1 in 5 Kids Reported to Child Protective Services

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A study in England has found that one in five young children is reported to child protective services.

One. In. Five.

This 45-second audio clip from the BBC’s Today Programme is described thusly:

One in five children born between 2009 and 2010 were referred to social services before the age of five because of fears of neglect or abuse, according to researchers from the University of Lancashire.

Professor Andy Bilson told Today presenter Justin Webb that the 150,000 referrals of concern was “creating a huge haystack in which we are trying to find the needle of the children who are really at risk”.

As Bilson tells the interviewer, the effect of this kind of Orwellian oversight is profound: “If you’re a parent and somebody  has logged a concern about you, it doesn’t matter if you are formally investigated.  You will still feel that you are under threat that you are likely to lose your child.”

This terror and shame felt by so many perfectly fine families is the result of our three modern day beliefs:

1 – All children are in constant danger from everything, including their parents.

2 – All children are fragile, and whatever mini-miseries we could “survive” as kids, children today can’t.

3 – Therefore, if you see something, say something — even that “something” is as mild as a mom holding her baby in her arms as she walks, rather than having the child “safely” in a stroller. That’s an actual story I just received today. A Facebook friend photographed the local police blotter, which listed that phone call.

It DOES take a village to raise a child. But somehow the villagers have been convinced they are too ignorant or incompetent  to actually help the neighbors, and must instead summon the authorities. It reminds me of the signs here in the NYC subways: “If you see a sick passenger, contact an MTA employee or a police officer.”

Like we couldn’t possibly attempt to aid the person ourselves. We have been told to give up all normal compassion, concern and competency. Just call 911.

I’m not sure if the people in Britain (and here) who called about 20% of the babies believe they were truly witnessing abuse, or simply aren’t sure what constitutes abuse, so they needed someone else to decide. But the net effect is turning neighbor on neighbor, and giving vast authority to outsiders whose job is to leave no stone unturned. Even pebbles.

Somehow we must give compassion, concern and competency back to us citizens, as well as a basic belief in our fellow humans, not just the ones licensed by the state. – L

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Come back, mommy!

Come back, mommy! It’s okay we didn’t get dessert last night! 

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44 Responses to 1 in 5 Kids Reported to Child Protective Services

  1. ViciousD June 3, 2016 at 11:35 am #

    Right.
    On most points, I agree, but I am going to spend some of my time to disagree – in the ever-lasting fear that taking half an hour, or more, to try and be explaining, is going to be wasted by me being banned.

    First, Britain is not the US. They have a MASSIVE problem with welfare-queens and disability and fetal alchohol-syndrome kids, teenage moms, chavs and what have you.

    Add to all of that how local police-department have had the pitifull response to racial concerns – and teen prostitution and so on and so forth – by simply ignorance and pretending it wasn’t there, and then turning the highlights on celebrities from the past to attempt to grab the appearance of actually doing something, and well.

    That said, in a perfect society, we either have to fess up to how we have a double standard in regards to asking people to be qualified for being adoptive parents, versus giving birth, or keep financing these welfare queens who never should have been allowed to have responsibility for even a gold-fish – or putting the chese back in the fridge after making themselves a sandwich – to begin with.

  2. MichaelF June 3, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    It takes a village to raise a child, sadly I live in a village of idiots

  3. John June 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    Quote:

    “First, Britain is not the US. They have a MASSIVE problem with welfare-queens and disability and fetal alchohol-syndrome kids, teenage moms, chavs and what have you.”

    I don’t know Vicious, but I’d say the U.S. has their fair share of problems with welfare dependency, teen moms and fetal alcohol syndrome also. But how we compare per capita with those problems compared to Britain, I really don’t know. I can’t imagine it being all that much better.

  4. Warren June 3, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    I still say that now everyone has a phone in their possession and that has created the problem.
    It is too easy to call the authorities and report someone. Before you had to find a phone be it a pay phone or borrow a phone or wait till you got home, to call. That gave people time to reevaluate and also to talk it over with someone. Now they just react and call.

  5. ViciousD June 3, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    One difference, is that in the US, the “chair dance”-game is being played.

    “People can just up and move, pull themselves up by their boot-straps, every man his own smith of fortune and every person can become a president”, yadda yadda yadda.

