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Parental Responsibility.

July 5, 2010

When a care order is granted under  the Children Act, the state (more speficially the local authority who applied for the order) is given parental responsibility. The same responsibility as a parent.

I have parental responsibility for my daughter. So does her father. Exactly the same legal responsibility. It is a very special responsibility, and if we fail in it, action is taken. Rachel has a rights. Children have rights.

The Children Act 1989 says a child’s welfare is PARAMOUNT. Paramount meaning above all other considerations.

I just watched Newsnight. It showed a planning meeting in East Sussex County Council. It showed the head of Childrens Services declaring that Childrens Services had been cut to the bone over the years, and there was just no more meat. It was the same in Bradford. Hence the whole ‘high caseload’ ‘high burnout rate’ of social workers, why there have been so many local authorities in the news… you hear discussion of it(albeit brief) every time there is a Baby Peter, or a Victoria Climbie.

THe clip switched to a graphic showing that the biggest cuts in that Local Authority were to come from Children’s Services.

If am running at a deficit, I am legally required to ‘ringfence’ Rachel. In fact, research shows that in situations where money is tight, that’s pretty much what parents do. Ironic that doing that is precisely what brings some parents to the attention of Children’s Services in the first place. Or evidence that they haven’t been.

The state has PARENTAL responsibility for these kids, cos noone else wanted, or was capable of handling that responsibility. These kids are the most vulnerable in the country. The threshold of risk is so high that these are the kids that have already dealt with things most adults never have to. And their needs CAN’T be ringfenced?

What the fuck was the point in bringing them into care? I can tell you this, I wouldn’t be able to justify taking from Rachel first- I couldn’t justify it to a magistrate, and I couldn’t justify it to myself.

To know the stress unemployment and poverty has on families, to deliberately place more families in that situation, then to disregard the responsibility the state has to these children so easily?

And the social care staff who still have a legal responsibility to do the job of looking after those children; will anyone be standing up for them when their names are above a Sun petition?

These kids grow into adults. And your childhood is the foundation on which your life is built.

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