Who We Are

ALISON BUSHELL

Alison is a Social Worker with 22 years Local Authority experience, most of it working in the field of Child Protection. She has also been a Children’s Guardian over the last 10 of those years.

She has been working as a McKenzie Friend now for nearly two years and specialises in complex and high conflict cases, some of which are now in the High Court. She has a particularly robust attitude to cases of Parental Alienation both as a Guardian and as a McKenzie friend and has successfully helped several alienated parents change the situation for the child and has on several occasions effected a transfer of residence in the more extreme situations. Alison is also a fully qualified paralegal.

Alison has until recently worked in London and is experienced in dealing with diversity. She has advised parents in same sex relationships and is able to assist in culturally complex matters in an informed and skilled way.

Her testimonials from both colleagues and clients attest to the respect she has built up in the Courts and to her good interpersonal skills. She has an energetic and solutions-focussed approach to the challenges of family law and consistently achieves good results for her clients. Alison is a trained counsellor and has appreciable experience of mediation and conciliation work.  

She is now based in Suffolk but is able to cover most of the South and South East.

JO MASTERTON-FRANCIS
 
Jo is a highly experienced children’s legal caseworker/guardian commissioned on behalf of the National Youth Advocacy Services (NYAS) and is a highly successful and formidable Family Group Conference facilitator, conflict resolution mediator and dedicated family law McKenzie Friend.

Jo has extensive knowledge and experience of more hands on approaches to family difficulties and conflict by way of Family Group Conference, Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Conflict Resolution Mediation.

Prior to this she worked within the Criminal Justice System with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Youth Offending Team, Probation Service and the Police Service.  This has provided her with a comprehensive and global set of skills which best places her in the most beneficial position to provide comprehensive and varied services to parents, extended family including grandparents and children within family law proceedings.  Jo specialises in Parent Alienation, Child Attachment Disorders, Special Educational Needs and Kinship Carer Applications.

With the distinct advantage and knowledge of court procedures, protocols and processes within family law proceedings, Jo is dedicated to achieving the best results for children and families, and offers a first class service with the assurance of absolute integrity, discretion, sensitivity and professionalism.

She is based in the South East and London however she is able to travel at the clients request.

 

WHY CHOOSE US?

We offer a very exclusive and wide-ranging set of skills which have been built up over 22 years of experience within the child and legal system. This level of experience differs significantly from most practices, in that our background within the Police, CPS, Social Services and acting as Children’s Guardians gives us a unique view of the Child and Legal system.   Such experience means that we have extensive knowledge of the Children Act 1989 and Family Law, and are experts of children themselves, what they need as they grow and develop, especially in terms of the significant importance of maintaining a meaningful and healthy relationship with both parents and extended family.   

We are trained in being able to engage with children to ascertain their wishes and feelings and have a wealth of tools and resources in order to help put the more nervous child at ease including those with complex special needs.  Children can exhibit different and complex reactions to their parents having separated, and we are able to assist and guide you in how best to manage this unsettling time for them.

We are very experienced in assessing lengthy and complex ‘intractable hostility’ cases, where parental alienation appears to be evident.  Such cases often need the appointment of specialist professionals, such as psychologists or other experts, who will be familiar with the kind of pattern of behaviours being observed. If required we can consult with such experts in order to support your case and, if needed and permitted by the Court, commission to give expert evidence in the proceedings.  

A holistic and child focussed approach to the family proceedings ensures that you as our client feel listened to whilst at the same time we advise you on what is not just your right as a parent but importantly what is in the best interests of your child.

Significant changes in the provision of legal aid funding for family cases is driving more parents, grandparents and other family members towards the daunting prospect of either self-representing in the courts or face the substantial financial costs of using a family law practice to represent their case. This is creating a ‘widening financial split’ in society, with those who cannot afford traditional legal support facing the prospect of arguing their case against highly trained legal professionals.   To counteract these changes, we can provide cost effective, expert support and guidance to clients who are considering self-representation in the family courts or who are requiring creative solution focused support within the family environment.

Whilst we are not trained as family lawyers, we do have extensive experience of the family courts and as such, we come from an informed perspective.  We are therefore familiar with Court processes and procedures and can assist you to make sense of what is happening and what is expected of you if you are representing yourself'.  We aim to assist you in your court case in a child - focussed manner and one that minimises conflict and maximises the potential for agreement and conciliation'



OUR ETHOS
  • We believe that children have a right to a relationship with both parents in the event that those parents separate.  We aim to assist you in your court case in an empowering, child - focussed manner and one that minimises conflict and maximises the potential for agreement and conciliation.
  • We acknowledge that no two families are the same, and that each family functions and exists entirely in its own special way and, because of this, each individual case needs to be assessed and supported in its own personalised way.
  • We provide a variety of specialist legal services to the public as well as to government and private sectors including local authorities, solicitors, contact centres and children’s charities.
  • As McKenzie Friends, we will assist you in attempting to avoid initiating Court proceedings wherever possible, by effective and focussed mediation and sound professional advice.   However there are occasions where it is important to seek the guidance of the Court and we will assist you in doing this successfully and at a cost which doesn’t mean you have no money left for your children’s future.
  • We actively challenge all forms of discrimation and we value diversity.  We take antidiscriminatory social work practice into all other areas of expertise
© Copyright 2017 Child and Family Solutions LtdWeb Design By Toolkit Websites