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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Social Services and joined up working.

Here is an example of joined up working between the police and social services.
From Occupy News Network
Evidence authorities are threatening to take children from anti fracking protesters.
Protest against Fracking and we will take your kids
The [above] video shows how a protester in an anti-fracking protest is being questioned and followed by a member of Multi-Agency Unit, the connotations is that the social service worker is threatening the parent`s right to have a family.
Beyond the video link, ONN has no other information about this case, although the footage shows that the social worker
a) does not know the children.
b) does not have any direct concerns about their well being.
The only point the social worker seems to be concerned about is that their parent/ guardian is protesting.
Protest in Britain is still a human right under the European Convention, whether you have children or not. In terms of responsible parenting, it could easily be argued that an anti-fracking camp is one of the most responsible places to take kids. To stop fracking ruining their future.
  Greenwash 

Another extraordinary case is reported in the Telegraph 30 November 2013: It exposes joined up working between the police, social services, mental health and the judiciary.

A mother was given a caesarean section while unconscious - then social services put her baby into care

Christopher Booker
"Last summer a pregnant Italian mother flew to England for a two-week Ryanair training course at Stansted. Staying at an airport hotel, she had something of a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy. She called the police, who arrived at her room when she was on the phone to her mother. The police asked to speak to the grandmother, who explained that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication to calm her down."
 
"The police told the mother that they were taking her to hospital to “make sure that the baby was OK”. On arrival, she was startled to see that it was a psychiatric hospital, and said she wanted to go back to her hotel. She was restrained by orderlies, sectioned under the Mental Health Act and told that she must stay in the hospital. "
 
"By now Essex social services were involved, and five weeks later she was told she could not have breakfast that day. When no explanation was forthcoming, she volubly protested. She was strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken into care by social workers. She was not allowed to see her baby daughter, and later learnt that a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, had given the social workers permission to arrange for the child to be delivered."  Read More

Joined up working, or working in partnership, is always presented by Government as a desirable system. But isn`t it likely to lead to collusive relationships without checks and balances? What is obvious is that joined up working is very useful if you want to control a system from the top down or you need to ensure a result or cover up mistakes.  Because joined-up working means having the various agencies agreeing on an action that they must inevitably hold together and defend regardless of any opposition.

As Douglas Carswell MP for Clacton says: "As an Essex MP I have serious concerns about Essex Children`s Services. They are unaccountable and out of control. These people are dictators who abuse their powers. They are arrogant bullies and people are frightened of them.

UK Column have a lot to say about this:

See HERE 

Lessons Learned from Jimmy Savile Case?

Tucked inside the Children`s Commissioner`s report if only someone had listened there is this paragraph: 
It is important to create the conditions at school, at home and in wider society in which everyone is alert to the signs that a child or young person may be at risk or is a victim of CSE [child sexual exploitation] and that there is a climate of belief and respect for them that gives them the confidence to tell a trusted person about their experience. This is illustrated by the Jimmy Savile revelations, which resulted in people opening up and knowing they would be believed, having kept their experiences of abuse secret for decades.
Is it not more likely that allegations were only allowed to surface after Jimmy Savile was dead because of the vast network of powerful people he might have dragged down with him had he been subject to an investigation when he was alive? 

For a compilation of some of the allegations, connections and alleged cover-ups see http://aangirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/bbcs-jimmy-savile-and-child-abuse-cover.html

Is the Office of the Children`s Commissioner just being naive here?
I doubt it.

According to John Hemmings MP children are allowed to just disappear from the care system without a trace: See his weblog

Then we have Jack Straw and the gagging orders which make it impossible for families or children to speak out even if the children have been abused in care. See No2abuse. If the Children`s Commissioner is serious about listening to children, surely there should be no gagging orders and better records for children in care.

Then we are reminded of Eric Pickles who shouted at a survivor of alleged child abuse that she should `adjust her medication`. HERE
She claimed she had been trying to get him to listen to her for the past sixteen years.

It has never been easy for abuse survivors from the care system, or those abused by establishment figures, to get attention and it looks like there is still a lot of work to do to stop the cover-ups.

Parents written out of the report

Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (Pace) have welcomed the Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Final Report “If only someone had listened” on their Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups.
 
But Pace have some concerns:  
... although the report highlights the essential need to listen to the ‘Voice of the Child’ and the ‘Voice of the Professional’, the ‘Voice of the Parent’, the ‘Voice of the Siblings’ and the ‘Voice of the Families’ also affected by child sexual exploitation have not been acknowledged and are barely an audible whisper in the report.
Last week, a major YouGov Report, Are parents in the picture? Professional and parental perspectives of child sexual exploitation’ highlighted that police officers, social workers and teachers consider the two most effective ways of preventing cases of CSE to be providing parental support and information and educating children in secondary school. 
The YouGov Report gave evidence that parents appear to have fallen into a safeguarding black-hole with statutory agencies side-lining their role in both preventing CSE and in being part of the picture in safeguarding their child if they are being sexually exploited. It is most worrying that the new OCC Report is pushing parents and families further into the safeguarding shadows despite national research showing this will undermine society’s ability to protect children.  Read More

Referring to the YouGov Report and speaking on Channel 4 News, Fleur Strong, of Pace said "There is still, within society, a feeling that the parents must have done something wrong." Read More

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Criticism of the Report of the Children`s Commissioner

According to the BBC website, the Office of the Children`s Commissioner for England in its report, after a two year inquiry, has said that shocking sexual violence has been carried out by children against other children, and that bullying and sexist attitudes exist across the country. The police and social services need to get better at identifying children at risk in order to protect them.
"There is, however, a long way to go before the appalling reality of sexual violence and exploitation committed by children and young people is believed."
"Research conducted by Bedfordshire University into sexual violence in gangs suggested two-thirds of young people questioned (65%) knew of young women who had been pressurised or coerced into sexual activity."

