When will they listen to Grandparents?


Please watch the heartbreaking interview of Neal Gray, Ellie Butler’s Grandfather and then express your views on how the courts should change in order for grandparents and extended family members to give a wider picture of family life for the poor innocent children who are left wanting and failed by an outdated system, which is shrouded in secrecy to protect families private lives but ultimately fails children and families.



40 + Reasons – An Easter Message – or how the government makes a mockery of the institutional alienation of families.

When I went through the courts in the battle to maintain contact with my granddaughter there was one thing that stuck in my mind, if I lost the established contact with my granddaughter then so would the rest of my immediate family, all 40 + members, my brothers, sisters, her great Aunts & Uncles, my daughters – Aunts, and all the children, cousins and second cousins.

They didn’t all come along on those first prescribed, supervised contact visits, but I did take along a couple of my daughters, (her immediate Aunts,) because their relationship was already established, and to my mind it was important for the continuity and stability of my granddaughter, she needed to know that whilst she understood there was a problem and a breakdown in family relations, that her family would still be there to look out for, and love her.

You don’t need to have gone through a family separation to understand how vital those bonds are, but if you have already experienced it in your lifetime it can have a detrimental effect on your health and well-being – physically, emotionally and mentally.

 I had gone through it twice in my life as a child, firstly when I was adopted as a baby, (unusually my biological mother remained in the adoptive family home until I reached the age of 5) and then again when I was placed in a care home aged 12, until I reached 16 and was set ‘free’ to make my own way in the world!

You could argue that it informed the way I deal with alienation, and how abhorrent it has become to me, I don’t think I ever got over the feeling of rejection, that’s not to say I became a victim either!

This leads me to today, and just as I was contemplating giving up Grandparent Support Ltd, (there are far bigger organisations out there with vast resources, lottery and Government funding, doing amazing work, I prefer to work independently – I have the right to voice my opinion and shall not be censored!) I received a phone call from a lady wanting to know why the extended family couldn’t be included in their visit, (2 members only) I hadn’t had this problem as nobody had objected when I had done it, but I all too readily identified the problem, differing local authorities seem to adopt different practices- this unfortunately I had encountered, and as we know things are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

It is a basic human right- the right to family life, both for the child and the members of that child’s family,


Although as stated within the act it is “a qualified right”.

This lady has already qualified as a special guardian for her grandson and together they have periodic visits with his two siblings in foster care, and she has been assured by the local authority that they are all working towards reuniting the family in the future.

Surely then, one must apply common sense and include extended family, not én-masse obviously, but for those occasions when it would be normal to do so, i.e. holidays such as Easter! After all it is the natural family support network.

On the 19th March 2015 Edward Timpson the Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, gave a speech in Manchester, you can read it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/making-it-easier-for-more-people-to-come-forward-and-foster

He failed to mention the “300,000 children in the UK, being brought up by grandparents and other family members (kinship carers). Many of these children have been neglected or abused or suffered the death or serious illness of a parent. Almost half have special needs or a disability.

 Most of the children would be in care if their relative hadn’t stepped in to look after them. It would cost the taxpayer £12 billion each year in care costs alone if they were in independent foster care. Yet the enormous contribution that kinship carers make is often hidden or taken for granted. Too many kinship carers bringing up vulnerable children suffer isolation, poverty and stress.”

Source: Grandparents Plus.

Edward Timpson also failed to mention how little is done to prevent parent/grandparent/family alienation and how as a society, alienation has now become the cruellest “weapon of choice” between separating couples and families.

Yet the Department for Education is set to spend £1.597m from their Innovation Programme Funds, on adopting and no doubt adapting the U.S. Mocking Bird Programme:


Whilst I applaud the Under Secretary for addressing this issue, and creating help and much needed support for Foster Carers, we have a long way to go in order to “slay the beast that is – Family Alienation” and its subsequent victims, not least of all the children.

The £1.597m is a mere drop in the £12 BILLION Ocean that the government is saving by utilising kinship carers who are undervalued and largely ignored for the knowledge and contribution they make.

I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Easter and wish folk would not try and teach Grandparents how to suck eggs!


Please click on the link and sign the petition:



Grateful thanks to Grandparent Plus and all the hard work they do, you can visit their site for more information here:



would you like to join our facebook support group?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Grandparentsupport/ Just click on the link, it is closed group to protect your privacy, we welcome all alienated family members!

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou

Family Law is undergoing radical change and it is gathering pace, there have been calls from all those involved within the system to change the system, I speak predominantly from experience as an Alienated Grandmother that has been within that system for some years!

Yet I challenged my own right to have rights, and then I changed my attitude, it was not my right, but my grandchild’s right to continue our relationship, yet it was not my right or was it?

I believe it was my right to fight for a family life, is that not a human right?

Do we not allow all manner of folk to enjoy their human rights?  stop and think about this?

Think of how many times you have heard some ne’er do well quote their human rights?  think again of whatever the crime they committed, and were convicted of yet they were given this or that on the auspices of their human rights!

I do not wish to get into specifics as I do not wish to appear to be in favour of this, that or the other, wishy washy? you may think so, but I do believe in the law for without it the world would be in far more chaos!

I also believe in communication and a better way forward for all families, particularly those who are estranged and alienated, if you want to make the world a better place for your children and your grandchildren get in contact.

Today we celebrate the nine month anniversary of a working contact order that took nine long years to achieve, this weekend we will celebrate the history of our family with our granddaughter, who is also a niece, a cousin, a great-niece, and just an ordinary little girl whom we love!


If you wish to join us in supporting family life or you need help, get in contact.

