This and Panorama from Monday are, however, only one side of the argument. The key objective of the Child Protection System is to protect children. One way of measuring how well the system is doing is to consider how many children are dying from child abuse and neglect.
There are a number of sources of information. One I use is the number of prosecutions for manslaughter or murder of a child (Baby P's). In 2011 according to the CPS there were 16, in 2012 there were 19 and in 2013 there were 34.
There are also significant incident notifications sent to Ofsted. However, Ofsted have now decided that they will refuse to give me the anonymised list (something they have done up to 2012). This gives a larger number as obviously there will be cases where a child has died, but there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution. There will also be cases where abuse and/or neglect is suspected at first and it turns out that it was not NAI. In itself I think it is wrong for Ofsted to cover up their failure to properly manage this information.
Hence it is quite clear that on a very basic measure of the system that things seem to be getting worse. There is a good reason for this which is that it is very difficult when a child is born to predict that the child will die as a result of abuse or neglect many years later. Often the circumstances change. However, the system has been pressurised by government to go back to what was happening until 2008 which is a high priority on young babies.
As far as babies under 1 month are concerned 1,400 were taken into care in 2010 1,480 in 2011, 1,750 in 2012 and 2,030 in 2013. However, at the same time the evidence is that child deaths have risen.
Obviously when I say "the wrong children are taken into care", that is shorthand for me saying that many decisions are wrong. Some younger children are taken into care unnecessarily and the pressure on the system then means that older children are left to die. Whichever way this is not something that should be ignored. Hence I have tabled a motion about it.
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