12 November 2008

Bad Timing

Guess I picked the wrong week to complain about the state stealing peoples children.

I stand by what I wrote. The lives being destroyed in the way I described - that is happening all the time. You don't hear about it because, as Camilla Cavendish explained in her award-winning articles, it is illegal to report it.

Cases like "Baby P", and Victoria Climbié are so rare as to be negligible in comparison. One could, rightly, argue that there is no number of murdered children that is "acceptable", but there may be a number that is impossible to reduce. Until vast improvements are made to the care system, we should not be trying to push ever more children into it. One death every few years, against hundreds of lives wrecked in secret by breaking up families - there is no comparison.

Now, the one every few years that we see are in spite of the efforts of social workers. Since I am arguing for them to do less, I have to admit that the result could be more Baby Ps. Again, I think that more children would be protected by helping those already without their families than by taking more children away from their families.

Evidence? Well, it's hard to know, isn't it? But there's an "eyes closed" argument here: children who are harmed by their parents in spite of social workers end up on the front of newspapers for weeks. Children wrongly taken from their families are never heard of because it is illegal to talk about it. Which of the two problems are going to happen more often?

1 comment:

A Nonny Mouse said...

I have often been surprised during my visits to Mental Hospitals to find that the staff are not particularly concerned when their charges contrive to escape. The reason for this is that when a patient is well enough to escape he probably isn’t mad enough to be detained any more. Indeed, many of the people I have met in Debating Societies, MacDonald’s and park corners I suspect of being escapees of this sort.

I also suspect that the same principle applies with the social services: only children whose parents are really too far gone to care get taken away. I imagine a conversation like this:-

Concerned Mother:- Tracey, where is Shannon? I haven’t seen her for weeks.
Tracey: Don’t you remember, mum? The Social Services took her away.
Concerned Mother:- Oh, did they? What a pity.

In a world in which no-one who is not totally bonkers gets binned, and no end of deserving cases are taking up seats in MacDonalds, why should we imagine that the children of competent parents get taken away?

The problem is with reporters. Reporters are not only dishonest, they are completely unoriginal. They have in the main one story, which is that something absolutely scandalous and disgraceful has happened. They are not interested in anything less. It will always be “Child molestor employed as teacher/vicar” and not “56 year old man man who, when 16, had incomplete sex with his 15 year old girlfriend, now finds work as teacher/vicar.”

The employees of the state, particularly if it is the London Borough of Brent, are not to be trusted, but then neither are reporters. It is not in their interest to put things in proportion: their métier is propagating scandal.