According to this news report, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children, chaired by Tim Loughton MP is in the process of asking Social Workers and those people currently training to be Social Workers if they believe the Government needs to step in to ensure that children currently living with their families are being put at risk because some Councils are failing to intervene adequately. The suspicion is that it is a lack of resources that means that only the most urgent and acute cases are being dealt with. It seems strange that the only people being asked this question are those who work for the people who are making these questionable decisions. Time after time, when there are problems in the area of safeguarding, the people who are listened to most closely are those who work for local government. These people are put into a very conflicted position as they are expected to speak in a manner that protects their employer and their profession. The prospects for whistle blowers is rarely a good one. Occasionally a wider group of people are invited to comment, they may be Senior Police Officers or Teachers. However the workers in charities and those who provide Mother and Baby placements or act as Foster Carers are usually seen as being too insignificant to even be invited to help shape policy or correct decision making processes, and when they do get asked to contribute, they are often treated as rank amateurs in a world full of seasoned professionals.
I have met Tim Loughton in the past when he was the childrens Minister in the coalition and I was Chair of a major youth charity working in his patch. He is someone who I believe is willing to work outside of the Governments comfort zone. I hope that despite this report, he will be willing to amend his focus and call for views from people who are not part of the social work profession but who do have insight on the issue of the best way of caring for the many vulnerable children in our society.