DNA tests in family courts will be provided across England from later this year, Justice Minister Simon Hughes has announced.
From September all family court judges in England will be able to order DNA tests to determine a child’s parentage.
This follows 2 pilot schemes in Taunton and Bristol which were set up following anecdotal evidence that courtroom arguments led to delays in divorce cases, particularly where parentage was in question.
Findings from the pilots suggest the tests mean judges could be more confident when making decisions about children and, most importantly, parents would be more likely to follow the court’s orders.
Justice Minister Simon Hughes said:
"I am determined that all cases involving children should be resolved quickly and wherever possible outside court."
"However when they do come to court they should be resolved in a civilised way so that children don’t suffer. Unambiguous and conclusive DNA tests will prove parentage and help to end acrimonious and embarrassing court battles."
The west of England pilots also explored whether alcohol and drug tests could be restricted without a means test to cases where their findings were determinative in family court cases. These results were inconclusive, so the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) will test and develop a new model for delivering drugs and alcohol testing over coming months which is both affordable and provides the courts with the certainty they need.
The funding for DNA testing in private family law cases follows the introduction last year of the biggest reforms to the family justice system for a generation. These have placed children at the heart of every case and have cut to 29 weeks the time which care cases are taking.
The reforms have included:
Story courtesy of gov.uk
Social workers in adult services carry out work with adults from a range of backgrounds, many of whom are extremely vulnerable, requiring a sensitive, and supportive approach. Adult social workers provide support and assistance to maintain and promote the independence and well-being of adults. Treating adults with dignity and respect is a key core social [...]
Left wing loony, interfering, judgemental, cardigan wearing child snatchers. This is how all too often social workers are depicted. Slammed in the press when they ‘remove’ children from families for placing a vulnerable child in care yet made out to be a scapegoat when a vulnerable child is let down by the system.
Unfortunately, the [...]
Social work had to face a complete pendulum swing in social work practice during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
Prior to COVID, online assessments or meetings were a complete rarity which had to be adequately justified. Yet overnight, as COVID-19 forced England into lockdown in March 2020, social workers still had vulnerable children and families [...]