CAFCASS fear and ignorance about Mental Health

[Name Removed] (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

[Name Removed] (Account suspended)

Dear Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service,

A CAFCASS senior service manager is quoted in a report stating :

“The session on mental health was inspirational and poignant. This is one area of ‘difference’ we can sometimes shy away from due to FEAR & IGNORANCE” ...SENIOR SERVICE MANAGER [cafcass]

At least your SSM admits CAFCASS shy away from mental health due to fear and ignorance. Clearly it is an area CAFCASS have little knowledge, training or expertise in yet the CIAF has a significant portion littered with ‘blanket statements’ about mental health providing outdated and incorrect views about mental health which it is likely after expert scrutiny to show CAFCASS have rolled out a framework that will have harmful negative outcomes for families and children.

1.It is evident this ignorance is reflected in the CIAF. Social Workers are supposed to have anti discriminatory practice at the heart of their work yet SSM making statements about shying away from groups of people with protected characteristics which is not only draconian but discrimination given that mental health is not to be used as a broad blanket terms but each diagnosis is a ‘medical illness’; disability of the mind. A person with a mental health diagnosis must be provided with ‘more favourable’ treatment NOT shyed away from out of fear and ignorance. Any person with a disability of the mind (mental health diagnosis) MUST be provided with reasonable adjustments, treated MORE FAVOURABLY and with Human rights legislation, application of the Equality Act and weighed up against The mental health act and the mental health code of practice to uphold a persons rights in law. These rights must be finely balanced with The children’s act. Therefore please provide the information CAFCASS used weighing up each aforementioned legislation in the development of their CIAF to ensure all equality rights are being upheld in line with ‘ALL’ legislation to provide Equality for children.

2a. How many children have suffered ‘negative outcomes’ due to FEAR and IGNORANCE of CAFCASS in relation to ‘Mental health’ and each unique diagnosis ?

b. How many negative outcomes have vulnerable adults suffered due to shying away and CAFCASS FEAR & IGNORANCE in relation to Mental Health and each unique diagnosis ?

Under practice rules in family law Health = Physical and Mental health and a person would not shy away from a person with cancer, leukaemia, epilepsy so why would a SSM of a national organisation proclaim that this organisation has shyed away from the medical field of over 450 diagnosis; each unique and why do CAFCASS think throwing out blanket statements about ‘mental health as if it’s a ‘one size fits all’. CAFCASS should not be operating in an area they have no expertise in nor external expert health scrutiny.

3. The revised mental health code of practice came into force on 1 April 2015 the guidance applies not only to clinicians in health but local authorities, social services, independent and voluntary sectors therefore please provide the information CAFCASS hold to demonstrate
a. Cafcass have abided by the Mental health Act and Mental Health code of practice in the development of their CIAF in relation to CAFCASS statements in CIAF about ‘harmful parenting’ and the linkage to mental health
b. Provide the information to demonstrate all decisions/opinions/ PCP’s CAFCASS hold are lawful against the mental health act and Mental Health code of practice
c. Please provide information where CAFCASS weighed up the 5 principles in the Mental health code of practice to enable their FCA’s to make ‘balanced and proportionate’ decisions according to the nature and circumstances of each case ?

4. In some cases competing human rights will need to be considered which may require finely balanced decisions please provide the guidance CAFCASS provide FCA’s to clearly document decisions that may restrict a persons rights and a child’s to demonstrate legally how it is justifiable, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances of each case ?

4. If restrictions to contact with a child is made how do CAFCASS use the Mental Health act and code of practice to ensure any restrictions on contact are ‘proportionate’ to meet the purpose of the aim of the restriction ?

5. Linking back to CAFCASS Senior Service Manager comment about ‘shying away’ from mental health out of fear and ignorance how do CAFCASS propose to remove the ‘ignorance and bigotry’ that is rolled out in the CIAF. Your SSM clearly reflects CAFCASS FEAR & IGNORANCE and this is heavily reflected in your CIAF. It is clear CAFCASS have no understanding of mental health diagnosis nor of psychiatry, nor psychology and are not qualified or trained clinicians yet appear to be providing very incorrect, outdated, disproportionate and harmful guidelines to FCA’s about Mental Health

Yours faithfully,

[Name Removed]

Governance, Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Soeder,

 

Thank you for your email.

 

Please accept this as a formal acknowledgement of your Freedom of
Information request which was received on 15 September 2019. Your
reference number is CAF 19-150.

 

We aim to respond to you promptly, and at the latest 20 working days from
receipt of your request. You will therefore receive a response on or
before 11 October 2019.

 

Kind regards,

 

Governance Team | Cafcass

* [1][CAFCASS request email] | ü [2]www.cafcass.gov.uk 

[3]Cafcass_Logo_2014_email

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Governance, Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Soeder,

 

Thank you for your email. Please find attached our response to your
Freedom of Information request.

