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December 12, 2011 permalink
Did social workers exaggerate claims when reporting on your family? In the UK (and surely elsewhere as well) higher-ups ordered them to. A whistleblower says social workers are regularly “sexing up” dossiers on problem parents.
SOCIAL WORKERS 'SEX UP ABUSE CLAIMS TO SNATCH CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION'
SOCIAL workers are regularly “sexing up” dossiers on problem parents to remove children into care and even to farm them out for adoption, a whistleblower reveals today.
The experienced social worker told a Sunday Express investigation that council managers are frequently putting pressure on him and colleagues to rewrite reports considered “too positive”.
They are demanding “more dirt” on mothers and fathers to increase the chances of securing court orders that place their children into care and which boost councils’ Ofsted ratings.
The whistleblower said the worry of having another Baby P on an authority’s hands had created a climate of fear that was destroying innocent families.
The findings were last night described as a “national scandal” by one MP who is now demanding a full Parliamentary inquiry into Britain’s child protection system.
Lib Dem John Hemming will raise the issue when he appears at the Education Select Committee on Tuesday.
The committee’s chairman, Graham Stuart, has indicated he would talk to our whistleblower in confidence.
The whistlebower said the behaviour of social workers has been dramatically and “needlessly” changed since the full details over the 2007 death of Baby Peter Connelly in Haringey, north London, emerged three years ago.
He said there is now a new culture of fear in which the buck of responsibility is continuously passed up the managerial chain.
He said people in desperate need of help with their parenting skills are instead having their lives ruined by bureaucrats who fear being blamed for a highly unlikely case of extreme abuse.
Courts sitting away from the public glare are then increasingly being asked to make life-changing decisions based on “biased” evidence, he claimed.
Latest figures show that social workers, already overstretched due to Government cuts, are dealing with rapidly rising caseloads with 42,700 children now on child protection plans.
Social workers say this is largely due to political pressure after the Baby P case.
David Cameron has said there are too many children in care and that the adoption process needs streamlining, but critics say the real issue is about why so many youngsters are taken into care in the first place.
The whistleblower, a father who works for a large authority in the south of England, said: “We’re being pressured to go against what we think is right for families.
“Personally, I’ve written reports and been told, ‘You are too positive with this family, we’ll never get it to court unless you make it more negative’.
“I’ve actually been told that.
“Although it goes against what you feel is right, you feel under an obligation.
“Children need to be in their families and we need to support them as much as possible and only if there are great risks do you take a child out of a family.”
When asked for an example, he said: “In order to get a child through to a child protection conference, we’re told to make the situation look bad and worse than it actually is.
“We don’t necessarily make things up, but we can change the emphasis.
“It’s subtle. I had one child aged about eight. I’d prepared a report with the emphasis saying that the parents were prepared to make changes and that their attitude was willing.
“But then I was told this was too positive, we’d never get it through.
“I was told to bring out more of the negative points, so I had to concentrate on the lack of cleanliness of the house. That put the parents in a bad light.”
He said these reports were used to take children out of a family home and in many cases then placed for adoption.
He added: “It destroys families. But the newer, younger social workers see this as the norm, they just want to toe the line with their bosses and that’s worrying.”
The whistleblower also raised serious concerns about council-appointed psychologists who he believes are biased in favour of their paymasters.
In particular, he said he had doubts over what he said were nebulous concepts of emotional abuse and “attachment theories”.
He said: “These psychologists create such a high standard of for parenting that most of us would fail.”
MP John Hemming said: “I congratulate the Sunday Express in unearthing this national scandal.
“A number of whilstleblowers have come to me to explain how expert evidence is at times sexed up and at other times plainly wrong in the Family Courts.
“Taking the wrong children into care on the basis of sexed up dossiers and meaningless psychobabble results in other children being left to die such as Baby P.
“Parliament must act to sort out the child protection system.”
Nishra Mansuri, of the British Association of Social Workers, recognised the whistleblower’s comments and said: “It’s a major concern. The cuts are creating so much pressure for social workers that the right decisions are not being taken.
“We’re storing up so many problems, but the odds are against us.”
Source: Daily Express