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A Short Analysis of #Shakespeare’s Sonnet 37: ‘As a decrepit father takes delight’

Sat, 2018-02-17 21:22

A summary of Shakespeare’s 37th sonnet

Sonnet 37 is not a classic Shakespeare sonnet. But it does contain some interesting aspects which careful analysis can help us to elucidate. The poem is an extended riff on the idea of Shakespeare as an old, lame, decrepit figure, contrasted with the Fair Youth’s young sprightliness.

As a decrepit father takes delight
To see his active child do deeds of youth,
So I, made lame by Fortune’s dearest spite,
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth;
For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Or any of these all, or all, or more,
Entitled in thy parts, do crowned sit,
I make my love engrafted to this store:
So then I am not lame, poor, nor despised,
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
That I in thy abundance am sufficed,
And by a part of all thy glory live.
Look what is best, that best I wish in thee:
This wish I have; then ten times happy me.

Sonnet 37 is often analysed as a poem in which Shakespeare is ‘taking stock’, considering his relationship with the Fair Youth and what he gains from that relationship. The sonnet might be summarised as ‘you’re only as old as the man you feel’, nudge nudge, wink wink.

To paraphrase the sonnet: ‘Like a weak old father taking delight in his sprightly young son, I – who have been worn down by life – take comfort from you, who are young and worthy and true. For if any of these fine qualities are to be found in you, I attach my love to you and your supply of fine gifts. That way, I am no longer lame or poor or hated by everyone, while your fine shadow lends my existence substance and meaning. I have everything I need thanks to your bounteous supply of good qualities, and just a small part of your greatness is enough to give me life. Whatever is best in this world, and that I wish to find in you, my wish is granted: so I am ten times as happy as I otherwise would be.’

In a sense, Sonnet 37 might be considered a sort of reprise of Sonnet 29, which had argued that whenever the Bard feels hard done by, he takes comfort from knowing that the Fair Youth loves him. But in the interim, we might say, things have changed: the Fair Youth appears to have done something wrong, and so Shakespeare has an additional reason for feeling like the ‘decrepit father’ in the relationship. What’s more, there’s a suggestion that the young man is an aristocrat:

For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Or any of these all, or all, or more,
Entitled in thy parts, do crowned sit,
I make my love engrafted to this store:

These lines sound like somebody praising a person of noble blood, since nobles were considered inherently ‘better’ than we ordinary folk, and possessed the finest qualities. Of course, according to one theory, the Fair Youth was a nobleman – either Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton (1573-1624) or William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1580-1630). Some commentators have even interpreted the mysterious ‘Mr. W. H.’ mentioned in the Sonnets’ dedication as a reference to Herbert (or to Wriothesley with his initials curiously reversed). But there may have been a simpler explanation (as Bertrand Russell and Jonathan Bate, among others, have argued): that ‘Mr. W. H.’ was simply a misprint for ‘Mr. W. S.’, meaning Shakespeare.

But this is to get side-tracked. It’s easy to do so with Sonnet 37, since it’s not the finest poem in the Sonnets, nor does it require or even invite much detailed close analysis. But it does offer a slightly new take on the message put forward in Sonnet 29, and we like the ending. Who doesn’t wish to feel ten times happier thanks to the merest association with somebody beautiful, talented, witty, and fine?


via A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 37: ‘As a decrepit father takes delight’

Investment Companies Are Delivering Therapeutic Services To Families

Sat, 2018-02-17 21:14

new initiative to help vulnerable families through therapeutic support has been launched in five London boroughs. The aim of the project is to help keep families together, and save the government money. The project is being run by an investment company called Bridges Fund Management , which invests in what their website calls social challenges.

Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Bexley, Merton and Newham, which altogether have 1,350 children in residential care, are taking part in The Positive Families Partnership. Bridges has been contracted by the government through a Social Impact Bond (SIB) to deliver the project. There are currently 30 SIBs in place around the country, funding projects for social welfare programmes.

Heading up the project for Bridges is their investment director Mila Lukic, who has a background in management consultancy and not for profit crowdsourcing. The only other member mentioned on the Positive Families Partnership’s website is Amit Shah, though no other information on Amit is offered. We believe Amit may be an Associate Director at Social Finance. 

