Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Child protection laws

and procedures have to change according to yet another expensive report into the many problems of child abuse in this state. Once again it is claimed that this report is "different" - different because the focus is on the needs of the child. 
What????? Isn't that what ALL the reports should have focussed on? If child protection isn't about children and their needs then who in the heck is it about?  
I think I can answer that question. It is about adults. It is about parents. It is about parents and their so-called "rights". It has never really been about the children. 
Even when claims have been made about "we're protecting the child's right to be brought up by their natural mother" and "children need to be able to maintain a relationship with their natural families" it has been about the adults. "Don't take the child away..." has been the number one rule. 
"Adoption" is now a very bad word. Children should not be "given up/away". They should remain with their birth mothers - even if the mother is not old enough to leave school. Immature girls are encouraged to keep their babies even if they have no means of supporting them - and sometimes don't even know who the father is or have become pregnant as the result of non-consensual sex. This is still considered the best thing for mother and child. Is that really always the case? 
Of course there are mothers who want to keep their children and who may well be able to care for them but shouldn't the interests of the child come first if their mothers aren't able to do the job? When I say that I am told I don't understand because I'm not a mother. Perhaps I don't but nobody has been able to satisfactorily explain how current policies are in the best interests of the child.
The state is also short of foster carers - little wonder given the problems surrounding fostering. We end up with vulnerable children living in cheap motel rooms with a series of "carers" until the family situation is "sorted out" and they return. Then the cycle begins all over again.
I know someone who has been a short term emergency foster carer for many years. She is good at her job. If a social worker phones her at eight o'clock in the evening and says, "Can you take a couple of children for the weekend?" she will drop everything - even social engagements. The beds will be ready. There will be food on the table. 
She gets paid to do it of course - but it costs her far more than she is paid. Other foster carers I know say that, if they do the job properly, it costs them far more than they are paid. Not everyone can afford to do it even if they want to. Nor do many people want their lives disrupted by children who are almost always distressed and often seriously disturbed.
And social workers sometimes interfere in odd ways. They don't know the children but they will presume to tell foster carers how they must be handled. They will remove children from a foster situation if they think the child is becoming too "attached" as "the child will have to go back to their natural parent sometime". Not so long ago a child in "long term foster care" who had been with the same family for eight years was removed simply because a social worker deemed she was "attached" and "too much part of the family". She was simply passed to another foster family. Is that really caring for the child?
This isn't about the children at all. It is about the state trying to deal with the child as cheaply as possible. Is that going to change? 
I doubt it. The money spent on the inquiry would have been better spent on caring for the children. 
Yes, I am angry.


Anonymous said...

You are not alone, Cat.

catdownunder said...

thought you would be with me Judy!