil Order of the British Empire (OBE):
- Mrs Lynda Margaret Collis, Implementation manager, Child Support Agency.
Civil Order of the British Empire (MBE):
- Adrian Clements, Exec Officer, Child Support Agency.
- Miss Dawn Skelton, Admin assistant, Child Support Agency
10th June 2004
New Rules to Identify Sperm Donors Approved
On 9th June, The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (Disclosure of Donor Information) Regulations 2004 were approved in the Lords. This is a much needed change for official sperm donation. (Unfortunately, it won't affect unofficial sperm donation, such as "Man Not Included") .
“ These reflect the paramount rights of the child. ”
Baroness Andrews, Government spokesperson
Information which personally identified a donor would not be made available retrospectively, but disclosure would apply to such information that had been provided after March 31, 2005. From 2006, all sperm donations would have to be used on an identifiable basis. Any applicant would have to have reached the age of 18 before they could be given the information.
Therefore, the full affect of this will not be felt until 2023. Donor children who sought out their donor would be unable to make any claims on the donor, who would have no legal, social, or financial responsibilities towards them .
However, of course, sperm donors to the "Man Not Included" service certainly are legally responsible for child support!
HOUSE OF LORDS, MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS, Wednesday 9th June 2004
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (Disclosure of Donor Information) Regulations 2004 - It was moved by the Baroness Andrews that the draft Regulations laid before the House on 4th May be approved; after debate, the motion was agreed to.
8th June 2004
The junk science that separates families
The aftermath of the cases that put innocent mothers into court & sometimes prison continues.
This is a reminder that the recent events that impacted Sally Clark, Trupti Patel, and Angela Cannings are not unique. They are the latest in a series of uses of junk science that separate parents from their children, sometimes permanently. Often it is junk "social science". Here are a few examples from the last decades.
“ Some children are born for the purpose of abuse and are not registered on birth certificates. ”
Valerie Sinason, consultant child psychologist at the Tavistock Clinic in London
“ It is astonishing that anyone would continue to give credence to the myth of "satanic ritual abuse", which has been utterly debunked here in the United States, where it originated, and in the UK.... Yet in the UK a group of earnest but pseudo-scientific "true believers" such as Valerie Sinason continue to promote belief in this absurdity....You compounded it by citing Sinason et al as "experts". They are as much experts as those who conducted the Inquisition were "experts" in identifying witches. ”
Mark Pendergrast, criticising The Independent
“ ... claims that the children themselves alleged Satanic and ritual abuse were false. The fact is that the small children didn't actually say these things. They said bits and pieces that were picked up by the adults. ”
Professor Jean La Fontaine
“ The situation is even worse when the doctor's opinion will itself influence the ultimate findings of the justice system. If Doctor X opines that a child has been molested, based on findings which in truth do not prove molest, a court will frequently rubber-stamp such an opinion. This judicial finding then becomes the confirmation which makes the doctor feel he can rely on his "experience." Such "confirmation" is, of course, scientifically meaningless. ”
Lee Coleman, IPT (Institute for Psychological Therapies ) Journal
“ Everyone knows that babies die at the hands of their parents by accident or in a fit of exhausted rage. But the evidence available puts it at less than 10 per cent. ”
George Haycock, professor of paediatrics at Guy's Hospital, London
Notorious cases supposedly about "Satanic and/or ritual abuse" have been at Rochdale, Cleveland, Nottingham, Orkneys, etc. Perhaps the retraining of social workers that followed the reports into these cases have resulted in few if any similar cases.
But a lack of critical thinking continues. The common theme among all of these appears to be a breakdown in critical thinking. This needs logic and the ability to step back and ask "what do we really know?"
Incompetent analysis of child deaths:
- Mothers Against Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy Allegations
- Independent, Jeremy Laurance, "Friends of cot-death doctor warn that parents 'will get away with murder'"
- Observer, John Sweeney, "Meadow: the unseen victims"
- Independent, Robert Verkaik, "But for many expert witnesses, the fees keep rolling in ..."
- General Medical Council "Statement on Professor Sir Samuel Roy Meadow"
- Telegraph, Celia Hall, "Expert in baby death cases charged with misconduct"
- Independent, Jeremy Laurance, "Doctor in cot death court cases to face misconduct allegations"
- Guardian, Matthew Taylor, "Cot death expert to face investigation"
- Telegraph, Melissa Kite, "We can't reunite thousands of mothers with children wrongly taken from them"
- Telegraph, Dr James Le Fanu, "The experts have wrecked justice"
- Observer, Jamie Doward, "How I lost two children to the 'lie' of Munchausen's"
- Times letter, ALAN CRAFT, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, "Need to review child protection"
- BBC, "Review of children in care cases"
- Independent, Robert Verkaik and Jeremy Laurance, "Families appeal for children's return as challenges to care orders begin"
Unproven theories about child abuse:
False "recovered" memories:
28th May 2004
Will a European convention on contact with children after separation make a difference to people's lives?
“ In this increasingly globalised world it is not uncommon for parents to have different nationalities. When such couples separate we need to safeguard the child's interests. To do that we need to have international agreements and co-operation between different judicial systems. But I have an open mind as to whether this convention will make a difference to the welfare of international families that break up. That is why we need the views of the public to consider all views before making a final decision. ”
Family Justice Minister Lord Filkin
This consultation paper seeks views on whether the United Kingdom should sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Contact Concerning Children. The consultation is aimed at those with an interest in cross-border contact issues. Copies of the consultation paper are being sent to:
- Families Need Fathers
- Fathers 4 Justice
- Women’s Aid Federation of England (WAFE)
- Equal Parenting Council
- Grandparents Association
- National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC)
- National Family Mediation
- The Rt Hon Lord Justice Thorpe
- Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA)
- Family Law Bar Association (FLBA)
- Children And Family Court Advisory Support Service (CAFCASS)
- Court Service
- Child Abduction Unit (CAU)
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- Law Society
- Scottish Executive Justice Department
- Department of Finance & Personnel Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland Court Service
However, this list is not meant to be exhaustive or exclusive and responses are welcomed from anyone with an interest in or views on the subject covered by this paper.
21st May 2004
News about male contraceptives
“ I think things have changed, and I'm not sure women get that. This is not a case of men not participating. ”
Elaine Lissner, director of the San Francisco-based Male Contraception Information Project
“ Most men that we run into contact with understand and are committed to that responsibility. ”
Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America
There are at least 3 good reasons why men should want good quality contraceptive choices:
- A selfless reason: to share the responsibility of contraception with their partners.
- An ethical reason: to avoid bringing children into the world who would feel deprived of their roots.
- A selfish reason: to avoid the risk of paying child support for the next 16 or 18 years.
Some men seek such contraception. Unfortunately, perhaps too many don't. This is a wake-up call. If money is the only motivation, remember that child support responsibility can last 24 times as long as pregnancy!