    In the UK, they have kind of had a few more centuries of oligarchies / aristocracies, and so they don’t believe so much in that.

    Also they are closer to the rest of the world (except mexico) and therefore they see what’s going on, where the US thinks they are the only nation on this planet and all good that comes to them comes because they are the best nation and all bad is because shit happens.

    Also they have petro-dollars whereas the UK abolished the gold-standard on their command (at a loss) so they are not entirely boned – yet – but as global financial analysts like to point out, boy howdy give that disaster ten years and watch it crumble like a house of cards somebody just shat on

  6. Curious June 3, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    We are all strangers and there is no kindness. Is anyone old enough to remember “The Age of Alienation” and “The Lonely Crowd”?

    We have come a long way from the ancient admonition about welcoming strangers and being kind to neighbors.

  7. Theresa June 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    Sounds just like the good old USA. Don’t like a kid knowing how play by themselves, call cps. Family lives off the grid cps time. Doctor can’t find what wrong with your kid and won’t ask other doctors for help cps plus guinea pig time. Kid knows how use tools call the cops!

  8. Papilio June 3, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    1 in 5??! That is insane! I wonder what the main “reasons” for those calls were. Crying kid? Yelling at kid? Pretend to leave kid behind when she doesn’t want to come? Carry kid on bike? Having given kid an idiotic name?

    @Vicious & John: I don’t know about welfare and FAS, neither whether it’s a “MASSIVE” problem, but I was pretty sure that the teen mom rate in the US is actually higher than in the UK, which is backed up by this little stat I hastily looked up:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy#/media/File:Teen_birth_rates_internationally,_per_1000_girls_aged_15-19_2008.png

    @Vicious: “by me being banned” The fact that Warren and James and you and several other less frequent commenters are still able to post here should tell you the risk of being banned is… shall we say… fairly low.

  9. John June 3, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    I think a couple of things might be driving this. First off there is a law on the books which I think has been on the books for years, even when I was a kid back in the 1960s, that makes it a law to report child abuse to authorities. Now I don’t think it was strictly enforced back in the 1960s but I think it was there just the same. Since it is a law to report child abuse, it then makes it a crime if you don’t. BUT remember, child abuse was very narrowly defined 50 years ago whereas nowadays, EVERYTHING is considered “child abuse”!

    Secondly, the child sex scandals, i.e., McMartin day care sex scandal of the early 80s and most recently the Penn State scandal and all other scandals in between, has put the whole country in a frenzy. It made the country so angry that Americans wanted anybody and everybody associated with the scandals burned at the stake. This is where cognizance of the reporting law came to the forefront and that is when I believe it became STRICTLY enforced. All of the experts interviewed within the MSM would say that if you have any suspicion of child abuse, it is your duty to report it and will suffer the consequences if you don’t. So you were a criminal if you didn’t report it BUT a hero if you did!

    Well now who doesn’t want to be a hero? What better way is there to be a hero than to save a child from harm? So I think Americans, and the Brits, have really taken this to heart and have adopted a “better safe than sorry” approach to reporting child abuse. Nothing is left to chance. So now when we see a 10-year-old kid walking to 3 blocks to school in sub freezing weather, we call the police! Even though the kid is all bundled up and warm and even though back in the 1960s, we walked to school in sub freezing weather quite frequently. But nowadays, we figure that we’ll just let the authorities sort it out.

    But the key here is education. People have got to understand the importance of using better discretion. They’ve got to understand that by reporting all these petty little situations they’re actually doing more harm to children in the long run. Child Protective Services then becomes so busy chasing the mice that they completely miss the herd of elephants stampeding thru the playground!

    So in my opinion Judges need to start whacking people on the nose with a newspaper (figuratively speaking) for reporting “child abuse” that is not there. The media also needs to start educating people better instead of being on this witch hunt for child abusers. But, of course, all of this is easier said than done because of Americans’ propensity to OVER react and it sounds as if the Brits have the same problem.

  10. Warren June 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    John

    Nice points.

    The increase in mandated reporters is also an issue. You know the scales have tipped towards cover your ass instead of being sure of things before calling it in.

