A debate on children’s social care promised by the government seems to have been set aside, as updates on the discussion come to a halt. Parents going through child protection proceedings called the decision not to host the debate cowardly on social media after the debate sparked nationwide interest. The discussion, which had been scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee to take place in October, was pulled without warning.

Parents going through the family courts reacted with suspicion on social media at the surprise cancellation last month. Mothers and fathers left several comments on Facebook about the decision to pull the debate, with some suggesting that the government had become fearful over service users’ growing interest in the discussion after this site published details about the event. Some parents had set aside petrol money and re-organised their working day to make long distance trips down to the House of Commons to listen to the debate.

On 9th October, the day the debate was set to take place, Researching Reform reached out to Tim Loughton MP, the member of Parliament who organised the event. We tweeted Tim at around 9.15pm, several hours after the debate should have started. We asked Tim what had happened to the debate, and he told us that the discussion had been postponed. We then asked Tim if the debate had been rescheduled. Tim replied that any new date would be dependant on the Committee being able to find a slot for the discussion.

It’s been over a month since the debate was cancelled, so we reached out to Tim again last Friday, to ask whether there had been any developments on a date for the debate. This time, Tim did not respond.

There has been significant government push back over the last few weeks on the very serious concerns about children’s social care raised by this site and several other child welfare campaigners. The Ministry of Education’s ongoing resistance to addressing breaches in law over practices like forced adoption and the online marketing of children in care appears to stem from a concern that reforms in these areas would likely reduce profits inside a sector already buckling under austerity measures.  That our government refuses to talk about the very real damage the child welfare sector is doing to children and families is a disgrace.

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