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Take more babies away from bad parents, says Barnardo’s chief

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Tracy McVeigh
London Observer
Sunday, Sept 6, 2009

Many more children need to be taken into care at birth to stop them being damaged beyond repair by inadequate parents, the chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardo’s has told the Observer.

Martin Narey called for less effort to be directed at “fixing families that can’t be fixed” and for social workers to be braver about removing children at risk .

After revelations about the neglect and dysfunctional background of two young brothers from Doncaster who viciously attacked an 11-year-old boy and his nine-year-old nephew, social workers have once again come under fire for failing to intervene at an early stage.

The brothers, aged 11 and 10, had been known to social services and police for several years. Their mother had allegedly given them cannabis as toddlers and forced them to forage for food in bins, while their father was allegedly a violent alcoholic. Despite this, the pair had been taken into care just three weeks before the attacks. The case has led to Doncaster social services opening an inquiry, its seventh serious case review since 2004.

Calling for more children to be in care from the moment they are born, Narey, a former director general of the Prison Service and previously a permanent secretary at the Home Office, made clear he was not reacting to this case in particular, but to issues with Britain’s child protection services that needed urgent attention to avoid failing many more troubled young people.

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This article was posted: Sunday, September 6, 2009 at 4:37 am

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