The lack of information about who is involved doesn’t inspire confidence, nor does the scant information on the set up of the scheme.

The financial structure for this venture must benefit the investment fund somehow, otherwise there would be no interest on their part, but without the exact details of their agreement we can’t comment on just how much Bridges stands to gain from this programme. It’s a point that’s clearly missing from the Guardian’s piece on the project, with Lukic mentioning all the advantages she feels the scheme offers to councils, families and government, but conveniently failing to mention how Bridges stands to benefit.

Finances aside, the model looks very much like the Family Drug and Alcohol Court set up, with experts on hand to offer one on one support and a measuring system in place to see how well the families are doing over time. The project offers a 5 step process:

  1. A young person is identified by a social worker/ other, who may be in need of support
  2. The child is referred to the programme through their borough
  3. An evaluation takes place, we assume, to decide whether the child needs Multisystemic Therapy or Functional Family Therapy.
  4. The therapeutic solution is delivered (the site uses the word intervention, which we don’t like)
  5. Outcomes are monitored and measured.

We hope this project helps families and most importantly children who are caught in often very difficult scenarios. Certainly a project to watch.

Very many thanks to Nicky Herron for alerting us to the Guardian piece on the project.

via Investment Companies Are Delivering Therapeutic Services To Families


A step in the right direction but sadly not far enough unless the parasitic effect of commoditising children for-profit by the corporate parent is tackled head-on. The hidden cost of child-commoditisation policy is too high!

Parasites Which Take Over Their Hosts — Fig Trees and Vineyards

Sat, 2018-02-17 21:09

The fact that Israel receives billions each year from the US taxpayer as our politicians in Washington endlessly pledge their devotion to the “special relationship,” has led many observers to liken the pro-Israel lobby in America to a parasite that has invaded a host.

via Parasites Which Take Over Their Hosts — Fig Trees and Vineyards

China’s Hui Muslims fearful Chinese New Year education ban a sign of curbs to come — peoples trust toronto

Sat, 2018-02-17 20:46 February 17, 2018 By Michael Martina GUANGHE, China (Reuters) – For some in China’s ethnic Hui Muslim minority here, a recent ban on young people engaging in religious education in mosques is an unwelcome interference in how they lead their lives. Their big fear is the Chinese government may be bringing in measures in […]

via China’s Hui Muslims fearful Chinese New Year education ban a sign of curbs to come — peoples trust toronto

#LAC: Celebrating the rights of children in care?#CareDay18 — National IRO Managers Partnership

Sat, 2018-02-17 20:45

Guest post by Amy Woodworth – Policy and Campaigns Officer at Become Celebrating the rights of children in care This Care Day, Friday 16 February, is an opportunity to reflect on the rights of each child, and how we all work to defend and enhance them. We know that unfortunately, children in care do not always have […]

via Celebrating the rights of children in care #CareDay18 — National IRO Managers Partnership

Until the 
commoditisation of children for-profit by the corporate parent is tackled head-on, we fear this is merely a cosmetic measure …


More Social Workers Question The Benefits Of Adoption

Thu, 2018-02-15 20:10

via More Social Workers Question The Benefits Of Adoption

“We should ask ourselves how many children would have their legal rights to private and family life better protected through supportive and anti-oppressive approaches that address the glaring inequalities in our unequal society.”

Response To FOI Request On Council Payouts To Families

Wed, 2018-02-14 20:35

LA impunity over Looked After Children remains a festering sore. Impunity must be legislated against by Parliament and replaced with strict accountability. All FOI’s must be dealt with properly and actually address the issues raised. Impunity is undemocratic – an utter waste of taxpayers money!!

Researching Reform

Last month we sent a Freedom Of Information request asking for a breakdown of costs awarded to families who had suffered due to council failings. The response is unexciting. That’s not because there is no information available, though.

Here is what the Department For Education had to say on the matter:

Our only option now is to contact councils directly. Will they share this information with us?

