Editorial Comment: The reality on the ground

John Hemming has created a storm among Community Care readers.

The Lib Dem MP has featured in the right-wing press accusing social workers of snatching ever increasing numbers of young children from doting birth families. Money-grabbing councils are leaning on practitioners to hit lucrative adoption targets. Young, white babies are the easiest to place so they’re being lined up regardless of the risks they face at home.

All this demonstrates a woeful understanding of frontline practice and improvements in child protection.

Current policy promotes keeping families together where possible; and when it’s not, adoption is often better than letting the child languish in the care system.

Less than half the councils in England have incentives to hit such targets and too many bodies and professionals are involved in the adoption process for councils to be able to influence it anyway.

It serves only to shake public confidence and deter prospective adopters. It’s encouraging that so many of you have challenged Hemming in our pages – we have to protect against such damaging conspiracy theories.

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 Mike Broad

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