It is a fundamental human right of every child to be raised by their parents, provided it is safe. Where this is not possible, there is strong evidence that children are more likely to thrive within their wider family network than within the care system.
We are a charity founded in 1974 by social workers, lawyers and families in response to the injustices experienced by many parents involved with social services (now known as children's services) and the unnecessary separation of children from their families.
We have had some important successes over the last 40 years: For example, 41 years ago parents were NOT:
- legally represented if their child was subject to care proceedings;
- included in their child's case conference, if there were child protection concerns;
- invited to reviews if their child was in care.
- Now they are
We have had a significant impact in influencing legislation, including the Children Act 1989. These achievements are in large part due to us consistently bringing evidence of injustices to the attention of politicians, practitioners and the media, and putting forward workable solutions in the interest of the child.
Family Rights Group believes that considerably more could be done to prevent children from needing to be taken into care in the first place. We know from our advice service that parents are struggling to get the early help they need to stop problems escalating into a crisis. Funding constraints mean our advice service is unable to directly advise everyone who tries to contact us. Yet a recent impact evaluation suggests that the service saves an average of £28 for every £1 invested (note: that it saves at least £8 and could save as much as £48 per £1 invested).
There are more than 200,000 children in the UK raised by family and friends carers, normally grandparents or older siblings. These children have suffered similar adversities to those in the care system, yet the support they receive (or lack of it) bears little if any relationship to their needs. We also know that more could be done to enable more children who cannot live with their parents, to be safely raised by a family member who knows and loves them.