Another article from the radical social worker has trickled down the internets. Here we go…
The reform of child protection by so-called ‘experts’ has failed disastrously. Very urgent action is required to re-assert the fundamentals of good practice and restore public confidence in the social work profession.
At the root of the problem is a government that has undermined child protection work by introducing the Common Assessment Framework which requires social workers to gather masses of information on children not at risk of harm. Social workers find it difficult to focus on those at greatest risk because they are overwhelmed with paperwork and computer-based work. It is obvious that the public wants child protection services to be improved – as shown by the outrage over child abuse scandals – and expects social workers to rescue children suffering appalling treatment at the hands of their parents. A stronger focus on child protection would not only be popular but would also make services more responsive to the local community.
Serious weaknesses in child protection have lead to shocking failures to spot abuse or dangers in high-risk cases. Reform is urgently needed to improve social work practice in the following areas:
Formal Investigations into Abuse and Neglect
Social workers have a legal duty to investigate where there are suspicions, or allegations, of abuse or neglect. This does not mean they carry out a criminal investigation but they do have a lead role in gathering evidence which may later be used in care proceedings. Unfortunately, an over-emphasis on early intervention and prevention has diverted attention away from this work.
Child abuse is a crime. If a crime has been committed, then the criminal process must be initiated. What is unacceptable is that there is a parallel legal system, where the normal standards of evidence are not applied to something that is a crime.
Social workers operate as a law unto themselves, as we have seen in the case of the man who had his children kidnapped because he believed they were at risk. If social workers are to be able to do their jobs properly, they need to follow the rules of evidence and be subject to the same controls and procedures as the police are. It is completely wrong that they can invade a home and remove children from their parents or initiate investigations on the basis of anonymous phone calls or rumors in ways that the police are not able to do.
It is well known that the competence with which the investigation is handled will crucially influence the effectiveness of subsequent work. Usually, the focus is on a single incident and some critics have complained that this is unfair and causes unnecessary stress on families. However, a speedy investigation of the incident may provide the oppportunity to obtain medical evidence of abuse which could be useful in legal proceedings.
Once again, if there is evidence of a crime, then a criminal case should be opened, full stop.
The social work investigation involves more than looking for physical injuries (important though this is) and gathering facts about the reported incident or concerns. Judgements also have to be made about the quality of family relationships, verbal and non-verbal communication from the child, and any other possible risk factors that might become apparent.
My emphasis. This is where the problem starts. It is not the proper role of government to say what is or is not ‘a quality family life’. No one but a parent can determine this, and no one has the right to come into your house and make a judgement on you and your family and how you conduct yourself in private. This is how, in the United States, children have been kidnapped from their families when social workers find piles of dirty plates in the sink, and then scream ‘HEALTH HAZARD’.
Therefore, it is essential that all authorities should have a centralised investigation team that is fully staffed and has good management back-up so that all child protection (section 47) referrals are thoroughly and promptly dealt with. Social workers in this team need to consider the dilemma of how to intervene both minimally and as early as possible and should not take crucial decisions without managerial involvement. They need different skills and style of working from social workers who provide family support. Ideally, initial investigations should be carried out by experienced workers working in pairs, as this ensures greater objectivity.
Social workers should only be engaged when a crime is committed. Anything else is not social work, but is instead, social engineering.
Some cases where child maltreatment is suspected may be dealt with by the district team if it is felt the initial assessment should be carried out over a longer period of time. However, there are advantages in a specialised team carrying out initial investigations because the focus of work is more likely to be kept firmly on the concerns reported and on gathering evidence. In some cases it is good practice to arrange a joint interview with the Police to avoid the need for the child to repeat their story twice.
If the police have been called, then it should be a police investigation into a crime. Social workers should not be able to make up law as they desire, based on their personal standards and prejudices.
It is anticipated that referrals will increase as new guidance to agencies on spotting early signs of abuse takes effect. Early identification of children suffering abuse and neglect should lead to better-informed decisions and more effective interventions. Children’s social work services have a lead role and carry greater responsibilities than other agencies and therefore a more pro-active approach may sometimes be necessary.
