Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It is deeply disturbing when the carers become careless.

I read this article, and was bewildered. It is worrying,when responsible adults who are paid to look after vulnerable children are unable to do so. I struggle with the possibility that some of these children may have been returned to their captors.

Forty-eight children illegally trafficked into Britain have disappeared while in the care of social services. More than half of the 80 children identified in a report on victims of trafficking have gone missing, according to an assessment of care provision in parts of the north-west, north-east and West Midlands.

The authors of the study of five local authorities warned that the 48 were only "the tip of the iceberg", and there are likely to be hundreds of child victims of smuggling who have escaped the radar of the social services. Many are thought to have been returned to the criminal gangs who smuggled them in - often for child "slavery" - or to have fled in fear that they would be recaptured.

The children were brought into the country to work as prostitutes, tend plants in cannabis factories or work as domestic servants, according Missing Out, a study published today by Ecpat, a coalition of children's charities. Others are believed to have been brought in for forced marriages or to work illegally in factories or restaurants.

Christine Beddoe, Ecpat's director, called for a national inquiry into the "deeply disturbing" findings. She said many social workers had told researchers that the immigration status of trafficked children was an obstacle to treating them as victims of human rights abuses. "From the moment children are passed into social service care they are defined as under 'immigration control'," she said. "Social workers are unsure of how to deal with them.

"One solution would be to provide residency permits or another form of visa to these children to allow them to stay in the country beyond the age of 18, when they are currently deported. This would enable social services to provide long-term care plans - something they find difficult."

Missing : 48 children trafficked into care an article by Paul Lewis of the Guardian newspaper

What I want to know is where were the carers?

How could all these minors have disappeared?

What is happening to Social Services?

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The answer is simple: Massive caseloads given to each social worker. It is not possible to keep-up with the load. They do what they can, but one can only juggle stacks that are so high before they lose control. These workers are often very depressed because they know that there is virtually no hope, The state refuses to hire enough social workers to watch everyone.

In New Jersey, one boy was beaten to death and another starved to death in the care of a foster family. An investigation revealed that the social workers had not visited in over 9 months. Why? The number of cases versus the number of social workers. It took the deaths of these two kids for the Governor to allocate enough funds to adequately equip the agency with enough workers. But not before they fired all of the previous managers and most of the existing social workers. They'd been "rubber stamping" their cases for years since the state had never taken their cries seriously.

It was a real shame. Just like the situation you describe.

Yes, most are overworked, and depressed. I think in the UK, with the focus on Care Management, most of the workers are inundated with paperwork.

It is tragic when things like this happen. Those children are scarred for life, and some die as you point out.
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