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It’s a fair cop: Supreme Court clarifies scope of duties of care owed by police

Tue, 2018-02-13 10:26

“It is the scope of this immunity from a negligence claim that has led to much argument. The decision in Robinson brings welcome clarification, and builds on the position in cases like Hill. Where the danger is created by someone else, police conduct which does not prevent injury resulting will not normally found a claim (although it can in some circumstances, like where an assumption of responsibility has been taken on by the police for a particular individual). But where the danger is created by the police’s own conduct, there will be a duty of care, provided injury was reasonably foreseeable.”

UK Human Rights Blog

Robinson (Appellant) v Chief Constable of the West Yorkshire Police (Respondent) [2018] UKSC 4

The Supreme Court has made a significant decision on the question of the scope of the common law duty of care owed by police when their activities lead to injuries being sustained by members of the public. It has long been the case that a claim cannot be brought in negligence against the police, where the danger is created by someone else, except in certain unusual circumstances such as where there has been an assumption of responsibility.

This case, however, was focussed on the question of injuries resulting from activities of the police, where the danger was created by their own conduct. The answer is that the police did owe a duty of care to avoid causing an injury to a member of the public in those circumstances.

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From Abused To Accused: Did ‘Fantasist’ Nick Get Too Close To The Establishment?

Fri, 2018-02-09 09:37

Very troubling developments giving rise to concerns of an Establishment cover-up!

Researching Reform

When allegations first surfaced about a paedophile ring made up of high profile politicians, the public didn’t find them hard to believe. The complaint, raised by a man known only as Nick, included accusations of rape and murder which he claimed involved a former Prime Minister, Home Secretary, army chief and politician.

At the time these allegations were raised, there was already a deep sense of cynicism about government and Britons were angered by politicians’ constant abuse of power and a complete disregard for the British public. It wasn’t difficult for the country to entertain the idea that the Establishment was as cruel and depraved as it was greedy and despotic.

The Establishment in England also carries with it a dark history, where powerful groups with personal interests have done, and will do almost anything to protect their positions and their wealth. Over time, these groups have evolved and now include…

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Book Review: The Language of God by Francis S. Collins

Thu, 2018-02-08 04:40


The year 2006 saw the publication of two very different books about the God hypothesis: the evolutionary zoologist and prominent atheist, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and the physician-geneticist Francis Collins’ The Language of God.

Collins is best known for his leadership of the Human Genome Project which published a first draft of the entire human genome back in 2000. In The Language of God he recounts how he was not brought up in any particular faith by his parents and went on to regard himself as an atheist as he became an adult. In his late twenties, however, he came across the book Mere Christianity by the Oxford academic C.S. Lewis which made a deep impression on Collins and he thereafter became a committed Christian.

Collins was clearly impressed by the Moral Law argument advanced by C.S. Lewis and quotes a passage from Mere Christianity as follows:

“If there…

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Foster Care Review Confirms The Sector Is Still Failing Children.

Wed, 2018-02-07 19:02

“The question over why this increase has risen so sharply over the last few years is still unanswered. The President of the Family Division James Munby promised to get to the bottom of this, but he has not been able to do so. The answer lies in the fundamental economic drivers inside the sector, which are at times complicated and irrational, but when looked at from a council’s perspective become much clearer.”

Researching Reform

A review of the state of foster care in England has just been published. Whilst the report tries very hard to paint a rosy picture of the fostering sector, the data remains virtually unchanged since experts began analysing the way children fare inside the system. The recommendations look mostly at financial issues for foster carers, their status and the suggestion that Independent Reviewing Officers may be dispensable, in a bid to place more funds on the front line.

It’s really all about the money, with a nod here and there to the traumatised and vulnerable children who seem to be cheated out of just about everything.

That the core data about the fostering sector remains almost completely unchanged, or shows no signs of significant improvement in outcomes for children, makes the rhetoric inside the report largely irrelevant. Much of the report’s contents have been noted in previous reports and research…

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Listening to children and ‘disclosure’

Tue, 2018-02-06 09:07

“These recommendations are developed on the back of interviewing for court in criminal proceedings following Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 Pt 2 in ABE Guidance. The Guidance is clear: no assumptions as to anything that has happened – which had bedevilled the initial investigations by doctors in Cleveland – must be made by anyone interviewing a child. An open mind and open questions are essential.”


