Is the Child Protection System Fit For Purpose?

A few of us have been busy organising a multi-disciplinary conference : “Is the Child Protection System Fit For Purpose?”. When I say a few, I mean chiefly the very efficient and drive @svphillimore who is Head Organiser.

This is a multi-disciplinary conference with a difference because it’s not just one group of professionals talking to another, it’s an attempt to bring together different groups of professionals with other stakeholders. Yes, we are going to the dark side *cue dramatic music*. We are going to try and get Family Justice Professionals engaging with actual real live families, litigants, care survivors, campaigners, lay supporters…

We are probably a bunch of misty eyed mad fools but we are (if I may say so) an eclectic but impressive group of misty eyed mad fools. We have lawyers, psychologist, social work professionals and various parent support groups coming, speaking, organising.

And I’m really pleased to say that Sir Mark Hedley (formerly Mr Justice Hedley) has agreed to attend and address the conference. And he is certainly no mad fool.

The event is on 1 June at NCVO and is open to book now. It is as cheap as we have been able to make it and we are very excited.

Even if you can’t come yourself I’d be very grateful if you would circulate this link and information to your colleagues and others who may be interested in attending.

Further information at the Transparency Project (who are supporting the event) here.


6 thoughts on “Is the Child Protection System Fit For Purpose?


    1:- Domestic Violence even when restricted to shouting and even when the violent parent separated years agoThe theory is that if children see their parents argue and (God forbid!) shout at each other they will suffer significant EMOTIONAL ABUSE and should be taken away to the illusory safety of the extremely dangerous State care system! .If this rule was applied in Italy there would be no parents left with children at all !Even in the UK ,show me a couple who have been together 3 years or more who claim they never quarrel or shout at each other and I will show you two liars !

    2:- Borderline personality disorder or narcissistic traits ! Usually diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist who habitually gives evidence to the family courts in favour of social services and with few if any private patients.Parents are routinely refused a second opinion and if they get a highly favourable report from a top expert paying privately it is usually ignored even when it is more up to date .

    3:- Hostility and refusal to engage or work with professionals.It is however difficult to work with persons who tell you their intention is to take your newborn baby or young children and give them to strangers for adoption !

    4:-A parent who was abused in childhood or who was brought up “in care” is often deemed to be an unfit parent because of the danger that they had no parents in care and learned nothing of parenthood or that they would in turn repeat the abuse they had suffered as a child by abusing their own children !

    5:- A father (and sometimes a mother) with a criminal record of violence that was against other adults but never against their partner or their children is still judged too much of a danger to care for children even if the offences are several years old;

    6:- An untidy house,children who stay up late, or a chaotic lifestyle that does not fit in with the way our politically correct social workers think we should live !

    7:-Absences from school or reports from school that a child was heard reporting ill treatment to another child.Such cases are of course worth investigating but never warrant the immediate removal of the child by social services as happens only too often.A child returning from school with a bruise, or a child accidentally breaking or fracturing a limb is nearly always held to be the victim of an “unexplained” injury,and that soon translates into a non accidental injury for which parents are blamed and the child removed into “state care”( where abuse is commonplace) even when there is no previous pattern of bruises or injuries.

    8:-Anonymous tip offs now descibed as “referrals reporting physical or sexual abuse of a child with no further evidence,” that often result in the immediate removal of a child often based purely on hearsay and gossip.

    9:- Parents who “put their own needs before those of their children” .A “mantra” that is repeated in a monotone by social workers when they can think of no other criticism of parents to make .A completely meaningless phrase that gives a false sense of superiority to the person making it when really it is just their unsubstantiated opinion.

    10:- And perhaps worst of all…… Babies are removed at birth for “RISK OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE”;Yes you read correctly, Social workers actually do claim to predict the future and for parents it is always a bleak one when the “SS” consult their tea-leaves or their” crystal balls” ! Gypsies can be quite accurate through generations of practice when they predict your future but social workers and judges?? UGH !Mothers suffer the worst possible punishment inflicted in the UK since hangings were abolished.(That is what the President of the family courts Sir James Munby said in a recent case!) The removal of their new born babies at birth to be given away for life to complete strangers for adoption is far far worse for parents than any prison sentence !……………

    • I have VERY nearly just binned this Ian because you have said it all so many times before and I have responded so many times before. All these things MAY form part of the basis for removal of children IF they are proved and IF they give rise to an ongoing risk of harm to the child that cannot be reduced or protected against. You talk like it’s automatic.

  2. Only one in 400 applications for care orders are refused (judicial statistics) .That sounds pretty automatic to me ………. Poor,poor parents…….

    • Yes but that doesn’t mean 399 adoptions or even 399 removals. Included in that 399 will be a number of withdrawals, a number of rehabilitations (perhaps under a care order or supervision order or no order), a number of cases where parents have just been off the radar and not participated (eg those where the parents are involved in chaotic drug or alcohol use and prostitution or serving long prison sentences), a number where the children are placed with a relative under SGO, SO or care order….etc. AND importantly, the 399 includes all those cases where everyone agrees no order is necessary and the child should go home or stay at home.
      Refusals (as I understand the stats) are only those cases where the LA asks for a public law order at the end of the case and does not get one.
      But of course even ignoring all that one can interpret the high “hit rate” on care applications in different ways. It might for example be prayed in aid of the proposition that applications when made usually have some justifiable basis. I’m playing devils advocate, but the point is a good one – some (we can argue about how many) of the applications brought by LAs are brought for good reason and the orders are rightly made.
      If the system is as you perceive it we would expect a very low refusal rate. If the system was working as it ought we would expect a very low refusal rate. A very low refusal rate in itself tells us nothing.

      • Sorry Lucy,but you are mistaken…………….

        In 2011, there were 32,739 children involved in disposals of public law cases, including 31,515 orders made, 792 applications withdrawn, 350 orders of no order and 72 orders refused.

        Only 72 care orders refused out of 32,739 cases !What chance do these poor parents have in our hopelessly prejudiced “family courts”?

        Judicial and Court statistics 2011 –

        A barrister with 10 years “defending” parents in the family courts admitted on my site that her clients were like lambs to the slaughter ! Fair enough??

        • As I said, whilst only a few are marked as “refused” the balance of some 31,515 will include care orders with child at home, supervision orders, SGOs and s8 orders. And from the stats you cite there are approx 10x more cases where LAs withdraw (with the approval of the court) than where they fight on and lose. In the majority of withdrawal cases this is becaue the LA has recognised that there has been significant change or that they got it wrong in the first place – and the court is agreeing with them. I don’t have time to look it up right now but I think you will find that the more recent stats show a lower proportion of orders made – or at any rate a higher proportion of SGOs / SOs.

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