A sad day in the uK
The family were "known to the social services, but not considered at risk" - yet two babies were murdered by their own mother.*
Despite 60 visits from various agencies Baby P suffered serious abuse for his whole, short life, and was murdered either by, or under the eyes of his mother and social services did not consider he was at risk.
Shannon Matthews mother was more interested in a ring tone, than whether her "kidnapped" daughter was safe and well after being found following nearly a month missing.
"Good enough parenting" is the byword of British social services. It doesn't have to be good, just good enough. A parent can beat, neglect, and abuse their child, and as long as they co-operate when the social worker tells them they shouldn't, the child, and other children will stay with that parent.
On our fostering course, we have been given plenty of statistics about how much worse children in care do compared to children not in care, both academically, and regarding mental health issues. I asked if anyone had looked at it from the other end - how many children with problems end up in the care system? No-one had stats on that!
They also agreed that as they are trying harder and harder to keep children with their families, they ones that do enter the care system are doing so much older, and with much more severe difficulties, and finding it harder to adjust or settle with foster families.
Of course, foster parents are in massively short supply - possibly because we have been trying to get approved for nearly two years now, and are still waiting for social services to commence the assessment process! or possibly because the qualifications/qualities required to foster now make it impossible for 75% of the population to do it. But then again, there are also long, long waiting lists for adoption......
I don't care what the ECHR says - having a family is NOT a right! It is a priviledge, and a responsibility that should IMHO be regulated - and we should not be scared to remove children as a preventative emasure, rather than as a reactive one!
* this is still breaking news and I do not want to second guess what exactly "known to SS" means - but I wonder if perhaps she had, say, called SS previously saying that she was finding it hard to cope, and was told "there is nothing we can do" - because it seems from my experience at least, that you need to actually hurt a child before they give a damn!