  11. elysium June 3, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    @Warren – I can’t speak for every jurisdiction, but as a mandated reporter, I’m supposed to report even *suspected* abuse. I work with adults and can count on one hand how many times I’ve had to call CPS, however. (There is also an Adult Protective Services to which I am also a mandated reporter, but I also don’t call them much and they are pretty useless, at least in the jurisdiction that I work in. I call them when I feel not calling them would put my license on the line, not because I expect them to do any good.) My suspicions have to be pretty strong or glaring for me to make a call. Others might be a little more trigger-happy, so to speak.

  12. Emily June 3, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    >>John

    Nice points.

    The increase in mandated reporters is also an issue. You know the scales have tipped towards cover your ass instead of being sure of things before calling it in.<<

    John, Warren, I agree with you both. The YMCA is especially notorious for the "call everything in whether you're sure or not" mentality, and I really hate that, because the kids at the YMCA often have parents as members, and even if all calls are made anonymously, I don't think it fosters community to call the police or the Children's Aid Society on John and Jane Doe because their son Jimmy fell off the monkey bars one day, and then came to swimming lessons with bruises the next. You want to believe that what Jimmy and his parents told you, and John and Jane seem like ordinary, kind people, but If It Saves One Child……..okay, no, sarcasm off. If it saves one child (and that's still a pretty big if), it inconveniences a lot of other people, and creates a culture of mistrust.

  13. Bill Dyszel June 3, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    There’s also a fourth belief: That children are made “safer” by separating them from their parents, either by throwing the kids in the foster system, throwing the parents in jail, or both. And a legal issue, that you can’t take away a person’s home without the due process of law, but you can take their kids with almost no evidence.

  14. Emily June 3, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    Another thing about our YMCA–although they’re very “worst-first,” with mandated reporting policies, rooms and closets locked when not in use so as to prevent adults from molesting children, et cetera, they’re also big on maintaining an image of being friendly, inclusive, positive, and all of that, so the expectation is, you’re supposed to keep up an act of being friendly to the people you called in anonymously. I’ve never had to report anyone, but it sounds incredibly awkward.

  15. Havva June 3, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

    Amen, Amen, AMEN!
    In discussing the gorilla incident with friends my sister point out that it touched such a never because the criticism of the mom sounds just like the criticism parents are put through every day for every little thing. And one of her friends asked just the right question “what ever happened to helping each other?”

    That’s just it. When you see something, you could actually do something helpful. And it might give you more information about what is actually happening, and the character of those involved.

    Everyone knows how people feel about children crying on airplanes. Not so long ago I watched from the far end of the jetway as a family struggled with 3 kids under 5 and 3 car-seats. They were noticeable not only because they were encumbered, but because the middle kid was having a melt down and mom’s arms were full of baby, and luggage, dad’s arms full of car seats, and so they were creating a bit of a roadblock. The crowd just was extra silent around them pushing past. I’m sure many were making dirty looks wondering if they were going to have to put up with a screaming tot through the whole flight, and perhaps worse. When I got to them I just smiled at the mom and asked if she would like a hand. She handed me a bag and had the whole thing under control in 5 seconds. Line was able to move smoothly again and the kids didn’t make a peep through the whole flight. Clearly exelent parents having a bad moment. It seems so easy to judge others harshly, and say “that isn’t my problem,” “s/he made the problem, s/he should fix it” “wow is s/he incompetent”, but people spend more time annoyed at one another, impeded by one another, reporting one another, or gossiping about one another; than it would take to non-judgmentally offer a helping hand and solve the problem that is irritating them.

    Just as Lenore said as a society “We have been told to give up all normal compassion, concern and competency.” Starting with stranger danger, on to things people hear on the nightly news. Sociability and basic decency has effectively been hammered out of our society. The results of that is ugly indeed, and frankly shocking 1 in 5! That statistic should be mentioned at every opportunity. And I would like to know what it is in the US.

  16. Rachel June 3, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    Meanwhile, I (mandated reporter) have been on the phone with CPS twice in less than 2 weeks because my son’s friend is terrified to go home to dad, and came over with handprint bruises.

  17. Vaughan Evans June 3, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

    Policemen spend a LIFETIME of training-learning how to be firm-but even-tempered and circumspect-in dealing with ALL kinds of situations.

