Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity

Originally when I wanted to raise awareness of the pitfalls and loopholes that occur within the   judicial review processes. I was opposed by parents for doing so as it was thought it could deter parents from exercising their legal right to do so.  This is not the intention of the articles, but instead to raise awareness of the potential increased risks and cost to families which are not often spoken about. Including children being separated and taken into care and some children being put on the adoption board as local authorities consider adoption. 

Many are already aware of the failings within the SEN world, and the failings within the various processes supposed to support children. Unfortunately, some aspects are still hidden or not spoken about. The COV 19 Bill will increase those vulnerabilities and risks to families.

Unfortunately, the stark reality is for local Authorities removing children via unlawful S47s and false accusations to accommodate them in care or having them adopted  can potentially be less costly than if parental proof of failings reaches high court;  the public domain or potentially even if the decision at tribunal does not go in their favour. https://www.sunshine-support.org/fii-when-professionals-fabricate-the-truth

So Initially my first article will highlight some areas of concerns that are problematic with further increased vulnerabilities associated with the COV19 bill the second will highlight some potential questions for parents to consider before embarking upon legal processes especially Judicial Review.

You may think it will be quicker more effective to judicially review a Local Authority but sadly the reality often is the response of any Local Authority to a Judicial Review is hostile one. 

Which is why a correlation has been identified between SEND Tribunals, Judicial Reviews and an increase in unlawful S47 and false Accusations of FII.

Even beginning an initial child protection processes can potentially impact upon the other legal processes because they can be used to try and stop a SEND tribunal or discredit the parent at Judicial Review.

Originally when I wanted to raise awareness of the pitfalls and loopholes that occur within the   judicial review processes. I was opposed by parents for doing so as it was thought it could deter parents from exercising their legal right to do so. 

This is not the intention of the articles, but instead to raise awareness of the potential increased risks and cost to families which are not often spoken about. Including children being separated and taken into care and some children being put on the adoption board as local authorities consider adoption. 

Many are already aware of the failings within the SEN world, and the failings within the various processes supposed to support children. Unfortunately, some aspects are still hidden or not spoken about. The COV 19 Bill will increase those vulnerabilities and risks to families.

Unfortunately, the stark reality is for local Authorities removing children via unlawful S47s and false accusations to accommodate them in care or having them adopted  can potentially be less costly than if parental proof of failings reaches high court;  the public domain or potentially even if the decision at tribunal does not go in their favour. https://www.sunshine-support.org/fii-when-professionals-fabricate-the-truth

So Initially my first article will highlight some areas of concerns that are problematic with further increased vulnerabilities associated with the COV19 bill the second will highlight some potential questions for parents to consider before embarking upon legal processes especially Judicial Review.

You may think it will be quicker more effective to judicially review a Local Authority but sadly the reality often is the response of any Local Authority to a Judicial Review is hostile one. 

Which is why a correlation has been identified between SEND Tribunals, Judicial Reviews and an increase in unlawful S47 and false Accusations of FII. Even beginning an initial child protection processes can potentially impact upon the other legal processes because they can be used to try and stop a SEND tribunal or discredit the parent at Judicial Review.

Professional biases still exist as do stereotypies’ which negatively influence and other professionals against parents before they can even present their case.

Whilst funding such as the current trials for social care via SEND Tribunals can disadvantage parents as Local Authorities receive up to £4,000 for costs per case to essentially fight against the parent/s in the SEND tribunal which could affect whether a child’s needs are met appropriately or not

How many times have we seen in media articles by solicitors, advocates and other professionals raising the link between unlawful S47, False accusations of FII, in response to starting a tribunal process or judicial review! 

We know there are those who raise awareness of false accusations and work tirelessly to change this however for some families it will be too late. 

The increase in SEND Tribunals, Judicial Reviews and the correlation to increases in Child protection cases, FII accusations are not just hearsay they are real.

It has also already been identified the effects of social care involvement and increased risk of certain vulnerable groups of being accused of FII such as parents with their own diagnostic profiles; disabilities. You may think that’s not going to happen; there’s never been safeguarding concerns before. 

Solicitors and advocacy services have seen an increase in Child protection cases being triggered that coincide/linked to Send Tribunals and Judicial reviews. 

What we see is the race to secure and accommodate children in care to discredit parents and their evidence before the Send Tribunal or Judicial review processes occur. 

With all the current delays and especially since Cov19 pandemic it’s easy to see which process will take place first as child protection and adoption processes are prioritised and continue.

Will anyone of standing review the parental evidence of failings before or during any potential reactive action undertaken by the local authority against the parent/s. 

Bearing in mind also the current delays in SENDIST and Judicial reviews were already extensive and now will increase further due to COV19. It is doubtful and more unlikely.

It is already recognised that parental diagnostic profiles; historical evidence relating to family backgrounds; current or historical mental health issues and the tick lists in circulation are used to substantiate allegations for child protection cases.

There are also concerns already being raised regarding children with disabilities, and the COV19 bill: https://www.sinclairslaw.co.uk/news/the-coranavirus-bill-the-weakest-will-suffer-the-most-message-from-our-ceo-mr-michael-charles/

Concerns also need to be highlighted regarding the changes to the Mental Health Act 2007 during social distancing and shielding. I wonder how many realise that some individuals considered as at high risk during the Cov19 pandemic advised to Shield by the government for twelve weeks is specific to their historical/current mental health issues, or other common mis/diagnosis prior to receiving or associated with an Autism diagnosis not health needs.

Now imagine those being requested to do this are parents or carers who have a child(ren) with SEN. How often have we read articles citing the effects on parental/ children’s mental health secondary to an Autism diagnosis or caring for a child with disabilities

Then consider variable family dynamics that increase the family’s vulnerability, what if the parent/s are also embroiled in legal processes such as tribunals, judicial reviews or family court proceedings.

Consider further the impact upon the whole family’s mental health and well-being, with increased stress, anxiety, confinement and unpredictability compounded by legal processes and/or changes to the Care Act 2014:  Mental Health Act 2007 via the COV19 bill during and after the pandemic. 

How many families will break under this pressure?  
Could children be accommodated in care prior to a hearing at Family court?
With 3 in 4 children currently in care having SEN. Could this rise even further?

The current changes via COV19 bill could potentially be exploited by local authorities increasing vulnerabilities. 

Reducing vulnerabilities prior to undertaking any legal processes, especially during the COV19 pandemic now and in the weeks, months and years to come will be essential.

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