Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Social dis-services at it again

First, there was baby P, then this week we read of a foster family in Wales who had a teenager placed in their care who was a convicted sex offender. Social services failed to inform the foster parents of the boy's past and he then went on to sexually assault their daughter and sodomise their young son.

Now, most people are shocked that something like this has happened and there are alarmed headlines in the newspapers. After all, social services are supposed to protect children, not leave them in harm's way.
However, personally, I'm not at all shocked by this disclosure. Horrified and incensed yes, but surprised no. I come across incompetence and risk taking all the time in the social care sector.

Last week, I did a shift at another children's care home. One of my colleagues was transfered in from another home a few streets away. This was because one of the residents in her home, a 17 year old boy, had been threatening her all day whilst she was locked in the office waiting for the police to arrive. The experience had badly shaken her. Although used to threats and intimidation it was particularly severe that day and she feared the boy in question was likely to strike her.

Now, this boy, almost 18, had a history of sexually abusing young girls including pre-pubescent children. Social services were aware of this, but none the less they needed to find him somewhere to live. The care home they found for him was in a residential street with many families with young girls. My colleague informed me that after he had arrived, the private company that ran the care home warned the staff, that under no circumstances were they to inform any of the neighbours of the boy's history of sexual offending. To do so could lead to dismissal or a disciplinary hearing. Over the coming weeks, the staff watched him trying to lure young girls back to the house, powerless to do anything about it for fear of losing their jobs.

So, you see now why when I read of gross incompetence by social services or any other public sector body I'm not in the least bit surprised. I've been experiencing it for years.

7 comments:

crowlord said...

There's inhuman rights for you

DorsetDipper said...

If the social workers believe a crime is going to be committed and do nothing, aren't they guilty of conspiracy?

it's either banned or compulsory said...

Whistle blowers required a.s.a.p.

WinstonSmith33 said...

After Baby P occured I said there would be more cases like him and there already have been as there were before.

Such is the scale of the social breakdown in Britain that no Social Services department will ever be completely fit for purpose. As incompetent as social services often are, and in the case of Baby P, he could definitley have been rescued.

However, the reason that there will be many more baby Ps is not because of inadequate social services but rather because of the breakdown of family structures and welfare incentives to have children that you can not cope with. Remember Baby Ps mother was viewed at being at risk of harming the child and the council thought that moving her from a flat to a four bedroomed house, courtesy of the taxpayer, would relieve her stress and help her cope with being a mother. It is these welfare policies that are partly to blame for our country's social breakdown. Fair enough social services are failing but then again how can they cope with the scale of the malaise that the nation faces?

Merlin said...

"the private company that ran the care home warned the staff, that under no circumstances were they to inform any of the neighbours of the boy's history of sexual offending. To do so could lead to dismissal or a disciplinary hearing. To do so could lead to dismissal or a disciplinary hearing. Over the coming weeks, the staff watched him trying to lure young girls back to the house, powerless to do anything about it for fear of losing their jobs"


"So, you see now why when I read of gross incompetence by social services or any other public sector body I'm not in the least bit surprised"

Private sector incompetence then, or public?

WinstonSmith33 said...

A bit of both actually, The care home is owned by a private company whom the local authority pay to look after the adolescents. However, the care home is regulated by the government and local authority.

Anonymous said...

There are existing channels for the care workers to report his activities that would highlight his current risk to chilren. If he had been found guilty of such acts then he should have been plaaced in custody for his actions, or an application under MAPPA or by the police to issue a SOPO forbidding him from talking to children/inviting them to the home etc... then the police would have been able to investigate his actions when he breached it and stick him in prison/ or back b4 the courts.
Sometimes a bit of common sense can go a long way.
Personally i have been in the position of discovering someone was a sex offender who had horrifically abused his own two infant sons, although he was a friend of mine i made sure that his employers were discretely aware and he lost his job (for other reasons) very shortly after, thereby removing the power he had in his job.
Unfortunately the police and other bodies are only now starting to get the powers they need to protect children, and things like baby-p cause a knee jerk that inevitable cause police over-reaction, they then get sued, and the controls and measures get tightened or watered down.

In this situation i would have rather protected the local families and told them, screw the authorities. How far do you think the dismissal process would go when you have massive public support and the backing of your colleagues?