Thanks to Arnie Saccnuson for forwarding an email from Jimmy Deuchars of Grandparents Apart UK about their demonstration held on Thursday in Glasgow's George Square. Around 20 supporters of the group were joined by councillors and former MSPs as part of a campaign calling for no child be put into care if there is scope for them to live with grandparents.
According to The Herald report protesters were told Scotland can avoid further cases like the Brandon Muir which concluded earlier this week, if social workers utilise the care on offer from wider family circles. Mr Deuchars said that social workers were guilty of alienating "at risk" and vulnerable children from their extended families by too often putting them into care as the first option. He claimed when grandparents attempt a fight for residence they are told they could lose all contact rights and he feels the best interests of the child is something that is being misused.
Jimmy Deuchars founded the support group Grandparents Apart after his daughter died and he lost access to his two grandchildren. The group took part in consultation with the Scottish Executive on proposals for the Charter for Grandchildren (pdf);-
FAMILIES ARE IMPORTANT TO CHILDREN – GRANDCHILDREN CAN EXPECT:
To be involved with, and helped to understand, decisions made about their lives.
• To be treated fairly.
• To know and maintain contact with their family (except in very exceptional circumstances) and other people who are important to them.
• To know that their grandparents still love them, even if they are not able to see them at the present time.
• To know their family history.
• The adults in their lives to put their needs first and to protect them from disputes between adults – not to use them as weapons in quarrels.
• Social workers, when making assessments about their lives, to take into account the loving and supporting role grandparents can play in their lives.
• The courts, when making decisions about their lives, to take into account the loving and supporting role grandparents can play in their lives.
• Lawyers and other advisers, to encourage relationship counselling or mediation when adults seek advice on matters affecting them and their children.