Dateline: Scotland, EU
By: Jimmy Deuchars
From: Dads On The Air
Via: The Honor Network
Priority News Exchange Program News Item (PNEP)
Grandparents Apart Self Help Group
What we have achieved.
1. Dispelled the myth that grandparents have a right of contact with their grandchildren. Now that the problem has been identified and accepted we have successfully raised the profile of grandparents all over the UK and pointed out the benefits and protection they can offer grandchildren.
2. Provided a helpline service for grandparents that was not available before. We are very proud of our helpline ‘a listening ear’ for devastated grandparents, which we know has comforted some grannies that were suicidal.
3. Worked in a Stakeholder Group with the Scottish Government and as a result the ‘Charter for Grandchildren’ and the ‘Parenting Agreement’ were created as guidelines to help families and children in particular. We petitioned the government to have The Charter made legal. It is now closed. PE 1051.
4. Shown that ‘Bridge building’ is our speciality. The more grandparents that are aware of our existence the more we can fulfil our motto of ‘Bringing Families Together’
5. Risen from being seen as a complainer to the Government to being a respected source of information to allow them to gather information about families, being invited to meetings and our opinions sought.
6. Highlighted the unfairness of our legal aid system and it has now been announced that new proposals from the Legal Aid board and the Scottish Government are to change the way solicitors are to be paid for Legal Aid work.
7. Recently we have seen children’s charity Children 1st agreeing with us on 3 points.
a) They urge the government to give grandparents the right of information on their grandchildren’s welfare.
b) They agree that The Charter for Grandchildren and Parenting Agreement must be publicised more.
c) They want to see Family Information Centres become available throughout the country for children’s protection particularly in drug and alcohol danger homes.
8. Adam Ingram MSP Minister for Children invited us to a meeting in June 2007 to hear our views on Kinship Care as we have been campaigning hard for this. On 4th December 2007 the Scottish Government announced they would be paying a granny grant of between £119 and £199 to kinship grandparent carers. Details from our website http://kinshipcareallowances.blogspot.com/
9. This year 2008, our group has been invited once more to work with the Scottish Government on ‘Making Contact Work’. Our first meeting was very encouraging and we did get across that the administrators of family law have become blasé in their interpretation of best interests of the child. A petition for this is http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/view_petition.asp?PetitionID=226
http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/view_petition.asp?PetitionID=225 Please sign both.
10. Become tired waiting for further improvements so we have decided to take the matter into our own hands and now propose to open an independent Family Information and Education Centre.
11. We have just been knocked back for a £½ million grant but but we were awarded £10.000.00 from The Big Lottery to develop our Mobile Family Information and Education Centre.
12. We have also written a book ‘Grandparents Speak out for Vulnerable Children’ Details on our website.
For more click: http://forum.dadsontheair.com/viewtopic.php?t=29275