Some quick thoughts after watching this programme on Channel 4 (also recorded for future viewing). Just edited and linking to #waso as I may not get chance to write much on this week’s theme.
This was a hard watch tonight given how close some of it hit to Sqk’s story. Plus my high empathy level really meant I sympathised with some of the birth parents. On the whole it presented a balanced and unbiased view of how the decisions about children in care are made. I did feel for Emily in particular who was brave but who just couldn’t face final contact. But it was interesting to see her and her partner not fight the placement order request but just hope judge would turn it down. Also how she couldn’t leave her partner – or feel she could cope without him. Sad to see after court decision her hopes that her daughter would have a better life than she did through adoption. Also a telling comment from adoption team about how a baby would be easy to place.
Good on Stockport Childrens Social Services for letting the cameras have the access to show as much as they could about how much goes into decisions made about children’s futures. One of the families shown felt so similar to Sqk’s background that it hurt but it also made me think lots. Overall the programme seems to have provoked some real discussion on Twitter and I will admit to looking forward to watching the next two episodes. Tonight’s showed how the decisions for final removal occur and next week’s looks at family finding from what I could see on trailer.
Tonight’s concentrated on babies removed pretty much at birth – would have been nice to see a bit more on older children and how much SS do to support birth families to keep their children. I suspect this may have been thought to be inappropriate to show and they could have been confidentiality issues. It would also have been nice to see something of home life but of course that raises more confidentiality issues. Sqk was removed at birth (holdups in system mean it was gone 2 years before he came to us) so a lot of what I saw tonight resonated with us both.
Information I can find about next week says they are looking at family finding for a 2 year old boy (so close to home) and a 3 & 7 yr sibling pair. So they are looking at this from the perspective of the more difficult to place children.
All in all a well-presented and thoughtful programme that allowed social workers for once to show their side of the story. Reminded me why I have such respect for child protection social workers and the difficult line they have to tread.