Adoption charities have condemned the Daily Mail’s recent attack on social workers as child snatchers, warning that it is vulnerable children who will suffer.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Daily Mail has accused social workers of removing children from parents who are “too slow” or “too poor”.
Adoption UK director Jonathan Pearce told 0-19: “The Daily Mail’s recent coverage is beyond the pale. Not only is it inaccurate and misinformed, but it also paints a picture of adoption as a victimising process that intrudes in family life in an inappropriate and unnecessarily judgemental way. This is wrong and it is dangerous and unfair to propagate these views.”
Felicity Collier, chief executive of Baaf Adoption and Fostering, has written to all MPs arming them with the facts and figures about adoption in case they are approached about the subject by a constituent worried by the stories.
It stresses the damage such “sensational and irresponsible media coverage” could do to vulnerable children who are only able to stay with their families because of the care and support they receive from social workers.
“If these families and their friends read day after day the accusations in newspapers like the Daily Mail, there must be a risk that they will be less likely to approach social services for help,” explains Collier. “If families in need fail to access appropriate help, this could present a real risk to children’s well-being and safety.”
However, Andrew Holman, director of learning difficulty charity Inspired Services, said there was some truth in the claim that an increasing number of children were being taken away from parents with learning difficulties.
Blaming a lack of appropriate support services and some pre-judged actions, he added: “We all know that children are best placed with their parents, wherever possible. The art here with parents with learning difficulties is to properly look at the possible. What has gone wrong in recent years has been the widening gulf between children’s and adult services where the possible is not brought into play.”
• What do you think? Go to ‘Join the debate’ at www.0-19.co.uk to register your thoughts about when it is appropriate to take children into care.