The Protection of Children in England: A Progress Report
Submitted by Robin on Tue, 2009-03-17 13:39.
I would be interested to hear the views of those here on the latest 'Laming report' http://publications.everychildmatters.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/HC-330.pd...
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In quick review...
It will take me some time to read the whole 93+page report, however I did, upon quick review, see the following statement:
Perhaps this explains the latest article I read, courtesy of the BBC, "Father warns of abuse witch hunt". A father whose children were sexually abused by a 19-year old put in their care states:
The placement of children
The placement of children and young adults who abuse younger children in the family they are placed with, does seem to be a common problem here in England and obviously in Wales as well. Again and again I keep hearing of this happening in situations where the family that the young person has been placed with, have not been advised of their history of abusive behaviour. Surely social services departments making placements have a duty to inform carers of any such history before such placements are made. Part of the Report deals with need for senior staff to be accountable for their actions and subject to disciplinary action and possible dismissal when such oversights are made. Where someone placed with a family in that situation abuses for the first time without any or without previous previous recorded history or signs, I can't see how social workers can be held accountable, It does perhaps point up the need for better supervision of all such placements
Job and Responsibility
When it comes to child safety and child protection, there seems to be an on-going universal problem taking place -- follow-up investigations and visits are not being honored, for whatever reason people within social/family services want to give.
I tend to believe most people forget, this sort of large-scale neglect took place for YEARS (decades) in Children's Homes; supervisory neglect continues to take place in orphanages around the world, and now more and more people are beginning to see various forms of neglect is indeed taking place in foster-care, as well. In fact, if you ask me, the more things change, the more they stay the same, with only more children getting hurt as a result. (I should note, too, this problem is not limited to the UK!)
The bottom line is simple: Whether it be public or private, abuse-within-the-home is still taking place, making it more and more difficult to ask, "Who is to blame, and what needs to be done so this pattern in-care can change?"
In other words, what good is the promise of a "new safe haven" if that experience turns out to be a bloody living-hell? (Dare we ask, "Who benefits from negligent care ?")
Meanwhile, amidst the many cries made by those within the foster-care-system, we are now hearing desperate screams from AP's who find themselves overwhelmed with the neglected needs of placed children. The blog piece, "Worrying", (written by AP Brenda McCreight, PH.D.) gets it right about the state of child-care within the child placement system when she writes:
[See, even adoptive families are getting angry because the help parents and children need is not being given when it's most needed. What does that say to people?!?]
Governments can commission all sorts of studies and pay for all sorts of long-page reports written by a variety of different review boards, but until real action is taken to ensure long-term child/family safety, all those written and spoken words mean nothing to yet another generation of people still needing real help.
(You know, the more I think about it, maybe it isn't the social workers that need to get sacked -- maybe we just need to get rid of all the lazy, corrupt greedy government workers/politicians, instead.)
An immediate question comes to mind: "why are children placed in other families when there is no history of abuse?" Doesn't there have to be maltreatment in order to place children?
I think placement of abused children in a family with younger children is asking for trouble. Certainly not all abused children become abusers themselves, but there certainly is a risk they will. When placement authorities don't inform adoptive/foster families about a history of abuse, they become an accomplice.
There does not seem to have be any abuse
There does not seem to have to be any actual abuse done to a child for that child to be removed from its family here in England. It seems that it is sufficient for a social worker to be able to convince a judge that there is a significant risk of abuse or harm if that child were to remain with its natural parents. Even the opinion that one or both the parents is not in the social worker's judgement intelligent enough to raise a child, is considered sufficient reason for that child to be removed from the parents and an adoption plan made. Even if the parents are in fact coping well enough with the help of other members of the family. At the same time we get cases such as the Baby P case where real abuse is obvious but no one seems to see a need to remove that child from risk of further abuse. Clearly the is a serious need for change in the way that children's social services are run here in England where the Report covers and I suspect in the rest of the UK as well
A family in my local area tried to sue the Local Authority for placing a child with a history of being sexually abusive to other children with them, without informing them of his history. I remember at one point in the proceedings the Local Authority were saying that they owed the abusive child a duty of confidentiality. Presumably they thought that duty of confidentiality outweighed the duty of care they owed to the family that they placed him with. Of course, that may simply have been an excuse that the Local Authority's lawyer came up with after the event
Once it is known that a child does have a history of being sexually abusive to other children they become almost impossible to place with a foster family or for adoption, but then perhaps those really are not the best alternatives for such a child
Here's the sick-twist to a "paid opinion"...
Ask the majority of foster/adoptive parents if they want to care for a child who has been sexually abused. (What percentage of those potential-care-givers will say "no"?)
Now, ask how many children placed in-care were sexually abused by adults or other children. (What percentage of these people will say "yes"?)
There is a confidentially clause, alright.... and I bet it's saved many paid positions.