Given that the House of Commons Justice Committee Report on the Bill concludes that '…the draft clause has been included not to effect any change in Court orders but to tackle a perception of bias within the Courts...' (Para 153), would it be cynical to believe that the government never intended to change the legislation that regularly excludes fathers from their children's lives?
Part of the work that I do at the Centre for Separated Families is delivering training to professionals who come into contact with parents and children affected by separation. A key component of that training is to work with practitioners in ways that require them to challenge their own assumptions about the way the world is and about the people they meet through their work. It can, at times, be a challenging process.
As the Welfare Reform Bill makes its progress from aspiration to legislation, the controversy surrounding those elements relating to the proposed reforms of the child-maintenance system shows no sign of abating either inside or outside parliament. My recent article for Parliamentary Brief magazine explains why I support the changes.
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At its worst, depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition. Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don't know where to turn for help. However, depression is largely preventable and treatable. Recognizing depression and seeking help is the first and most critical towards recovery.
In collaboration with WHO to mark World Mental Health Day, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the "black dog of depression".