Letters to Community Care 3 June 2010

I 'm extremely concerned about the latest "import" from the US. Project...

Charity seeks to sterilise addicts


I’m extremely concerned about the latest “import” from the US. Project Prevention is a US charity that aims to prevent substance abusers having children.

Now it wants to set up in the UK too. The charity pays these desperate individuals up to £200 to undergo sterilisation or long-term contraception. The stated aim of Project Prevention is to prevent the birth of drug-exposed children. The idea appears to be that no life at all is preferable to life gestated by an addict. We have been here before.

“Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution.” Such was the definition used at the second International Eugenics Conference in 1921. Eugenics, the conscious application of selective breeding techniques to “improve” the gene pool was popular at the time. It’s the ideology that influenced many of Hitler’s Nazi Party policies of extermination.

Quite apart from the philosophical issues raised concerning the value of babies born to addicted parents, there are some basic errors too. After all, traits associated with addiction and crime are as much social as they are genetic.

It could be argued that these addicts have a choice. However, the target group for this eugenic revival is the substance-dependent population. By definition addicts in withdrawal will go to almost any lengths to obtain their substance of choice. I urge readers to express distaste for this scheme by writing to their MP.

Stuart Sorenson, AMJ Social Care Training and Consultancy

Personalisation not for social workers


The focus of your survey appears to have missed the basic point that the benefits brought about by personalisation were intended for service users rather than social workers (“The state of personalisation”, 20 May). Disabled people campaigned long and hard to reclaim power and control, having had their basic rights and entitlements denied for years – yet the survey appears to have paid little attention to this.

Surely every social worker ascribes to the principles of empowerment and would be striving towards enabling individuals to manage their lives independently? If personalisation leads to the reduction of social workers, is this such a bad thing? Surely we are trying to remove ourselves from people’s lives rather than remaining involved?

It beggars belief that in a survey assessing the impact of personalisation, one of the key questions is “has personalisation had a positive impact on people’s jobs?” Imagine a survey in the health profession assessing the impact of a new wonder drug which reduces the need for chemotherapy.

Do you think staff would be asked how the drug had impacted on their job? Would they be asked to consider whether the drug should be continued as the likely impact would mean less doctors or nurses? Surely the only people we can ask about the impact of personalisation are those receiving it.

There are some useful findings in the survey relating to over-complicated systems and local authorities using personalisation as a means to cut costs but, as Simon Heng suggests, we should be focussing on removing these barriers and finding ways of making it work.

Ali Gardner, senior lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University

Children’s minister is short of experience


I was absolutely astonished to learn that Sarah Teather was made children’s minister with little experience of not just children’s social care but also of being an MP.

By contrast, Tim Loughton, the junior minister for children, would be a safer pair of hands to manage such a major brief – not that I agree with everything he has done for social work.

With 13 years’ post-qualifying experience in social work, and a role as a newly elected councillor with the option of going for a cabinet position (children’s services) in a new administration, I can relate to Sarah’s experience, seizing a chance which might not come around again, but I feel I would not do my constituents justice if I took the gamble of running a department.

I am not for any minute suggesting that Sarah is not a good MP or she lacks the competence to be a good minister, I just do not think she is suitable for what is such a big brief at this point in time in her career.

As for Loughton, I sympathise with him – he would have every right to show his displeasure at the way the way his government has handled both his and Sarah’s appointments.

Ozzie Uzoanya, social worker and Labour councillor, London

What about ‘social workers from hell’?


In the interests of fairness it would be interesting to get service users’ stories of surviving home visits from social workers from hell (“Survive the home front”, 27 May). Do they still teach about unconditional positive regard on social work courses or has it gone out of fashion?

Peter Ventre, Merseyside

This article is published in the 3 June 2010 edition of Community Care magazine under the headline Readers’ Views 


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.