Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Social work snooping on child carers in Britain

This might make some slight sense if British social workerrs were people of sense and goodwill but the opposite is true so this poses a huge risk to innocent carers of children

Grandparents who bring up their children's children could be wrongly targeted in a campaign against unofficial foster parents, charities warned yesterday. The Government-backed initiative urges neighbours, teachers and doctors to alert social workers if children suddenly turn up next door, in the classroom or at the surgery. It also calls for children to put pressure on their friends to tell teachers if they are living with people who are not their parents.

The Somebody Else's Child campaign has been organised by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, with funding from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. It is designed to persuade the public to tell social workers about 'private fostering' arrangements, in which children are given by their parents or carers to other people to look after.

But it has been condemned as misleading and dangerous by grandparents' groups. Charities say the campaign's posters and advertisements could mean persecution for grandparents and other relatives, who by law are fully entitled to look after their children's children. The fears come in the wake of controversy over the case of two young children in Edinburgh who have been taken from the care of their grandparents for adoption by a gay couple. Lyn Chesterman of the Grandparents' Association said: 'I am absolutely flabbergasted. You have to ask, is this using a sledgehammer to crack a nut? I hope there are no repercussions for those families who are just doing their best.'

Since the murder in 2000 of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie, killed by the couple to whom she had been given by her parents, laws and guidelines have encouraged local councils to publicise their anxiety about private fostering and redouble efforts to ensure social workers intervene in all cases. Under the 1989 Children Act, however, private fostering by close relatives need not be reported to social workers. Close relatives include step-parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts and grandparents.

Posters in the campaign, which was launched last month, ask baldly: 'Do you know someone who is caring for somebody else's child? If it's for more than 28 days they must notify their local council. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.' They do not mention that there is no legal bar to relatives bringing up children.

Miss Chesterman said: 'You don't know if the person living next door to you is a child's aunt or whatever. This is making people make assumptions as to what the family next door is doing.' A spokesman for the BAAF said that grandparents should clear up any misunderstanding by contacting social workers themselves.


Obama's pet antisemite

As Scott and John noted earlier today, President Obama has given Samantha Power a senior foreign policy job at the White House. She will be named senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council. Last year, I wrote a series of posts contending that Power is anti-Israel, and at times viciously so. Here is a summary of my evidence:
In a 2002 interview, Power advocated investing billions of dollars to impose a Palestinian state. That investment would include the insertion of "a mammoth" and explicitly "military" force into the disputed territory. Last year, Power desribed this approach as "weird." But it's not that weird if you desperately want to tilt U.S. policy decisively in favor of the Palestinians.

Power's anti-Israel sentiment is further apparent in her support of slashing, if not eliminating, military aid to Israel (an ally surrounded by 300 million people who wish to destroy her) and giving it to the Palestinians, whose charters (whether the Hamas or Fatah version) advocate the destruction of Israel.

Along the same lines, Power has spoken sympathetically about the notion of "alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import [American Jews] and sacrificing...billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel's military, but actually investing in the state of Palestine."

Power's unhappiness with American Jews extends beyond their support for Israel in issues relating to the Palestinians. Outrageously, Power has blamed deference to Israel and the "special interests" that support Israel for the U.S. intervention in Iraq. She does so in the face of evidence that Israel had no particular desire that we overthrow Saddam Hussein, and actually viewed that enterprise as a distraction from the more serious threat posed by Iran.

Power showed the depth of her dislike (if not hatred) for Israel when she blamed Israel for the tactics the U.S. has used in Iraq. She stated that our alleged "deference" to Israel has caused us "to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive." Power did not state what she thinks these tactics were, but she seems to have had in mind the bombing of civilians which caused an international outcry. In any case, Power provided no evidence that Israel is to blame for whatever U.S. tactics she finds objectionable.

Still on the subject of Lebanon, Power has expressed outrage at the way Israel has treated the U.N.'s faux peacekeepers in South Lebanon, the ones who stood by while Hezbollah gained a dominant position and used it to commit aggression against Israel. In this connection, Power quotes (with no disapproval) the statement of Sergio Vieira De Mello, the subject of her hagiography, that the Israelis are "bastards." Power also attributes Israel's incursion into South Lebanon not to the terrorism launched against it from that area, but to the existence of dispossessed Palestinians and Israeli "insecurity."

