#Children's Rights
Members of the Public
United Kingdom

With what's being called 'The Baby P effect', we are seeing a record number of care applications made to courts by local authorities and with more than 5,000 children being placed into care since his killers were convicted in November (double the number for the same period last year), there is mounting evidence that the rest of society's vulnerable children are being left out of the picture.

Fortunately, it is now clear how we as a society can constructively help.

Evidently, it's not just about monitoring those at risk, it's about being aware of children equally vulnerable but not yet on the proper 'radar'.

With an average cost of £40,000 for each child taken into care resulting in massive Council bills where cuts are already being made, together with what were already unworkable case loads, it's small wonder that money and resources 'de-prioritise' vulnerable children elsewhere.

Jill Kirby from the Centre for Policy Studies says "There is evidence to suggest that the child protection register should be expanded. A recent Documentary on Channel 4 showed that more than 90% of children who died at the hands of a parent (or parent substitute) were not on the register."

I have been saying for some time now that this cannot stay a social service problem; it has to be dealt with as a whole society and one where our local Government, Police, Schools and Citizen Groups work together to find a way through without swinging from one extreme to the other (in this case from negligence to over-intervention).

Police in their 'Safer Communities' initiatives say things like ..."It has long been recognised that crime reduction and crime prevention are not the sole responsibility of the police. By working together with others, it is possible to have a greater impact in the fight against crime and tackling the causes of crime."

Well then, why cant we extend that to safeguarding children?

The NSPCC says there are indicators that help to identify households where children are likely to be at risk. Jill Kirby says that the 90% of children killed that were not on the register, in nearly every case conformed to those risk indicators.

So, why not teach us these within the 'Safer Neighbourhood and Community' groups - to help us be additional eyes and ears for Police and Social Workers?

Jill Kirby also says "The emphasis on integrating children's services has created a complex web of reporting structures. At the top of these structures will be a director of children's services whose background is nearly always in education, not child protection " ... and

... "The Audit Commission reviewing the work of local authority children's trusts found that the lack of clear direction and accountability of these bodies, and the confusion about their role, meant that they were hampered in their ability to protect children".

So essentially, we as Society's Parents need to (a) help with the debate on 'expanding the risk register' to include statistically proven vulnerable children not currently registered and (b) work with the Police and Local Government to help protect them in an informed, educated and cohesive manner.

If you think these two aims are correct, then please sign your name on the petition below.

"We the undersigned call on our local community representatives to provide relevant information and include us as citizens in expanding the risk register for our areas and in helping with the fight against child abuse."

We nominate "Children First" spokesperson, Kim Checchetto to campaign and ensure this information is made available to us, on our behalf."

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The If you could stop even one act of cruelty towards a child, would it be worth signing your name? petition to Members of the Public was written by Children1st and is in the category Children's Rights at GoPetition.