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Take more babies away from bad parents, says Barnardo's chief

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bubblebutt Sun 06-Sep-09 21:51:01

Many more children need to be taken into care at birth to stop them being damaged beyond repair by inadequate parents, the chief executive of the children's charity Barnardo's has told the Observer


How you can you say that when they the parents don't know how they will turn out themselves till after the event

Martin Narey called for less effort to be directed at "fixing families that can't be fixed" and for social workers to be braver about removing children at risk .

what tosh some families can be fixed and yes some cant but come on that means all babies that are under the SS would be taken into care because he fears another baby P and that is so wrong on many levels. A lot of families out there are going to suffer because of this reporting.

After revelations about the neglect and dysfunctional background of two young brothers from Doncaster who viciously attacked an 11-year-old boy and his nine-year-old nephew, social workers have once again come under fire for failing to intervene at an early stage.

this is alleged neglect and abuse no one knows this except the kids and their parents SS have to do a report and have to get all their facts together BEFORE they can remove a child. This takes time not 2 minutes. Another reason mistakes are made as there isnt enough Social Workers.

The brothers, aged 11 and 10, had been known to social services and police for several years. Their mother had allegedly given them cannabis as toddlers and forced them to forage for food in bins, while their father was allegedly a violent alcoholic. Despite this, the pair had been taken into care just three weeks before the attacks. The case has led to Doncaster social services opening an inquiry, its seventh serious case review since 2004.

What do they expect the SS to do wave a magic wand and its all better it doesnt work that way.The 2 boys are damaged now and need help as much as the other boys do.


Calling for more children to be in care from the moment they are born, Narey, a former director general of the Prison Service and previously a permanent secretary at the Home Office, made clear he was not reacting to this case in particular, but to issues with Britain's child protection services that needed urgent attention to avoid failing many more troubled young people.

Yes he is and a lot of families are going to suffer because of it.

"If you can take a baby very young and get them quickly into a permanent adoptive home, then we know that is where we have success," he said. "That's a view that is seen as a heresy among social services, where the thinking is that if someone, a parent, has failed, they deserve another chance. My own view is that we just need to take more children into care if we really want to put the interests of the child first.

So some one struggling is going to leapt on and the child taken away all cos she isnt coping the way the SS want and some want you to go after there arses cleaning em when they are old enough to do themselves Oh there is SS like this out there or the one that comdemns you if you cant cook and give your kids microwave meals all the time or something out of a tin god forbid they do that,

"We can't keep trying to fix families that are completely broken. It sounds terrible, but I think we try too hard with birth parents. I have seen children sent back to homes that I certainly wouldn't have sent them back to. I have been extremely surprised at decisions taken. If we really cared about the interests of the child, we would take children away as babies and put them into permanent adoptive families, where we know they will have the best possible outcome."


If the family is beyond repair so be it but what if they have turned there life around and can get their kids back why take that chance away as some SS do just that. they seem to tar every bad parent with the same brush hence why the SS shouldnt be there after 3 years as it makes them jaded in what they see everyday.

He said he understood his views would be seen as "illiberal heresy": "I think if social workers were courageous and sought to intervene quickly, and were supported properly in that, we would see far fewer problems."

As above and also there would be a national out cry from parents that have done nowt wrong but asked for help to be told they are neglecting their child(ren) when they clearly need help to be a better parent. Not penalized this way.

While foster care was on paper a good option for older children who had to be taken into care, he said, a shortage of suitable placements meant that children were suffering from a lack of stability. "What troubles me is the number of children I meet who have had vast numbers of placements. Last week, I met a 15-year-old girl and her foster mum. It was her 46th placement. The woman said that whenever there was a row or disagreement, the girl went to pack her bags. She expected to be sent on.

there isnt enough foster parents in the world as they are told to see the foster side as a business and it so isnt its helping and nuturing and caring for a child that needs your help

"It is undoubtedly a good option when children have been taken into care to replicate the family in foster care placements, but I have spent the past four years meeting a lot of children in care and I can tell you that it is by no means anything out of the ordinary to meet a child whose foster placements run into double figures. There comes a point where we have to accept that it is not working."

