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The Twlight Zone in Social Care

One of the issues raised with me today related to a 16 year old boy whose family for various reasons cannot cope with him.

He falls into what I describe as the Twilight Zone of Social Care. Children under 16 are "children" and the system sort of copes with them. People of 18 or older are "adults" and the systems sort of handles this situation. People who are 16 and 17 end up in a twilight zone.

The saddest part of this case, however, is that the way the system works and the responses of the system are almost guaranteed to ensure that at some stage this particular individual will end up in prison.

There are so many problems that happen in the relationship between Social Care (aka Social Services) and society. Part of this arises from the breakdown in support structures. Part of this results from the pattern of behaviour encouraged by "the system".

What happens is that people who are on the periphery of society get used to blagging things. This involves a relatively aggressive demand that is responded to in such a manner as encourages this pattern of behaviour. Dysfunctional behaviour is, therefore, encouraged until the point at which the behaviour of the individual results in imprisonment. At this point, however, habits have been created that are very damaging.

One of the challenges for any government is to review in a wider sense the interface between individuals and "the system" to stop reinforcing aggressive behaviour patterns.


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