Friday 24 October 2008

Social services: far right groups must not be given cause

A link from Liberal England to a Jersey senator's blog and the news that two of those accused of child abuse in Jersey are to appear in court today, prompted me to check John Hemming's blog.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, having learned that Birmingham City Council had illegally sent children to Jersey for fostering or for holidays in the now-notorious Haut de la Garenne home, sought to find out how widespread the practice was. He swiftly found that four other English authorities had sent children to the island. Accordingly, he initiated Freedom of Information Act enquiries of all English authorities. The news earlier in the month was that legal wrangling continued, with people trying to avoid answering the question.

(It could, of course, be down to the nature of record-keeping. I sought reassurance from our social services department that children in care here had not been sent to Jersey, and encouraged party colleagues in neighbouring authorities to do the same. Head of Children & Young People Services Julie Rzezniczek was able to give me that reassurance, but only from her personal experience of twelve years in the department. She could say nothing about the practice of predecessor authorities; the only way to pick up the paper trail was from the Jersey end.)

Anyway, I did not find anything new about Jersey, but this story caught my eye.

Many people are concerned about the powers of the authorities in the UK to take children away from a parent. Now there is evidence that groups on the reactionary end of British politics are fishing in these troubled waters. They are using emotive cases involving actions on the part of social services departments, which cannot be democratically questioned, to stir up trouble. It seems to me that the law and procedures need to be changed along lines proposed by John Hemming.


Anonymous said...

What about your own council kidnaping kids from the U.S.A,did you ask her about that?

Frank Little said...

anonymous, if you are referring to a report on the Evening Post web site, those Liberal Democrat councillors who were available when the story became public knowledge, have issued a statement here.

Anonymous said...

As a Liberal Democrat voter can I ask what actions you personally will be taking regards this injunction. I am sure that there is no need to remind you that this case has been regarded in a number of circles and for many years as a prime example of the worst of it's kind.

Frank Little said...

Since m'learned friends have the power to strip me to my last pair of cuff-links if I put a foot wrong, I am taking my lead from the media. The Evening Post, in particular, is part of a huge publishing group which can afford good legal advice.

So expect URIs from me in the near future rather than original comment.