    -But today’s other people receive NO training in this.
    One thousand years ago, in the Middle Ages(476-1476) a boy of 7-went to a boarding school-where his formal training for knighthood began.
    I am sure his training including (a)when and how to volunteer information to the police (b)how to act on reconnaissance missions-if he was in the army or navy and (c)how to serve on a jury.

    -Children today get NO training in civics,

    In some European countries-civics is a required subject.

    I am sure that the knights-in training-were taught when and how-t make a lawful citizen’s arrest.

  18. Mike June 3, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    I’ve heard stories of parents deciding to NOT take their injured children to the hospital because they feared they’d be reported to CPS and have their kids snatched.

    It’s a horrible calculus: Untreated injury and intact family, or treated injury and destroyed family. Which is better for the child?

  19. Another Katie June 3, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    The “if you see something, say something” and “better safe than sorry” mentality strikes me as being a big part of it. People feel enabled to judge acquaintances or perfect strangers on the basis of what they can see, which may well be misinterpreted.

    Our 6 year old has a relatively mild bleeding disorder and bruises at the drop of a hat – I worry about some random mandated reporter seeing our older daughter’s bruises and calling CPS on us “just in case”. It’s happened to other families dealing with the condition. We’re used to perpetually-bruised shins on the kiddo, but others might view it as a red flag. Her condition is thoroughly-documented at school and every activity she’s involved in, in an attempt to avoid having that ever happen.

  20. JW June 3, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    Lenore, you need to dig into this more deeply than a 45s interview clip. I read the actual study and this is what you should be discussing as the problem:

    7.5% of children born in 2009-2010 had unfounded complaints of abuse lodged them before the age of 5

    This 1 in 5 number is the same kind of fearmongering as the kidnapping rate statistics.

    Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

    22.5% of children born in 2009-2010 were reported before the age of 5.
    14.9% of all children in this age range were reported AND deemed in need of help.
    7.5% of all children in this age range were NOT deemed in need of help.

    Please also note that this study is NOT about all children. It only covered children born in 2009-2010 and reports made between 2010 and 2015. I can’t find statistics, but I would not be surprised if more reports were made for children in that age range relative to others.

    Study: http://bjsw.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/05/19/bjsw.bcw054.full#sec-5

  21. SKL June 3, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    I often see someone asking semi-anonymously on the internet “should I call CPS?” Here’s an actual example. “I was in the pickup line and I saw this overwhelmed mom of 5 and she didn’t have enough car seats for all the kids. I know it’s because her regular car is in the shop and she has no choice but to temporarily drive this other car that doesn’t fit all the car seats. I know she’s a great mom and her kids are well cared for. Should I call CPS?”

    And some of the responders said “YES! They will help her! It could save those babies’ lives! Otherwise they will probably DIE!” “If you see something, say something!!”

    Turns out the law in that jurisdiction actually allows what that lady did, so hopefully nobody called, but really?

    How about “if you see something, DO something to help?”

    I think the fact that 911 is anonymous is a problem. If a person had a right to face her accuser, then people would think twice before making frivolous accusations.

  22. James Pollock June 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    ” If a person had a right to face her accuser, then people would think twice before making frivolous accusations.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure of this… the lady one article back got to face her accusers, and it doesn’t seem to have caused them to back down.

  23. ViciousD June 3, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    There are also problems with that of children accusing their own parents – they may, at one point not see any other reason out but to do so, but at the same time, desperately want to keep the option open for them to rebuild their relationship at some point in time, further down the lane.

  24. hineata June 3, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    As stated above, Lenore, the UK isn’t America, so who knows if the rates are the same. I do find it a little sad that about 2/3 of the complaints (according to an earlier commenter) led to follow up being deemed necessary.

    I find the ‘see something, say something’ ideas amusing. Why don’t we try, ‘see something, hold your tongue while seeking further evidence’ or, ‘see something, help out’?

    While in Australia last week
    (kids at home alone…was tempted to call CYPS on myself but they’re all old now ☺) we saw a couple in the hotel restaurant at breakfast. So normal. Except….she was wearing a niqab and he was an Arab man carrying, Allah save us all, a backpack. Which he proceeded to put down on a seat. And leave. Oh dear….we saw something, should we say something?

