Children’s Services Directors Reject `Odious Slur’ On Child Care Workers

Social Care directors have dismissed out of hand allegations by a small number of Parliamentarians that social workers are deliberately removing children  from their birth parents in order to meet government adoption targets.

{mosimage}According to John Freeman and John Coughlan, joint presidents of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services*, “Such practices do not occur. They have never occurred. The legal framework in which we operate means they cannot occur. And the moral climate within which children services, at least, operate means they could not occur.”

The joint presidents were reacting to an Early Day Motion which has so far been signed by 12 Members of Parliament. They went on to demand that the sponsoring MP, John Hemming, either produce compelling evidence to back up his claim, or withdraw it. The allegations, they said, “are part of an odious slur that has been cast on social workers, courts, and everyone who works to protect the interests of children everywhere.”

Directors are, though, happy to cooperate with interested parties in seeing how decisions made within the Family Courts system can be made more open. Elsewhere, Mr Freeman and Mr Coughlan replied to suggestions emanating from children’s charity Barnados that children were not being adopted due to cash pressures on local authority budgets.

“Children do not `languish’ in local authority care at any time or for any reason,” they said, although acknowledging that clearing some children, at whatever age, for adoption can sometimes be an extremely complex task.

“The adoption process is necessarily a comprehensive, thorough and exhaustive task. It is a service which the state provides directly to children who, for whatever reason, cannot be properly cared for by their birth parents. It is not a service for birth parents; it is not a service for adoptive parents; it is not a service for voluntary adoption agencies. It is exclusively and necessarily a service for children,” they said.