Well, now I discover where Ms Lyon went wrong: she wasn't a lesbian. Had she been a lesbian then, as we learn today, social workers would have considered it "homophobic" to take her daughter, even if there was a genuine risk of abuse occurring. That, at least, is the impression that I get from reading about the case of Ian Wathey and Craig Faunch.
Wathey and Faunch were one of the first homosexual couples in Britain to be approved as foster parents. Over a period of fifteen months, eighteen children, many of them emotionally disturbed, were placed with them, of whom they sexually abused four. When the mother of one child complained, social workers ignored the complaint, and even started sending more seriously disturbed children to live with them. Of the conduct of social workers involved, a report published yesterday by Wakefield Council said:
One manager described the couple as 'trophy carers' which led to 'slack arrangements' over placement. Another said that by virtue of their sexuality they had a 'badge' which made things less questionable. The sexual orientation of the men was a significant cause of people not 'thinking the unthinkable'. It was clear that a number of staff were afraid of being thought homophobic. The fear of being discriminatory led them to fail to discriminate between the appropriate and the abusive.As a result of this fear, concerns raised about the behaviour of Wathey and Faunch were "inadequately investigated, understood or acted upon".
Hmm, liberals refusing to confront, or even accept the existence of, paedophilic actions, for fear of appearing to be prejudiced against a designated victim group. Never heard of that happening before!
Readers will be aware that this is by no means the first case in which social workers have failed, and failed in the most abject manner, to prevent genuine abuse from taking place. The tragic Climbie case would be the most notorious recent example of this. Thankfully, Wathey and Faunch didn't actually kill any children, although they must nonetheless have inflicted great damage on those they abused. And I expect that it is only a matter of time before we see another child killed, after social workers fail to intervene.
And yet, social workers are now taking an unprecedented number of children into care. It has even been alleged that some children are being taken into care solely in order to meet government targets. If the Lyon case is anything to go by, then there are some pretty spurious excuses being used to justify taking children away from their natural parents.
Social workers today have a huge amount of power. The ability to separate parent from child is the greatest of the powers they possess. As possessors of this power, it is incumbent upon them to exercise the greatest care, both when taking children from their natural parents, and when placing children with foster parents. At the moment, it seems that they are all too often falling far short of even the most basic degree of competence, in both instances.