Child protection workers could be ignoring parents’ rights, a
conference heard last week.
Hedy Cleaver, senior re search fellow at Leicester University,
said where a child abuse referral was dropped, it was rare that
parents ever learned their family had been the focus of concern.
‘This suggests that parents’ rights are being ignored,’ she
Cleaver was addressing the annual conference of Parents Against
Injustice, the pressure group known as PAIN, which supports parents
who have been involved in child abuse investigations.
She said research showed that information at referral was often
inadequate and social workers were frequently guided on what to do
by the referrer’s own assessment of risk. Decisions were also
influenced by the professional status of the referrer.
Delegates heard of plans for a major debate on child protection
research findings due out next week.
Wendy Rose of the Social Services Inspectorate, said that the
research findings showed that emphasis was being placed on the
enquiry stage of the child protection process and much less time
was devoted to planning positive help for the family.
‘Is it because of public concerns about child protection or
because of exhortations to work closely with the police?’ she