Interviewing children: Cleveland and ABE guidance

In AS v TH (False Allegations of Abuse) [2016] EWHC 532 Fam, MacDonald J said of the term ‘disclosure’ cases where child abuse is suspected that the Report of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland 1987 (Cmd 412: Cleveland Report) contains a variety of important guidance with respect to cases involving allegations of sexual abuse and children proceedings. Before setting out his thoughts on this the judge – a highly experienced children lawyer – noted, in passing:

[33] … despite the fact that the use of the term ‘disclosure’ to describe a statement or allegation of abuse made by a child has been deprecated since the Cleveland Report due to it precluding the notion that the abuse might not have occurred (see para 12.34(1)), every professional who gave evidence in this case (except the Children’s Guardian) used the term ‘disclosure’ to describe what…

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The Care System – Families’ Views Wanted

Fri, 2018-02-02 11:53

Achieving best outcomes for LAC: In a nutshell, OUTLAW undue influence and blind judicial rubber-stamping of untested opinion evidence. ie, ensure balances and checks required by due process in theory actually STOP social workers lies in practice!

Researching Reform

A review of the care system which was launched last year and has been funded by the Nuffield Foundation, is now calling for the views of family members whose children have experienced social care or care proceedings.

The review, also known as the Care Crisis Review, is a response to the ever growing number of children finding themselves inside the care system, which is now at its highest level since 1985.

Child welfare participants include the president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby; the chief executive of Cafcass, Anthony Douglas; the president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), Alison Michalska; the children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield; and a selection of academics, directors of children’s services and policy advisers.

The review, which has been organised by Family Rights Group, now includes a survey for families, which you can access here. 

There is also a survey for…

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EU withdrawal and family law

Thu, 2018-02-01 09:03


Notes on speech of Lady Sherlock in House of Lords

Extract from conclusion to speech of Lady Sherlock in House of Lords debate on EU withdrawal on 31 January 2017. The numbering is mine. Comments appear below each paragraph:

Procedure and European Court of Justice

1 What are the alternatives to the options in this Bill? There are not many. The first is to retain full reciprocity. That would almost certainly mean being bound by the CJEU and its decisions, which Ministers currently reject. It is worth noting that unlike other areas of law, here the CJEU is dealing only with procedural questions, not with substantive law. Every EU state keeps its own family law. The court can rule on questions of interpretation of laws, such as which country decides a case or the wording of enforcement orders. It does not change the law by which a country decides who…

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The “Independent and Impartial” Thought-Policing Counter Extremism Commission

Wed, 2018-01-31 22:23

“It’s basis, it’s functions and it’s “independent” masks behind which hide enablers of repression all point to a necessary conclusion: the Commission for Counter Extremism must be opposed and communities must refuse to engage with it.”


Twitter talk and feverish Facebook frenzy over the newly announced Commission for Counter Extremism (CCE) has continued for the past few days, but perhaps disproportionately for the wrong reasons.  The government’s announcement of the Commission came alongside the announcement of the lead commissioner Sara Khan of Inspire, a self-styled feminist who counters “extremism” has triggered vociferous responses in the media. MEND led a petition against her appointment and whilst it opens with a question as to why the Commission is necessary, it goes onto attack Khan on the condition of it existing, rendering the opening statement somewhat incidental. Mend CEO Shazad Amin also centred on Khan, reinforcing this perception.

There are certainly problems with Khan (these will be elaborated upon in a subsequent, detailed piece), however, they are an extension of far more important concerns that need to be raised.

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#TaxEvasion #OffshoreSecrecy #FinancialSecrecyIndex #TaxJusticeNetwork

Wed, 2018-01-31 10:57
Shining light into dark placesThe Financial Secrecy Index  | Tax Justice Network | 30 January 2018 Introduction The Financial Secrecy Index ranks jurisdictions according to their secrecy and the scale of their offshore financial activities. A politically neutral ranking, it is a tool for understanding global financial secrecy, tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions, and illicit financial flows or capital flight.

