Child Care Legal News


Social Services have been in the spotlight recently, with officials commenting on policy and several high profile cases. Here is a roundup of the news surrounding child care issues.

Lessons still being learnt from the Daniel Pelka case

The murder of four year old Daniel Pelka was harrowing, and now Nick Clegg is considering a law that would require people working with children to report any suspicions of abuse. Mr Clegg suggested the law if there is no other way to stop similar tragedies happening again.

The case also pointed out that professionals are not recognising the signs of abuse. Daniel Pelka was severely underweight and had bruises across his body. This was echoed by Annie Hudson, the first Chief Executive of the new College of Social Workers, who said that “universal services” are behind.

Neither teachers or doctors recognised the signs in Daniel’s behaviour and over his body, despite teachers seeing him search for food in bins, and the fact that he weighed 11kg when he died.

Head of Family Court speaks out

Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division of the High Court, decided against Staffordshire County Council in a recent case. The council tried to prevent the father of a child only known as ‘J’ from criticising them and their social workers online. Sir James commented that a legal challenge should not be used to “spare the blushes” of officials.

Sir James also said in the news that “sloppy practice” in adoption procedures was meaning that children were taken away from their birth parents permanently, based on weak evidence. He reminded people that the drive to speed up adoptions should not overpower the wish to keep natural families together.

Good news for adoption

On the other hand, there has been a 10% increase in adoptions, with a total of 5,206 for 2012. This is in no small part due to changes made by the family court to speed up adoption decisions. However, Elaine Dibben from British Association for Adoption and Fostering pointed out that there are 3 times as many children waiting for adoption than there are adopters.

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