Kenn gives his expert opinion on the relevance of married parents to young offenders in an interview on Radio Europe.
The news that every agency is to blame for Baby Peter’s death leads me to ask a simple question. Where was the lead agency in this case? In every child protection case, one agency should take responsibility for sharing information effectively between all agencies, and it’s usually the local authority. Without communication and coordination, social workers are unlikely to gain access at the right time, or find themselves on the front line, without the knowledge they need.
I’m sure that every frontline member of staff, from the police to the social worker, who came into contact with Baby Peter, knows that more could have been done. But how can one person make up for the lack of communication that has plagued this case? I believe strongly that the local authority should have been responsible and that without their leadership, it was impossible to protect Baby Peter.
Working alone, many social workers knock on a door and fear for their own safety when the door is answered. No-one takes on this type of work without a strong personal motivation to help others, but even this can be superseded if a social worker is faced with danger and threats to their personal safety. Often the fear takes over and they can fail to challenge the family of the child effectively enough. Is this the right atmosphere in which to make profound and emotive decisions about a child’s welfare?
It’s clear that changes are needed. A central place for this sensitive information to be stored, shared and accessed is essential, and the Government urgently needs to find an effective solution. Social workers should no longer be handling these cases alone – it should be standard practice for two people to work on a case, providing the support they need to make the most appropriate judgements in these difficult, disturbing and challenging cases.
Kenn is available for comment, please call 07831 612688 or fill in the contact form.
Relationship break down doesn’t happen overnight it is usually the result of a long unhappy period that quite often includes the months of pregnancy.
Increasingly, especially in Western society, relief from life’s stress comes from drowning the sorrows with alcohol. It doesn’t work of course but that’s beside the point. People think it does and so the self abuse of copious amounts of wine, sprits and beers will continue.
Although many pregnant women give up drinking many more don’t. They try to cut down but then the need to ‘feel better’ about their lot in life drives them back to alcohol.
In many parts of the world authorities are tackling what they believe is one of the main reasons for the increase in children being born with learning difficulties, hyperactivity, poor memory and speech difficulties. These difficulties are collectively referred to as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). According to The National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome – UK, this is such a well recognised condition in the rest of the world that there are over 250,000 existing websites on the subject (if you are searching you will need to use the international spelling of ‘Fetal’).
In the US all products containing alcohol carries a health warning ‘(US) GOVERNMENT WARNING: ACCORDING TO THE SURGEON GENERAL, WOMEN SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING PREGNANCY BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF BIRTH DEFECTS’.
- Alcohol can cause more damage to an unborn baby than any other drug.
- FAS is one of the leading known causes of mental retardation.
- FAS can cause serious lifelong social and behavioural problems.
- FAS and alcohol related birth defects are 100% preventable if no alcohol is consumed during pregnancy.
- There is no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy.
The National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome – UK
Helpline: 0870 0333 700
Luca, Austin and Cecilia Riggi have apparently been murdered by their 46 year old mother Theresa.
What state of mind must she have been in to have taken the precious lives of her birth children?
First reports indicate a marital and child custody dispute. Of course, unfortunately these tragic deaths are not the first. At the time of the Moat killings, in the village of Holbrook Derbyshire dad Andrew Cairns stabbed to death his partner Rachel Slack and their 23 month old son Auden (see mychildcontact.com blogspot earlier report of 4th June 2010).
There are many similar reports and it seems as though violence is becoming the norm to solve child custody disputes.
All this comes at a time when the Government is responding to a Family Justice System under enormous strain by:
- Capping the fees Independent Social Workers thereby undermining the important role ISW’s have in ensuring that children and families can have a independent professional voice to challenge finance driven Local Authority Social Care workers
- And secondly, causing the loss of almost half of the Family Law firms because of the Legal Aid Commission’s decision not to award them new contracts, in an effort to cut costs.
Without doubt, these decisions will seriously affect the welfare and safety of vulnerable children and disadvantaged families.
At mychildcontact.com we are actively seeking the appointment of a Minister with sole responsibility for Child Contact, Access and Custody and challenging poor decision making. You can help in this by letting your MP know the serious consequences of the Government’s actions.
We have a letter that you can download and send to your MP. Please click this link and download here.