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Munro Review and Irish Child Protection

May 27, 2011

This blog will focus on Irish Child Protection services; however we cannot ignore what goes on overseas, particular in our nearest neighbor. Right now the Munro Review of child protection services is the big news. This was a comprehensive review of child protection services inEngland, details of which can be found on the UK Department for Education website (link at the end of this post).

I have yet had the time to digest the full report, however the report seems to be very clear in its conclusions, namely “that local areas should have more freedom to design their own child protection services and that ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ to child protection is preventing local areas from focusing on the needs of the child.

The trouble is that in this country we are moving in the opposite direction. As the HSE rolls out their new centralized business process we are moving towards the bureaucratic nightmare that English social workers have been living for the last while.

This is well intentioned given the recent scandals in child protection (just look at the Roscommon Case). The general belief is that these systems will increase oversight and ensure an effective service for all children no matter where they live, yet this is a deeply questionable assumption and could easily lead to less safety, more paper work and increased inflexibility and responsiveness in a system that already struggles when faced with cases that “don’t fit”.

As I digest the review more fully I will come back here with my reflections, but for the moment read the report here

For discussion of how bureaucracy and mangerialsim interact with, and warp and distort human life, check out Adam Curtis, the BBC documentary maker, who has looked at this subject in different ways in several documentaries, including Pandora’s Box and The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom.

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