 

Kind regards,

 

Governance Team | Cafcass

* [1][CAFCASS request email] | ü [2]www.cafcass.gov.uk 

[3]Cafcass_Logo_2014_email

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cafcass email addresses have changed to end in @cafcass.gov.uk. Please
ensure you update your address book. For more information on this change
please see our  [4]website

show quoted sections

[Name Removed] (Account suspended)

Dear Governance,

Your framework might be CAFCASS ‘brand and style’ but you are operating as a one trick pony considering only what your staff call ‘child centred approach’ with no consideration to current legislation to include the mental health act/code of conduct where when departure from it not applied leaves you open to legal challenge.

As a service provider your CAFCASS ‘brand and style’ in relation to mental health is at least bigotry at worst breaching legislation both in policy and practice.

You have clearly never consulted with legal experts and have applied outdated theory to your framework to make it read like jargon but the result is bigotry, nonsense and discrimination. CAFCASS are allowing their FCA’s to operate outside their area of expertise: social work/court ‘advisors’ untrained in psychology, without conversion or BPS accreditation to decide and assess matters in mental health, assuming the positions of psychologist and with the audacity to undermine the role of a psychiatrist who takes over ‘12’ years to qualify to make ‘risk’ decisions. Your FCA’s are not qualified to decide and assess mental health.

Every day you are rolling out this framework it has the potential to cause harm where practice matches policy; an ad hoc hotch potch of ‘outdated’ psychology and outdated yesteryear philosophy which now makes it clear why politicians and lobbyists use the words ‘kafekesque’ to describe CAFCASS

Having had a career in Domestic violence, drugs and alcohol and mental health prior to medical retirement it is clear to a trained eye the ignorance and flaws of your framework which smacks of presumably your previous CEO’s ramblings about “law like psychology and psychology like law” has gone on to write a bigoted framework to include psychology like philosophy and social work like psychology resulting in a complete and utter shambles. That is what this unscrutinised framework of cut and paste psychology excerpts by your librarian and NIS (group of internal social workers) amounts to: a group of social workers cutting and pasting excerpts of psychology and philosophy together in a framework that is irrational, unlawful where Equality Act and case law are not applied and procedurally improper what you have rolled out is a psychology like philosophy and vice versa. It is not a current evidence base your NIS have utilised but very outdated psychology with a bit of philosophy and what appears to emulate behavioural profiling and CAFCASS at some point will have to justify this unscrutinised mess. Translated into real terms as can be seen on ECMS this understated translates to CAFCASS staff performance as ad hoc, chaotic, stereotypical, discriminatory and a shambolic mess to the point they can not understand their own entries on ECMS or actions none of this said lightly but with evidence thus making damaging decisions that are life damaging, harmful and reckless.

Your internal team were ‘NOT’ qualified to roll out this framework without expert external specialists to include mental health and you have endangered people with protected characteristics and children associated to them; all of which I’m stating publicly on the record will require identifying and assessing for damage by this unfit for purpose framework and the negative impact on children and families affected.

Not only are CAFCASS undertaking the roles of psychologists, Psychiatrists and undermining the international medical profession the CAFCASS FCA undertakes the role of the Judiciary. Your incumbent CEO needs to: DEABUSE: deploy specialists/experts to deconstruct this wholly unfit for purpose monstrosity rolled out, assess the negative impact upon groups with protected characteristics, provide adequate training as CAFCASS staff are deficient in training .

This framework particularly in relation to service users with mental health diagnosis is not fit for purpose, nor are your rushed in/out assessments and consequent recommendations proportionate in line with Human rights and rights afforded to people within this group who are protected under current mental health legislation and the Human rights attached to the act/code which CAFCASS have departed from.

This framework when applied in real terms is reckless, dangerous and harmful.

Your previous CEO Mr Douglas has achieved only an ‘outstanding’ framework of bigotry mumbo jumbo and discrimination which evidently on permitted audio is deeply embedded in practice where your Leeds manager Ms Walters as well as not understanding and breaching the Equality Act is untrained and entrenched in spouting this fanatical dogma to make for deeply chilling audio which frankly backs up with evidence the assertions I make about CAFCASS. FOIA’s, letters and words go nowhere near demonstrating the ‘clear’ picture of how CAFCASS brand when rolled out in real terms operate when captured on permitted audio; ‘chilling’ !

Your system devised to bury feedback and complaints or outstandingly devised to kick complaints into the long grass of regulators needs deconstructing to provide ‘genuine Equality’ that is up to date with current legislation, case law and in line with the remit handed to CAFCASS by the Secretary of State because as it stands Equality under the 2010 Act is not afforded to children. CAFCASS no proper feedback mechanisms in place, despite expensive ECMS system, has ‘no idea how this framework negatively impacts and causes harm and further can not learn from mistakes whilst ever a system devised ‘not to take complaints’ operates very elaborately and at great expense to the public purse; not only with the way CAFCASS have devised obstruction but with the elaborate efforts achieved to block meaningful complaints in smoke and mirrors process with quangos. None of this is in the interests of children or with their welfare being put first. It poses the question why do CAFCASS no wish to have a framework that is properly operational and to develop a brand that genuinely has the interests, welfare and safety of children at heart ?

