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.
This year we are launching a 40th fundraising appeal. We will be organising a series of fundraising and awareness-raising activities and events – but we need your help.
We have had some important successes over the last 40 years:
For example, 40 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.
We are needed now more than ever:
Despite advising more people than ever before, we are inundated by families contacting our advice service. Increasing numbers are impoverished mothers, whose children are subject to child protection enquiries as a result of witnessing domestic violence.
We currently don't have the funds to be able to help all those who need it - 6 in every 10 people calling us don't get through to an adviser – and Department for Education funding for the advice service is due to cease in March 2015.
Meanwhile, we know that families, whose children are involved in the youth justice system or who are excluded, also need specialist advice and currently have no-where to go. We need your help to secure future funding and expand and extend the remit of our advice service.
Moreover, getting through to an adviser isn't enough for some families. They need additional help. Many wider family members, such as an older sibling wanting to raise her younger brother following their parents' death, are too scared, upset and fearful to navigate the system alone. It can feel overwhelming. With your help we can advocate for more families, including negotiating with the local authority on their behalf so more children can live safely and thrive within their family.
Research demonstrates that children who cannot remain at home often do better within their wider family, than in unrelated care. Yet family and friends carers, unlike adopters, don't have a right to paid employment leave, 38% are forced to give up work to take on the children and 75% end up in severe poverty. With your help we will tackle such iniquities, so ensuring that the voice of struggling families is reflected in policy debates and practice reform.
Ways you can help in our 40th anniversary year:
- Join the Family Rights Group Supporters' Network and make a donation, no matter how big or small;
- Become part of our 40th anniversary organising committee;
- Help us to organise or promote an event for the 40th anniversary year or volunteer in some other way e.g. fundraising, design, printing, editing, film making or contacts with ‘celebrities' and artists;
- Take part in sports events;
- Follow us on twitter @familyrightsgp and like us on facebook;