Power criticized the New York Times, which had promoted the bogus Jenin "massacre" story, for attempting to set the record straight through a headline that said "Human Rights Reports Finds Massacre Did Not Occur in Jenin.? Power thought the headline should have been about alleged "Israeli war crimes."
Fortunately, the portfolio Obama has given Power bears no apparent relationship to Israel. But Power's obsession with Israel, a nation that, in her twisted world view, is the source of so much mischief, raises the possibility of "portfolio creep." Perhaps "The Monster," Hillary Clinton, will provide a safeguard against this prospect.

UPDATE: Many of the links from my original post on Power's animus towards Israel seem to be "dead" now. I'll see if somehow I can retrieve them. Meanwhile, Ed Lasky and Richard Baehr (who along with Noah Pollak were invaluable on this subject last year) have their own summary.

Source. See also here for more.

Bush Hatred and Obama Euphoria Are Two Sides of the Same Coin

Emotion constantly trumps all else among Leftists. See here

Now that George W. Bush has left the harsh glare of the White House and Barack Obama has settled into the highest office in the land, it might be reasonable to suppose that Bush hatred and Obama euphoria will begin to subside. Unfortunately, there is good reason to doubt that the common sources that have nourished these dangerous political passions will soon lose their potency.

At first glance, Bush hatred and Obama euphoria could not be more different. Hatred of Mr. Bush went well beyond the partisan broadsides typical of democratic politics. For years it disfigured its victims with open, indeed proud, loathing for the very manner in which Mr. Bush walked and talked. It compelled them to denounce the president and his policies as not merely foolish or wrong or contrary to the national interest, but as anathema to everything that made America great.

In contrast, the euphoria surrounding Mr. Obama's run for president conferred upon the candidate immunity from criticism despite his newness to national politics and lack of executive experience, and regardless of how empty his calls for change. At the same time, it inspired those in its grips, repeatedly bringing them tears of joy throughout the long election season. With Mr. Obama's victory in November and his inauguration last week, it suffused them with a sense that not only had the promise of America at last been redeemed but that the world could now be transfigured.

In fact, Bush hatred and Obama euphoria -- which tend to reveal more about those who feel them than the men at which they are directed -- are opposite sides of the same coin. Both represent the triumph of passion over reason. Both are intolerant of dissent. Those wallowing in Bush hatred and those reveling in Obama euphoria frequently regard those who do not share their passion as contemptible and beyond the reach of civilized discussion. Bush hatred and Obama euphoria typically coexist in the same soul. And it is disproportionately members of the intellectual and political class in whose souls they flourish....

Bush hatred and Obama euphoria are particularly toxic because they thrive in and have been promoted by the news media, whose professional responsibility, it has long been thought, is to gather the facts and analyze their significance, and by the academy, whose scholarly training, it is commonly assumed, reflects an aptitude for and dedication to systematic study and impartial inquiry.

From the avalanche of vehement and ignorant attacks on Bush v. Gore and the oft-made and oft-refuted allegation that the Bush administration lied about WMD in Iraq, to the remarkable lack of interest in Mr. Obama's career in Illinois politics and the determined indifference to his wrongness about the surge, wide swaths of the media and the academy have concentrated on stoking passions rather than appealing to reason.

Some will speculate that the outbreak of hatred and euphoria in our politics is the result of the transformation of left-liberalism into a religion, its promulgation as dogma by our universities, and students' absorption of their professors' lesson of immoderation. This is unfair to religion.

At least it's unfair to those forms of biblical faith that teach that God's ways are hidden and mysterious, that all human beings are both deserving of respect and inherently flawed, and that it is idolatry to invest things of this world -- certainly the goods that can be achieved through politics -- with absolute value. Through these teachings, biblical faith encourages skepticism about grand claims to moral and political authority and an appreciation of the limits of one's knowledge, both of which well serve liberal democracy.

In contrast, by assembling and maintaining faculties that think alike about politics and think alike that the university curriculum must instill correct political opinions, our universities cultivate intellectual conformity and discourage the exercise of reason in public life. It is not that our universities invest the fundamental principles of liberalism with religious meaning -- after all the Declaration of Independence identifies a religious root of our freedom and equality. Rather, they infuse a certain progressive interpretation of our freedom and equality with sacred significance, zealously requiring not only outward obedience to its policy dictates but inner persuasion of the heart and mind. This transforms dissenters into apostates or heretics, and leaders into redeemers.

