Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Government scraps 1946 safeguard for children in care

The removal of protections in 10 sets of regulations relating to the care of looked-after children in England, with no public consultation or parliamentary debate, must be seen for what it is: an attack on their rights.
So begins the editorial in tomorrow's Guardian.

And an article in the paper gives details of these worrying proposals:
One of the key relaxations, which came into force last Friday, is the removal of the requirement for a social worker to visit – or even telephone – a child in care every six weeks, reducing it to 'as soon as is reasonably practicable'. 
The requirement for a six-monthly review of a child's care, introduced following the manslaughter of the 12-year-old Dennis O'Neill by his foster carers in 1944, has been similarly relaxed, and adoption and fostering panels which allow for independent scrutiny have become optional. 
The government says the measures are temporary – expiring on 25 September – and will allow overstretched children’s services greater flexibility, but there are fears that the coronavirus crisis is being used as an excuse to relax children’s social care duties and the expiry date could be revoked.
Open Democracy calls the proposals 'England’s bonfire of children’s rights' and illustrates its article with an image of a Daily Mirror front page reporting the committal proceedings against Dennis O'Neill's foster carers in February 1945.

It is hard to decipher, but concerns the evidence given by Dennis's younger brother Terence.

Terence O'Neill published a book about his experiences in 2010 and I was in touch with him at that time. I discussed his brother's case myself in a book chapter I wrote back in 2005.

And the photograph above shows the former Pontesbury Magistrates Court in Shropshire where the committal proceedings took place.

Now read my second post on this subject.


nigel hunter said...

This is the start of reducing everybody's rights. You start under a larger story ,Covid, where a 'small thing' can get buried. With all Tory MPs Brexit orientated if they wish for the exit from the EU they will have to agree with .Johnsons Govnt decisions.or loose the whip. This is just the start.

David Evans said...

This is possibly the most important post you have ever made on your Blog.

Thank you.