Another thought! Can we ‘remove children’ from Government care and /or influence?   14 comments

Quite a lot of interest was shown in my previous blog about a random thought that I had.

I think readers know I am a reflective practitioner, and that I am constantly reflecting about my childminding practice.

Many people will know from this blog site that I also reflect about the things I campaign about.

Some will know that my volunteering roles are also informed by my reflections

But how many people realise that I have another more private side of my life that I also reflect about? I am referring to my role as a foster carer, which in itself will explain why I don’t do my reflecting publically or via this blog –as of course I have to maintain confidentially and show respect to the children I care for by not blogging about the things we do.

And that is not going to change, my fostering role remains private

HOWEVER

I do find all aspects of my professional and personal life are connected –not surprising really, as children are at the heart of everything I do.

So a couple of days after writing my ‘A random thought blog (if not read yet and want to CLICK HERE ), I had an email from our fostering agency about some children who had be removed from family care into Police protection and needed foster carers. (As it happens the children were found alternative care which is why I can mention in these vague terms)

Reading the information about this case set me off on another journey of reflection, and as a result asking some questions within my head which I am going to share.

Children can be removed from their families for a number of reasons, both as a planned action, and as an emergency action –in all cases it is to protect the children from harm – physical, sexual, neglect and emotional which of course all childcare practitioners and foster carers  know about, are trained in, and know their duty to make observations, to record and to report concerns.

NO If, BUT OR MAYBE –IT IS A MUST DO

The state, and every adult in this country, and particularly those whose professions are connected to working with children MUST ensure that all children are safeguarded from abuse, and that their well-being and development are considered as part of the holistic picture.

If parents do not meet their children’s needs or subject them to things which are harmful both in the long term and short term, then those children can be removed from their parents care and influence,  both in the short term and the long term.

In all cases, the experts in the fields of child protection, child development, health, education and so on are asked to help inform those who have to act in the best interests of the children.

And so it should be –we cannot allow one person or one organisation or one opinion to decide on such serious matters. It is far better to have several opinions and a range of expert views.

The courts are involved in this decision making process, again as they should be, because this is a very serious matter, deciding if children are safe in their parents care or not. Usually (but not always) the right decision is made because leaving the children in environments where their needs are not met can have a lifelong impact or even lead to death, as has been seen in the horrific cases such as Daniel, Victoria and Peter.

So my question is …..

…….. if every adult must act to safeguard children, does that also apply to safeguarding them from Government?

 I am of course referring to the things I campaign about;

Baseline testing that is only about gathering data for government

Formal, academically driven curriculum for children under 7

Two year olds in unsuitable environments

Parents ‘encouraged’ to work when they would prefer to stay at home with their young children

Narrow, academic based focus on what ‘success’ is

Constant changes in regulation and guidance

A tick box culture where a bit of paper with yes /no responses is seen as evidence of quality

Inconsistent inspections

Lack of consultation and involvement with those who work directly with the children

Cherry picking of data and research, and disregard of research and data that raises concerns about Government policy.

Summerborn children facing a postcode lottery of if they can start in reception at Compulsory School Age (CSA) or not

But also all those things that I do not directly campaign about but which have a direct impact on children’s well-being, and are therefore linked to my campaigning.

Living in poverty

Poor housing

Low wages

Cuts to support services

I could add more, but I think readers will have grasped that this is not just one thing, there are many things that in my opinion are not in the best interests of the children, and again in my opinion are failing to safeguard the children of this country.

Which brings me back to my question ‘Can we remove children from the governments care and influence?’

Further, Do we get an option to say NO, to all the things that we believe are damaging children’s well being?

If as a childcare practitioner, I fail to observe, record and report my concerns, I will be subject to investigation, maybe deregistration –and if it was found that I was ultimately responsible I could be imprisoned.

As it should be – provided of course there is a full and proper enquiry.

So;

As currently there is not a choice about a lot of things and more and more regulations set by government about what children are subject to..

.As currently more and more research is highlighting the negative impact of government policy on the children

As more and more professionals are now saying, these government policies are not in the best interests of children

As more and more data is showing that children’s well –being is being impacted on by the consequences of government policy.

Is it not our responsibility to safeguard the children, and remove them from government influence and directives that we believe are harming out children?

Do we actually have a ‘duty of care’ to speak up and say we cannot and will not let the children of this country be subjected to policies that we know will have both a short term and a long term negative impact on children?

Should we actually do a lot more than sign petitions, write letters to our MP’s, write blogs, and general express our concerns?

I have to wonder if people would be more proactive and be prepared to challenge the government, and to refuse to implement anything which they consider to be harmful to children.

An indicator could be how many people view this blog, how many share it, and how many leave a comment

Do people in this country take safeguarding children seriously enough to actually say to the government ENOUGH.

Are people concern enough about the well –being of the children of this country to stand together and bring about change?

The people of this country can make a difference, through peaceful means such as informed discussions, challenging, questioning and simply refusing to implement policies that are not in the best interests of the children.

So, let’s see, who cares enough to comment on this blog?

No one?, a couple? a handful? a hundred ? A thousand?

A thousand would be fantastic but would be a drop in the ocean.

If you care enough to challenge and say ENOUGH to the government, leave a comment (just your name will do) and share with everyone you know.

14 responses to “Another thought! Can we ‘remove children’ from Government care and /or influence?

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  1. Rowena Mathers

  2. Enough, definitely is enough and I most certainly will be standing up for my daughters education and her rights to a playful, stress-free childhood.

    and yes, we can absolutely ‘remove’ them from state education if we so wish and provide them with an alternative education, at home or otherwise. So many more families are choosing this path now so they can nurture their children’s natural curiosity for learning at their child’s pace.

    Parents and professionals must stand together.

