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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Are we creating the platform for another high profile death?

In the UK, where budgets for child welfare have been under increasing pressure, caseloads are rising. The number of children on protection plans and in care are on the increase as well. It is this mix which creates the sorts of pressures where managing cases for child protection workers becomes more and more challenging. Things will get missed. This is the bringing together of the types of factors that lead to the high profile death.

Unfortunately when that happens, it is the front line social worker who will often bear the focal brunt (along with the immediate supervisor). If such a case occurs, one would like to think that this would be the time when we would question systemic effects on casework and accept that there is a balance between what society will pay for and therefore, what child protection can realistically do.

Community Care has reported on this story suggesting that it is the perfect storm for local councils who must try juggle these budgetary demands.

One of the ways pressure in the system eases (and this is but one) is through adoption. In the UK that appears to be a growing problem as well. Children and Young People Now are reporting a decline in the adoption rate of 5%.

This UK data matters to all in chid protection as it illustrates pressures that are building in many Western jurisdictions as the economy worsens. It begs the question of whether we need to look at different models for the delivery of child protection services. Nebraska, in the USA experimented with privatizing the work.  As the Omaha World Herald reports, that experiment seems fraught with problems that are familiar to publicly run programs - high caseloads and high turnover. When you essentially privatize the same model, you are likely to encounter the same problems.

All this is to suggest that the really hard questions of how the system is created and managed are not yet getting asked (although the Munro Review on Child Protection in England has tried hard). It is the political level that must be willing to address the changes needed - and accept that no system of child protection will be perfect and that means in all systems, mistakes will be made. But our present economic woes may be fermenting the next crisis.

1 comment:

  1. Oh they cry budget cuts!!!! But a family who LOVES there children , ALREADY hurting from guilt to provide GETS their child stolen from them when they have finacial difficulties! OH OH , Lets steal their child and adopt it out as fast as we can!!!! because even though there is no fukin court process and no harm to the child except maybe eating some ramen noodles or no ipod, or maybe they are actually HOMELESS, holy shit, !!!! For thousands of years we did exist without electricity!!! It does not mean we have stopped providing or loving our offspring. This government and all governments and the systems of MONEY CREATE crime and evil and lack. We are amazing, the birth process is amazing, we are amazing this whole earth is amazing. and now we are blogging about wether the anointed angels of our holy all bestowing government can wretch the young from the bosom of the worthless peasants. you need to search online , good luck with this very low progile blog. your just like all the learned people, let me say todays psychology IS WRONG, they are wrong, and the doctors are not taught anything right, and the pushing of the drugs that are killing and destroying life, this huge evil mess. I don't know how it is going to end, but we are doing all of this to ourselves!!!!