Why an inquisitorial system for family courts won’t work

Going underground: into the world of the alienated child

If you were ever under any illusion about alienation, I dare you to read this and still think the same! either click on Karen Woodall or view original to read whole article!

Karen Woodall

First real day of sunshine and I am thinking about the way in which we survive cycle after cycle, the downward spiral into winter and the way in the myth of persephone in the underworld plays itself out in our lives over and over and over again.  Born as we are, in a cylical world, none of us can avoid the reality of life, death and separation from our loved ones.  Demeter lamented as  her daughter Persephone was taken from her by Hades,the god of the underworld, in a story of abduction, reconciliation and regeneration.  In the Persephone myth, there is the foretelling of spring, renewal and reunification.  For the alienated child and family, none of this normal and natural renewal is allowed to occur and so the world becomes frozen in time as the child disappears, deep into the underworld, where the family they have rejected cannot follow.  As…

View original post 2,236 more words

Calling all Parents & Grandparents: Let your Fingers Do The Marching!

Grandparents update. Friday 7th March 2014  

It has been a busy few weeks here at Grandparents headquarters, first there was the tea & cake event that brought folk from far and wide, we appreciate your coming and are looking forward to seeing you again later on this month, with the date and venue yet to be confirmed, keep your eyes peeled for that!

There has been a significant rise in emails received and if we haven’t replied yet, we soon will, guaranteed, within 48 hours.

I took a week’s annual leave from my paid employment this week and I can’t believe its Friday already and I didn’t manage to get away, unless you count 24hrs in Wales last weekend (lovely), ah- well! It’s all in a good cause!

I have been making some great connections across the North West and received some fantastic support here and further afield too, it really makes a difference when people reach out to each other and organisations work together in partnership.Which is the ethos of grandparent support really, we are not just for us but for the family and the community as a whole!

Which brings me to the significant rise in following from alienated parents both male and female, I know we hear more about alienated fathers, particularly yesterday as Tim Haries lost his appeal, and I do feel for him but we have to remember what we are doing here, we are parents and grandparents and we have to set an example, breaking the law however strongly we feel will not cut it!

(Daubing  Queenie’s portrait with paint is not good! After all she is this country’s great- grandmother, which is perhaps why you did it!)

Sorry Tim but do what your founder Matt O’Connor and many suffragette women have done, chain yourself to some railings, MARCH! Write letters, campaign, sign petitions, and speak out! We live in the time of the social media revolution let your fingers do the Marching! But please do not break the law!

We all have the right to protest, you only have to look at London today and see the legal profession marching against further cuts in legal aid, although personally after spending a small fortune on barristers myself I never did understand why it cost between £300- £500 pounds for an appearance, and I managed to wrap things up by becoming a litigant in person albeit after the much needed groundwork was done! ( ..And because we were broke by then!)

So to the point, I received an email this week as I am sure many others who contacted Esther Rantzen at the BBC’s The One Show did, in it is a questionnaire that she and her team would like all alienated parents and grandparents to complete, if you want to make a difference then fill it out, Email me and I will send it to you but be quick as it has to be in for Monday 10th March 2014.



You don’t have to live under the same roof to make the family whole again.

According to my family and friends my first husband and I were a rarity, we remained friends and as part of each others families, long after we broke up and remained so  until his death in 2005. To this day we are still in contact with his family.

When my first husband and I decided to separate in 1992 we decided between ourselves to co-parent, we did not need a court order, we never did, in fact we never went near a court until we decided to dissolve the marriage officially 10 years later and then it was just a matter of sorting out the paperwork!

Ironic then that I should spend the last six years in and out of court fighting to see my granddaughter, which is now resolved thanks to some common sense and the ability to communicate, rather than lining the legal professions pockets, although for the first three years they did earn silk-lined pockets, but once I got the hang of things, and although not legally trained, I did do a lot of research and reading, I then represented myself, with much legal consternation from my paid advisers!

Having witnessed the court battles between my grandchild’s parents first hand, it astounded me the levels each of them would go to, in order to gain residency, it was all-out war, the child was the casualty and other family members were the collateral damage of that war.

(Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect, neither is my family, whose is?)

Part of the resolution of the problem was that time was running out for the parents in that they both enjoyed free legal help under the then legal aid system, and so the court room became  their battle ground or playground depending on your point of view. The justice review and legal aid reform put paid to that!

The point is, when you are the parents of the child, you should be teaching conflict resolution, not using weapons of mass destruction against each other, you should want to Co- parent your child to the best of your abilities, to give your child the best of all possible starts, you have already stalled the growth tank by separating and therefore left the child wondering what they did wrong?

Ask a friend whose parents split up when they were young, how they felt growing up as a child in the middle of conflict, you will get some very differing answers, from :

  • “it was great I could play one-off against the other”
  • ” I always got what I wanted”
  • ” it was just very sad, mum/dad  cried a lot”
  • “they were both just so angry all the time

I would be a liar if I told you I never argued with my ex, we argued a lot, that’s why we separated, we still argued occasionally after we split but we were never vindictive or spiteful or hateful and we enjoyed some fabulous family occasions and always spent Christmases together, we did it because we loved and still love our children, I am so glad we did! Particularly given that he died so suddenly, and without warning.

None of us can predict the future we can only learn from the past, If you are a parent reading this think of the child first and then think of the person you once loved enough to create that child, don’t let your child become a casualty of your war, spare a thought for the grandparents and other family members do you really want to be responsible for all that collateral damage?

I believe in equal rights for all, particularly the family as a whole, no parent is more deserving than another! Children need both parents, and both sides of their family to grow and develop into happy healthy people!

Please sign the petition so that children may enjoy both parents and their families.


If you need any help with conflict resolution get in touch.