Saturday, 16 April 2016

Five per cent of families are assessed every year

Norway is not the only country which has a child protection service that has spun out of control:

"A huge increase in the number of children being referred to social services has caused `catastrophic` trauma for tens of thousands of families without any corresponding increase in the number of child abuse cases detected, the author of a study has said."

"According to statistical analysis by the University of the West of England, child protection referrals have risen by 297% since the Children Act came into force 23 years ago, and assessments by social services have risen by 359%. The proportion of cases in which abuse was identified has plummeted from 24% to just under 8%."

" `We are now at a situation where up to 5% of all families are now referred for assessment every year,` said Dr Lauren Devine, principal investigator of the Economic and Social Research Council-funded study. `The vast majority of those do not injure or seriously harm their children, but government policy requiring risk assessment at quite a low threshold means that rather than feeling supported by social services, some families now feel fear.`"

"As the number of applications to take children into care hits a record high, Devine argues that the system is overwhelming caseworkers and putting the most serious cases of abuse at risk of being missed. At the same time, many families who have done nothing wrong are being traumatised by intrusive investigations. `Research shows that if you put parents on the floor with stress, you’re not going to improve their parenting,` she said."

"`There is no way to separate out a simple request for services for a struggling family from an assessment of whether a child is at risk of abuse, Devine said. `These now go hand in hand and you’re then investigated and risk-assessed on all aspects of your family life.` Social workers say their caseload now exceeds what children’s services can reasonably manage."

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