The problem here is that this is hearsay evidence. Young people have been questioned and encouraged to talk about someone else. Before the `appalling  reality` can be believed, it would take harder evidence than this.

Continue reading the main story

 
 A year ago the commissioner defended the interim report into the extent of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in England in an article which appeared in theguardian.com, Wednesday 21 November 2012. Unnamed sources were critical.
The report revealed that 16,500 children were at high risk of sexual exploitation and 2,409 had been sexually exploited in a 14-month period. It met with immediate criticism following its publication on Tuesday – with unnamed sources questioning the reliability of the numbers, while others accused it of failing to address a particular problem of the targeting of white girls by networks of British Pakistani men.
But the report's authors insist the figures are robust. The figure of children at risk comes solely from four government sources: 100% of police forces responded, along with 88% of local authority children's services and 66% of Primary Care Trusts. Centrally held figures were also used. However, only 21 of 39 police constabulary areas responded to appeals for information while there was less data on perpetrators.
Agencies were asked for details of children displaying any of 11 indicators that are commonly reported – including running away, drug or alcohol misuse and criminality. If children displayed three of these indicators they were deemed at "high risk" of being sexually exploited. A similar method was used for the figure of children who had been sexually exploited.
Of course, running away, drug or alcohol misuse and criminality might not be indicating child sexual exploitation at all which means the very high figures of children at risk quoted in the report are not 100% reliable. Any conclusions built on this unreliable data cannot be depended upon either.

A commentator on the Guardian article had this to say:
belfastman1
I don't mean to spoil the party but this report is flawed. As an academic criminologist with a particular interest in research methodology I can't make sense of it. The methodology section in particular is so full of holes it leaks like a sieve. Before anyone starts, yes I fully acknowledge that child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a significant problem, yes it needs to be tackled, but I can't see how this report either sheds any light on the issue or more importantly provides any means to deal with it. It has spread the issue so thinly that it will make it impossible for professionals to identify and deal with REAL CSE where it occurs. In particular: the 16000 abuse cases is an estimate extrapolated from other estimates (provided by police and other agencies) it has no basis in reality; the 2,400 'real' cases identified were derived from data provided by CEOPS - with no discussion or elaboration on how these were obtained; the actual number of abuse victims on which the report is based is 20. So to my mind, and any social scientist worth their salt, the authors have breached the cardinal rule of scientifically based and empirically grounded social science research: They have generalised from a convenience sample of 20 actual victims to the entire country.  
It has to be questioned why the BBC ran with this flawed report and attempted to stir up a moral panic about children sexually abusing children and why others played the racist card. No doubt examining the recommendations in the report will give a clue to what this report was really about.
 

Here is a blog post which questions the bias in reporting from a racist and class perspective:  White men jailed for abuse

Children need greater protection

From YoungMinds

Children need greater protection from child sexual exploitation.  So says Clare Jerrom on 26 November 2013. 
Children are still falling prey to sexual predators despite the heightened awareness around child sexual exploitation, a report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner has found.
Serious gaps remain in the knowledge, practice and services required to tackle this problem and more needs to be done to prevent thousands more children slipping through the net and falling victim to sexual predators.
“Child sexual exploitation is fundamentally a child protection issue. In the course of the Inquiry, we heard from the police about victims of sexual exploitation who have disappeared and whose bodies have never been recovered. The failure of services to protect them from harm reflects that of hundreds of other children and young people who have suffered abuse,” said Sue Berelowitz, deputy Children’s Commissioner for England.
Phase 1 of the Inquiry into child sexual exploitation found that a total of 2,409 children were known to be victims by gangs and groups. In addition the Inquiry identified 16,500 children and young people as being at risk of exploitation. Many of the known victims had been badly let down by those agencies and services that should have been protecting them.
The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has produced See Me, Hear Me: a new evidence-based Framework for protecting children and young people from sexual exploitation.
Director of Media and Campaigns at YoungMinds Lucie Russell adds her own comments:
"This is a truly shocking report that highlights that there isn’t a place across Britain where young people aren’t being sexually exploited. We have had enough wake up calls and alarm bell moments, we need action now to help those who are getting drawn into this viscous circle of sexual abuse. We live in an age now where the merging of sex and coercion has become normalized and this is because society has become so sexualized.
Why does she say that the merging of sex and coercion has become normalized? For who? Is she aware that children are being sexualised in schools from aged five by way of explicit sex education? Is she aware of the guidelines coming from the United Nations (UNESCO) which is pushing this agenda across Europe?  Never mind the video games and the ever more violent and explicit material put out on television. Has YoungMinds nothing to say about how all this is working on the minds of young people?

