Light Up This Darkness
Light up this darkness
Local authority social services departments possess terrifying, almost medieval powers. On the basis of suspicions, they can take children away from their parents, sometimes for ever. Their actions are judged in secret courts.
Armed with taxpayers’ money, and fortified with battalions of lawyers, they can fight off most individual challenges.
These powers were given to them so that they could prevent genuine child abuse. But - as Haringey’s latest blunder over Baby P shows - they are often very bad at that.
By contrast, they are all too ready to employ these powers against the innocent and even against whistleblowers.
The experience of Nevres Kemal is a frightening example of this. Miss Kemal raised concerns about what she saw as severe failings in Haringey’s child protection organisation - concerns soon to be tragically confirmed.
Her reward was to be made the target of a zealous investigation, based on absurd charges which should never have been taken seriously. Courageously, she fought back and cleared her name, but many would have buckled when faced with this treatment.
More openness and accountability, especially in the courts which deal with such matters, have never been more essential. Incompetence and unaccountable authority thrive in the dark, and wilt under the bright light of publicity and scrutiny.
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