No. This will lead to more false positives, more harassment and an eventual curtailing of the powers of social workers. One day soon, these people will mess with the wrong family and find themselves at the receiving end of a multi million pound lawsuit that will be successful. The entire culture of social work will be fixed soon after that.
Every Child Matters
The Every Child Matters programme has been driven by a government more interested in social engineering and surveillence than good social work practice.
This doesn’t make any sense. Those who read BLOGDIAL know about the story of a fat child who was kidnapped from his parents because he was fat.
Someone went into that family’s house and made a judgement that a child was ‘too fat’, and then kidnapped that child, “for its own good”. This is social engineering; where a social worker, who is actually in this case acting as a social engineer, decides that a child does not fit in with ‘societal norms’, and should therefore be ‘adjusted’ so that it becomes ‘normal’.
Social workers with principles need to decide wether or not they are social engineers or not. They need to decide wether or not their role is to look after those children who have no one else to care for them, or wether they are the third parent to all families.
As for surveillance, social workers are colluding in the most Orwellian surveillance systems ever seen on this earth. More on that below.
It is over-ambitious, unrealistic and unworkable.
And it is IMMORAL. It is not the proper role of government to set the goals that families should strive for when it comes to their children.
The Government’s aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to ‘be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being’.
And this is total nonsense. Not everyone can be a rock star, or more appropriately for these days, the winner of Big Brother. This is the same flawed thinking that has resulted in examinations becoming less than worthless; everyone, no matter what their ability is, ‘deserves to pass an exam’ for the sake of inclusiveness. There have been many writers that have explained why this is complete madness, and I will not delve into it here. Suffice to say that Neu Liebour is totally insane in its social engineering agenda, and crazed and insatiable in its need to make everyone equal. It does not work, it cannot work, and it can and has wreaked havoc everywhere it has been applied.
It involves agencies sharing information and working together, to protect children from harm and help them achieve what they want in life.
When a child is identified as vulnerable professionals are to assess the needs of the child and share personal information about the family with other professionals.
What does ‘vulnerable’ mean? In the case of this child, it means merely being fat.
The computerised Integrated Children’s System for recording this information has been a bureaucratic nightmare for social workers resulting in masses of meaningless data. It should therefore be scrapped.
And yet, the only reason why it is full of a mass of meaningless data is because social workers put it there, without question, without analysis, without introspection or an application of any principles whatsoever.
will would have been just as bad, and the fake charities are all lining up to say how good it is. Social workers must reject, on principle, ContactPoint or anything like it that may be proposed in the future. They need to do this not only so they can be moral people, but so they can do the real work of being a social worker.
Problems have arisen because this programme has been driven by top-down policies that have distorted the social work role and produced an enormous amount of confusion throughout children’s services. It has given social workers a free rein to behave coercively because of unthinking assumptions about the protection of children.
No programme can cause a person to be immoral. The people who kidnapped that fat child acted immorally because they are immoral, as were the people who ambushed a father outside of his school. The new tools at the disposal of these wicked people are nothing more than an ‘Amazon for kidnappers’ where they can see, ‘other cases like this in your area’ and every other database driven way of connecting entries. Absolutely despicable.
Also, government is encouraging social workers to ‘nanny’ families where ‘concerns’ are identified in order to prevent children from becoming a problem for society.
There is nothing in this world that can make a social worker violate the rights of any person. They willingly and gladly do it, for wages. The role of a social worker, like the proper role of government, should be extremely limited. They should not be measuring the waists of children, monitoring how they are dressed, ‘running CAFs‘ on them or any of the completely insane, immoral, intrusive and ridiculous things that they are called upon to do.
It is not easy to differentiate between good social work practice and harassment by the ‘nanny state’ – but it is an important distinction.