Consequently, though Bush hatred may weaken as the 43rd president minds his business back home in Texas, and while Obama euphoria may fade as the 44th president is compelled to immerse himself in the daunting ambiguities of power, our universities will continue to educate students to believe that hatred and euphoria reflect political wisdom. Urgent though the problem is, not even the efficient and responsible spending of a $1 trillion stimulus package would begin to address it.


Children 'suffering from lack of two-parent family', British study finds

There are some difficult "chicken and egg" issues in this type of research but departing from nature's arrangements is inherently risky. There is a substantial body of opinion which says that an extended family is best of all. It is certainly the most common family form in human societies

Children do best when brought up by two parents with a `longterm commitment' to each other, a major new study found yesterday. The report, produced after a two-year inquiry for leading charity the Children's Society, highlighted the trend towards mothers of young children choosing to work as instrumental in the breakdown of traditional family life. The report - A Good Childhood - also declared that the presence of a father was vital and that children suffer from a missing father long into their adulthood.

One in three 16-year-olds now lives apart from their father, the authors of the study said, warning that children of separated parents are 50 per cent more likely to do poorly at school, be unpopular with other children and suffer from behavioural difficulties, anxiety and depression.

The report produced a series of recommendations, among them that mothers should have the right to three years away from work after a birth, unpaid, with a guarantee that they can have their old job back at the end of the period. It also called for a new state-recognised birth ceremony similar to a christening so that non-Christian parents could affirm their commitment to the family after the birth of a child. It recommended the introduction of emotional report cards for children at the ages of five, 11 and 14, as a check on their development and wellbeing.

Another suggestion was that parents-to-be should get classes from the NHS on the demands of bringing up a child, while schools should give pupils lessons on parenting and relationship skills. The inquiry also pointed to the rise of `rampant individualism' in society, which it said has eaten away at personal responsibility and any sense of the common good. It called for `a radical shift away from the excessively individualistic ethos which now prevails, to an ethos where the constant question is, "What would we do if our aim was a world based on love?" '

The study also highlighted a trend towards materialism in children, instilled by increased exposure to advertising targeted at them, and noted that social networking sites such as Facebook encouraged children simply to try to accumulate as many friends as they could, rather than focusing on the strength and depth of those friendships.

The study named the most important changes which have troubled the lives of children over recent decades as the movement of women into work and the explosion in numbers of family break-ups. It found: `Compared with a century ago two changes stand out. First most women now work outside the home and have careers as well as being mothers. `In Britain 70 per cent of mothers of 9-12 month-old babies now do some paid work. This compares with only 25 per cent 25 years ago - a massive change in our way of life. Their children are cared for by someone other than their parents.'

The report added: `The second change is the rise in family breakup. Women's new economic independence contributes to this rise: it has made women much less dependent on their male partners, as has the advent of the welfare state. `As a result of family break-up a third of our 16-year-olds now live apart from their biological father.'

The damage done to children by family separation can be seen when they are as young as three, the report's authors said. They are less likely to be depressed or aggressive if their parents get on, and the more they see their father the better off they are. It added that 28 per cent of children whose parents have broken up have no contact with their father three years later, calling the absence of a father from so many families `a real worry'. The report added that the number of children without fathers is going to rise, citing `robust' evidence that children of divorce and separation are more likely to divorce or separate themselves. `More parents are cohabiting rather than marrying, and cohabiting parents are more likely to split up,' it said.

On the importance of fathers, it added: `Fathers are no less important than mothers in a child's life. The closeness of fathers to their children influences the children's well-being, even after allowing for the mother's influence. `If fathers are more closely involved, children develop better friendships, more empathy and higher self-esteem, are more satisfied with life and achieve more educationally.'

The report added that grandparents and other close relatives are the best help for children when their parents break up, and should be the first choice for help with childcare rather than nurseries. `Children in separated families fare best when they have close contact with each of their parents and all the important adults in their lives, including the grandparents,' it said.

The report by the Children's Society, which runs social work projects with runaways and other deprived children, comes against a background of growing political debate over the direction of the family. The findings throw a fresh question mark over Labour's family and benefit policies, which support and reward single parents at the expense of couples, and which have sidelined marriage as a lifestyle choice with no value for children. Tory leader David Cameron has pledged to end this `couple penalty' in the benefit system.

More here


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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