Briefing on the Children & Social Work Bill, House of Lords Report Stage 8 November

Children and Social Work Bill – Report Stage 8 NOV 2016
This bill is a charter for rape and social cleansing and must be stopped

We write to draw your attention to our letter signed by five women’s organisations about this Bill, published in the Guardian. It appeared at the same time as Community Care reported that the government has admitted “errors in its handling of [Isabelle Trowler] the chief social worker’s ‘conflict of interest’, mentioned in our letter.  

“The national child abuse inquiry was set up in response to a massive survivors’ movement to examine how and why local authorities and others failed to protect children. Even before it started, the government wanted to exempt these institutions from public scrutiny. The Children and Social Work Bill would enable local authorities to remove statutory protections from the most vulnerable – children in custody and in care (Social workers row over children’s bill, 19 October). Given the history, this amounts to a rapists’ charter”.

Privatisation passes for innovation. Isabelle Trowler, chief social worker for children and families and chief promoter of the bill, co-founded Morning Lane, a private company working with 25 local authorities. KPMG, which partners Morning Lane, has been awarded a £2m government contract. When questioned, Trowler dismissed it as “peanuts”. But the children’s social work budget is estimated at £6.5bn, and Credit Suisse and others are behind private companies like Frontline, which are already training social workers.

We share the horror of whistleblowers and Together for Children that child protection services may be privatised. But we seem to be alone in objecting to the bill promoting adoption as the “gold standard” and to resources going to “corporate parenting” while impoverished families get nothing.

There isn’t even a duty to consult children and their mothers about their feelings and wishes. The life-long trauma of separation, however hidden, to children and biological families, is hardly mentioned. Britain already has the highest adoption rate in Europe – 90% without the consent of the birth families.

We hold monthly self-help meetings with mothers struggling to keep their children from social workers instructed to prioritise adoption and foster care. Some mothers lose their children after reporting domestic violence – penalised for “failing to protect” them.

Others are young, scared and inexperienced – penalised for “failing to convince” that they could be “capable” parents while a wealthier family waits to take their child. All are low-income families, many with precarious housing, learning difficulties or a disability, many black or immigrant. The incentives to discriminate will vastly increase with privatisation.

Cristel Amiss Black Women’s Rape Action Project; Anne Neale Legal Action for Women; Lisa Longstaff Women Against Rape; Nina Lopez Global Women’s Strike; Kim Sparrow Single Mothers’ Self-Defence

This bill is being debated just as the benefit cap comes in: 88,000 families may no longer be able to pay their rent and 500,000 children may be impoverished. No one knows how many will then be taken into care or adopted as their parents are accused of “neglect” for no longer being able to keep a roof over their heads!

We hope that given some of the deep corruption this Bill promotes and the poverty that is being imposed on hundreds of thousands of children and their families you will vote against it. We hope that you will support the amendments below and speak up for children, whose enforced separation from their biological families is being treated as a business opportunity for the private sector.

 

Please support the following amendments to the Children & Social Work Bill

CLAUSE 9
After CL 9, AMDT 33, New Clause: Profit-making and children’s social services functions

After CL 9 AMDT 35, New Clause: Duty to report on outcomes

CLAUSE 28
After CL 28, AMDT 52, New Clause: Whistleblowing arrangement in relation to looked after children and children at risk

After CL 28, AMDT 53, New Clause: Public interest disclosure in relation to looked after children and children at risk

CLAUSE 29
AMDT 57, leave out CL 29

CLAUSE 30
AMDT 58, leave out CL 30

CLAUSE 31
AMDT 64, leave out CL 31

CLAUSE 32
AMDT 66, leave out CL 32

CLAUSE 33
AMDT 68, leave out CL 33

After CL 33: AMDT 69, New Clause: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

After CL 33: AMDT 70, New Clause: Safeguarding Unaccompanied Refugee Children

CLAUSE 40
After CL 40: AMDT 72, New Clause: Whistleblowing arrangement in relation to social workers

After CL 40: AMDT 73, New Clause: Public interest disclosure by social workers

 

Cristel Amiss, Black Women-s Rape Action Project  bwrap@rapeaction.net

Lisa Longstaff, Women Against Rape  war@womenagainstrape.net

Nina Lopez, Global Women’s Strike  gws@globalwomenstrike.net

Anne Neale, Legal Action for Women  law@allwomencount.net

Kim Sparrow, Single Mothers’ Self Defence  smsd@allwomencount.net

 

Tel: 020 7482 2496

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