Children’s services: John Hemming child protection rejig

MP John Hemming has called for children’s services to lose responsibility for investigating allegations of child abuse.

Hemming, who recently caused a furore among Community Care readers by claiming social workers were “snatching” children for adoption to meet financial targets, has written to junior children’s minister Kevin Brennan slamming the system.

In what is the latest in a series of attacks on social workers, Hemming said: “In the attempt to find ‘adoptable commodities’ to satisfy the government’s targets, serious cases of abuse have been missed. The police are far better at investigating allegations of abuse than children’s social services. We need people who concentrate on issues of evidence.

“There is also a conflict of interest between being a support service and an investigative service. The two responsibilities need to be separated. In [the] Cleveland [child abuse] case it was found that practitioners came to a conclusion at the start of an investigation, rather than when the evidence was collated.”

Hemming cited the recent serious case review opened by Haringey Council into the suspicious death of a 17-month old baby and the Victoria Climbié case as examples where children’s services were failing.

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