Wednesday, 25 November 2009

When ‘Emergency Care Proceedings’ Doesn’t Mean What One Might Assume It Means...

A boy of two was allowed to remain in the care of a blind 82-year-old widow by the council involved in the tragedy of Baby P.

Social workers from Haringey said the child was 'thriving' with the frail pensioner, who had once fostered his mother.
Oh, Haringey again. Is anyone surprised?
But the widow's family accuse the North London council of ignoring a series of warnings that she was too old to cope.

They claim it failed to act even when the tiny, six-stone great-grandmother collapsed from exhaustion after caring for the child for almost two months.
In fact, it was the death of her.
She died this month after falling down stairs at her home, where she lived alone with the child.
Well done, Haringey!

You’ve obviously filled your quota of dead children and you think you’d better start reducing the population from the opposite end of the age range this time...
The council says it wanted to take the child away from the widow and instigated emergency care proceedings.

However, the child was under its supervision for 18 months before the case came to court and the family feel that Haringey is guilty of dragging its feet.
18 months is an ‘emergency’ in Haringey, is it?

Well, I suppose it is when you are just dealing with trifles like vulnerable children and the frail elderly.

But they certainly moved pretty damn sharpish when the story looked like leaking out and some SS might be in the frame for some harsh words from the press:
… when the Daily Mail contacted the under-fire council over the death of the pensioner, its officials sought an emergency court order to stop details of the case being made public.
Luckily, they lost.

And as the ‘Mail’ points out, this case highlights the extraordinary actions of Haringey in this case when compared to other decisions made by the SS elsewhere:
The tragic case is made all the more extraordinary by the plight of countless grandparents who have been told they are too old to foster their own grandchildren.

This year social workers decided to rehome two children with a gay couple after their mother's parents were judged 'too old' to care for them.
And in that case, ‘too old’ meant 49 and 56, even though there was a family link. What gives?
Haringey refused to confirm or deny whether Baby K was on its Child Protection Register - the 'at risk' list on which Baby P was placed eight months before his death.
Which either means he wasn’t (and should have been) or he was (and action moved at the usual glacial pace of Haringey SS).

Either way, it’s hard to see how they are going to escape censure for this one.

Well, until you realise that they always do. Or at least, escape the expected results of such censure in any other organisation.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note how quick they can move when the need is to cover their own arse.
Like most other public 'services' they are there to serve themselves first and the public second.

Umbongo said...

Censured they may be. However, this will be followed by an avalanche of press handouts - faithfully relayed by the BBC - to the effect that social services are overwhelmed by the amount they are required to do and that there are shortages of staff etc etc.

As a Haringey council-tax payer, I would suggest that, were this true (and not just a shield for gross incompetence), the wall of money thrown by Haringey at crap like "Black History Month", the council propaganda sheet ("Haringey People"), the raft of diversity and equality officers, play advisers and (don't let's forget) dodgy Icelandic banks, could be redirected accordingly.

Henry Crun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry Crun said...

Jesus wept, and that awful Shoesmith woman had the unmitigated gall to complain about how unfairly she had been treated.

Is there no one in the public sector that can do a job of work properly?

JuliaM said...

"Like most other public 'services' they are there to serve themselves first and the public second."

Second? I'd be surprised if the public came seventh...

"Censured they may be. However, this will be followed by an avalanche of press handouts - faithfully relayed by the BBC - to the effect that social services are overwhelmed by the amount they are required to do and that there are shortages of staff etc etc."

I expect the 'Guardian' columns are being prepped as I type...

"Is there no one in the public sector that can do a job of work properly?"

I'd think there must be, or things would be even worse. But like anything else, we don't get to hear the jobs that go well.