Focus on child—not on rules and targets, urges Prof Munro

A REPORT out today from one of Britain’s leading experts on child care calls for protection to be focused on the child—not on rules and targets.

Eileen Munro, Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics who is on a fact-finding mission at a children’s centre this-morning in London’s deprived East End, is urging a rethink of local authority care.

She is visiting the Tower Hamlets Overland Centre in Bow with Tim Loughton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, to study care services at first hand.

Her interim report to the Government signals the areas for reform she wants to see, which include giving all professionals in health, police, and family support services easier access to social work advice if they have concerns about abuse and neglect.

Prof Munro is a former social worker herself for several years who undertook a study of child abuse inquiries, which has since been taken up by protection services in several countries, and has written and published extensively on child protection.

She was asked by the Government for today’s interim recommendations after her earlier report in October highlighted previous reforms which had led to social workers spending less time with vulnerable children and families. Changes had been made in ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to high-profile cases over the past 40 years which had focused on parts of the system, rather than all of it.