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Opinion: Who carries the can when things go wrong in childsafeguarding?

What did you think last month when you heard that the Prime Minister of South Korea had offered his resignation in the wake of the ferry disaster? I don't suppose anybody thought that the PM had been at the helm of the ship that sunk, or that he could personally be held to blame for any lapses in the training of supervision of the ferry. But the culture in South Korea expects that those in highest authority carry responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

Blame games make the job of a DCS untenable

Last Friday, the Reading Post published a story about how children's services in the town received only one application for each of the three senior social worker jobs it advertised. On the same day, the Coventry Telegraph reported that 30 demonstrators had gathered outside the city's town hall calling for more action to be taken against the agencies involved in the Daniel Pelka case.

Lobbying bill must remove gag on children's charities

When he was leader of the opposition, David Cameron famously proclaimed that lobbying was "the next big scandal waiting to happen". Cue several undercover sting operations where journalists passed themselves off as lobbyists representing commercial interests to expose politicians accepting cash in return for using their political influence. Cameron waited. It happened.

Resilience prevails amid Osborne's bleak choices

Like a piercing, bitter English winter, Chancellor George Osbourne's "autumn statement" was eye-wateringly harsh. It is, without doubt, children and young people growing up in the most deprived households who are being asked to bear the brunt.

Lightweight guidance puts children's interests at risk

This government's appetite for reducing regulation, prescription and bureaucracy in services for children is well known. Its desire is, to some degree, understandable. Labour in government did over-prescribe, it did over-regulate and it did micro-manage.

Unborn babies deserve protection from harm

Does the behaviour of women during pregnancy have a long-term effect on children? This critical question seems difficult to answer because many factors will impact on children's health outcomes such as poverty, housing, childhood diseases and schooling.

Vetting agency must foster responsibility

Keeping children safe from abuse is always a highly charged topic. It is naturally the first priority of most parents. It is vital for children's services departments, since a high-profile child abuse case causes untold damage not just to the child but to the whole service.

Remove adoption barriers but keep the safeguards

Michael Gove has been sending out system-wide messages about his views on adoption. He wantsto increase the numbers of adoptions, while decreasing the time for adoptions to take place, with fewer artificial barriers. Since he himself was adopted at the age of four months, his views carry some weight.

A very tall order with a short deadline

Across the country, newly formed local teams are embarking on a colossal exercise. In every area, local authorities have until next month to quantify how many troubled families live in each area and set out how they are going to help them turn their lives around.

Prolonged court delays scar children for life

The biggest intrusion by the state into family life is the removal of a child from its birth parents. So it is absolutely right that the courts should make the final decision, whether it is for a temporary or a permanent arrangement. However, it is paramount that there are proper checks because there are judgments to be made that are not always obvious.

Let's make allowances for the costs of fostering

Almost all of us love our children - even though they are occasionally difficult, temperamental or just obstreperous. We love them for what they are, whether that includes abilities or disabilities, and we would not have it any other way. Of all I have done, I am proudest of my children and what they have achieved - although, of course, it was not just me!

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