Making decisions about the short, medium and long term placement of a child is a heavy responsibility.
Frequently the material you are given to make these decisions has gaps, anomalies and is conflicting. Balancing all the material before making one judgement which will impact the lives of many individuals is tough.
FAB Parents offers a fresh way of thinking about child maltreatment, the legacy of trauma and new perspectives on challenging issues. Content and philosophy is based on a robust framework incorporating research, methodologies from wide ranging professions and decades of experience.
FAB Parents ethos is to proffer ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘what if’ questions; offer some answers and some reframing.
We have no agenda about the outcome of your cases. We respect your expertise. Our intent is to shed new light through old windows to assist you in robust decision making.
This presentation (or similar) has been delivered by Helen Oakwater to hundreds of judges, lawyers and magistrates at FJB and other events.
The slides illustrate the impact of Facebook on adoption. legal presentation autumn 2014 FAB Parents addressing issues of contact, birth family expectations, need for truth telling and release of documents to adoptive families.
Need for historical information
Adopted (and foster) children need to understand WHY they were removed, the criteria and the evidence for that decision. Frequently this is very sketchy in the LA reports and court documents. Sometimes professionals redact information to protect the adults involved. This does not serve the child, who gets a sanitised and inaccurate picture of their early life. Trying to find the truth years or decades later is very difficult. Children may form a very distorted view of birth family if the real negative reasons for removal are not evidenced and available. They need the balance of good, bad and ugly. Remember they lived through these events and remember it within their body memory.
As a Judge you have a unique opportunity to release information and papers to adopters who can then share the data (in an age appropriate way) with their children. Helen uses the jigsaw of truth metaphor to illustrate this principle.
Photographs, video evidence (from police cameras) and recordings can be incorporated into future therapeutic interventions to give the child a true picture of their early life (good, bad and ugly). Physical and visual evidence is both powerful and indisputable.
Simple question. Whose lifelong needs are being prioritised when information is not shared: the child’s or adult’s?
The YouTube video (13.5 minutes) of Helen Oakwater delivering a “TED like talk” in Sydney explores these concepts.