madhoca May 20, 2010
There's nothing to fear if you are a middle-middle or upper-middle class 'professional' or wealthy person, if I may be blunt here. This is the tragic and appalling truth. A kid can have an absentee alcoholic mother for example, and be in the charge of au pairs from birth, but if he/she goes to a discreet private school then the authorities will never get involved, even though there can be real emotional abuse that scars the person for life. I know this from first hand experience at the schools my sister and I have worked in.

It's obviously much harder for lower-income families to protect themselves from arbitrary swat teams of social service workers descending, although it appears to vary very much from one authority to another, some authorities as you mention being particularly militant. One thing that any parent can do is to draw up a legal document stating who will be the child's guardian in case of illness or death preventing the parent(s) from looking after him/her. This is a real weapon in helping grandparents keep control over what happens to their grandchildren, and is particularly important if the parents are not married and the paternal grandparents want to take guardianship. Again, I have personal experience of a situation like this.

People do have rights, but it is hard to keep one step ahead of the social workers sometimes. On the other hand, sometimes it's a situation where social workers are damned if they do and damned if they don't, and they are particularly under attack since the most recent abuse cases, resulting in deaths, came to light. Sometimes it really is in the best interests of the child to be removed from its mother, and indeed sometimes it can be necessary to prevent the mother/father from having any contact with their child.

I'm unsure how the subject of financial gains comes into this much, though. I expect there to be corrupt people in any profession, sadly, so the checks and controls should be as stringent as possible to weed corruption out. I can't believe that this happens in more than a few isolated cases.

A very sad and important subject that we all need to gen up on, I think.