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There’s Money in them thar Ills

November 30, 2012 permalink

Jane Moore adds her editorial voice to criticism of Britain's out of control child protection system. She describes an "ugly, playing-God mindset and "tin-pot dictatorships more reminiscent of Stalinist Russia than a modern democracy" along with the strategic use of secrecy and monetary incentives.



JANE MOORE: Expose the tyrants of child protection

Rotherham couple UKIP foster children
Mistreated ... Rotherham couple

IT can no longer be ignored by those who purport to be in charge of this country that something is deeply rotten at the core of Britain’s social services.

Believe me, the case of the three Eastern European children removed from a loving home because their foster parents were members of UKIP is just the tip of the iceberg.

Lurking below, in the murky depths of our ferociously secretive “care” system, will be hundreds if not thousands of similar cases where a gross abuse of power has helped to destroy the lives of the very youngsters it was set up to protect.

Hopefully, they will now rise above the surface, expose the ugly, playing-God mindset, and prompt a dramatic overhaul of these tin-pot dictatorships more reminiscent of Stalinist Russia than a modern democracy.

Babies forced into adoption after being taken from mothers on a mere suspicion of “future emotional abuse”, fathers and paternal relatives denied access to children on nothing more than maternal hearsay, and prospective well-meaning fosterers and adopters subjected to the ridiculously stringent political correctness that is making the headlines right now.

All conducted under a cloak of secrecy that claims to be in the interests of the children involved but all too conveniently protects the increasingly warped system itself.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of frontline social workers doing a fantastic job in often deeply challenging, sometimes harrowing circumstances.

That they are so poorly paid indicates that their motives for choosing to do it are well-intended.

But even they must be despairing of the lucrative industry that has sprung up around what was once the noble and pure intent to protect children but has seemingly morphed into the far uglier whiff of political or financial self-interest.

Roger Stone, the Labour leader of Rotherham council, says that while membership of UKIP should not prevent someone from fostering, this was a “complex” case (aren’t they all?) involving legal advice and an external agency responsible for finding the foster carers. Sounds expensive.

It could well be an outfit like the National Fostering Agency, set up by two former social workers in 1995 and sold earlier this year to venture capitalists Graphite for an eye-watering £130million.

And by the way, it’s only the UK’s second biggest private fostering business.

In other words, there’s money in them there ills.

Then there’s the outreach workers, the “experts” paid to provide statements to the courts, the state’s legal advisers, the “independent” legal advisers, the guardians, the police workers, the court officials etc etc. All with a vested interest in “child protection”.

Little wonder then that, according to a Children In Need census, in 2007 the number of children and young people who were the subject of a Child Protection Plan was 27,900.

In 2011, it was 42,700.

Plenty of those will be genuine cases where the work of social services has proved vital, in the spirit of its original ethos to act in the interests of children.

But all too many will be based on nothing more than an unfounded suspicion, plunging one or both parents into a Kafka-esque nightmare, a punishment without crime.

And worst of all, those who suffer most are the children, emotionally damaged by the actions of self-interested zealots who affect to “care”.

We are used to case-centric inquiries such as the one surrounding the Baby P scandal, but it’s now time to shine a torch into the dark, secretive corners of the entire system to try to make its work and objectives more transparent while still maintaining anonymity for the vulnerable.

Source: Sun (UK)