Real-life cinderella

I read in the Times today about the case of a real-life cindarella (because of the paywall I cannot link to the Times, so here is the Australian Telegraph's reporting of the story).

I don't know if the accusations are true or not.  But, sadly they are nothing I haven't come across a dozen times in case papers and in other newspapers in the past.

Sadly, the most unusual thing about these allegations from my experience is the lack of sexual abuse.

Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who has had a run in with social services over their children and has thought how terrible social workers all are for intruding in their lives.  But, when people act like this towards their own children I find myself asking whether social workers shouldn't be more intrusive!


  1. In my experience social workers do not intervene as often as they should and sometimes leave it to late. There is so much errant nonsense in the press about courts/social workers "stealing" kids. If they could read about and see the often appalling reports we see in the Family Court they would have a different view.

  2. And that is precisely why those whose personal familiarity with what are statistically rare events should not be empowered to make policy that might have unintended consequences for the general population. Are these cases of abuse tragic and avoidable? Yes, but they are only avoidable at the cost of massive state intrusion and the risk of wider harm Individuals can be, and rarely are, monstrous, but it the takes collective organisational powers of the state to industrialise misery.

  3. "Yes, but they are only avoidable at the cost of massive state intrusion."

    Bollocks. People really need to get over themselves.

    I certainly wouldn't call it a "massive intrusion" for anyone to enquire as to why my child is underweight, filthy and rarely seen with the rest of the family outside of the house.

    Speak to the other children and LISTEN TO THEM.

    The only reason anyone should object in any way to such a straightforward question is if they have something to hide.

    Shame on everyone around her who just didn't give enough of a shit about this poor girl to ask even ONE simple question.

  4. This week I have had to go through three volumes of case files on a sexually abused child for reasons I can't say. Not pre-lunchtime reading.

    And deal with five FOIA requests from a cabal of people who are convinced that all social workers are jackbooted thugs who tear children from the bosoms of their loving families and send them off to state-run Gulags just because they can.

    Guess how I feel about that?

  5. "Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who has had a run in with social services over their children and has thought how terrible social workers all are for intruding in their lives"

    Of course, those people only hear one sideof the story, those whose care of their children *does* fall far short of the minimum often have little or no insight into their behaviour, and nurture a wholly unjustified sense that they have been 'got at'.

    I recall a csse which I was involved in, in which a small child was made subject of care proceedings.
    The parents were both long-term heroin addicts,whcih made other problems worse - there was one occassions when needles and drugs were found hidden in the babies nappy, both parents had criminal records mainly involving stealing and drugs, but some violence as well.
    There were significant concerns about domestic violence
    there were issues of neglect - dirty bottles being reused without being washed, child being left unfed because they had run out of milk, home being filthy (i.e. faeces and blood on floors and furniture, flea infestations), child not being taken for vaccinatiosn or check ups, lack of interaction or focus on the child etc etc.
    When asked, the parents stated that the reason Social Services were involved were because they had some 'housing problems' (for which read ' they had repeatedly breached their lease and were at risk of being evicted as a result') and 'the social worker has got it in for them'
    Given that Social Workers are human, I am sure that they make mistakes and intervene when they need not in some cases, but I am always very cautious when I jear about families claimingto have been victimised.
    It is also worth pointing out that the system of legal aid for care caes, and of separate representation for children both mean that there are fairly strong protections in place for families wehre a social worker has been over zealous or has tried to intervene inappropriately.

  6. I'm with you on that point Bagpuss. I try to avoid going near the youth court if I can help it, but when I do go there 9 times out of 10 you'll meet a parent who complains that their 11 year old is committing crime because the child won't do as he is told and they moan, "what am I supposed to do about it?". After court they never talk to me as my mitigation tends to run along the lines of blaming the obviously inadequate parents.


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