A new online magazine which has just been launched aims to offer parents with children in care or facing child protection proceedings support and advice.
PAR, which stands for Parents Advocacy and Rights, features videos, conferences and presentations on what it’s like to lose a child to the care system, how parents are treated by child welfare professionals and families’ experiences of the system.
The website explains that PAR is a parent led group offering support to other parents “with children in the care system, child protection, children’s hearings, and other situations where they have lost care of their children, or risk losing care”. The ‘About’ page of the site says:
“Many parents and their children feel they are the last people to be heard when social work or health or education get involved in their lives. We believe that parents and families need help to be heard and that social workers and others need help to listen and to make respectful relationships with parents. No decisions about us without us!”
The project appears to be led by Maggie Mellon, an independent social worker practicing in Scotland. She was also Vice Chair of The British Association of Social Workers (BASW). Maggie is known for her outspoken views on the care system and her no-nonsense approach to addressing problems within the child protection sector.
In February 2016, Maggie commented on the state of social care in an article for Community Care:
“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.”
In July of this year, Maggie also supported this site’s call to hold a debate on Britain’s forced adoption policies.
PAR’s website includes information about a conference being held in Scotland. The conference will give a voice to mothers who have lost children to care and adoption or are at risk of doing so. The scheduled date is 3 November, which we are assuming for now is set for 2019.
We tried to watch the featured video on the site, but spent the first two minutes crying.
Parents, do let us know what you think about the site.