The comments posted by many of those who responded to my blog yesterday were heartfelt and thought-provoking – demonstrating the wide-spread dismay caused by the torture and death of Baby P. Paul, however, disagreed with my argument that Haringey Council and other agencies involved in child protection should be held responsible at this early stage, even before Lord Laming’s inquiry has reported.
This view has got some traction in the media, part of a broader tendency on the progressive side of the fence to view media storms with suspicion. Peter Wilby, for instance, is a normally shrewd observer of the worst excesses of Daily Mail journalism. In his latest guardian piece Wilby tries for balance, placing at least some of the blame for the current controversy with: “the tendency of rightwing newspapers to assume social work and socialism (along with sociology) are the same sort of thing, and that the profession’s very existence contributes to “the dependency culture”.
I understand this point of view, and those of Paul in the comments to my previous post, and those of others like them want to let the review take its course. But I disagree with them, profoundly, at least in part because I, too, was once put in the care of social services….
Baby P was attacked, and died whilst he was, nominally at least, in the care of the state. (A child can be “in care” and, at the same time, be at home; a little known fact). I hold to my belief that all of those involved in Haringey Children’s Services need to take responsibility. And I add to that list those at Ofsted who carried out a “desk-based” research exercise to pass the service as adequate, and also those civil servants who sent the Haringey whistleblower on a “track down the responsible agency” hunt; they should search their consciences too. Undoubtedly, some of them should resign because they made mistakes, when their help was most needed help.
There is enough evidence out there to support the contention that the child protection system failed Baby P and, of course, one glaring, incontrovertible fact: he died despite the fact that child protection system was supposed to have prevented him from harm. I’m not afraid of…