Some children will be seen as less deserving of care, academic warns

Children are in danger of being seen as “deserving and
undeserving” in our future care systems, a leading academic has
warned, writes Maggie Wood.

Professor Robbie Gilligan, director of the children’s
research centre at Dublin university, told a conference in Perth
organised by nine major children’s charities to consider the
future for looked after children in the year 2020, that the
challenge must be in recognising the value of diversity in children
placed in in care.

He said services in the future are more likely to be reliant on
community-based programmes, and children who enter the care system
are likely to have more intractable problems,

He said: “As the welfare state is rolled back we will see the
return of the deserving and undeserving poor. So too we will see
the same principle applied to categories of children who will be
seen as less compliant and less attractive: they will be seen as
less deserving of our care.”

Gilligan also warned that globalisation, dislocation and
migration may mean that our care systems will be asked to cope with
an increasingly diverse in-care population.

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