The disappearance of children from Care and the CSA inquiry
I did an interview on BBC world at one yesterday
about the general discussion about the abuse of children in the care system. There are many stories about Elm Guest House
. However, I have been concentrating on more recent issues. There remain survivors of what has happened in the past. These people have been ignored for many years, but more recently they have been listened to. To me it is very important not only to deal with what happened in the past, but also to look at what is happening today.
A point that has not been looked properly at is the disappearance of children from Care. We had the recent reports from Ireland about the deaths of children being concealed. I believe that this also happened at Haut de la Garenne. To me it seems quite straightforward that if we are sufficiently concerned about money that we should count the money and audit it, we should also count the children and audit what happens to them.
Even today children are disappearing from care for various reasons. Some are trafficked. I find it odd that the government won't modify the SSDA903 return codes in order both to count the numbers of children and the reasons they leave care (normally today reported as - for other reasons), but also to then audit that.
I don't think the problems today are as severe as they were in the 1980s. There are estimates that 1 in 7 of children in care in the 70s and 80s were abused whilst in care. Books such as Forgotten Children
look at this in more detail. It does remain, however, that a recent study revealed a continuing high level of abuse in care
We also have child sexual exploitation which includes mainly children in care.
The care system is scrutinised through the family courts which remain substantially themselves unaccountable. The government propose putting an erstwhile president of the Family Division who have in part presided over this debacle in charge of the enquiry. In essence she is being asked to mark her and her judicial colleagues' own homework. I personally don't think that is a good idea.
What is worst is that many of the children placed in care need not have been in care. Those in Rochdale who were put in care because of the satanic abuse scandal were then abused purely as a result of state action.
Obviously we need a child protection system. However, really it should be one that does a better job than this.