Sorry it’s been so quiet on the ARCH blog. It’s been another period of intense work when the phone rings just as I’m about to blog something, and then suddenly it’s bedtime.
This letter is a must-read. It’s from the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) to the government’s Chief Medical Officer outlining the effects that the information free-for-all and suspicion of parents are having on children and families. Here’s a taster:
When instructions went out to all staff in contact with children to report concerns about risk, this seems to have been done with little prior thought, without consultation, and without provision for training. The result was the post-Climbie cover-your-back syndrome: ‘when in the slightest doubt, report to social services.’ We see a huge variety of standards, misunderstandings, prejudices, ill-informed interpretation of risk factors, cultural incompetence and even racism, in the initiation of cases from health visitors, teachers, midwives, nurses, doctors and others. Quite apart from the damage to families, each one of these reports pre-empts resources and often leads to substantial, and unnecessary, cost. Ironically, the basic, simple help or real support families would like, is unavailable because resources are lacking, that is not the focus of social work activity, and anyway nowadays many parents are afraid to ask because any contact with social services is too risky.
It really is powerful stuff. Spread it around.