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.