Grandmother’s campaign to support a change in law

Grandmother Jan Draper.
Grandmother Jan Draper.

A local woman has fronted a campaign in Scarborough to support a change in the law.

Jan Draper took to the Scarborough and District Older People’s Forum to speak about the need for change in the law.

The debate for a legal right for grandchildren to have access to grandparents has been ongoing for many years.

She said: “I am calling for the Government to amend the children’s act to include grandparents. This is not without precedent as in France, children have a right to contact their extended family.”

Jane Jackson, founder of Bristol Grandparents Support Group, has been working to promote a change in the law for children to have access to both parental families, a situation she describes as “a living bereavement”.

Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said: “I am aware of the sense of loss the grandparents feel when they are denied access because of a marital breakdown. Legal mechanisms can be used such as a child arrangements order which takes into account the wishes of the child but can be very expensive, difficult and can often add to the conflict when it reaches court.

“I am in support of improving access grandparents have to grandchildren, particularly when children have to be taken from their parents, and instead of social workers seeking foster homes and social care the grandparents can take responsibility of the child under a guardianship order. The Government promised a green paper discussion document on it and on November 22 2017 the Prime Minister was asked about it and they are aware of it. Any initiative from the Government will receive my support in this matter.”

In 2010 MP Andrew Percy Brigg raised a parliamentary question and, more recently, on May 2 this year there was an hour-long debate sponsored by Nigel Huddleston MP, at Westminster Hall, for grandparents’ access.

Cllr David Jeffels said: “It deprives children of vital contact with grandparents and grandparents are an important part in bringing up children. It is so important that there is a bond between a child and their grandparent.”

Jane added: “It is about just continuing the pressure,” which Jan emphasised at the forum, “the more pressure the better”.