25 May 2010
Calls for children suffering neglect to be take into care earlier.
Children who are experiencing neglect in their birth families should be taken into care earlier, according to children’s charity Barnardo’s.
Reported in Children and Young People Now magazine, Barnardo's Assistant Director of Policy Enver Solomon suggested that social services departments should intervene earlier over neglect.
Speaking at a conference last week, he said: "Social workers and legal staff are reluctant to make proactive judgements to remove children living in chronically neglectful circumstances.
“There is a tendency to wait for a catapult or decisive event – a clear worsening of circumstances or seeing injuries or bruises that are clear evidence of significant harm."
This followed controversial comments last year from Barnardo’s outgoing Chief Executive Martin Narey, who suggested that birth families are not always the best place for a child to grow up because some families cannot be "fixed".
Mr Solomon added: "The message from research and serious case reviews is that agencies are poor at addressing the impact of chronic neglect and intervening at an early stage to prevent the problems escalating."
He stressed that Barnardo’s was not criticizing social workers, but the expectations that managers, politicians, the public and the media placed upon them.