    • Yes, I agree parents and professionals must stand together.
      Home education is a great option for some, but not for everyone, and why can’t children have a nurturing, individually based school based education, free from stress and assessment?

      • Totally agree.

        Every child should be able to access this; no matter what ‘type’ of education they choose.

  3. Well, there is one thing people can do – and they’ve done very recently: the people of this country expressed at the polls that this is the government they want. So I guess the majority of people like this government’s policies, and the government is encouraged at this time to do whatever they like, because they know they’ll get away with it.
    At least individuals can remove their children from childare and state education – may not work for everyone, but legally people are allowed to do it – in many other countries this is not the case and the state has more control over children (and thus greater potential for harmful policies).
    It would be good if schools and Early Years settings, backed by parents, stood united and refused to implement some policies – but compliance is easier + people don’t want to lose their jobs / damage their carreers, etc
    I share your frustration

  4. As a parent of 3 young children (including an august born boy whose CSAge school start we had to fight for) I share your concerns and yes I’m willing to stand up for what I believe in.

  5. Well done Penny. It is this kind of campaigning that does make a difference to children and their families – children need to be nurtured from their earliest days and there is some amazing practice and some amazing parenting going on out there in the face of all the negative influences. We must all keep telling politicians what children and families really need – based on well-documented research and understanding of development – in order that every child has the chance to reach their natural, inbuilt and amazing potential.

  6. Thank you for speaking up

  7. yes I completely agree…much change in needed but seems very far away.

  8. Yes definitely childhood is so precious and should be spent by playing carefree and happily either in childcare (not school) if needed or at home if possible.Young children should not be under any pressure to perform or tested. I have been child minding for 12 years and have found that as long as children are given a caring , enabling environment they will learn through play,will thrive . Children shouldn’t be under pressure to be school ready , school should be ready for them. There is plenty of time for reading and writing when they are in school.

  9. You are saying what a lot of us are thinking Penny and talking about amongst ourselves. We had a conference recently where it was again pointed out how low we are performing as a country in the care, education and well being of our youngest, and most vulnerable children. The government priorities do not appear to cover the rights of these children and certainly do not recognise that they may have a voice to be heard.

  10. I agree with everything you say Penny and we do need to challenge this government.

  11. It’s a difficult one to answer penny, most of the above doesn’t effect the children directly if done properly, but doe effect the practitioners working with them. If we teach our children through play and the correct way, their lives don’t alter , base lines, EYFS all that we do does not effect them ( or it shouldn’t ) school age again, we all went to school at 4/5 and it we the norm, most kids just get on with it, and a parent has the option not register the child for reception if they don’t want to.
    Poverty etc if coupled by poor parenting is an issue, but within a good family is not unusual, what is classed as poverty? How many times do you hear people say today ( older ) we had no money, didn’t have holidays but we always manage to have food on the table and there was lots of laughter and love…
    Children slipped through the net because teachers / childminders / nursery nurses were not educated enough to recognise signs of delay in learning , this rarely happens now because we follow guidelines to spot it at an early age so that’s got to be a positive…I hear what you are saying and I really dislike all the tick boxes, Ofsted tests etc but some of it is necessary, but I don’t feel it effects the children in anyway that can be described as Harm, neglect, etc

    • Thank you commenting Shelly, it is always good to have other opinions expressed, and I am sure that many others will agree with your view.

      I agree with what you are saying about poverty in the past, and I agree that material goods are not essential, however in the past we had had extended families living close by and providing support (including childcare / babysitting) we had much closer communities that would rally round and e everyone supported each other -for example passing on outgrown clothes, and equipmen. This does still happen of course in some areas but in many places especially, in large towns or high rise flats it does not happen. This of course is not directly the government’s fault, but the amount some people have to live on simply is not enough (recent reports show how many families are now at the point of not coping)

      With regard to direct impact on children mental health issues in even our youngest children caused by stress and not enough opportunity to play, or be outside, or to choose what they do is enough evidence for me to be concerned.

      Some children do of course have wonderful childhoods because the adults in their lives ensure the right environments are provided for them. Sadly for a lot of children this is not the case.

      I do agree that early years practitioners and teachers do need skills in observing and assessing so that they can spot areas of concern. However, I disagree that children rarely slip through the net, because my experience is that they do, and often are not noticed at all until a crisis arises. I am not just talking about headline cases, I am talking about all the cases where it does not make the headlines, and the impact when these children become adults and can not form relationships, are not creative, or confident, or critical thinkers and so on.
      With school age, yes we did all go to school at 4 or 5 but over the years more children are 4 and many only just 4, expectations on academic achievement have increased year on year, and children are now labelled as not achieving due to end EYFS profile results when they are actually still 4. In my experience children know this and get pressure from school to do catch up sessions, with some just switching off. Also I have to say school at almost five under the old infant / junior system with a play based curriculum till 7 was very different to the current system. In addition why do countries who do not start formal schooling until 6 or 7 have children who leave school with less mental health issues, more life skills, and overall better academic achievement?
      It does of course depend on personal experiences including who engage with, and only 3 years ago, although I had my personal concerns, I was not concerned enough to public state my views because I did not have enough enough information or looked at the bigger picture.
      Now my personal experience through the experiences of my grandchildren within education and health systems makes me more aware, and my engagement with many more professionals also has made me more aware.

      In my view, it is the emotional side of things that is causing harm to the children – and as we all know, social and emotional development is key to all other development (which is of course why it is a Prime area.)
      However, I am not saying my view is ‘right’ -it is just my personal view, and I was interested in other people’s views.
      If anyone else wants to comment to support Shelly’s view, or express another view please do, because it is important that all opinions are expresse. I personally welcome
      all opinions, and will also approve all comments (apart from spam) on this blog

      Thank you again Shelly for expressing a different opinion, for us all to think about

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