On the contrary, it is EXTREMELY easy to differentiate between good social work practice and harassment. Lets see if we can come up with a short list on the fly:
- Social workers calling on Home Educators because they have received an anonymous phone call that someone is Home Educating: HARASSMENT
- Social workers kidnapping a child for being fat: HARASSMENT
- Social workers ambushing a father for asking a head teacher if he can pick up his children inside the school because they might be at risk: HARASSMENT
- Social workers judging a mother to bee ‘too stupid’ to look after her own child: HARASSMENT
- Social workers kidnapping children because the kitchen sink is ‘dirty’: HARASSMENT
- Social workers kidnapping children because the mother has quintuplets: HARASSMENT
- Social workers kidnapping an infant because the mother has questions about breast-feeding: HARASSMENT
- Social workers taking a child into care when its parents are killed in a car accident and there are no relatives: NOT HARASSMENT
See? Not that difficult. The principle here is that social workers are not parents, and when they act as if they are parents, then they are doing wrong. When they take children from their parents and no crime has been committed by the parent against he child, then this is doing wrong.
Good practice requires social workers to have a clear understanding of their statutory powers and to be as open and honest as possible about their concerns.
No. Social workers must have their duties outlined very clearly. They must not have ‘powers’ in the same way that the police have powers. They should be there to provide a service to the public only, and they should not have the power to control any intact family, i.e. a family where there is at least one living parent or close relative available to act as a parent.
An appropriate balance between care and control must be negotiated with the family.
This is absolutely and totally wrong. And once again, we hear another stock totalitarian phrase; you know the ones I mean, “You are who you say you are”, “we must strike a balance between…”, “justice must be seen to be done”, “paying their fair share” etc etc. Care and control are the remit of the family, and are not the business of the state. Social workers, when they are acting properly, are a temporary safety net in cases where there are no parents or relatives. They have no business telling people what to eat, how much they should eat, how children should be educated or disciplined or anything else. This is the fundamental philosophical failing of social workers; they believe they have the right to control other people, making those people into property – their property. That is wrong in every way that something can be wrong.
Let me help those who are having trouble understanding this. If we were talking about a slave who did not want to be a slave, the master’s slave manager would opine, “we must strike a balance between the needs of the slave and the needs of the household”. Not very palatable for the slave is it? But that is exactly what social workers are advocating; that people are property, and that they are the managers of that property on behalf of the property owner, THE STATE.
The role of the social worker is like that of a good parent.
NO it is not. And this is the fundamental failure of principle that is the core of the problem.
Very often the social worker provides support and encouragement to families struggling to cope but occasionally a more controlling approach is necessary, signalling that certain behaviour is unacceptable.
This is absolutely wrong. The state and its aparatchicks do not have the right to tell people what behavior is right and wrong. If someone is committing a crime, then the state comes into play. Anything else is up to the individual and the family, and the state has no say in it. This is the gray area that social workers inhabit, where they can, through the dirty lenses of their own prejudices, say what is and is not appropriate behavior. It is unacceptable, totalitarian, unprincipled and completely WRONG. Social workers are making up bespoke law when they determine that a child is too fat, or that a relationship in a family is ‘unacceptable’… unacceptable to WHO?
However, the social worker who tends to ‘nanny’ people, or harass them, is less respected and can appear weak and ineffectual. In the same way, parents who nag a child, or make threats that they do not carry out, teach the child not to respect parental authority.
This is pretty sickening stuff.
The social worker who tends to ‘nanny’ people should have no power to do that in the first place. They do not deserve respect because they have no principles and are nanny state aparatchicks. They deserve only contempt. It is not in any way ‘the same way’ when a parent ‘nags’ a child. First of all, who is to say what nagging is or is not, and secondly, a parent is not in any way equatable with a social worker. Social workers ARE NOT PARENTS. Thirdly, how can a child come to respect parental authority when social workers can trump parental decisions at any time? This is not only immoral thinking, it is illogical thinking.
Another insidious development is the increasing use of the rhetoric of social exclusion to imply that people who are different and who do not share the dominant values should be made to conform because they are ‘at risk’ or ‘socially excluded’.
But this is exactly what using the phrase ‘unacceptable behavior’ does. By saying, arbitrarily, that some behavior is unacceptable, there is a presumption in the mind of the social worker that their perception of reality and decency is ‘the norm’ and that their victims are ‘abnormal’ or ‘unacceptable’. This is exactly the same as saying that people who are different and who do not share the dominant values should be made to conform; only in the mind of the social worker, the dominant values are not ‘dominant values’ they are acceptable. This is double thinking; it is the same double thinking that makes social workers think that Home Educated children are likely to suffer ‘social exclusion’, when in fact nothing like that is true.
