Emma speaks in Parliamentary debate on child protection

September 13, 2013

131015 - ELB at DPMQsOn Thursday Emma spoke in a backbench business debate on Child Protection, drawing on her experience as a social worker to highlight some of the failures that exist in the current system.

Emma spoke about the increasing pressure being put on child protection services and social workers, and how complex bureaucracy and underfunding prevent social workers and others from being able to prioritise the welfare of children in need. She also highlighted the lack of communication between different agencies that can lead to abuse going untracked. The consequences of these failures have been in the media spotlight in the last year or so, following revelations about public figures like Jimmy Savile, and more recently the appalling neglect and murder of Daniel Pelka.

Emma told the House of Commons:

“Social workers, police, teachers and health professionals are operating in highly bureaucratic, constantly restructured and underfunded services to such a degree that they inherently retreat into their own cultures and service demands, instead of fostering good, robust multi-agency practices.

“The constant scapegoating and poor image of the social work profession has also permeated the minds of the public and the wider agencies to such a degree that social work knowledge and expertise are often undermined.”

She also expressed concerns that Government cuts were making the situation worse. More than two thirds of frontline children’s services have seen cuts, even as the number of children in need continues to rise. The Sure Start centres that were a massive success under Labour are beginning to disappear under the Coalition, with Government cuts of over £430 million forcing 400 centres to either close or reduce their services. This will inevitably lead to more family breakdown and unchecked abuse.

Emma, who is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on both Child Protection and Social Work, pledged that as a Member of Parliament she would “contribute to making our child protection system the best it can be.”

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