She goes on:
We must do all we can to mitigate against this, to build the resilience of some of the most vulnerable young people in our society who get caught up in this abuse and ensure all children and young people learn to respect and look out for one another and have caring adults to turn to when they feel victimized and afraid," concluded Ms Russell.
How about going after the perpetrators of child abuse instead?  How about safeguarding children? But then, that has always been part of the problem as this post from the Cathyfox blog illustrates:
The CHILE 4th Report (CHildren In Lambeth Enquiry) was slick and seemed to give the impression that any problem with sexual abuse in Lambeth was investigated, sorted and finished [2]. That is, even 20 years later, far from the case... 
 This was a joint investigation into abuse, and not a review, between Lambeth Council and the Met Police but where is the councils response? Where is the information? the explanation? the apology? Why is this information not public, why do child abuse campaigners have to chase up a council, supposedly elected by the people for the people, for scraps of information? Where are the years and years of internal investigations and internal reports, and commissioned external reports before this joint investigation with the Metropolitan Police? It is not on the Lambeth website http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/home.htm- only one search item comes up under child sexual abuse... 
It appears that things are not quite right. There are a lot of loose ends in Lambeth. 20 childrens homes[4] run by Lambeth were being investigated in 2000 by Operation Middleton. [1] Where is all the information that should be given to the public about this? Let it all be released by the Council for the publics and the childrens benefit. 
20 childrens homes- this seems evidence of endemic council failure; 49 victims. What? Only 49 victims from at least 20 homes and at least 19 perpetrators? This does not add up; 16 perpetrators dead before Court out of 19? When was this abuse? Why so many perpetrators dead?
The Guardian reported in 2000[4] that the Inquiry, which centred on Lambeth council’s social services department, led to seven arrests and the suspension of 10 staff employed by the borough . What happened to these staff? 
Incredibly back in 1986 John Carroll, Head of the Childrens Home was allowed to keep his job when the Council became aware that he had failed to declare a sex offence on a 13 year old boy. [17] Negligence?
After more input Cathyfox goes on:  
A good summary of what is happening in Britain was written by the excellent Christian Wolmar. [34] Another excellent writer who exposed child sexual abuse at the time was Nick Davies [35] My respect to both of them for their true journalism and bravery in the face of corruption. From Kincora in Northern Ireland to Bryn Alyn in Wales, Dunblane in Scotland to Lambeth in England. This is the rabbit hole, the tip of the iceberg.  
To read the whole post:   by

"Child sexual exploitation is fundamentally a child protection issue," says Ms Berelowitz. It certainly is, and is it not revealing that neither she nor YoungMinds have anything significant to say about the widespread abuse of children in the care system, the endless inquirires, reports and cover-ups?

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

YoungMinds another charity

 Speaking about the HeadStart programme recently Sarah Brennan, CEO of YoungMinds had this to say:  
   “It is desperately sad that in an average classroom, 10 children will have witnessed their parents separate, one will have experienced the death of a parent, and seven will have been bullied and yet there is no single approach to supporting all our children at this key stage in their development. This is why YoungMinds are delighted to support the Big Lottery Fund’s HeadStart investment that looks to support the emotional resilience of all participating 10 to 14 year olds and provide targeted early intervention for those children who need more help at this key time in their lives.”
Again, we have to remind ourselves that the HeadStart targeted early intervention she is delighted to support has never been tested. Neither can she quote any studies which show that a single approach could possibly support all children at a key stage in their development. Common sense tells us that is nonsense. 
 
So who are YoungMinds who can give this kind of endorsement to HeadStart? This is what YoungMinds have to say about themselves:  
YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Driven by their experiences we campaign, research and influence policy and practice.

Like many charities these days YoungMinds believes it has the right to set itself up and then become an influence on Government policy and practice.  
 
On their website we are invited to meet the team. It is surprising how many of the team have been involved in charities and management services. They boast that they are uniquely informed about the mental health and well-being service and support needs of young people because they draw on a wide range of expertise. But are they able to evaluate the information they are drawing in, and then become so expert they are justified in influencing policy and practice?  I would doubt that. 

Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive Officer [below] gained an MSc in Voluntary Sector Organisation in 1990 and has bounced from one charity to another.
 

Sarah Brennan, YoungMinds Chief Executive

Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns and media started The Big Issue`s charity, The Big Issue Foundation in 1995. She promotes YoungMinds through the media and is currently leading on the development of a new YoungMinds website on mental health medication for young people... [From the homeless, to medicines?] 

Christopher Walker, director of fundraising has worked as a fundraiser for children and young people`s charities in the United Kingdom and United States since 1997.


Lysanne Wilsonn, Director of Operations, qualified as a physiotherapist, specialising in paediatrics, having started her career as a linguist and worked as an English teacher with VSO in Kenya. She then moved into health management to be able to better influence the way services were designed and delivered  [my emphasis] to meet the real needs of patients, working in both the developing world and London. 

Daphne Joseph, Parents` Helpline Manager, has worked for YoungMinds since March 2001. She began as a helpline adviser, was promoted to senior helpline adviser in 2003, and has managed the helpline since 2006. Daphne had a 14 year career in international banking, before returning to education and gaining a BA Hons in Psychosocial Studies with Professional Studies from the University of London, and a Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy. ..

Laurie oliv A, youth engagement manager, prior to moving into mental health,  led the development of the national youth engagement programme at Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity- working with thousands of young people across England through campaigning and leadership programmes.  


Cryss Mennaceur, HR manager, joined YoungMinds as HR and Office Manager in June 2013. Cryss has been an HR professional for 18 years. Much of this was spent as a learning and organisational development specialist in both the public and voluntary sectors. More recently Cryss has worked in a broader range of HR roles in the voluntary sector in young people and family orientated charities. 

