Saturday 20 January 2018

Catherine Ghent: Time to halt the hysteria and put more trust in our social services

OUR child protection system is an area of law often shrouded in dangerous myths. For our child protection system to work, it is vital we understand why the State, in limited circumstances, would seek to remove children from the care of their parents.

The publication both of case studies and this latest Interim Report by Dr Carol Coulter and her team provides information in an impartial, independent and informed way. By setting out the facts in particular cases, the reports have broken the taboo that children are harmed only by strangers.

The facts also show the range of circumstances which lead to this harm, some of which is intentional and some not. The detailing of the difficult and sad circumstances where a parent's vulnerability leaves them unable to parent in a 'good enough' way, is important in terms of better informing courts and social, mental health, addiction and disability services as to what is necessary and appropriate in order to do least harm to the child and family unit.

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