There are nearly 25,000 children’s social workers in England alone. If you add to these the estimated numbers of professionals who work for children in care at Non Government Organisations including the eight organisations delivering The Care Inquiry it amounts to 50,000 est. There are approximately 70,000 children in care today.
The child enters the care system in need. This one element has remained true of the care system since its inception. Everything else has changed and changes constantly: policies have changed and practises have changed. Our government is the legal parent of the child in care and with all its resources at hand one would think only good should come from a child’s experience. 50,000 professionals, including the lawyers and support services, can not be wrong, right? Wrong.
The most institutionalised people in the care system are those who work in it ergo the solutions to their problems serve the institution more than the child. How else could you explain the term “corporate parent” to the child who enters fostering. How else can we explain the economic decision that led to the mass closure of children’s homes and the mass recruitment drive for foster parents to fill the gap. – Corporate parents indeed.
It’s as if the 50,000 professional workers have no experience of what a functioning family is to replicate its core principles in the care system. They refuse to use a functioning family environment as an evaluative tool for the experience of a child in the care system. Why so? A child deserves this and we have the resources. It’s only hard to imagine because we refuse to imagine it. The question is why do we refuse to imagine it? Is it too much to ask that our government should be judged above all on how it treats its child, like one would a parent? How is this not the case? This is my care enquiry for the care inquiry.