Matthew Daniel, Training and Consultancy Manager, was appointed as the training and consultancy manager at YoungMinds in September 2013 and has previously worked for the charity leading the participation and engagement training team for the VIK project. He has worked extensively with children, young people and families as a Citizenship Teacher, Connexions Personal Advisor and Youth Worker and he is passionate about working with young people, professionals services to give them the skills they need to facilitate positive change.

Richard Moore, Project Manager, BOND, managed mental health services in the NHS for 10 years before moving into independent consultancy.  

Chris Leaman, Media and Public Affairs Officer, previously worked for a Member of Parliament as their Press and Campaigns Officer and then became responsible for running political campaigns across London.

According to LinkedIn, Chris Leaman was campaigns officer for the LibDems. So no conflict of interests there!

One of the main projects carried out by YoungMinds is a helpline for parents staffed by volunteers. Like the NSPCC Childline, also staffed by volunteers, it is the management team who have the big salaries whilst the frontline staff work for nothing. Charities these days are given `stakeholder` status and have the right to consult with Governments who then make financial contributions to the charities. This is taxpayers` money being sucked into a mangement class who undermine democracy. It is called Big Society.

On the Adam Smith Institute blog, Tim Worstall has highlighted fakecharities.org and invited everyone to join in with the submission of charities.
I think we all know about one type of fake charity? The ones where almost every penny raised goes on either paying for those who run the charity or into more fundraising to, err, pay those who run the charity? Allow me to introduce you to a new form of fake charity, one that has risen rather large in our political discourse in recent years. 
My own eye opener came when I was pointed to the accounts of Friends of the Earth Europe. Some 50% of their money comes from the European Union. That in itself isn’t too appalling, but FoE Europe’s work is to lobby the European Union. You can imagine how this might go then…the taxpayer gets gouged so that a lobby group can be seen to be urging a course of action upon those who have gouged the taxpayer in order to be lobbied. Lobbied to do something that they already wanted to do but need some public lobbying to provide the fig leaf perhaps.
This is not though an isolated incident. Via the excellent and very new fakecharities.org we find that many of those "charities" which appear in our national media are in fact little better than such State funded lobbying organisations. Taxes are taken from us so that the government can pay for the government to be lobbied, providing that fig leaf of a vocal campaign telling them (and us, more importantly) that what they’ve already decided to do is obviously a jolly good idea indeed. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Did Government fund P.I.E?

From Tom Watson in The Mirror:

"Did previous Tory and Labour governments fund the infamous Paedophile Information Exchange? That’s the remarkable claim made to me by a former Home Office insider this week."

"PIE was established in 1974 to campaign for the age of consent to be lowered to four years old. Many former members have been imprisoned for child abuse crimes…"

"…The retired insider told me that he recalled raising his concern that the Volunteer Services Unit of the Home Office was directly funding the work of PIE."

"His recollection was that he raised his fears with superiors but was left in no doubt that he should drop the matter."

"I’ve written to the Home Secretary asking her to initiate an inquiry. It’s not the first time Theresa has had to investigate her own department."
 
More information on the Paedophile Information Exchange HERE

 
 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Baby taken from couple who fled to France

Another couple flee to France only to have their baby taken away

By Christopher Booker

6:23PM GMT 09 Nov 2013

"Last year I reported the shocking story of Marie Black and Joe Ollis who escaped to France for the birth of their first child, after learning that Norfolk social workers intended to seize it at birth on the grounds that Marie had previously been in a violent relationship with another man, who was by then out of her life. The social workers tracked down the couple and, after baby Luna was born, returned, with the approval of a British judge, to deport the child to England."

"Fortunately, the couple had been put in touch with a robust British solicitor, Brendan Fleming, who took their case to the High Court. Here, a more senior judge ruled that, since Luna was born in France and was therefore, under an EU law called Brussels II, “habitually resident” there, the British authorities had no jurisdiction over her. He ordered the social workers to return the baby to her parents in France."

"Far from our social workers having learnt any lesson from this case, I have lately been following one which is almost a carbon copy. Another couple fearful that Bedfordshire social workers might seize their first child at birth, again on the grounds that the mother had previously been in an abusive relationship, set off to start a new life in France. A few days ago their baby was born in a French hospital, by caesarean section, and given a French birth certificate. The next day, the mother returned from a shower, covered only in a bath towel, to find her room filled with 10 French policemen and her baby gone."

"The policemen were holding a piece of paper indicating that they had been sent by Interpol, at the instigation of the British authorities, to remove the child on the grounds that the mother was a dangerous woman who might harm her baby. The couple were shocked to see that much of the description of her was factually wrong. It was also clear that they could only have been traced by someone hacking into emails they had sent since their arrival in France. The French social workers had removed the baby on “orders from Britain”, but could not otherwise have been more friendly, allowing the couple to see their baby, who had been taken to an orphanage an hour’s drive away. They were horrified to see their child lying in a room full of cots containing other babies."

"The mother had already been in touch with Marie Black and Brendan Fleming (although there is still no order from a British court to authorise all that has happened). When the couple appeared in a French court to contest the demand that their baby be deported, the judge was shown a statement citing the Marie Black judgment, making clear that, since Britain had no jurisdiction over the child, deporting her would be illegal. The judge, seemingly out of her depth, adjourned the case, suggesting that it should be heard by a more senior judge in three weeks’ time. We may hope that the new judge can recognise that the law is clear, and that the British authorities had no legal right to arrange what amounted to an act of kidnapping. Meanwhile, a note from Marie Black glowingly reports that 21-month-old Luna has just started attending a toddler group and that all is well."