    We could have, I suppose. Except that after getting his breakfast (avoiding the bacon, which was a shame, as it was particularly good for hotel bacon) he returned to his seat, wife and backpack. Following a quick breakfast they both left, backpack again attached to his back, presumably containing the usual togs one carries around in Oz in case one is gripped with the desire to jump immediately into the beautiful coastal waters ☺.

    Point of the above? Most of the time, we should keep our mouths shut, whether about imperfect parents or ‘suspicious’ characters ☺.

  25. TeacherJR June 3, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

    Unfortunately, the “If you see something, say something” slogan that caught on after 9/11 has erroneously been applied to so many aspects of public life that it’s quickly created a culture of busybodies and cell-phone heroes.

    In my home state we have all sorts of PSA’s with catchy slogans on TV that remind people about proper behavior while managing not to be so Orwellian: “Pull aside, stay alive” if you’re caught in a dust storm; “Move to the right for sirens and lights” if you see an emergency vehicle approaching.

    Anybody out there with video skills who could make a PSA that would remind people how to respond properly to normal childhood behaviors?

    Lenore, I think you should make it a contest…

  26. Donald June 3, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

    I am skeptical about these figures. We have seen how the media adjusts statistics to produce the maximum outrage. In the past, the outrage was triggered by the possibility of kidnapping, paedophilia, or being cooked in a car. Times have changed. (about time)

    There is a growing concern of the government overstepping and believing that a bureaucrat makes a better parent than the mother who gave birth to the child. While I believe that the bureaucracy is out of control, I also acknowledge that the media has perfected the art of pulling the wool over our eyes.

    I don’t really put the blame on the media either. They’re struggling to keep up with Facebook who has no guidelines whatsoever about how far a story can wander from the truth.

  27. JW June 3, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

    Donald, you can check out an advance version of the study: http://bjsw.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/05/19/bjsw.bcw054.full#sec-5. Unfortunately, the final one is not free.

    I discussed the statistics and the distortion on them above. Something I didn’t write about, because it would get too wordy, was how a lot of the data was estimated. The raw data wasn’t published, at least in this survey. Curiously, the authors didn’t make the FOI response available nor could I find it on the UK’s web site. So what actually went into these numbers is a mystery.

  28. Donald June 3, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    While I acknowledge the upswing in busibodyism (is that a word?) and the euphoric feeling of being ‘holier than thou’, I know the media as well.

  29. Sophia June 3, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    When my daughter was 5, we lived in Denver. It was like 40 degrees out, she had on a shirt, a sweater, a coat, hat, mittens, & snow pants (she wanted to play in the snow) she was playing right outside our apartment door, with her 8 year old friend. 10 minutes later a woman knocked on our door with her in hand because she was worried she was homeless because she had no coat.

    I explained (because back then I felt I had too) that I check on her while outside, that my daughter hates coats & is always taking them off, that’s why she has extra clothes on underneath her coat & thanks for the concern.

    The next day child services came to my home. The woman had called them, Even after I explained, and that she saw my daughter was a few feet from our door & not neglected at all.

    So cps lectured me on how terrible it is to “make a 8 year old responsible ” for my 5 year old. Regardless if it was right outside.
    On me not glueing her coat to her body, never mind she had on a hat, sweater, scarf, snow pants, and mittens.
    They searched my apartment, questioned my daughter alone, and although everything was fine, I still had to go to the child protective offices to prove myself as a parent. And was warned we would be in a watch list. I was terrified, we moved to Oregon.

    After that for a few years, I was totally paranoid. I didn’t get why everyone was crazy and found staring at & dictating there kids every move was fun and or neccessary. Even though I didn’t get it, I slaved to the helicoptering in a relaxed way, which was still miserable…. Until I stumbled on to free range kids. Life saver! I haven’t been paranoid to parent the last 3 years, and it is great.

  30. Sophia June 3, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    That was long, my point is, we had nothing wrong with our family or our home. Clean, food in fridge, happy, independent kid, great area. But still, I had to go into the cps office to explain why I was wrong, why I was a sufficient parent, I pretty much had to do a power point. And still got placed on some list. Idk, I do understand the fear and the unfairness on this topic.

