Child welfare v dogma

THE WORLD is coming to an end: I find myself in agreement with both Iain Dale and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

Well, partly.

Yasmin is right to take a stand against the presumption in favour of “supporting” parents of children at risk instead of taking the children into care. The welfare of the child must always take priority: the “rights” of parents to retain the care of their children should be discarded as soon as those children are found to be at risk from physical or sexual abuse. There are, tragically, plenty of families in this country where parents, or parents and their partners, believe their children are their property with which they can do whatever they please. Any intervention by the state is regarded with hostility and outrage. This is a culture encouraged by many on the political right, the same people, in fact, who are the first to call for resignations when the “nanny state” doesn’t intervene early or often enough and, consequently, a child dies.

But she’s wrong to dismiss the rights of parents to choose not to let their children learn sex education until they reach an age at which the parents are comfortable with it. And just because some parents won’t let their children take part in some extracurricular activities does not mean the state should have the right to second guess those decisions.

In this, Iain is right: the family is a profoundly important institution and the areas and occasions when the state can overrule parents must be rare and carefully limited.

But those limits should always include the right to care for children where their families are clearly failing to do so. 

In fact there’s probably a lot more for these two (Iain and Yasmin) to agree about than to disagree about. Despite Iain’s portrayal of Yasmin’s demonising “all parents and families”. In fact she specifically pays tribute to the responsible and loving majority:

Millions of families are units of co-operation, mutuality, care and love. It is never easy but they are able to nurture their young. I salute them, at times envy them.

But one thing is welcome in all of this: Baby P’s terrible fate has sparked a national debate which, I really hope, will result in positive changes. We all want the same thing – for every child in the country to have the love and security they deserve. I honestly couldn’t care less whether the solutions come from the right or the left – I’ve never been a great fan of the numerology associated with angels dancing on pinheads.

But I care very much that we find those solutions.



Filed under Blogging, Media, Society

3 responses to “Child welfare v dogma

  1. timbone

    “Baby P’s terrible fate has sparked a national debate which, I really hope, will result in positive changes.”

    Excuse me, but every time one of these cases gets into the news (and there are many that don’t) there is a national debate, and the result is………..

    Of course, what is far more important, as Redbridge Council has decided, is that moving a child from abusive parents into foster care cannot be done if the foster parents smoke, that is far more damaging, even when combined with love and care!

  2. We live in a fallen world that is getting worse. These tragedies will always happen, but we can minimise them if we, as a society, do the RIGHT thing.

    Clearly, making targets the priority is wrong – as has been proven with the police.

    Two articles I have just spotted on the Telegraph website – failures in Haringey and violent crimes statistics.

    I was unaware that there were almost a million violent crimes in Britain a year and this doesn’t even include sex attacks or robbery!

    I know teachers in the local secondary school who are at their wits’ end. They are faced with verbal abuse from children and they have no support so just have to take it.

    Then you have the likes of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who comes out with the usual: “the only people in the country who can still be lawfully hit are children.”

    As far as I’m aware, children can be smacked as long as a mark is not left. To try and justify a smacking ban in the light of Baby P’s torture suggests this journalist is not worth reading.

    In short, we live in a broken society and it will not be fixed as long as we keep on down this road of humanism/atheism.

    Tim Bone commented about Redbridge Council and its rigid PCness, which I wrote about last week under the headline, “Adoption and the Great Smoking Swindle“.

    There are many suitable foster parents out there who are blocked by a dysfunctional bureaucracy, which includes social work departments that have to meet targets and are overstretched.

    How do you fix such a broken society?

    You have to reverse those woeful decisions from the past that created the benefit-dependent underclass, that has devalued humanity with 200,000 abortions a year, that tells children they are nothing more than mutated pond scum and that has society awash with images of sex and violence of all sorts.

    And prevent those wicked plans suggested for the future, such as teaching primary schoolchildren about sex and ‘relationships’.

    If the Government and primary schools won’t let children be children, we really cannot expect a decent society to emerge.

    The humanist experiment has failed as it was bound to. Time for real change.

    Sorry, another comment longer than expected. I’ll end with two quotes by I don’t know whom.

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    “No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

  3. Steve

    Even if we took every child into care who the social services met once these tragedies would still happen. All this public hand wringing will achieve nothing, just as it always has in the past.

    Lets start with something we can fix, there are 4 children per week killed on the roads, yet this is “an acceptable price to pay”, and we still live by the must-get-there-at-all-costs-at-maximum-speed mentality. If the politicians had just spent 10% of the effort on this that they had talking about social services then we may change a few peoples minds, when you start with numbers this large even a little helps.

    But no, that wouldn’t get a headline would it, back to talking about x factor in parliament, thats what we elected them for.

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