"In due course, I hope to be able to report that this new case has come to a similarly happy ending. "

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/colu ... -away.html

Collusion between social workers and legal aid lawyers

No comments are allowed in the following Express article which I have already posted but comments appear in blogs around the Internet.


” TWO YOUNG children were taken from their distraught mother and placed for adoption because her own legal aid lawyers “colluded” with social workers, according to an MP’s extraordinary allegation in Parliament”

” In a highly unusual accusation, John Hemming said lawyers for Jacque Courtnage colluded with Derbyshire County Council to prevent her analysing a document he believes would have cleared her of abuse allegations."

"She and her husband have lost their two sons, now aged six and eight, for ever after a court ruled on the balance of probabilities they were responsible for harming their youngest when he was a baby. They have never been arrested nor charged with any criminal offence due to lack of evidence. Their heartbreaking story emerged in a Commons debate two months ago when Mr Hemming used Parliamentary privilege to name the mother and to make accusations against her lawyers and Derbyshire County Council."

"He says the parents are the victims of a miscarriage of justice in the secret family court system. The Lib Dem MP believes lawyers representing families on legal aid have a conflict of interest if they also do work for local authorities."

"Mrs Courtnage, a 45-year-old accountant and her husband John, 47, an engineer, only discovered the potentially significant evidence nine months after a judge ruled their children should be taken from them."

"They found it among their son’s medical records, which they secured after making a request to his hospital under the Data Protection Act as part of their own probe to discover the “truth”.

"The evidence was an alternative diagnosis from a leading hospital consultant saying their son’s head injury had been caused by a fissure, a birth defect that weakened the skull bone.
Until then, Mr Hemming said, they had only been aware of the fracture diagnosis put forward by other experts and used by the council in its arguments before the court."

"The children are now with an adoptive family and banned from any contact with their real parents."

Read More

Lowering the age of consent

Given the sexualisation of children through sex education in primary schools and beyond it was only a matter of time before there was going to be something like this in the mainstream:

A CALL from Britain’s leading public health expert to allow teenagers to have sex legally at 15 sparked a furious backlash yesterday.

 

"A leading health expert has recommended lowering the age of consent to 15. Politicians, lawyers and parents warned that lowering the age of consent from 16 would ­further ruin the innocence of childhood and send a “dangerous message” to paedophiles." 
"Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, argued changing the law would “draw a line in the sand” against sex at 14 or younger. Prof Ashton said the new age limit would help teens to get ­sexual health advice on the NHS and help realign who should be exposed to sexual messages."
 
"But parents warned that the proposal would send the wrong message in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and other paedophile attacks. Siobhan Freegard, of parenting website Netmums, said: “There are very few prosecutions for adults caught having sex with 14 and 15-year-olds, so if the age of consent drops further, it could send a dangerous message."

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/443623/Anger-at-calls-to-lower-age-of-consent-to-15

This article is disingenuous and there is no justification for lowering the age of consent. As it happens school children are able to obtain contraceptive advice even without their parents` consent if they are deemed competent.

See Here

5-in-1 vaccine alert

"In a press release issued on November 12, 2013, the human rights organization Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) stated that between September and October 2013, eight infants had died and many more had been seriously injured after they had received the pentavalent (5-in-1) vaccination. PUDR reported that the pentavalent vaccine, given to infants to protect them from diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, pneumonia-meningitis (Hib) and hepatitis B, had been introduced to Jammu and Kashmir, in India, as part of the Universal Immunization Program (UIP) in February 2013."

Why This Vaccine Should Have Never Been Administered

"Their press release stated that immediately following the children’s deaths, a team from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in Delhi, headed by Dr. N. K. Arora of INCLEN (International Clinical Epidemiology Network), had visited the village of Srinagar to investigate what had happened. PUDR said that:“While the final report of this team is awaited, their preliminary report has already stated that the children have died from causes like septicemia and pneumonia, and are unrelated to the vaccine. This conclusion fails to explain why or how the babies were administered the vaccine in the first place if they were seriously ill at the time of immunization.”In other words, PUDR had uncovered that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had given their conclusions as to how these children had died before the final reports had even been issued. "

 "Disgusted by their discoveries, PUDR decided to investigate for themselves exactly what had happened to these infants. They described with horror what they had uncovered:“It was in this context that the PUDR, Delhi (People’s Union for Democratic Rights), put together a team comprising public health experts, including clinicians, to look into these incidents. The team which was in Srinagar between 8th to 10th November, visited some of the affected families and conducted a verbal autopsy of the infant deaths to look for antecedent illnesses as well as enquire about other adverse events (as per the Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI ) guidelines. This team came across infants who had developed serious adverse events after the immunization and had been admitted in the children’s hospital in Srinagar."