  31. Theresa June 3, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    Cps really loves to have fun with their former customer the kids. I know some people need help but they don’t seem to know who needs help. So they try to save everyone which makes it worse! Doctors play my way or no kid should be fired!

  32. A Reader June 3, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    I have 3 boys and have made my fair share of trips to the ER for stitches and broken bones. Neither me nor my husband has ever been questioned beyond “what happened” and other pertinent medical info. Why? Because we never go directly to the ER. The first time, I was just doing what my parents did whenever one of us needed medical attention. My dad is a doctor and would always directly call his friend the plastic surgeon or his friend the orthopedist, so we wouldn’t have to spend hours waiting in the ER. So when it happens with my kids, I call the pediatrician (who is a family friend) and he calls one of his colleagues to meet us in the ER and we don’t have to wait or deal with anyone else. It recently occurred to me, as my 5 year old had his broken elbow set after a freak accident (he just fell wrong, not even anything crazy) that this system of ours is probably why nobody ever questioned us. Our pediatrician knows us and knows we didn’t do anything wrong and shit happens with kids. And calling the doctor ahead means no intake and no social workers to pry.

  33. Donald June 3, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

    I don’t mean to fence hop. As JW pointed out, I was probably wrong on my earlier post. I have also spoken for years about bureaucracy and how it grows into it’s own ‘life form’. It’s just that I don’t think Free Rangers are immune to the ‘outrage bait’ that the media loves to wave.

    I’d also like to stick up for CPS (sort of) As I said, the bureaucracy has become a life form of its own. I’m skeptical the CPS are even in charge of CPS! They have become marionettes and the strings are pulled by busybodies!

  34. Backroads June 3, 2016 at 11:10 pm #

    This might be an extreme example but… I’m thinking of this recent news story of the kid in Japan who was lost in the woods for nearly a week after his dad decided to scare him straight by leaving him by the side of the road.

    Now, I get it, your kid is lost in the woods/military bunker and you kind of led to that, but reading comments on the news sites demanding the child be removed forever from his home… and at the same time chiming in with comparisons to much less extreme examples where, still, kids need to be removed from the home because parents just aren’t good enough and accidents and mistakes should never happen.

  35. sexhysteria June 4, 2016 at 2:27 am #

    “Fears” of neglect/abuse, or hysteria?

  36. andy June 4, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    @JW Your detailed stats did not came across as reassuring to me. The 22.5% of children born in 2009-2010 were reported before the age of 5 means that if nothing change, their generation will have more then 22.5% of child reported over the course of childhood.

    By the time they are 5, 22.5% of them was reported to agency. In 2020 they will be 10 and more of them will be reported to agency during childhood. If 5-10 years old is half as likely to be reported, the number may climb to 30%. Maybe less, maybe more, but it can not possibly go down.

  37. K June 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    @Backroads, I’ve been waiting to see if the Japanese story is covered here. When I read the headline, it was something like, “Boy lost after being left in the forest for punishment!” and I pictured Hansel and Gretel situation with horrible, extreme parents. Then I read the article and found it was actually a “If you can’t behave yourself, you can get out and walk!” -type situation, where the parents left him for 5 minutes to scare some sense into him and were horrified that he wasn’t there when they turned around for him. I don’t actually think that what they did was particularly inappropriate at all (although in retrospect, perhaps not a great choice for their child, if he immediately set if away from the road). I wonder how much of the outrage would at least be muted if the story were framed differently.

  38. Donald June 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

    The net is cast wider and wider. Even the most minor things are considered to be abuse. This is the same as sex offender laws. Even peeing in a parking lot could get you on the registry for life.

  39. Claudia June 5, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    I’m not sure where ViciousD gets his/her information (well, OK, it’s probably the Daily Mail) but the only problem is a massive *perception* of there being a huge teenage mother and benefit reliance issue. It could well be *this* that leads to lots of calls to social services as people are whipped up into believing that there’s a mass of these terrible, awful people (usually poor people) who are bad parents and need reporting to social services at the drop of a hat.

