Anthony Douglas – the retiring emperor of broken families and despair – what have you done for us?
At the farewell ‘bash’ for the Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas, he was praised for the work he has done over the last 15 years.
Cafcass chairman, Edward Timpson, said that it was estimated that the agency had helped two million children under Douglas’s ‘watch’.
And Douglas, aged 70, who claims a miserable childhood himself, replied: “If you can repair something that’s really, really broken, it’s enormously gratifying.”
The question then, is what exactly did Douglas fix?
Well, the official view is that under his ‘watch’ Cafcass improved significantly and in a national inspection of the service published recently, Ofsted rated the organisation as ‘outstanding’.
Ofsted said this: “The contribution of the chief executive is highly valued and is considered to be ‘exceptional’.”
The consumerwatchfoundation.com asks one simple question then – how many ordinary citizens in the UK who have been through – or are going through – the family court system found their treatment outstanding?
The simple – yet harrowing – facts are these, mothers and fathers across the globe are killing themselves out of despair after being lied about to their children, lied about to their families, lied about to social workers and lied about to family courts.
Project 84, a campaign aimed at raising awareness, recently staged 84 human sculptures in Central London, representing the men who sadly take their lives. Mothers too are going down the same road to nowhere.
Andrew John Teague,
from D.A.D.s and NAAP, said: “On Parental Alienation Day as we walked from the
Royal Courts of Justice to Downing Street, in a mark of respect I wore a black
“Parental alienation kills people … family courts are, in my eyes, the worst killers in the land. They should not be allowed to act the way they do, they need to be stopped now.
“Everyone can see what
goes on – the dead blind monkey on Mars can see it. It is time to stop the
family court abuse. Reform is needed.”
Andrew, who has walked thousands of miles in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, to highlight the battle, said. “I’m not a strong person, I’m just a person who used to fix cars.
“But I was bullied
when I was young and now I need to fight for what’s right. You get to the point
you won’t let anyone bully you and I have always looked to help anyone get
“I made a vow to stand up for all the children who are bullied and terrified. Children need the help support and guidance of both parents. This all just breaks my heart.”
Andrew, from Swansea, who is in his mid-fifties, says that social services and CAFCASS watch his profile on social media and constantly monitor his Facebook group, D.A.D.S (Dads against double standards) which now has more than 20,000 members.
The authorities would
of course deny any untoward motivation in this but so many other victims of
parental alienation have come forward with similar stories it is worrying.
Others have revealed that social workers have ‘advised’ them not to comment on their children on social media and others say they have even been told not to tell their child they love them as I could traumatise them.
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Anthony Douglas joined Cafcass in September 2004 from Suffolk County Council, where he was director of social care and health.
“My job at
Cafcass has been a privilege and our task now, after achieving ‘outstanding’ in
our recent Ofsted inspection, is to take our service to children to the next
level,” he is quoted as saying.
At the time he joined Cafcass, the agency was widely seen as failing organisation with many children involved in family court proceedings waiting weeks or months to be allocated children’s guardians.
Douglas, who was adopted at birth, started his career as a social worker in 1976 at the London Borough of Hackney.
On his first day in the job he said it would take two or three years to get the deeply troubled organisation on the right track. But almost a decade later MPs were condemning it as unfit.
And yet he leaves an organisation secure in its place with its ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating.
If what we have today is an improved Cafcass then it is really hard to imagine the chaos it must have been in in 2004, when it tried to bring together the work of more than 100 separate services.