"It was found that the FIR (First Information Report by a doctor or health worker for reporting AEFI) had been recorded only in the cases of death and not in cases of those infants who survived; in other words FIR was prepared after death of the child and not on admission.” (emphasis added) During their investigations, they discovered that it had taken one family over two hours to reach the hospital and by the time the exhausted family had arrived, their baby had died en route. However, instead of reporting this case as another possible vaccine death, the hospital reported that child had been ‘dead on arrival.’PUDR learned that although the FDA does not license the pentavalent vaccine for use in the USA, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the Gates Foundation heavily promotes its use in the developing world. "

[1] - See more at: http://vactruth.com/2013/11/19/killer-vaccine-promoted/?utm_source=The+Vaccine+Truth+Newsletter&utm_campaign=ba03c59f45-11_19_2013_eight&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ce7860ee83-ba03c59f45-408192312#sthash.NfTo66Qt.dpuf

Please note this is an opinion piece in VacTruth.com and is not medical advice.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Decision making on whether to take children into care

The Education and Culture Committee in their `10th Report, 2013 `have stated that they recognise the good work that is being taken forward as a result of GIRFEC and other child protection measures to improve the wellbeing of children in Scotland. We have to remind ourselves that these child protection measures are to be exercised for every child and their family in Scotland. This means essentially that Scotland is to become one huge child protection system.

We are reminded in the report of the Minister`s oral evidence, when she described "tangible progress" as being in terms of large increases in the proportion of younger children becoming looked after by local authorities, and the doubling of adoptions from care. This is in line with the Government`s commitment to earlier interventions. So it is important to note that taking children into care at an earlier stage, and adopting them out, is an intervention which the Government is pushing local authorities to provide. There is not a family in Scotland who will not be at risk of these types of interventions given that the threshold for state intervention is a concern over the `wellbeing` of a child.

A particular worry is that the Minister could not describe how disputes between parents and `named persons` were going to be resolved.  What is to happen if there is disagreement about a child`s best interest?  Without an appeal process, and given the power of the `named person` to intervene in the life of the family, it is not difficult to imagine how easily a situation could get out of hand.

Sometimes the language used  with regard to state interventions is deceptive because it is put across as a matter of `delivering services` or `providing the child`s needs.` However, this language disguises the fact that when it comes to child protection measures, as GIRFEC and the `named person` are, any concern about a child`s wellbeing will invariably raise the issue of whether or not the child should be ``looked after` or placed into care.

We are informed that when the home environment is likely to be clearly unsatisfactory, professionals should seek to intervene as early as possible so that damage to the child is minimised. The matter does not require to be `clearly unsatisfactory`- merely `likely to be clearly unsatisfactory`, which is an awkward use of terms but suggests professionals are expected to make predictions about what is `likely to be.` In fact, The Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW) in Scotland discussed pre-birth planning leading to babies being placed with carers either at or just after birth. Interventions do not come much earlier than that. The Minister reported that the number of children becoming looked after under the age of one had increased by 50 per cent since 2007. Clearly early interventions are all ready taking place and the push is for more.

At this point it is worth considering again the case of Mark and Kerry McDougall (See earlier post) who fled to Ireland to escape Social Services, intent on taking their baby into care after it was born. Four years later they have returned to Scotland with their two healthy sons believing it was safe to do so, only to find.themselves still under the radar of Scottish social workers.



The report of the inquiry raises this issue: 

The Scottish Government should explain how the trend for increasingly younger children becoming looked after is compatible with legal requirements around promoting the upbringing of children by their families. This is particularly relevant in the case of babies who may be removed close to birth.

It is nonsense to expect social workers to make crystal ball predictions about parenting before or after the birth of a child. In the case of the McDougalls, the social workers involved did not predict that, despite their decision, four years later there would be two healthy boys in the care of the McDougalls. For 4 years they got it wrong. Irish social workers had no concerns. How can this family ever trust these social workers from Fife and their early interventions? 

Yet everyone in Scotland, through the `named person` and the wellbeing indicators they interpret in relation to a  particular child, is expected to trust their decisions. It`s obvious that social workers have been set a hopeless task. That there is no way for parents to opt out or challenge decisions is truly terrifying.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Mark and Kerry McDougall return to Fife

 
From the Daily Record 17 November 2013

 
"A WOMAN who fled Scotland four years ago after social workers claimed she was not smart enough to be a mum has returned home – only to face losing her two little boys. Kerry McDougall, 21, – who has mild learning difficulties – hit the headlines after social work chiefs banned her from marrying fiancĂ© Mark McDougall, saying she wasn’t intelligent enough to understand the vows."

"Fearing their unborn son would be taken into care, the couple fled to Ireland. They have since married and, having been judged suitable parents by social services, gone on to have another son, Lochlan, two."

"The couple desperately missed family and friends in Fife. Two weeks ago – having been told by Scots social workers that they no longer had any concerns – they came back. But last night the couple told how within days of returning two social workers visited them to say they are reopening proceedings to see if their sons should be put under a protection order. Kerry said: "I can’t bear the thought of my boys being taken away. It’s making me ill."

"Mark, 30, who within days found work as a night warehouseman, said he was further angered because social workers told him he couldn’t take up the position – because he must be at home with Kerry and his sons 24 hours a day. "As soon as we got to the UK, I went looking for a job, anything to bring some money in – we definitely don’t want to be claiming benefits," he said. "But I was then told by social services I can’t take it."

"Incredibly, they say this is because they worried how Kerry would cope at night while the boys were asleep. I pointed out that when we lived in Ireland I was working every day in a hotel while Kerry was a full-time mum at home and we were all fine. "But although Kerry’s gran, aunts and uncles are also all on hand to help, they aren’t happy. They seem determined to ruin our lives."

"Dougie Dunlop, Fife Council’s head of children and families and criminal justice, said: "As with any family moving back to Fife, we will continue to meet with Kerry and Mark to discuss their circumstances so they receive the care and support they need."

