Demise of child protection

The redoubtable child protection expert, Liz Davies, makes good reading at CiF. She’s talking about the ‘kick the cat’ politics that led to social worker Lisa Arthurworrey’s vilification following Victoria Climbie’s death, while those higher up the chain moved on to bigger and better things.

Liz also has plenty to say about the potentially disastrous effects of the database jamboree on child protection:

there was no child-protection conference in place for Victoria, and her name was not on the child-protection register. This tried and tested multi-agency tool is now being abolished on Lord Laming’s recommendation; this will severely affect the lives of vulnerable children. ContactPoint, the new database for every child in the country, is in effect a population-surveillance tool. It has nothing to do with protecting children: databases and other computerised processes will not replace the function of the register. The number of referrals to social services has been steady for five years, but the number of children on the child-protection register for physical and sexual abuse has halved. The system has been vanishing before our eyes.

Laming also recommended that the police should focus on crime. As a result, social workers are increasingly left to investigate much child abuse on their own, constricted by tight timescales, targets and data entry – which undermines the value of professional judgment and leaves little time to form meaningful relationships with children and families.

…If Lisa were employed today her chances of getting it right would be even less than in 2000.

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