The index was launched on January 30, 2018. Please click here to access the interactive overview map Please click here to access the interactive detailed map Shining light into dark places

An estimated $21 to $32 trillion of private financial wealth is located, untaxed or lightly taxed, in secrecy jurisdictions around the world. Secrecy jurisdictions – a term we often use as an alternative to the more widely used term tax havens – use secrecy to attract illicit and illegitimate or abusive financial flows.

Illicit cross-border financial flows have been estimated at $1-1.6 trillion per year: dwarfing the US$135 billion or so in global foreign aid. Since the 1970s African countries alone have lost over $1 trillion in capital flight, while combined external debts are less than $200 billion. So Africa is a major net creditor to the world – but its assets are in the hands of a wealthy élite, protected by offshore secrecy; while the debts are shouldered by broad African populations.

Yet all rich countries suffer too. For example, European countries like Greece, Italy, and Portugal have been brought to their knees partly by decades of tax evasion and state looting via offshore secrecy. 2018 Secrecy Ranking
See full index here 1. Switzerland 2. USA 3. Cayman Islands* 4. Hong Kong 5. Singapore 6. Luxembourg 7. Germany 8. Taiwan 9. United Arab Emirates (Dubai) 10. Guernsey* 11. Lebanon 12. Panama 13. Japan 14. Netherlands 15. Thailand * British overseas territory or crown dependency. If Britain’s network were assessed together, it would be at the top.
See full index here

A global industry has developed involving the world’s biggest banks, law practices, accounting firms and specialist providers who design and market secretive offshore structures for their tax- and law-dodging clients. ‘Competition’ between jurisdictions to provide secrecy facilities has, particularly since the era of financial globalisation really took off in the 1980s, become a central feature of global financial markets.

The problems go far beyond tax. In providing secrecy, the offshore world corrupts and distorts markets and investments, shaping them in ways that have nothing to do with efficiency. The secrecy world creates a criminogenic hothouse for multiple evils including fraud, tax cheating, escape from financial regulations, embezzlement, insider dealing, bribery, money laundering, and plenty more. It provides multiple ways for insiders to extract wealth at the expense of societies, creating political impunity and undermining the healthy ‘no taxation without representation’ bargain that has underpinned the growth of accountable modern nation states. Many poorer countries, deprived of tax and haemorrhaging capital into secrecy jurisdictions, rely on foreign aid handouts.

This hurts citizens of rich and poor countries alike.

What is the significance of this index?

In identifying the most important providers of international financial secrecy, the Financial Secrecy Index reveals that traditional stereotypes of tax havens are misconceived. The world’s most important providers of financial secrecy harbouring looted assets are mostly not small, palm-fringed islands as many suppose, but some of the world’s biggest and wealthiest countries. Rich OECD member countries and their satellites are the main recipients of or conduits for these illicit flows.

The implications for global power politics are clearly enormous, and help explain why for so many years international efforts to crack down on tax havens and financial secrecy were so ineffective, it is the recipients of these gigantic inflows that set the rules of the game.

Yet our analysis also reveals that recently things have genuinely started to improve. The global financial crisis and ensuing economic crisis, combined with recent activism and exposure of these problems by civil society actors and the media, and rising concerns about inequality in many countries, have created a set of political conditions unparalleled in history. The world’s politicians have been forced to take notice of tax havens. For the first time since we first created our index in 2009, we can say that something of a sea change is underway.

World leaders are now routinely talking about the scourges of financial secrecy and tax havens, and putting into place new mechanisms to tackle the problem. For the first time the G20 countries have mandated the OECD to put together a new global system of automatic information exchange to help countries find out about the cross-border holdings of their taxpayers and criminals. This scheme is now being rolled out, with first information due to be exchanged in 2017.

Yet, of course, these schemes are full of loopholes and shortcomings: many countries are planning to pay only lip service to them, if that — and many are actively seeking ways to undermine progress, with the help of a professional infrastructure of secrecy enablers. The edifice of global financial secrecy has been weakened – but it remains fully alive and hugely destructive. Despite what you may have read in the media, Swiss banking secrecy is far from dead. Without sustained political pressure from millions of people, the momentum could be lost.