The framework and culture of your CAFCASS brand is deeply damaging and I’m putting this on record as your Incumbent CEO has a duty, not only to children but any person CAFCASS impose this upon to ‘de abuse’ and assess properly the negative adverse impact on any persons subject to this unscrutinised framework, particularly in the period disability was invisible and excluded from CAFCASS until it was incorporated.

Take this as an open complaint to your CEO which she may choose to accept as a reasonable adjustment given despite the legal requirement CAFCASS in normal communications do not provide reasonable adjustments under the act, and given your one step complaints procedure operates only to take one complaint freely allowing CAFCASS to discriminate and then not accept complaints during family court proceedings thus subjecting service users to discrimination of varying strands that doesn’t stop but shockingly starts during the complaints procedure spreading through the management structure like a cancer: this is not anti discriminatory practice which is supposed to be at the core of social work its systematic abuse deeply embedded in CAFCASS DNA which is in stark contrast to the ethics of social work. You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves and your CEO will be clearly aware my assertions are reflected in the paperwork trail. CAFCASS does not operate with the codes ethics of social workers. It is in reality a operating as a Bermuda Triangle and recklessly and dangerously operating outside the law trying to excuse themselves hiding behind the doors of the family courts hiding behind the professional judgement curtain and with a complaints procedure that does not accept protected acts. This is self serving not child centred and affects children by their association to the complainants protected characteristics.

Unlike CAFCASS I don’t cast unwarranted assertions based upon ‘hearsay’ nor do I produce any ridiculous so called evidenced based analysis based upon hearsay what I say, and am trained properly in areas CAFCASS are not is ‘evidence based’ and was ‘unravelled unwittingly’ I have nearly 12 months knee deep factual evidence in CAFCASS irrationality, procedural impropriety, breaches in law with no application of Equality Act and case law Your incumbent CEO in this ‘open FOIA’ has a choice to carry on with CAFCASS legacy of bigotry and unfit for purpose framework she has inherited to include untrained FCA’s nationally and an unscrutinised framework or make a genuine step in putting things right by deconstructing this unfit for purpose organisation, conducting an impact assessment on those negatively affected, by being frank , open and honest with the public to uphold the remit and transparency as outlined to CAFCASS by the Secretary of State. This can include dealing with direct, indirect discrimination, discrimination by association being open and honest about CAFCASS limitations: no tools to work with grandparents and discrimination with no Equality Act application nor case law considered and reassessing the aspects of the CAFCASS bureaucratic shambles which are unlawful I reiterate without Equality Act application, case law and appropriate legislation weighed up is irrational and procedurally improper as well as unlawful.

It should not be the role of the public to make analysis of the negative impact CAFCASS, nor researchers that is the role of CAFCASS who appear to have no understanding of the actual impact of this framework when applied to members of the public or the harmful and damaging impact. It is a sham which it strongly appears CAFCASS would rather cover up wrongdoing doing at all costs rather than address matters even if that means acting unlawfully.

Let’s see which path the incumbent CEO chooses as the ball lies firmly in her court.

Yours sincerely,

[Name Removed]

[Name Removed] (Account suspended)

Dear Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service's handling of my FOI request 'CAFCASS fear and ignorance about Mental Health'.

Question 5.

The court allows CAFCASS ‘the discretionary powers for contact’ therefore if the FCA restricts that contact where a party makes allegations about the other parties mental health then

1. What legislation does the FCA apply

It is important to note here CAFCASS remit as you outline which includes”providing support to families”.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

[Name Removed]

Governance, Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Soeder,

 

Thank you for your email which let us know that you were unhappy with the
decision made in the FOI response of CAF19-150 and requested a review of
the decision.

 

This email to acknowledge that your request was received on 13 October
2019 and will be dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

 

A Senior Officer who was not party to the original decision on whether to
release the information will conduct the internal review. An internal
review involves a review of the decision on disclosure in the original
response and the way in which the request was handled. The internal
reviewer can either uphold or overturn the original decision.

 

Cafcass will notify you as to the final decision made regarding your
internal review 20 working days from receipt of your request.  You will
therefore receive a response on or before 08 November 2019.

 

Kind regards,

 

Governance Team | Cafcass

* [1][CAFCASS request email] | ü [2]www.cafcass.gov.uk 

[3]Cafcass_Logo_2014_email

 

 

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

[Name Removed] (Account suspended)

Dear Governance,

re: Question 4

You ignore The United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) ; a major international human rights treaty to which the UK is a signatory. A child may be connected to the person with protected characteristics by association.

Yours sincerely,

[Name Removed]

Governance, Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Soeder,

 

Thank you for your email. Please find attached our response to your
request for an internal review of your Freedom of Information request.

 

Kind regards,

 

Governance Team | Cafcass

* [1][CAFCASS request email] | ü [2]www.cafcass.gov.uk

[3]Cafcass_Logo_2014_email

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cafcass email addresses have changed to end in @cafcass.gov.uk. Please
ensure you update your address book. For more information on this change
please see our  [4]website

show quoted sections