Reading the comments together with your shepherds pie post (https://suesspiciousminds.com/2015/06/22/shepherds-pie/) sadly confirms the double whammy of confirmation bias facing parents, often already beleaguered and traumatised by care proceedings.
By double whammy I mean if another bar is raised from not only good enough parenting but, in effect, good enough representation in the first place. Absent effective legal representation the parents are crippled.
How should we realistically overcome this disadvantage to parents (and concomitant parental capacity to change) as a functional society?
Despite recently retreating from the high water mark of courts rubber-stamping LA’s on the scantiest of (often partial) opinion evidence meaning that the more draconian LA excesses are being curbed, now subject to greater judicial scrutiny, there’s still a conspicuous absence of successful applications to discharge care orders by parents for family reunification (not LA’s) and this surely speaks volumes for the way the odds stay stacked?
In short, many parents are worn down and forced to give up!
What is the remedy?
More shrewd litigants in person forcing judges to actually do their jobs?
Public sector equality duty?
Overriding objective not to waste taxpayers money in an age of austerity?
(reasoning being foster care placements are an expensive resource like hospital beds so must be allocated strictly by clinical need)
Surely fair access to justice, avoiding multi-generational parental/child alienation and overwhelming likelihood of state harm (statistically speaking) are all important public policy considerations?
Like I said, would love to see a similar post setting out a point-by-point exposition from a (reformed) parents perspective …
Looked After Children are not children of a lesser God, nor are their parents (especially if genuinely reformed) yet the absence of a fair mechanism for 2-way direction of child travel is a damning indictment of a rigged system.
The dearth of case law for successful parent-led applications to discharge final care orders is itself another policy/socio-legal lacuna which the office of the IRO has miserably failed to bridge.