    Stat suggest that teenage pregnancy has dropped massively in the last decade or two and that most teenage mothers are actually 19, not little kids who don’t know what they’re doing. People overall are far more likely to underclaim what they are entitled to than to inveigle their way to benefits there are not entitled to http://www.theguardian.com/society/shortcuts/2014/oct/21/-sp-benefit-fraud-in-facts-and-figures

    But anyway, back to the main point, I expect a lot of these might just be small enquiries that were resolved with a phone call – I don’t know, for example, if it might count that I got a phone call from social services after my daughter had a hospital following an accident while staying at my mum’s house on my birthday when I was out. They asked about the safety at the house (she had had a seizure and fallen down stairs, or vice versa, we’ll never know for sure) and I think they just wanted to check that I was not, say, leaving my kids with a doddery old lady in an unsafe house while regularly going out boozing. As it was, they seemed satisifed and although they said they might be in touch again, they didn’t call back. I totally understood that it is protocol to call after an accident in the home – I felt quite satisfied that no one was implying anyone had done anything wrong and they just wanted to provide support if we were lacking safety information or equipment. If this sort of thing is included in the stats, it could account for quite a lot.

  40. Gregory Dwyer June 6, 2016 at 3:08 am #

    My son was reported by his teachers for coming to school with marks. He got those marks by refusing to leave his little brother alone and got bit and scratched in response. He learned.

  41. K2 June 6, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    Everyone expects PERFECTION at all times. NO EXCUSES. Phones are typically handy. Most think they are a good deed doer to report that a mouse got into someone’s house and they didn’t catch it yet. Not an infestation, one mouse. Minor offenses clog the system, make it expensive, and take time away from kids that really need help. People call because they are self-righteous and someone else’s house was cluttered. People call about minor sunburns to be vindictive in various custody situations. The system also errs on the side of coming down hard, rather than quickly screening out those cases and concentrating on real problems.

  42. K2 June 6, 2016 at 9:22 am #

    Not authoritative, but numbers compare reasonably well within the people I know.

  43. JW June 7, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    @Andy “@JW Your detailed stats did not came across as reassuring to me. The 22.5% of children born in 2009-2010 were reported before the age of 5 means that if nothing change, their generation will have more then 22.5% of child reported over the course of childhood.”

    By the time they are 5, 22.5% of them was reported to agency. In 2020 they will be 10 and more of them will be reported to agency during childhood. If 5-10 years old is half as likely to be reported, the number may climb to 30%. Maybe less, maybe more, but it can not possibly go down.”

    I don’t think that number reported is a bad thing necessarily. 66% of the 22.5% were children in need of help; would you prefer that they had not been reported to CPS and therefore did not get the help they need? Let’s say that only those children were reported. That would change the statistic to 14.9%, which also seems high but is actually the number of children that should have been reported. I don’t understand why people are missing this. If you want that number to go down, you either need to start discouraging people from reporting kids that definitely need help (bad) or find an alternative that gets those families the help they need.

    I actually have a lot of doubts in these numbers. The authors wrote in their study that they did not have complete data and that for some municipalities there were only five data points, so they estimated (predicted) what the responses should have been. That can be valid, but they did not explain their methodology. They also haven’t published raw numbers. They claim they got the statistics under FOI but they did not publish that nor is it on the UK government’s FOI site. So I’m side-eyeing this in general.

    I stand by my assertion that this statistic is fear-mongering in exactly the same way that the kidnapping stats are.

  44. Karen June 9, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    It’s awful to know that the system is so cracked. Sorry for Luke’s passing in such regretable circumstances.
    Basically in the first place, as two others have pointed out, if there wasn’t so much problems with drug affected parents & child abuse then these agencies wouldn’t be under the strain that they are in.

    I understand that you feel you were a fit parent to have Luke returned to you, and not knowing the circumstances, I’m sorry that it didn’t happen soon enough to prevent his death. I gather there must have been an initual problem & you worked through it.

    However, for anyone reading this … the system is cracked … It is clear that if more people were taking in foster kids then things would be a lot better. There is nothing worse than talking with foster carers who have wards. Last one I saw recently had one child with a broken arm & leg, and the other had cigarette burns over his body. So, whilst it is sad, immediate removal is sometimes necessary.