Debate on the green paper on children

We asked people for their views on the green paper on
children ‘Every Child Matters’.

More information on the green paper

These are the comments we received:

A truly integrated service between all the
relevant agencies would have enormous benefits for children.
However, whether this is realistic and in an achievable time frame,
is doubtful.

Peter Barron
Family Intervention Service

Children should have freedom of speech and
equal rights. The best care services have to be given to children
because they are our future.

Nwabia Ifeanyichukwu

For these proposals to work, dedicated,
experienced and committed people will be needed. These changes will
not succeed if there is only a pool of locum and inexperienced
social workers available. Thought should be given to attracting the
return of older and more experienced workers who left social work
because of frustration, poor management, lack of professional
development and submission to government outcomes at the expense of
quality professional practice. Plans should be made to encourage
the return and retention of experienced workers through a
commitment to them and for the work that they

Annie Wells

Charles Clarke is the man who thinks education
is preparation for work! He does not seem to know the meaning of
education. He does not value real all-round

Brian Todd

Having read the recommendations summary in
‘Every Child Matters’ I would like to see details on how appointing
a lead professional for each child will operate if  the person with
most contact with the child does not have the weight of legal
responsibility  to investigate or bring legal proceedings. Is it
not the case currently that this lies with the social services
department and in practice it takes the lead particularly if legal
proceedings  are instigated. For the system to be effective it
would need to transfer those powers to all professionals who work
with children. This has major implications for training in the
different specialities. Is this the intention of the

Mick Entwistle
Social worker

The green paper won’t come to much if there is
no independent body monitoring what each  local authority is doing
otherwise who can put pressure on failing local authorities to
improve  services? The mentality of local authorities in relation
to children and young people also needs to change: the attitude is
very much that professionals know what’s best for children. Also 
child protection procedures are worrying, they are not child
friendly and hardly encourage a
child or young person to report abuse for fear of not being
believed and left in the abusive situation where the alleged abuser
is then told what the child has said. I’m also not sure that a
children’s commissioner for England would make any difference at
all. We have one here  in Wales but most children and young people
I have worked with didn’t know anything about him or how he could
help them.

Catherine Johnston
Self advocacy development worker

SCOVO (Standing Conference Of Voluntary Organisations for
People with a Learning
Disability in Wales)    

Pleased about recognition of experience and
post qualifying training in pay and conditions. Concerned that to
manage a children’s home you need an NVQ 4 and can top up with just
a couple of units to obtain the registered managers award. I do not
think this is sufficient for  the level of responsibility that
comes with the job. Would welcome more streamlined inspections, but
working at a school that is also a children’s home, unhappy with
carrying out inspections. I believe a wide range of professionals
should be involved certainly beyond educationalists. I would like
to move towards more self reporting for good services as this helps
them develop from the inside, but workloads need to change to
ensure adequate time and value goes into the

Claire Allan
National Autistic Society

The proposals of the government in the green
paper are little more than a hotch-potch of disjointed thinking and
a deckchair-shuffling exercise. They fail to address the very
serious problems in an increasingly dysfunctional and erratic child
protection system in the UK. It is difficult to see how any of the
proposals will prevent further occurrences of tragedies such as
that of Victoria Climbie and the many other children who have died
whilst under the care and supervision of child protection workers
in the last 30 years. Nor do the proposals address the converse and
even more serious issue of over 140,000 children and their families
who are drawn unnecessarily into the child protection system every
year when accusations of child abuse are found to have ‘no
substantive basis’. False accusations of child abuse and
the resulting investigations have extremely harmful effects on
children and their families.

Of the 13 million children in this country, substantive evidence
of child abuse is found in the case of 25,000 children. Whatever
resources the government may be intending to invest in child
protection in the future should be clearly focused on the need to
protect these 25,000 children and not to widen even further the net
which unnecessarily draws other children within the child
protection remit. There are no indications in any of the green
paper proposals
that will bring about fundamental changes in the attitudes of child
protection workers within a child protection discourse which is
punitive and oppressive, rather than having a clear purpose of
prevention and rehabilitation.

Charles Pragnell
Expert defence witness – child protection and child/family

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