In an insightful and interesting article in Community Care, Maggie Mellon, Vice Chair for the British Association Of Social Workers has expressed the view that current child protection practices and the culture inside the system are cause for concern. And we couldn’t agree more.
In the piece, Maggie says:
“I believe that suspicion of parents and of families has become corrosive, and is distorting the values of our profession..
Despite there being no significant rise in the number of children who die as a result of parental abuse or neglect, risk of abuse is assumed to be high…
What does this say about how social workers view parents and families? And, just as importantly, what must it tell us about how parents view contact with social services? I believe that the evidence is mounting of mutual distrust and fear.”
This view very much matches what we have seen over the last decade assisting families and children throughout the process. The child protection process itself is not sophisticated enough to factor in all elements present when a family comes to the attention of social services, and one of our main bug bears here at Researching Reform is the level of training social workers are given to carry out a job which requires a far wider, and deeper understanding than basic training allows.
The article also references research by researchers and academics, Lauren Devine and Stephen Parker, whose work we think is robust and progressive, and very helpfully highlights the key issues surrounding child protection in practice.
Maggie identifies a lack of empathy, support and compassion within social work today, another observation to be applauded, as it is so rife, and causes unnecessary pain and suffering for families and children involved in child protection investigations.
So what do you think? Do you agree with Maggie?