Welcome to another week.

In an unusual article, a Christian publication has accused a local authority of intimidating tactics aimed at parents who refuse to agree to care plans and adoption orders.

The piece begins by detailing a case in which the council in question is now trying to send a mother to prison for speaking out about losing her children to care, even though the children are now adults and the care proceedings are over.

The story goes on to talk about a father who is currently trying to get his son back from care after complaining that the council’s actions have emotionally harmed his son.

Medway Council has repeatedly threatened the father with jail for naming child protection professionals on social media and publicly talking about his son on the internet. The judge in the case has previously stated that the only reason he has not imprisoned the father is to avoid him ‘becoming a martyr’. We’re not sure how sound that logic is, but there you are.

Interesting information is also offered in relation to a psychologist who worked on the mother’s case on behalf of the council. Her children were home schooled. Medway council argued that the mother had harmed her children by removing them from a conventional education: one child had special needs and the other was confirmed to be of above average intelligence.

Mr Graham Flatman told the court that the mother, ‘had provided (‘D’) only with a limited and possibly distorted social experience’ and had ‘missed the opportunities offered by school for extended social contacts, extra curricular activities and the benefit of experiencing how a society of children and adults can function’.

This judgment may highlight councils’ prejudices about home schooling generally which could be being bolstered or may originate from professional expert opinions, which vary considerably on the issue.  A proposed Bill in the House of Lords aiming to regulate home schooling further, could aggravate any bias that already exists.

Our question this week, then, is just this: do you think bias within child protection practice exists and if so, why?

Many thanks to the father in this piece for sharing the story with us.

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