Friday, September 15, 2006

When "at risk" doesn't mean "at risk"

The good folks at ARCH are angry and disgusted at the government's latest activities and less than happy with the Today programme's shoddy reporting on the issue.

"Both within ARCH and elsewhere, several of us have done our best to get important messages across, but this morning took us backwards again. Hmm, maybe we should hire an aeroplane and smoke-write slogans across the skies:

* The Information Sharing Index has not been designed as a 'child protection' measure
* The information-sharing idea pre-dated the Laming report into Victoria Climbie's death
* 'At risk' no longer means 'at risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect'

It is this last point that is so crucial, and yet the programme chuntered on with all participants bandying the term around as if the definition hadn't been changed. The Children's Minister was neatly let off the hook of explaining just how the Index fits in with the other components of the 'Integrated Children's System'.

'At risk' now means at risk of not receiving services that arguably might prevent a child from:

* becoming a criminal
* failing at school
* becoming pregnant in her teens
* becoming 'socially excluded' "

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