Headlines: June 14th, 2010

Heads of children’s services have warned that full publication of Serious Case Reviews could damage other vulnerable children. They have cautioned against the move and said the review process should not put children under further emotional stress.

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services raised the doubts in welcoming the announcement of a review by Professor Eileen Munro of children’s social work and frontline child protection practice. The ADCS President, Marion Davis, said there was scope to improve social work practice by redirecting resources away from obeying detailed step by step instructions so professionals could spend more time working directly with children.

Turning to the question of publishing Serious Case Reviews, she said this would need to be handled very carefully so that the welfare of vulnerable children and young people involved in such cases was not affected. She said many children who died had surviving brothers and sisters and she added: “The reviews examine their family lives and awful events in those lives in great detail. We must be sensitive to the needs of these children who have already had experiences that many members of the public find difficult even to imagine. The review process must not increase the emotional burden on children who have survived abuse and neglect or the siblings of those who have died.”