Question It!


The European Court of Justice has just ruled that EU law does not limit child contact rights solely to parents, but that it also includes grandparents.

Perhaps there is already too much bureaucratic interference and too little common-sense being applied by officials in their dealings with the everyday lives of ordinary people, so yet more of the same might not be welcome, but though the nuclear family’s parameters may have changed, the needs of children to be nurtured have not.

It would be normal for grandparents to figure in the lives of their grandchildren, so giving access to grandparents with grandchildren in care should be considered – as long as the existing relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is harmonious. Such access should not increase the possibility of bringing more stress to an already stressful situation.

Sadly, it is here that we would have to rely on human judgment and so risk human error or bias. Too often we adults, however well-meaning, perceive what we think others need, without being truly objective in our final analysis – and this is where social workers would be required to apply their finest qualities of analysis and judgement to each individual for whom they are responsible.

In these situations, support for the adults involved is as important as that offered to each child. Still not enough training and on-going training and support is currently being offered to those working in our social services; too often it is the recourse of graduates who are undecided about what exactly they want to do with their university degree once they have it.

It is fairly typical of those who wander into university from their school’s the sixth form , without a clear plan about their future, other than that their parents are keen for them to go to university. Or so it was – before the introduction of fees, mounting student debt and the current unemployment situation among graduates.

It was once commonplace for children, without a definite plan for their future, to opt for the civil service because it was regarded as ‘safe’. Then it was social services that became the ‘safe’ magnet for the undecided; the need for dedication and training was not recognised by all those in authority until comparatively recently, thanks to some dedicated free-thinkers and therapists over the last twenty years or so.

Not enough people have been convinced of the need – and even fewer trained – to deal with the intricate and diar problems of an increasing number of children and young people with special needs. Until we do recognise – and learn to respect the very special people needed to care for those with special needs – the situation can only get worse. Working through the traumas of a broken home; broken or violent relationships; special physical and/or mental needs requires specialist training of the very highest quality – and so far, our Establishment figures have not got the message.

via Question It!

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