Friday, 15 November 2013

Secret Children`s Hearings in Scotland

From Bernadette Monaghan blog – A new children`s panel in Scotland
          24th June 2013
rsz_1bernadette_monaghanScotland has had a unique system of care and justice for children and young people over the last forty years. Its underlying principle has stood the test of time: namely, that any child or young person who comes before the children’s panel, for whatever reason – be it offending behaviour or that they are in need of care and protection – is a child in need.
Throughout all those years, specially selected and trained lay people, with a passion and commitment to make things better for vulnerable children and young people have sat on children’s panels. In doing so, they have engaged in discussion with the child or young person before them, as well as their family or carers and professionals, to make a sound, reasoned decision in order to improve their individual situation. I was one of them myself for nine years. It was an experience that I will always remember and value for the knowledge and understanding it gave me about the situations in which our vulnerable children and young people are growing up in, and for the skills I gained which I have put to good use in my working life. It’s an experience that I would thoroughly recommend.
She goes on to explain glowingly some of the recent changes, but not all.  An article in the Scottish Review points out that journalists, although restricted in what they could report, used to have a right to attend children`s hearings;  Worryingly that is now no longer the case. 

 See `Suffer the little children in Scotland, for they suffer in silence.`  Scottish Review 

Secret Courts

Christopher Booker
6:51PM BST 27 Jul 2013
 
Writing in the Telegraph Christopher Booker points out that the new draft guidelines by Sir James Mumby, the judge in charge of family courts in England, are not the breakthrough that many have been looking for:  
All Lord Justice Munby is proposing, however, is that all judgments in these cases should be published, unless a judge finds “compelling reasons” otherwise. Just how confusing his proposals are can be seen from comparing section 21, where he says that “public authorities and expert witnesses should be named” in all published judgments, with section 24, which says “no person other than advocates or solicitors instructing them may be identified by name or location”. So, no naming of those “expert witnesses” or local authorities.
Far more important than this seemingly glaring contradiction, however, is that all Lord Justice Munby is saying is that the outside world should be allowed to see more judgments – still entirely at the discretion of the judge. To anyone familiar with the peculiar workings of these courts, this will leave 95 per cent of what is so shocking about what goes on in them as secret as ever. Still completely hidden will be the way all the normal rules of British justice can be suspended: as in allowing judges to accept damning hearsay evidence, however absurd, without it being put to any proper test; as in how parents whose children have been taken from them are too often not allowed to challenge untruths or the tendentious opinions of “hired gun” psychologists, who may not even be qualified; as in how too many parents find themselves facing the cruellest ordeal of their lives being treated by judges and all present like criminals, without being given any proper opportunity to plead their case. 
Almost nothing of the ruthlessly enforced blanket of secrecy that has allowed our family courts to become so corrupted will be affected in any way by Lord Justice Munby’s proposals. Even the judgments he wants to see published cannot be properly understood by an outsider unaware of all that has gone on in the courtroom, and how what may well be a shockingly one-sided and selective judgment was arrived at. In words I have quoted before from a disillusioned family court barrister, who spent 10 years defending in vain the right of hundreds of families to stay together, the system is so rigged against the families that it is like “seeing lambs led to the slaughter”.
One of the more unfortunate consequences of the secrecy that hides the workings of this system from public view is that it makes it so easy for its defenders, such as Sir Martin Narey, formerly head of Barnardo’s, one of the largest beneficiaries of our lucrative fostering and adoption industry, to claim, as he did again last week, that only in “a very small minority” of cases are “children wrongly taken away by the authorities”. On the contrary, all the evidence suggests to those who follow these matters closely, such as John Hemming MP, of Justice for Families, or Ian Josephs, who advises thousands of families through his Forced Adoption website, is that, since the number of children being yearly taken into state care in England and Wales has soared to nearly 30,000, those being removed from their families for no good reason now run into many thousands.   

Social Services and Collusion

"TWO YOUNG children were taken from their distraught mother and placed for adoption because her own legal aid lawyers “colluded” with social workers, according to an MP’s extraordinary allegation in Parliament. In a highly unusual accusation, John Hemming said lawyers for Jacque Courtnage colluded with Derbyshire County Council to prevent her analysing a document he believes would have cleared her of abuse allegations."

"She and her husband have lost their two sons, now aged six and eight, for ever after a court ruled on the balance of probabilities they were responsible for harming their youngest when he was a baby. They have never been arrested nor charged with any criminal offence due to lack of evidence."

"Their heartbreaking story emerged in a Commons debate two months ago when Mr Hemming used Parliamentary privilege to name the mother and to make accusations against her lawyers and Derbyshire County Council. He says the parents are the victims of a miscarriage of justice in the secret family court system."

"The Lib Dem MP believes lawyers representing families on legal aid have a conflict of interest if they also do work for local authorities."

"Mrs Courtnage, a 45-year-old accountant and her husband John, 47, an engineer, only discovered the potentially significant evidence nine months after a judge ruled their children should be taken from them."

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/442241 ... adopt-boys

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Disabled son must go into care

A mother has lost her appeal to have her 18 year old disabled son returned to her care because a judge believes that he must no longer be home-schooled by her, despite the mother having done so for ten years and regardless of the fact that at 18 he should be allowed to leave school.

Now the boy must live in a residential care home miles away from his home. This does appear to be an abuse of the Mental Capacity Act and sets a dangerous precedent.

