Updated: Nov 30, 2020
For several years members of Public Child Protection Wales (PCP Wales) supported families, young people and children. We have supported additional needs, educational support, difficulties accessing services and short falls in provisions. Thresholds for support at a level almost impossible to reach without being forced into turmoil, serious hardship, then intrusive intervention. Academics are confused by people’s reluctance to engage with services, academics have rarely, if ever, been on receiving end of these services, the policies in practice, and the manner in which people within the services approach families, nor have they been on the receiving end of well-documented “workplace culture”. We have come to recognise these are not isolated incidents, it is widespread.
Additional needs is another problem here. Schools seem to have a huge say over who gets on the pathway to diagnosis and who does not. We struggle to see what qualifies them to make this decision; parents have complained of difficulties when questioning these qualifications, children’s mental health and health deteriorates, support is non existent until diagnosis, even after diagnosis there is the further fight for support, funding, and statements of educational needs. Widespread in-depth training could provide a wholesome network of support regardless of this pathway and criteria. CAHMS waiting list is extortionate, one must consider the pressure on that services it contributed to by the problem’s mentioned in this paragraph.
Wales is supposed to be a country of Children’s Rights, a needs-based approach and person-centred care, getting these things honoured is another matter. Children have no voice; the documents tell us they do but practice proves otherwise. Parents have no voice; they are told what to do and how things will operate, they are led to believe they are partaking in the technicalities but when it boils down to it it’s no more than a box ticking exercise. Local Authority is a system of criteria and Welsh Government is fast becoming an institution the people can no longer relate to.
Our care system is an absolute disgrace. Babies born to care leavers are taken not taken because the mother failed their child but because the system failed that baby’s mother as a child. A young person needs a warm, loving, stable environment in which they learn and grow. Children in the care system are hugely ignored. What is considered evidence in a criminal court is dismissed in the family court, this needs to change.
RSE (Relationship and Sex Education) in the new Curriculum and Assessment Bill 2020, mandated against the parents’ wishes is a step too far. We now realise it is time to act, it is time to address these issues once and for all. How will we do that? We will do that by becoming a voice for the voiceless, we will fight these policies not fit for purpose and ensure a wholesome approach. Children should not be trapped in the realms of local authority and the same can be said for children trapped in isolation, poverty and abuse. As a team we bridge the gap between the formalities and the people, we bring the people to the forefront and ensure a high standard of training across all services working with children, young people and families. In fact, we will fight for an independent service to advocate for children and young people, a service which will hold authorities to account.