Researching Reform are strong advocates of Kids Company, one of only a handful of organisations in the UK who actually understand children. The charity, headed by Camila Batmanghelidjh, focuses on helping the most vulnerable children in our society and has recently published a report which shows the extent of the problems inside the social care system.
The charity has just announced that it will be launching a large campaign in June, highlighting the reality that the system is not fit for purpose and offering suggestions on how to improve social care and child protection. In our day-to-day work with the system, we often come across startling inadequacies, and a lack of interest in actually trying to understand family dynamics and root causes. Perhaps time is an issue, however these difficulties have persisted since the inception of social work and go to the heart of how social work is perceived, who engages in it and the kind of training delivered for such an important job.
The interview Camilla gives for Community Care is a very interesting one. She talks about the current culture in social care and how the system is failing children through a lack of resources and poor internal structures.
Batmanghelidjh makes the following observations about social care today, many of which we are very familiar with and no doubt our readers will be too:
“Social care is so snowed under in some areas they just can’t take more cases. It’s created a destructive culture. I’ve heard it from social workers, they come to see me privately, even heads of children’s services.”
Camilla goes on to note:
“There’s a cultural trend where you develop a sense of agency over what you can control and deny everything else existing. The children’s sector is a good one for government to do this with because there isn’t a powerful contingency coming back saying ‘over my dead body are you going to deny this’. Kids can’t sue them, kids can’t take them to the European parliament. They can’t do anything.”
As a final thought during her interview Camilla concludes:
“People think soldiers are heroes, and they are, but there is another type of soldier….That’s the worker who’s surviving in very challenging social work structures. Kids have told me they feel like soldiers too because they are responsible for themselves in this system. When workers and children perceive social care contact as an act of surviving war, you know you are looking trouble in the eye.”
And that is the key point. A system, which is supposed to provide shelter and support for the most vulnerable is in fact just another battle field, filled with lost souls, defecting leaders and the blood of our children on our government’s hands.
We wish Kids Company lots of luck and much success with their campaign and hope that our ministers listen, and take action. Meaningful action.