Care needed with review

As expected, children’s minister Margaret Hodge has ordered a
review of children taken into care where the records show medical
experts strongly disagreeing about the harm done by parents. It
follows the acquittal of Angela Cannings, wrongly convicted of
killing her babies, after expert evidence given by Professor Sir
Roy Meadow was discredited.

Tough decisions will have to be made. Social services departments
have just 12 weeks to review the cases and, although only a few
hundred are likely to reveal sharply differing expert opinions,
many thousands will have to be examined to establish the facts of
each individual care order. Does the mere occurrence of expert
disagreement signal that the child should never have been taken
into care in the first place? Hardly. The disagreement will have to
be seen in the context of each case, a point that Hodge

Nor should the bonds that some children may have formed in care be
underestimated. In some instances, there will inevitably be
uncertainty about the right course of action and sometimes the
benefit of the doubt will be given to parents, though this is
unlikely to happen where children have been adopted. In such cases
newly reunited families will require intensive support. It is a
tall order and one which will have to be carried out with
considerable sensitivity.

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