#Children's Rights
United Kingdom

In the light of the Baby P Tragedy, please petition 10 Downing Street to better protect vulnerable children and request that the government adopt the following recommendations for the future handling of children 'at risk' cases:

** Represents known areas where Baby P was badly let down

1.** If on 2 occasions the authorities (police/medical) advise against a child being returned to its family, Social Services should not be allowed to overrule this.

2.** Social workers should insist that all clothing be removed & chocolate/paint/ointment etc be cleaned off at every visit as these may hide a multitude of sins. Children old enough to speak may be too afraid to do so.

3.If a social worker strongly suspects physical abuse, they should remove the child immediately, with or without police aid, while the matter is investigated.

4.Social workers must make regular unannounced and out of hours visits.

5.If a social worker is denied access to a child or living quarters by its carers or suspects that a carer is pretending not to be at home, then social workers should call on the police to gain immediate access, as the child may have already sustained serious injuries or be in poor physical condition.

6.If a carer says a child is with someone else, this must be verified immediately.

7.** If the carer fails to attend any appointment set by social services, the child must be seen without delay, as again they may be injured.

8.If abusive pet owners can be banned from keeping animals, a similar law should be in place to protect children from abusive carers or carers who allow a child to be abused or neglected. Why should children have less rights to protection than animals?

9.** If Social Services refer a child for assessment, the doctor must do a full examination.

10.** If someone is assigned by the council to check on or live with the child at risk's family, that person must be monitored to ensure they are performing their duties.

11.** If a carer tells social services or equivalent that they can't see anyone for a period of time, the child must be seen immediately before this is granted, as the child may be injured.

12.** A child's welfare must always take priority over keeping a family together.

13.Carers should be told that they won't be judged if they admit to not loving a child or that they resent looking after a child or that they simply can't cope and that they can choose to have the child put into care, if only temporarily.

14.All the above points must be made known to carers on the social workers first visit to ensure that carers are fully aware that it won't be so easy to hoodwink social workers, to make excuses or to hide signs of physical abuse and that there is only a small, finite number of chances to get it right if they don't want to lose a child.

15.Legal & child care costs may deter councils from taking child abuse cases to court. To stop this happening, there should be a central government fund in place for these expenses.

16. The NSPCC say that babies & toddlers are particularly vulnerable to physical abuse. Babies are at greatest risk of being murdered in their first year of life than any other age. It should therefore be compulsory for babies & toddlers to have health checks at least every 3 months, for the first year or two, to help detect any signs of neglect or physical abuse. If carers fail to attend a health check, social services should be alerted and the child seen without delay. Responsible carers already take their children to health centres regularly, so this system should only serve to highlight any irresponsible, neglectful or abusive carers.

17. Child abusers and those responsible for a child's death through abuse or neglect must be punished with tougher prison sentences and no parole. The current judicial system is far too lenient.


*'Social Worker' can also mean Health Visitor or equivalent.
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Thank you.

In the light of the Baby P tragedy, we, the undersigned, request that the House of Commons better protect vulnerable children, review current child protection systems and adopt the recommendations outlined above to help significantly reduce ongoing instances of child abuse and misery and tragedies like Baby P's.

Thank you.

The "Baby P" Better Protection For Vulnerable Children & Practical Recommendations petition to Everybody was written by A Voice for Children and is in the category Children's Rights at GoPetition.