Today, I decided to enter the University of Hull's 'Big Idea Competition' in the 'Social Change' category with an idea I've had floating around in my head for quite a while now called Parentull.
The idea stems from difficultly I was experiencing with Child Contact Arrangements. Allow me to explain:
UK law says that a parent may have parental rights in relation to their children which means they have a duty to care to ensure the safety, welfare and upkeep of the child, however, 'there is no automatic right to contact with the child'.
This creates a substantial difficulty when adult relationships breakdown because children are caught in the middle of emotionally distraught, perhaps angry, vengeful and resentful adults. This means that if contact cannot be agreed by the parents in a civil capacity, one parent drops out or the state intervenes at some level, usually resulting in Family Court proceedings.
If Family Courts become involved it is foreseeable that contact will be severed for months, perhaps even years, with one parent or the other as the case is passed between agencies, as social workers or cafcass workers come and go, court hearings need more information and frustratingly, the resulting court order doesn't provide flexibility or really 'mean' anything, because it can be changed by agreement of the parents and requires a whole new set of court proceedings to enforce, by which time, many more months have passed.
It seemed strange to me, as a geek - even before I started at the University of Hull, that a solution to this quandary hadn't been found. Surely, in an age where more people than ever before are connected via 'smart' devices and social media (arguably, it should be called 'anti' social media, but that's a different debate) - then why can't parents connect with their children and access a central hub of information from the relevant parties, at will?
I'd like to build such a 'hub' in the form of Parentull and make it the standard 'Parentull' app. Below is the pitch I've submitted.