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What about all the children whose lives are saved by Social Workers?

  • 09 Mar 2017

Another week goes by and another two innocent little children's deaths have made national headlines once again.

This time we're reading all about the Police failings in the mishandled investigation of Poppy Worthington's death and the fact that Social Workers stepped down their involvement with Florence Higham just one day before her murder.

Poppy Worthington was only 13-months old when she died, a judge ruling that her father probably "perpetrated a penetrative assault" on poor little Poppy shortly before her death.

Florence Higham was just 16 days old when her father repeatedly punched this innocent infant to death, before trying to hide his murder by cleaning little Florence's life blood from the walls then dumping her bloodied clothes in a rubbish bin.

With a child being killed by their own parents every ten days in England and Wales alone, it is coming to a point where we are regularly bracing ourselves for the next tale of how an innocent little life has been cruelly snuffed out by those that should have loved them most. With the number of children killed by their own parents having risen 33% since 2015, these tragic ends to tiny little lives are coming about more and more often.

Poppy Worthington and Florence Higham, two more little innocents added to the inglorious list of children who died despite being 'known to Children's Services'.

Victoria Climbie

Peter Connelly

Daniel Pelka

Liam Fee

Keegan Downer

Ayeeshia Smith

Their names, like so many others, forever to be remembered for the harrowing way their lives were ended at the hands of those who should have loved them most.

Their names forever to be linked with the Social Work professionals who 'missed opportunities' to save these little ones from their terrible fates.

But for all the pain that these children's tragic stories bring, and for all the 'lessons to be learned' from the reviews and reports that followed their heart-breaking deaths, there are other stories to be told about Social Work.

For every child killed by their parents that Social Workers are deemed to have 'failed', there are many thousands more whose lives our interventions have made insurmountably better

For every Keegan Downer, who was left 'almost invisible' to professionals because of a botched Special Guardian assessment process carried out by an independent agency, there are thousands more children ably and happily supported by Special Guardians.

For every Poppy Worthington, where Social Workers were blamed for a lack of professional curiosity, there are thousands more children kept safe because Social Workers doggedly remain involved despite hostility and resistance from families.

For every Ellie Butler, who a judge returned to the care of her murderous father in spite of warnings from her Social Worker and Grandfather, there are many more children likely to be saved from such a gruesome end because the valiant efforts of Social Workers show judges just how much danger children are in.

Mercifully, all these children's names will never be known to the world because the interventions of Social Workers have saved them from abuse and neglect. Or, if they are to be known, it will be because their new lives have given them the chance to thrive and succeed in a caring and supportive home.

It is time to change the narrative surrounding Social Work and show the world the truth that, for every child known to us who loses their life, there are many thousands more whose world our work makes safer every single day.

It is time for our media and politicians to engage with our profession by looking to share the positive outcomes that we achieve, despite the toxic working conditions and crippling budget cuts we are hampered by.

It is time to end the culture of fear and blame that hangs over every aspect of our profession and cripples our creativity.

It is time for all of us to stand up for Social Work.