The UK’s government is failing in provision of child protection services. Several incidences have occurred and have served as enough proof that the government is lagging behind on it responsibilities. Peter Connelly, Victoria Climbié, Balthous Galtricia, Sean Denton, and Lois Lazenby are just a few of the hundreds of children who have died at the hands of parents or guardians, despite being known to social services and being part of the Child Protection framework (The UK and Ireland Database, 2016). In regards to the number of neglect cases that have been experienced it is clear that the local authorities are not meeting the required standards of child safeguarding. This is as pertaining to the UK legislation on child protection understanding the need of solo cultural competency in this particular debate is also imperative.
Several reasons have resulted in the governments system in child protection to fail. One of them being, prioritizing the needs of parents first rather than those of vulnerable children. The government has an inefficient system systems that looks out for parents before considering the dire suffering that a child might endure in such an event. It is found that the right of biological parents are considered even though the parents are in capable of taking care of themselves. This inability of taking care of one’s self is a clear indication that one is in no position to be given the responsibility of taking care of a child. However, the government ignores such and acts when it already too late. By then, the child has already suffered because of neglect and abuses. Most of these children are taken from abusive homes and are taken to other abusive homes. Or even they are taken to care and the government takes too long to find the children a decent home. Which mostly happens in the event that the government fails to support the social services profession.
The UK’s child protection system is one where the bureaucracy involved is very inefficient because the system shuns away volunteers and parents are able to escape their person responsibility. All these consequences, greatly and negatively impact the children. The government, to be precise the education sector is in charge of the children’s protection.
In the event of scandals the government fails to give a clear report of what happened and these gives room for the same mistake to occur again. These is as a result of sensitization. This is another reason that has led to the government failing in it child protection services. In addition, to its ignorance, it fails to follow up on cases of children neglecting and abuse so that they can prevent the occurrence of such cases in future. The government is supposed to consider the failings of the social service and initiate reforms in the service(NSPCC). It has failed on supporting the social services systems, by failing to modernize their practice as well as facilitating a smooth integration of the profession with other professions. The mentioned reasons are a clear indication of the ignorance on the government’s part. Which is another reason as to why it has failed on matters pertaining to child protection services. As mentioned, the government has failed to put the interest of the children first, and the volunteers who wish to adopt children are treated very poorly by the system. The system does not provide a secure future plan for those children who leave care homes as well. In addition, they fail to offer protection to those children who are vulnerable to exploitation and neglect.
A report that was drafted after a probe was done on cases of child protection that has emerged before proved that it was a case of negligence and ignorance on the government’s part(NSPCC). This is because the cases were repetitive. The local authorities failed to report these cases and they never sort the best way forward. The unprofessional handling practices are some of the major causes of government failure in child protection. Lack of proper communication being one if the unprofessional practices. Some of the children in care or in foster homes have been reported missing but, many a times the local authorities have associated such behaviors’ as being unruly. They have not investigated into such matters satisfactorily and as a cause for concern(NSPCC). In matters pertaining to unprofessionalism most of the staff in the social services were found to be rather inexperienced. They do not take the task of allocating foster homes to vulnerable children seriously. Hence, they end up posting them to dangerous homes.
A report released three years ago highlighted on how local authorities were operating unscrupulous practices compromising the well-being of a child for their own benefit. They sought to ignore troubled children, for example, those living with addict parents even when they reached out for help. The local authorities argued that they offered their services to according to the monetary resources they had. This is a serious system yet it operates in accordance to its budget. That means only a few get lucky. The leaders or mangers were reported to give instructions to their employees to down grade the children at risk to those in need in order to require less from the local authority. They ignored the needs of such children in the name of a tight budget. Clearly the local authorities are not aiming at protecting the children(Garboden, 2008). “There is a large group of young people whose families are falling apart because of violence, addiction or mental health problems but who are not regarded as reaching the threshold for statutory support services. These children are not in care, nor are they being cared for by their biological parents. They are our country’s ‘lone children’,” (Abrahams & Lightfoot 2003). This is an indication of how a certain portion of people are being alienated from those who need support. This is made possible by the local authorities’ manipulation. A study done by NSPCC reported that, 520,000 child victims of maltreatment in the UK of whom just 11 per cent were on child protection plans. “For every child subject to a child protection plan or on a child protection register, we estimate another eight have suffered maltreatment,” (The UK and Ireland Database, 2016).
This controversial debate on the current failure of the child protection frame work has resulted in a critical analysis of an understanding of the impact that solo cultural context has on child maltreatment. With the social society, the interaction of different cultures has resulted into conflicting opinions on child rearing practices(Community Practitioner, 2015). What might be neglect to another might be norm to another’s culture. Such cases are most prevalent in minority cultures who are overrepresented in the family court cases. Due to lack of cultural competence, there are cases of mishandling of situations where child maltreatment is involved. The way a situation may be handled may be in regards to one’s culture, norm or even attitude. In order to avoid child maltreatment and avoid neglect and abuse of the child, there must be a standard for cultural competence that must be understood across the board. In the case of an immigrant who has just moved into a foreign country that considers corporal punishment as child abuse, then he or she is reported as abusing their child. They may fail to understand why they are not allowed to be in control of their own children. But, according to the statutory laws of that country, they differ with the immigrant’s culture. Hence, cultural practices may be biased when it comes to regarding what is child maltreatment and what is not.