The only realistic way to address these problems comprehensively is to tackle them at root: by directly confronting offshore secrecy and the global infrastructure that creates it. A first step towards this goal is to identify as accurately as possible the jurisdictions that make it their business to provide offshore secrecy.

This is what the FSI does. It is the product of years of detailed research by a dedicated team, and there is nothing else like it out there. We also have a set of unique reports outlining detailed offshore histories of the biggest players in the game.

Click here for the full 2018 ranking. For further questions, click here.


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Some thoughts on Dr Bawa-Garba and our faith in the jury system

Wed, 2018-01-31 10:18

The Secret Barrister

I’m loath to tread onto terrain that I do not usually cover in my modest knockabout criminal practice, but the case of Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba has caused such tremors in the medical profession that I thought, vainly, that I might throw my two pence in.

Misery is so ubiquitous in the criminal law that it feels trite if not otiose to start with the observation that this – as inevitably with any that makes the news – is a very sad case, but there is something about the cumulation of tragedies spinning out from Bawa-Garba that stands it out as particularly upsetting. A seriously ill six year-old child, Jack Adcock, died in hospital on 18 February 2011 after what were alleged to be  – and accepted by a jury as being – serious failings in diagnosis and treatment by Dr Bawa-Garba, the responsible doctor.

On 4 November 2015, she was…

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Why did a Britain First supporter who wanted to “kill a Muslim” and drove his van at a pedestrian only receive 33 weeks’ imprisonment?

Sat, 2018-01-27 13:59

The Secret Barrister

This is a little later than planned, but recently I’ve been responding to a number of queries about legal issues on Twitter through threads, and it struck me that it might be of some use (possibly) to put them up here, for anyone interested who doesn’t catch them live.

Here, from a fortnight ago, I look at why a Britain First supporter who drove his van at the owner of an Indian restaurant, having earlier expressed a desire to “kill a Muslim”, received 33 weeks’ imprisonment upon his conviction.

Marek Zakrocki


The facts provided by the Metropolitan Police are here. In summary, Zakrocki, having drunk 2 bottles of wine, assaulted his wife and left home. He told police he was going to “kill a Muslim”. He then drove around Harrow shouting “white power”.

— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) January 13, 2018


Upon arrest, he was in possession…

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New FOI Request: Damages Awarded To Families Because Of Council Failings

Thu, 2018-01-25 04:48

Those social workers who file false, misleading and inaccurate court reports should be named and shamed as a menace to society along with the GAL’s who cheerlead them and judges who rubber-stamp their ‘findings’ without properly scrutinising them. More damning instances of deliberate, for-profit interventionism, which obviously are incompatible with respect for established family life.

Researching Reform

As the government appears to be busy with Brexit and other things, we thought it would be good to remind it that child welfare matters aren’t going away any time soon. Our latest Freedom Of Information Request asks for a breakdown of damages awarded to families, by council. 

After coming across this archived post we wrote in 2012 predicting a surge in damages being paid out to families failed by local authorities, we decided to find out if these kinds of awards were on the rise. The request though, is unlikely to offer a definitive answer.

We already know that local authorities’ insurance companies have a vested interest in making complaints go away. The thinking is that the more complaints make it through, the more damages the council may have to pay, which effectively means the more money insurance companies have to shell out. As a result, insurance companies have…

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Runaway train, never going back

Thu, 2018-01-25 03:58

Paraphrasing New Report: Time for root and branch reform of a rotten system, unfit for purpose, which causes harm to the very people it is beholden to serve!


The British Association of Social Workers, BASW, commissioned an independent report to look at adoption. The report has just been published.

There’s a summary piece at the Guardian about it

In summary of the summary, concerns about a lack of ethics and human rights approach, concerns that adoption has been politically pushed and dominates thinking, concerns about lack of support for families and adopters, concerns that there’s rigidity in thinking about contact (and the report compares the English approach of an assumption of no direct contact with Northern Ireland where the assumption is that there should be direct contact four to six times per year) and critically that there’s not enough attention being paid to poverty (and austerity) being the driving force behind children being removed from families.

The impact of austerity was raised by all respondents to different extents but was a particular
concern for social workers. Cuts…

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