These people really need to take a step back and think about what their principles are and what their core ideas are. They seem to be holding contradictory thoughts; in the case of this person, who appears to be very thoughtful and sensitive, if she is the better kind of social worker, heaven help us; what are the BAD one’s thinking like?
Recent government proposals to introduce greater regulation of home education is a good example of its efforts to extend the ‘nanny state’. Social workers must take a stand against this authoritarian trend which puts the profession in a very bad light.
You see? A sensitive and thinking person! But sadly, some of the principles she outlines above, if applied to home educators (social workers nannying people, the rhetoric of social exclusion, ‘the role of social workers is like that of a parent’, ‘a controlling approach is needed’, ‘certain behavior is unacceptable’, ‘An appropriate balance between care and control must be negotiated with the family’, It is hard to differentiate between help and harassment, etc etc) would put prejudiced and ignorant social workers at odds with Home Educators. You cannot have it both ways; either social workers are there to set the norms and if Home Education is not the norm according to a social worker then control is warranted OR social workers are not parents and should not be nannying families and should, quite rightly, not be interfering with or investigating Home Educators. Which one is it?
Back to Basics
Grandiose ideas about ‘safeguarding children’ through all-embracing professional intervention need to be ditched and replaced with more realistic thinking.
They need to be ditched, and then real thinking needs to be done, not just realistic thinking. The principles of social work need to be outlined and their special powers (that even the police do not have) removed entirely. Their role must be reduced to caring for the truly needy only (even so, what ‘needy’ means needs to be carefully defined), so that all social engineering is removed from their jobs. That means no more kidnapping fat children, ambushing fathers who want to collect their children inside the school gates and no more abuses period. The safeguarding of children is the duty of parents, not social workers.
Social work urgently needs to break free of government control.
No. Social work needs to be strictly defined by government and stripped of all its power. Social work free of control means an unlimited license to nanny, harass, kidnap and abuse.
Child protection social workers should be allowed to concentrate on the core task of identifying parenting which definitely puts a child at risk, using their legal powers correctly and working to protect and support children.
No. Social workers are not parents; it is not their role to ‘support children’. They should be there to help when the family disappears from a child’s life and there are no living relatives to pick up the slack. It is not their role to interfere in the lives of people, to surveil them with databases (as the phrase ‘identifying’ implies) and to impose their prejudices on perfectly ordinary and free people.
Too many children are being brought into the child protection system and are stretching social work resources to breaking point.
You cannot have it both ways. You cannot on the one hand, desire to act as a parent to all the children in a country ‘supporting’ them, and then complain that you have too much work. Stop kidnapping fat children and interfering with people who have a different world view to you and then your caseloads will start to look more doable.
Increasingly, social work is collapsing under the weight of unrealistic expectations and is unable to do the very thing it was set up to do.
Those expectations are not only unrealistic, but more importantly they are immoral. You do not have the right to tell people how to live. The sooner you accept this, the easier your job will become and the more meaningful and rewarding your work will be.
To summarise, the organisation of child protection work needs to undergo radical change. Good social work practice will only happen if there is a clear focus on child protection.
Wrong. Child protection is a fad. The vast majority of children in the UK are perfectly safe. In fact, they are so safe, that social workers have to create bogus pretexts to interfere with their development, like obesity.
Social workers need to be told what their role is; they cannot be left to determine what it is themselves. They are not a law unto themselves, they are not a separate branch of government, though they seem to act like it at times. They need to be reigned in severely and have their role written down in a form that explains and delineates what they can do; everything not on that list they should be forbidden from doing.
Also, the complexity of long-term work child protection work needs to be better understood so that appropriate management support and training can be provided.
Finally, local authorities should have a career structure for social workers that encourages them to stay on the front-line and a style of management which promotes stable, committed and supportive teams.
And there you have it. “Give us more money”.
Once again, this is one of the ‘GOOD’ ones!!!!