Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Unrealistic Goal

I'm only going to make one comment about the 'Baby P' tragedy. The Government has quite rightly announced a review, and hopefully that will lead to improvements in procedures in the future. What annoys me, however, is politicians and the media making fatuous statements along the lines that "we must ensure that this never happens again", or similar. I'm sorry, but this is simply not possible. Our system may not be perfect (and I'm saying nothing about the facts in this particular case), but thankfully it tries to keep children with their families wherever possible, and so long as that is the case then mistakes will occur and children will suffer (remember, the real culprits are the perpetrators of the abuse, not the local agencies involved). Of course, we should do everything we can to keep mistakes to a minimum, but to suggest that the system can 'guarantee' the safety of all children is a nonsense.


  1. Well said. Whilst I think Baby P is a dreadful tragedy, I also feel it seems the press just want to hang someone out to dry... arguing that sacking people is the solution, when really more money, more staff and better facilities are needed in these financially over-stretched and overworked Local Authorities.


  2. It is an important point that absolute safety is an impossibility, and I think I'm correct in saying (without checking the statistics) that children are more likely to die in care than at the hands of their parents. Social services are right to try to keep children and their parents together where possible.

    I don't agree, however, that more money and resources is the answer, and Wes Cuell (the NSPCC acting director) has said very clearly, 'This isn't about any lack of time, awareness, resources or manpower'.

  3. ... And the pursuit of 100% safety leads to ridiculous situations such as this reported in The Times yesterday

    Assuming that the children were asleep at the time of their mother's absence (and even if not, really), how can it possibly have been in their best interests to traumatise them by immediately removing them from their home and their mother's care? Particularly as there appears not to have been any reason to take the mother into custody at the scene and the children will inevitably be returned to her at some point!

    Obviously (for the benefit of any fools out there), I don't condone leaving 2 such children on their own but the fact is the authorities' reaction was wholly disproportionate. The mother had returned and all that was probably needed was a stern talking-to and possibly a subsequent prosecution for child neglect.

  4. Yes. My worry now is that the Government, under pressure from the media, will do its usual 'knee-jerk' reaction, which will make things worse, rather than better.


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