New Clause 1 - Extended family: welfare checklist

Part of Children and Adoption Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:45 am ar 21 Mawrth 2006.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of David Kidney David Kidney PPS (Mr Elliot Morley, Minister of State), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 11:45, 21 Mawrth 2006

I support the two points that the hon. Gentleman made about the imbalances, one of which is to do with financial support, while the other is the requirement for grandparents and kinship carers to obtain the leave of the court even before they start to make their application for court proceedings.

In my time as a solicitor before I was elected to Parliament, as well as in my time as a Member of Parliament, I have witnessed many cases of injustice to grandparents because of those imbalances. I can think of many times when grandparents have been deterred from getting involved in court proceedings because they would have had to pay double to do so. Even if before their son or daughter split from their spouse they had had lots of regular contact with their grandchild and that had gone down to zero, they found it difficult to muster the financial resources and the will to get involved in a court case not once, but twice—to get the leave and then go through the procedure of trying to get the order.

I can think of a particular case of such financial imbalance. I do not have permission to name the person involved, so I shall not. The woman in question stood by her grandson through thick and thin, and came to me, as her MP, many times about her financial hardship. Even with my assistance and that of a lawyer, she could not get some of the financial support that a parent or foster carer would have got. That was most unjust.