John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Friday, August 18, 2006
  Your choice: Tyranny or HomeStart
I have linked to Homestart. This is a charitable organisation that supports families. In some ways they fit in where the extended families have been split up via motorways. I opened a funday for my local Homestart this morning.

They are a very effective way of supporting families in such a way that does not result in children being at risk.

Massively more money goes into Social Services Child Protection than into HomeStart. Homestart locally costs less than one foster place. The current system gives a large amount of power to Social Services. The reason they have that power is that they operate in secret. Power does tend to corrupt.

The Orkney saga was one of a number of instances of this. To be fair to Social Services there is a tendency in the media to assume that intervention is always positive. Hence they get damned if they do and damned if they don't. The reality, however, is that many so called investigations are not proper objective investigations. I have seen reports written by senior and experience social workers that are complete drivel.

There are two key changes that are needed to child protection. One is to open up the Family Court procedures to scrutiny and ensure that there is "equality of arms" throughout the quasi-judicial procedures that abound in this arena.

The second is to move the enforcement aspects of Child Protection out of the Social Services Departments into a separate agency. I would have the police run this, but am open to other suggestions. Substantially more money needs to go to organisations such as HomeStart. That, however, is far better than the form of tyrannical regime run by many Social Services Departments at the moment.

The fact is that this system (and I am unsure about the idea of the massive database as well) does not serve children well. It is a juggernaut that appears to be out of control.
 
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