Most comments are sympathetic to the family and as one person put it: "We are now living in a society where we have to do as we`re told, or risk losing our children."

Read more

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Replacing Parents with Computers

An article published in the Express  27 October 2013 informs us that teachers throughout Britain are using a software screening programme called Thrive which enables them to compensate for the children`s inadequate parents by helping to teach the children life skills. We are informed that so far 70 000 primary school pupils have been screened using Thrive.

Diana Dewing is the managing director of Thrive and amongst her claims are:

Babies should have developed a sense of being by the age of six months, which comes from direct eye contact with their main carer. 
By the age of two a child should be able to think and reason for themselves. If the eye contact learning experience is missing,  "A child might go to school at five and lash out at another child with genuinely no idea as to why...
The games and puzzles used by the Thrive programme build the right neural pathways by repeat, repeat, repeat activities."
One example of the programme’s success involves a child called "Anthony", A teacher using questions in the Thrive programme was able to work out that Anthony’s development had been affected by having little or no eye-to-eye contact with his main carer.

Well if the programme is designed to screen for pupils who have poor eye contact with their carers it is sure to find them. But how do we know the questions are screening reliably for poor eye contact and that the underlying theory is correct?  Is it not strange that games and puzzles on a  computer are expected to replace human contact and is it not more likely that the child examiners have something wrong with their neural pathways?

Diana Dewing is managing director of Thrive, but apart from that, who is she?

Examining the Thrive website we find this:
Diana started in accountancy and business management before becoming a Chartered Marketer. Her specialist field is strategic marketing with more than 20 years experience at senior manager and board level.
Yes, thought so.

In other words she hasn`t a clue what she`s doing, but she`s very good at selling it.

Is it not also interesting the number of challenges that Thrive has to meet?
The rise of anti-social behaviour; truancy, exclusions, bullying, classroom disruption; drug and alcohol dependency in young people; sexualisation and the sexual exploitation of children, are issues...

Apart from the absurdity of a computer screening programme being able to detect all these future social problems, Diana Dewing misses the point that the sexualisation of children begins in school these days, sometimes from age five and one of the justifications for that is how reluctant parents are to raise these matters with their children.

Who`s going to be devising computer screening programmes to detect the effects of harsh criticism of parents, early childhood sexualisation and bullying in schools ? 

Ofsted getting to grips with 2 year olds



 
 

An article in the  Telegraph reports that:
Children as young as two should be enrolled at school in an attempt to raise “dire” standards of early education among large numbers of infants, according to chairman of Ofsted.
Early exposure to formal education is needed to eradicate the 19-month achievement gap seen between rich and poor pupils by the age of five, it is claimed.
Baroness Morgan said that many deprived children had “low social skills”, poor standards of reading and an inability to communicate properly, meaning they were “not ready to learn” when they entered the first full year of school.
How about tackling the deprivation instead, Baroness Morgan? And is formal education really appropriate for a two year old child?

The former chairperson of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Zenna Atkins is known to have said to the BBC that  "It is not `an absolute disaster` if schools contain bad teachers ... "

Really?

I think that would be a disaster, especially for a two year old.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Veiled Threat to Remove Children.


Demanding Money with Menaces.
We all know that the bedroom tax has created huge problems for both tenants, desperately trying and often failing to find the additional 14% or 25% of rent, and for social landlords, watching arrears spiral rapidly upwards.
But I don’t think there is anything that is capable of excusing the actions of South Ayrshire Council in the letters it is sending out to its tenants with ‘Notice of Proceedings’ (Scottish version of Notice seeking Possession). Here is the letter. Fairly standard until you reach the sentence after the passage in bold.
Nearly Legal Blog
The passage threatens tenants with the possibility that the landlord will report them to Social Services about their children because getting into arrears and being evicted could be seen as making themselves voluntarily homeless and therefore putting their children at risk. The big threat behind that is: You may lose your children.
 
Now consider the news that 80,000 children may be homeless at Christmas according to Shelter and reported by the BBC:
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24798498
 
There is no discussion about the bedroom tax and why certain families are economically distressed.  But at least there is recognition from the BBC that families are going through hard times in large numbers, which makes the letter from Ayrshire Council all the more disgusting.

After all, it was the Government who introduced the bedroom tax and insist that austerity must continue. So it`s a case of the Government creates the policy which leads to the problem and then the Council picks up the baton to blame and punish the victims of the policy. Every move in this cycle is a dishonest one.

As for community planning partnerships and joined up working, it is easy to see where these collaborative relationships lead. Every department learns to threaten parents with social work interventions. 
 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Euthanasia for Children


The idea of children`s rights has moved in a more sinister direction. It is now being considered that the child has the same RIGHT to die as an adult in Belgium.

In Belgium, where euthanasia is now legal for people over the age of 18, the government is considering extending it to children — something that no other country has done. The same bill would offer the right to die to adults with early dementia.
Advocates argue that euthanasia for children, with the consent of their parents, is necessary to give families an option in a desperately painful situation. But opponents have questioned whether children can reasonably decide to end their own lives.
 Read more.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/belgium-considering-unprecedented-law-to-grant-euthanasia-for-children-dementia-patients/2013/10/31/67fd55be-4200-11e3-b028-de922d7a3f47_story.html


The  Livertpool Care Pathway: A National Scandal is a blog which deals with assisted dying/palliative care (a euphemism for euthanasia) in the NHS.