Freedom Of Information Request Calls Out NSPCC’s ‘Reckless’ Child Neglect Campaign

Researching Reform

A Freedom Of Information request produced by a child rights activist has called out children’s charity the NSPCC for what it suggests is a reckless and less than upfront campaign designed to influence child protection policy.

Michele Simmons was reading an article which claimed that there was a sharp rise in child neglect cases, when she decided to search online for more information. What she discovered were over twenty strikingly similar articles all referencing statistics from the NSPCC, individually tailored for the readers of each regional publication.

A piece published in The Nottingham Post for example, cites NSPCC statistics for the area, claiming that the charity refers more than two cases of child neglect in Nottingham a week. In another look-alike story, The Oxford Times references NSPCC data which claims that three reports of child neglect a week are passed on to the police in the Oxford area.

All but one piece…

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Crosses, Spaghetti Carbonara and The Qur’an.

Researching Reform

Whilst the case of a Christian toddler forced to live in a Muslim household in England has reignited the Far Right and caused uproar worldwide, a much bigger and more important story is being missed. It’s a story about a broken care system, one which routinely fails children and which fights to stay alive through financial incentives.

There can be no excuse for sending a vulnerable child into an environment where they feel scared and alone. Leaked social work reports confirmed that the toddler had sobbed and begged not to be returned to the family after being told to remove her cross and prevented from eating spaghetti Carbonara because it had pork in it. The child was recorded as being deeply distressed and sometimes unable to understand the family, who spoke Arabic as well as English.

The family’s actions have understandably sparked a debate about the practice of Islam, however…

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Ministers And Children’s Policy – Who’s Who In 2017

Researching Reform

We have been asked to update our 2016 roundup of which politicians are working in departments with a child welfare element, so we’re adding the current state of play below:

Home Office:

Ministry Of Justice:

  • Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, David Lidington MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Youth Justice, Victims, Female Offenders and Offender Health, Dr Phillip Lee MP

Department For Education:

  • Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening MP
  • Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson MP
  • Minister of State for School Standards, and Minister for Equalities, Nick Gibb MP
  • Minister of State for Children and Families, Robert Goodwill MP

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Ostriching and adverse inferences


The law in relation to decisions not to engage with assessments and the consequences that may flow from this

I ended up scratching my head about this issue about a month ago – where a parent doesn’t engage with assessments and doesn’t provide samples for drug testing, what can the Court do about it? It seemed a very obvious answer that the Court would be invited to draw adverse inferences from the failure to cooperate, but I couldn’t easily lay my hands on the authority for that proposition. It turned out to be more elusive than I had imagined, so having done the research and written it up, it was rather vexing to receive an email minutes later to say that the parent was now willing to engage rendering all my hard work pointless.

So, waste not want not. At the very least it might save someone else having to…

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Social Worker Struck Off For Belittling And Endangering Domestic Violence Victim

Researching Reform

A social worker has been struck off after an audio recording emerged in which he made degrading comments about a victim of domestic violence, and shared her whereabouts with the man convicted of assaulting her. The incidents took place within a child protection investigation.

The man had been accused of standing on the pregnant woman’s face and threatening to pour oil on her. She later escaped by jumping out of a window.

The social worker, who has not been named, called the woman a “pathological liar” and said she was “bi-polar”. The HCPC conduct and competence committee reviewing the case said the social worker’s tone in the recording was “wholly disrespectful” and “bordering on degrading”.

Of greater concern was the social worker’s decision to tell the man accused of abusing the woman, the location and times of meetings she would be attending, putting her and her unborn child at risk. He…

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Damning Judgment Reveals Another Council Illegally Removing Children From Parents

Researching Reform

A family court judge has called out a council for acting with ‘subterfuge and immediacy’ for illegally removing a child from her parents. 

The comments represent the latest within a growing number of judgments calling out councils for illegal and unethical behaviour in their practices of social care and forced adoption. 

Gloucesteshire county council finally apologised to the parents after a hearing in which Judge Stephen Wildblood set out an astounding list of errors, which included:

  • Failing to place the child, who was under two at the time, with her father in the event of removal from her mother, as set out in the care order
  • Taking 6 weeks to return the baby to the mother, who was breastfeeding at the time
  • Breaching their legal duty to give parents 14 days’ notice prior to removing their child
  • Failing to seek legal advice despite having a strong feeling that the removal…

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