As above

Philippa Stroud of the thinktank Centre for Social Justice reacted cautiously to Narey's comments. "If the model is to move children very quickly to adoption, not necessarily from birth but certainly under a year, then that is something we would support," she said. "We need far more early intervention to try to stop this disintegration of the family we are seeing, but we would like to see more working with these families. What we recommend is the model of the mother and baby going into care, filling that hole and giving the whole family a chance. "With child protection, all the legislation is actually in place: it's the implementation that is the issue."

So if this is the case why do we see baby P stories all the time. I feel that the child protection and SS should be overhauled and the government needs to bring in more and they shouldnt be allowed anymore than 3 years in that field and then moved on if they wish to return they have to wait 3 years to do so. Also the work load of a SS shouldnt be anymore than 5 families and this is for full time workers not the part time.

The numbers of children taken into care rose slightly following the death of Baby P, the 17-month-old boy later named as Peter Connelly, who died in London in 2007 of injuries inflicted by his mother and her boyfriend, despite being seen repeatedly by doctors and social workers. But Narey says it was only a temporary increase.

How many of these babies, children whom parents hadnt done anything wrong really to their children and they where taken because of the mistakes of another SS office hmmmm that worries me more.

"As soon as these cases recede from the memory, everyone will get reluctant to move these children all over again. Only 4% of children adopted from care in England are under the age of one and the figure is even smaller in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I for one hope it doesnt recede from memory as we need to be reminded of baby P and the others out there that their own parents didnt give a stuff about them. We need to address these mistakes and take stock and agree we where wrong. Not hidding behind we did nothing wrong and it wasnt our fault crap. If known abuse of any kind you amass your info and remove the kids. Not this wishy washy oh we didnt see this or that or she wouldnt let us in crap either. Also if on the "at risk registrar" they should visit more than once a week or what is the point of being on the registrar in the first place. Also no written warnings either. They should just turn up on the door. Again this would mean a full over haul of the SS departments all over the world.

"Less than 5% of the children taken into care in England last year were aged under a year old. Some 3,500 children were adopted in Britain from care, at an average age of four."


This is to do with the birth parents wanting their children back and fighting the SS over it and it takes on average a year to go to court with all the evidence they have against the other to proceed and sometimes this can be stopped if the paperwork isnt done right. Also the parents themselves could have turned their lives round and can show they have so this again hinder any proceedings. Also the SS could be dragging their heels too as one SS could be busy on other cases so it is again delayed. Not good for the child is it.

I copied and pasted this as its the article of said subject and it has angered me the silly man he is. I have added my own bits to it and wondered what you all thought.

"here itthe piece"

GivePeasAChance Sun 06-Sep-09 21:57:58

Really long post that has been skimmed but........

I used to think that they should try and fix these families.

Now I agree with him. There should be interventions early. The problem at the moment is that the interventions don't work. Children are passed from family to family with no stability and end up possibly worse than if they stayed.

Rock and hard place

mumblechum Sun 06-Sep-09 22:01:09

I agree with the Barnardo's head.

I work as a family lawyer and I worry desperately about some of the cases I've done where it's blindingly obvious that the parents are hopeless and are damaging their child but the SS still insists on putting the child back with the parents because they provide "Good enough" care. Well, not in my book.

I now work for Barnardo's in my spare time as a family support worker and wish more parents were prepared to help each other out and guide parents who are struggling to cope.

NeverLeapfrogOverAUnicorn Sun 06-Sep-09 22:08:46

I think they should stop trying to keep children with families that are damaging them - abusing them! and get them the hell out! And if you have already abused one child, you shouldn't be given the chance to abuse another! You should have to prove yourself fit, not be allowed to keep a subsequent child until such time as ss prove you have abused that one too!

However. There should be a lot more support and education available to help those parents who abuse in the form of neglect through ignorance, they should be given every assistance to become better parents.

