Last nights TV programme “Protecting our Children” on BBC2, highlighted the very difficult role a social worker has to fill and the complex and heartbreaking decisions they sometimes need to make. Tragic cases such as Baby P and Victoria Climbié thrust the social work profession into the media spotlight, but few understand the complexities of child protection.
It was very clear from the programme just how important it is that all of the different agencies work closely together to pull together the different pieces of the jigsaw. The programme also showed how vital it is for everyone who comes into contact with a child to be aware of potential issues and to report any concerns. For example in the case presented last night, the nursery that the child attended was very much aware of the issues of neglect.
One question that wasn’t raised, is what can be done to help struggling parents at a much earlier stage? How much child abuse could be stopped if parents were given the additional support they require before a problem occurs? Funds will always be an issue but surely it’s cheaper to nip the problem in the bud earlier when only a few people are needed, compared to the costs of a large multi-agency team and the court?