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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134417 Find in a Library
Title: System of Children: The Orkney Case
Journal: Probation Journal  Volume:38  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1991)  Pages:121-126
Author(s): J Cousin; G Cousin; S McGrath; R Fine
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The actions of the Orkney (UK) Social Work Department, which removed nine children from allegedly abusive homes in orchestrated pre-dawn raids, illustrate the dangers of the dogmatic assertion of social work beliefs and power at the expense of the needs of children and the rights of suspected abusers.
Abstract: The circumstances of this operation raise four major issues: the removal of children from their homes against their express wishes; the unjustifiability of dawn raids except in life-threatening situations; the practice of removing children from their homes as a device of the first resort; and the grounds on which social work interventions are made. The Orkney Social Work Department systematically removed these children from all their old associations by separating them from each other, denying all contact with family and friends, and refusing requests for pastoral visits. This strategy was justified as necessary to strip the children of their old identity which allowed them to accommodate their abuse. This process of displacement, disorientation, isolation, and disempowerment was supposed to give social workers privileged access to "truth" and "treatment" of allegedly abused children. Although the children were returned to their homes after 5 weeks, the Orkney Social Work Department continued to assert that protection of rights and protection of children are separate issues. The authors note that the Children Act 1989 should help probation workers balance the rights and needs of suspected abusers and the welfare of the children involved. The Act tries to keep children in their homes; emphasizes the involvement of parents and children in the services provided for them by the Local Authority; and includes ethnic, religious, and cultural background as key considerations in the provision of child care and child protection services. Probation workers need to receive training about the Children Act; this training should also focus on court orders and court proceedings. 1 reference
Main Term(s): Child abuse investigations; Foreign probation or parole services
Index Term(s): Child protection services; Foreign laws; Social service agencies; United Kingdom (UK)
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