Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hard Cases DO Make for Bad Laws

Gloucestershire foster carer, Eunice Spry, has been convicted of abusing children in her care. The website Freedom For Children to Grow carries the story, which we originally saw here, under the headline "Council admits failings over 'sadistic' foster mother".

Despite the council failing to follow up on concerns from a number of agencies and individuals, it seems they are still going to use this as an excuse to hassle perfectly innocent home educators in the apparently idiotic belief that enlarging the size of the haystack will make it easier to find the needle.

Despite the gross mischaracterisation of the legal situation in this article, see the following:

"Ms Davidson said the council was now demanding stronger safeguards for children who were educated at home. "What we do have concerns about is the level of protection and basic safeguarding, which is hugely less (in the home) than that child would otherwise get in any other setting." "We don't have a point of entry to a home. The expectation is we only have an inspection once a year and it's easy for someone to put on a particular front on a planned visit."

it is in fact the case that if there is any reason to think that an education is not taking place, LAs already have perfectly adequate powers to intervene in the lives of home educating families. In this case it seems there were plenty of reasons to think that something undesirable was going on which merited being followed up. The fact that the council didn't do it doesn't mean that they should demand a change in the law. It just means that they should act on the law as it stands, and anyone in Gloucestershire should be writing to their council to demand that they be held accountable for their failure to act.

After all, what more rights to intrude could a council possibly demand? Presumably, given that in this instance, a formal adoption appears to have taken place, the foster mother must have been extensively assessed and visited and yet she still managed to escape detection. The only intervention that could possibly have worked here would be for the council to be able to call at any time of the day or night with the right to have immediate access to our children without adults present. Nothing else would have worked, so it seems that this is what they must demand and that this is what we will come to. The powers-that-be will be asking for the right to burst in on your family life whenever they like and without any prior announcement and will demand to see your children without you present and all this simply because you have chosen to educate your child at home.

Hmm, let's see...is this really proportionate?

Ok, so what about an analogy or two? I think, given that teachers sometimes end up having relations with their pupils, I think it only fair, on this basis, that we should demand that council officials have the right to burst in on all teachers in all of their homes at any time of the day or night. Yep, that seems about right.

Oh yes, and given that we suspect that some Labour ministers may have been using the honours system dishonorably, we also would like to demand on a fair's fair basis, immediate access to all the personal emails and recordings of private telephone conversations of all MPs. Yes, this really does seem just about fair.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This person was not originally a parent. It was made a foster parent by the state. If anything they need to sort out their own foster system.

Rachel Reed said...

You make a very good point that this government keeps bringing in law after law as knee jerk reaction to high profile crimes, yet if they used the current laws, they wouldn't have to introduce new ones.

This is happening in many different areas.

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