Monthly Archives: December, 2012
‘Decisions and impact’
Its hard sometimes to remember childhood, I look back and there are still some things that I remember well and others when I hear about them I laugh because I have no recollection of them. However, for children and children in care the issue is not about remembering but living their childhood.
More importantly that as adults we can make life changing decisions for ourselves and our children, often without thinking about them. As a parent it is hard when faced with making a decision that is important whilst considering the impact upon your child. Significantly for some people being able to understand the impact of your decision making upon your child is impaired due to your own childhood experiences or substance misuse or violent relationships. But perhaps more commonly now is the impact of the austerity cuts where low income families are forced to make decisions that increasingly leave their children at risk.
It has often be presented that social workers have forgotten these challenges and this can easily be understood as the tick box culture has been developed to prevent errors and mistakes. Instead the talking part of social work has been lost, the time that families need to unpick their understanding of the situation they are in. Furthermore simple but effective services are cut and removed from these vulnerable families forcing them to either sink or swim.
Lets not forget though that for Children’s services it is the children that are important, and for that any small change for children can have a massive impact upon their development. A change in school could mean a loss of a friend or supportive teacher, a change of home frequently could cause many difficulty’s relating to attachments and feeling settled and having a sense of belonging. Lets not forget as social workers or parents that Children need to understand the events that are happening in their life in order to make sense of it.
Mixed messages from parents and or professionals can leave the child in turmoil, feeling confused and unsure often causing these anxieties to be acted out through behaviour. Behaviour which then can lead to the child or young person being excluded from their school, friends, family and then increasing their risk of vulnerability.
Its easy to forget as adults that it is our responsibility to be responsible for this, not to draw the attention to our needs rather than the needs of the children that are in our care. To raise awareness of the impact of the serious nature of the cuts made by the government that looks to early intervention to reduce the long term care needs and budget demands on the Local Authority’s.
Instead I fear that the impact will be far worse that where you can see this sign
and continue to see this sign then there will always be a danger that without a serious investment in to social care and the voluntary agency’s that support vulnerable families and children that this will continue to be a major concern.
“Article 3 (Best interests of the child): The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. This particularly applies to budget, policy and law makers. ”
So Mr Gove in the government that does not focus on the rights of the Child, perhaps it is time that this is the change that is enforced. Stop looking else where for the blame, start to implement the concepts of basic rights for children in legislation and policy and lets prevent children from experience loss.
Who are the real people?
Ask the real people I am told? there is another side to the story and innocent people have been waiting a long time for someone to stand up to the despicable actions of those (few) but nasty social workers that remove children.
Who are these real people and are social workers not real people? perhaps this might be why there is a problem with social work training! For a different view of child abuse, how about one where people strongly believe that those who commit child abuse should be castrated (not my view) but one that is certainly held in The Republic of Moldova . Of course this is an extreme view and may be the polar opposite of those that think children should remain with their parents, even if they are being neglected! But for me this is why social work is so important, because it does not sit in any camp and for many people this is scary and a threat. After all how can each family be treated differently and no same outcome achieved twice?
I blogged about this on ‘Is there anyway to improve?’ and how there are many different perceptions of one snap shot of life. There is also multiple ways that each scenario could end up, and with out everyone wanting to end child neglect it does not really matter which camp you support the outcome will be the same! Children will suffer.
As a social worker, working with children it does make me sad and angry that many adults who argue that they have the best interests of the child at heart; are still only arguing for their own personal gain and feelings. When something goes wrong or a mistake is made the children are used for the reason to make a change rather than being the focus. It is however the adult issue, which remains the subject of the media interest. The media that can not even give respect to the children it believes that it is campaigning for including the Sun in this piece that could not even name Peter Connerly and instead referred to him as ‘Baby P’. The shame of this article makes me sick because it focuses more on the adult writer rather than the tragic story of neglect suffered by Peter Connerly. Or even worse the story of the Rotherham foster carers who want an apology for the children removed from them! After all lets not focus on giving the children a chance to have their future determined through their family proceedings with out any other factors influencing the final outcome.
The real issue of this story is poor communication and the right to privacy for these young Children. Not very exciting and one that you would not often see in the media, however move the victim from the children to the foster carers, add a local election, race and we have a far more interesting story in which to beat the local council and the reputation of all social workers with.
Who are the real people? If you ask me it does not matter who the real people are – It is the children that matter to me, breaking the cycle of neglect and poor parenting YES poor parenting not poor people but poor parenting. Which is why I am interested in early intervention and understanding how each family works and what support is needed to keep children safe. Because I know that being in care is not always the best options but sadly sometimes it is the only option.
Perhaps Mr Gove rather than making wild statements instead you should invest in Social Care and education rather than criticising the service you are pulling apart!