Earlier before, the courts failed to recognize cultural diversity in its rulings against child maltreatment. Instead it chose to use the statutory legislation of the nation. Ethnicity practices were not taken into consideration. However, that has changed or is trying to be changed where by the court systems are looking at cultural sensitivity and competency as well. Training is ongoing with social workers to understand the impact of ones culture and norms in relation to ones behaviors’. This training is mostly for those dealing with child protection services. The training is hard and to attain a level of cultural competency takes hard work and clear understanding of cultures across boundaries. The fact that cultures are dynamic and keep on changing makes the training difficult and one that has to be frequent. That is why cultural competency is hard to maintain. Cultures and norms bring about stereotyping which is again can be a cause of child maltreatment(H.M. Gov, 2011). In a valuation situation, certain stereotyping could lead a worker to assume that all families from specific ethnic backgrounds use harsh forms of punishment to discipline their children. Asking one to be culturally competent is asking that the professional shed the belief that others see the world as he does. It requires more than just acknowledging different perspectives and creating an illusion of understanding (Ferguson, 2003). The key concept of cultural competency is not to compromise the well-being of children in order to promote harmful traditions. Rather, it is to promote positive traditions that may stop children’s maltreatment. A clear sensitization of such positive practices should be done not only to workers but also to the nation so that they may impact such positive practices to their own children.
Critical reflection from the education perspective may be viewed differently from those on the actual ground (Blythe, 2014). Those on the actual ground are those that deal with child protection services directly. Critical reflection reveals the distinction between personal ethics and professional ethics. For the education sector it easy for them to have a critical reflection but for the professional practitioners it is difficult to maintain personal beliefs and intertwine them with professional practices and still maintain ethical practices. Ethical practices can as well be influenced by culture. However, social work education helps in the profession practice. It is a great contributor to rendering good services to children who are in need. The government should support such education initiatives in order to show support for the child protection framework. Education sector allows the possibility of critical and rational awareness (Blythe, 2014). Something that the practitioners might lack. This skill facilitates the positive confrontation of tension that occurs when dealing with children who need protective care. Due to their background they may be a bit unruly and this education provides a platform to practice patients and understanding.
The in effectiveness of the child protection system has greatly affected the children themselves. They fail to have the sense of belonging in their own homes and also in the world. The system is meant to protect them and give them hope. Instead it turns them away killing any hope they had to a better life(Cowburn & Myers, 2016). The moment a child seeks help form the authorities and does not receive it, they are left with no option but to seek ways in which they can help themselves. These may be risky. The situation that the child protection framework is in is very dangerous and is putting children at risk. Most of these children end up engaging in dangerous activities in order to fend for themselves. They end up skipping schools and leaving in the streets because the system cannot accommodate them. The system does not guarantee them of a bright future but rather it shutters their dreams.
Conclusively, child protection system in the UK is very poor and has had a negative impact on such children. The local authorities responsible for taking care of the needs of such children has neglected them. The neglect can be attributed to several causes some of which is ignorance by the government. Some of the cases pertaining to child protection are repetitive and the authorities have failed to acknowledge that. They fail to probe into a cases and make it public in order to prevent the occurrence of such a case. The local authorities put the needs of the children as the last option and only consider the parents. These leaves the children in a state in which they suffer for they parents faults. The government is meant to protect them instead it chooses to save their money and stick to their budget. That leaves the rest of the children out of the child protection framework. Cultural competency is also important in judging cases that pertain to child maltreatment. Consideration of one’s culture is important. However, that does not mean that there is the right to practice child maltreatment in the name of cultural practices and norms.
- Abrahams, C. & Lightfoot, D. (2003) The bigger picture. [Online] Available from https://www .theguardian.com/society/2003/jan/31/childprotection.comment.
- Blythe, M. (2014) Moving on from Munro: Improving Children’s Services. Policy Press, Bristol.
- Community Practioner Magazine (2015) baby P child death likely to happen again say health visitors. [Online] Available from http://hub.communitypractitioner.com/news/baby-p-child-death-likely-to-happen-again-say-health-visitors.
- Cowburn, M. & Myers, S. (2016) Social Work with Sex Offenders: Making a Difference. Policy
- Ferguson, H. (2003) The Sixth sense. [Online] Available from https://www.theguardian. com/society/2003/jan/30/comment1.
- Garboden, M. (2008) Baby Peter case in Haringey. [Online] Available from http://www .communitycare.co.uk/2008/11/12/baby-peter-case-in-haringey/.
- H.M. Government (2011) The Munro Review of Child Protection: Final Report. A child-centred system. [Online] Available from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/ system/ uploads /attachment_data/file/175391/Munro-Review.pdf.