There needs to be a complete overhaul of the system. First thing to go should be all those fucking targets! There is no place for them.

scottishmummy Sun 06-Sep-09 22:09:02

it is important to carefully read his sentiments,and avoid knee-jerk he's a baby snatching SW.neuro-psychology and other research is indicating the damage parental abuse can do. also he isn't referring to crisis that can resolve with intervention. he is talking about a minority eg "families that are completely broken". those with a repetitive and recurring bad track record in parenting eg Shannon Mathews, Baby Peter they and other siblings were known to services. habitual and recurrent parental abuse

the real skill here is knowing when to intervene and doing so in a professional skilled manner

Rosesinautumn Sun 06-Sep-09 22:17:37

Sorry, I'm also with the Barnardo's head. If parents have proven themselves to be inadequate then, yes, children should be removed as quickly as possible and placed in permanant families.

The damage caused by neglect and abuse, even for relatively short periods, can be irreprable. The window of opportunity to save children such as baby P and I would argue, the two doncaster boys is so small that we need to, like he said, be brave and put the childs needs first.

Yes, SS and the care system needs a massive overhaul and resources need to be ploughed into them so then can help families that have a hope of turning themselves around but we cannot or should not tolorate the conditions that many children face both in their own homes and shamefully once in the care system. Save the children, save the world!

moondog Sun 06-Sep-09 22:21:39

I agree.
I see many many families who couldn't be trusted with a gerbil, let alone a child.

However in the absence of properly trained, supported and renumerated professionals to look after kids in care, it won't be much better (assuming they don't go to a family straight away).

The people who do the dosgsbody caring work are generally shockingly ignorant of what is really needed.

expatinscotland Sun 06-Sep-09 22:22:46

I think anyone who's actively addicted to substances should have their child removed immediately.

I really do.

I know addiction is hard, but if even your children can't motivate you to make serious efforts, then they shouldn't have to pay for it.

PeedOffWithNits Sun 06-Sep-09 22:31:52

IF THE rspca CAN BAN SOMEONE FROM OWNING ANIMALS, THEN HOW IS THAT ANY DIFFERENT TO SAYING THAT some PEOPLES CRUELTY/NEGLECT/ABUSE/INCOMPETENCE WITH PREVIOUS CHILDREN MEANS THEY ARE A VERY REAL DANGER TO THEIR NEW BABY TOO. dO WE

(oops just seen caps blush)
Do we remove the baby for its own safety, to give it the best possible chance or RISK something dreadful happening to it?

i agree, more kids SHOULD be removed from parents. Those who stay through toddlerhood till the situation is "bad enough" for them to be removed are often damaged beyond repair with serious emotional scarring for life.

scottishmummy Sun 06-Sep-09 22:32:15

substances?do you mean illicit drugs and/or alcohol?certainly any substance that impedes ability to nurture,care and give a damn is bad for parenting.

these things need assessment of needs,ability to cope or individual parental propensity for change. parental volition. it is bloody hard

but essentially the child welfare first and always

expatinscotland Sun 06-Sep-09 22:37:17

illicit drugs and/or alcohol. caleb ness, brandon murphy, derek doran, luke mcgrain.

all were released to live their lives with known heroin addicts and active users.

expatinscotland Sun 06-Sep-09 22:38:14

murphy and ness were left in the care of known heroin addicts whilst their mothers, both known prostitutes, went out on the game to earn money for drugs.

IOnlyReadtheDailyMailinCafes Sun 06-Sep-09 22:38:26

I agree with him

minxofmancunia Sun 06-Sep-09 22:55:10

I agree I'm afraid. Children's services need to be better supported to be able to remove children quickly and assertively into decent foster/adoptive families with less red tape and fall flat on their face pointless interventions.

prior to the baby P case, a manchester based social worker told me their global objective was to reduce the number of looked after children in the city. hmm

Some of the complex cases I've referred to them directly following od/self-harm attempts (usually teenagers, notoriously difficult to place in foster care)have been assigned newly qualified junior sws. No disrespect but I've sometimes been shocked at the lack of experience and supervision these workers have and yet they are expected to much of the time single handedly take on families with horrendous histories where abuse is endemic. The whole system is a nonsense.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 06-Sep-09 23:35:44

I'm not opposed to removal of children from chaotic incapable parents but there needs to be more investment and attention paid to children's homes and foster care: if the chld goes from an abusuive family background into a care home full of paedophiles and predators then the child will probably never become socialised. And, while there are lots of foster parents doing a good job, there are others who are simply not up to helping badly disturbed and damaged children: the regime of regular bedtimes and plenty of vegetables being all they need doesn't work with the really messed up - and then when the foster family can't cope and shunt the kid on, that does more damage.

HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 07-Sep-09 07:42:34

You never said a truer word, SGB!

cory Mon 07-Sep-09 07:55:33

what SGB said

if it is difficult enough to find sufficient sensible capable foster families at the current level of intervention, they're not going to magically materialise because the government says they need them

and the abuse perpetrated by foster parents and childrens homes in earlier decades was horrendous

and even if the foster parents are wellmeaning, being shunted from family to family does a lot of damage in its own right

also, how can you judge "at birth" if there is going to be a recurring repetitive pattern of child abuse, unless they've already done it to an older child?

TheDMshouldbeRivened Mon 07-Sep-09 08:23:55

more training. Or you get situations where home education is consiederd a decent recent for intervention.
Damage and neglect need better definitions for those borderline cases.
I'd be very wary giving the SS more power having been on the end of SS lies myself.
Foster placements should be permanant. They seem to move loads of time for no reason at all.

spicemonster Mon 07-Sep-09 08:42:53

I was thinking about this thread last night and wondering if there would be more people would put themselves forward as potential adopters if there were more babies and younger children looking for adoptive parents. I know several white parents (ethnicity is important here because it's much harder to adopt a child if you're white in the UK) who have started the process and then given up when they have found out how challenging the behaviour of most children waiting for adoptive parents can be and are just not sure of their ability to be able to parent adequately. A lot of that behaviour is because the children have been shunted back and forth between bio parents and foster parents for years before the authorities eventually give up.

Also a lot of people with bio children can't adopt because adoptive children (as far as I know) have to be the youngest in families and many agencies won't allow an age gap of more than 40 years between the parent and child. And then there's the insistence of authorities to wait to find adopters with the same skin colour as their adopted children. I found this article online saying that was all going to change - but it's 10 years old! And nothing has moved on as far as I can see.

Litchick Mon 07-Sep-09 09:12:49

I used to agree with the OP but having spent over ten years as a lawyer representing children both in the care and criminal justice system, I'm afraid that I no lnger support the policy of trying to keep families together at any cost. I have seen too many children damaged beyond repair and too many children who will now offer nothing to society except problems and heartache.

That said, if we do decide upon a policy of earlier and readier intervention then we are going to have to seriously up the ante in respect of adoption and foster care. The children currently in the care system are all but neglected with the worst outcomes of all children in the UK.
The breakdown rate of adoptions is worryingly high and there are simply not enough foster places.

It will cost a lot of cash...but cheaper for society in the long run I would have thought.

RumourOfAHurricane Mon 07-Sep-09 09:18:58

Message withdrawn

littleducks Mon 07-Sep-09 09:23:38

It is really hard. The thing that gratyes me about that case with the two boys was that they were in care at the time of the atytacks, and were actually supposed to be at the police station, so why the hell didnt their carer know where they were? why hadnt they taken them to their appointement? Also allegedy their mother begged for them to be taken into care for ages, so whyt werent they taken at the first/second request?

expatinscotland Mon 07-Sep-09 09:31:49

'It will cost a lot of cash...but cheaper for society in the long run I would have thought.'

I agree.

Another issue is house prices/social housing.

When my ILs started to foster, they were allocated a 3 bed house by a housing association to take in a foster child of a different sex from their two sons.

Now, that doesn't happen.

It shuts the door on a lot of people who might be willing to foster.

littleducks Mon 07-Sep-09 09:36:11

Agree about the above, i would happily foster if kids were a bit older, but local authority rules is you need a spare bedroom for foster child (sensible) but i dont have an extra room so i cant do it

expatinscotland Mon 07-Sep-09 09:39:41

yep. you need a spare bedroom.

back in the day, when teh ILs finished their training, they were offered another home before they took their first placement.

they fostered for years until they adopted SIL from foster care when she was 4.

she had been removed for neglect from her heroin-addicted mother, who later died of AIDS.

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