Monday, 1 December 2008

Social Workers In The Sun

Social Workers do an important but much maligned job in today's society. When they take a child away from potential abuse they're portrayed as draconean child-snatchers, if a child dies at the hands of abuser then they have "Blood on their hands".

"Social workers are damned either way. If they take children into care, they represent an intrusive, authoritarian state destroying family life. If they don't, they represent a lax, uncaring state failing to protect defenceless tots. A trawl of newspaper websites suggests that one or other of these stories gets reported about twice a month, with wronged parents slightly more common than wronged children. Wronged social workers don't exist.[Source:The Guardian]"

The issue is covered well by The Bickerstaffe Record.

If you are intent, as The Sun is clearly intent, on stirring up mass hyteria; if you are intent on creating a mass hatred of all things ’social work’ so deep that a challenging but highly rewarding profession sees massive drops in recruitment and retention; if you are really ‘care so deeply ’ about children’s justice that you’re quite happy to see the numbers in care rise dramatically in the two weeks since you started your ‘campaign for justice’; if you want to do all these things, you might at least start by getting your bleeding facts right.

It is the consistent and deliberate policy of the tabloid press to whip up discontent and foment discord about "issues". It seems that reporting the events is no longer enough, they have to shape situations to their liking. The responsibility to keep the public well informed has taken a back seat to reinforcing prejudice and provoking anger against people who have no way to defend themselves against such a barrage.

The death of this young child is tragic (Although given the ongoing carnage in the Congo being funded and mostly provoked by resources that are bought by consumer in the west maybe the British press should look at their priorities.) but to wildly swing the axe doesn't help anyone and can in fact be counter productive to the cause:

"Lots of people, for example, have said that Sharon Shoesmith, Director of Children's and Young People's Services in Haringey, ought to resign - she's in charge, so she is to blame. But here's what 68 headteachers have to say about her work:

“Should the Child P case result in her loss from the borough, then our children and young people will lose one of their most effective, determined and committed champions.”
“Initially, in her role of director of education, Shoesmith transformed a demoralised education service, derided by many headteachers, into one with which we are now proud to be associated.

“The exceptional rate of improvement of many of the borough’s schools would not have been possible without the support of the service that Ms Shoesmith rebuilt, revitalised and led.

“Since more recently becoming the director of Haringey’s Children and Young People’s Service, Shoesmith has continued to work relentlessly and with a determination that the service she leads and develops ensures best practice in providing education, care, support and protection for all of our young people.”"[Source:Don Paskini]

The Sun and its ilk don't care about social issues, they just care about whipping their readers into a frenzy and ensuring their loyalty to the newspaper. That's not good enough for an organisation that is supposed to be informing people.

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