‘ Parents Whose Children Are Looked After Away from Home: From Rescue to Partnership?’ Kevin Pilkington Glasgow School of ...
Parents - The centrality of poverty and gender inequality   <ul><li>Lone parent women reliant on benefits – children 11% m...
Classification showing causes of separation of children from their parents in The Parish of Glasgow, 15th May 1906. <ul><u...
<ul><li>Deserving and undeserving poor dichotomy </li></ul><ul><li>Policy of separation (rescue) </li></ul><ul><li>Unfit m...
<ul><li>“ The experience which those charged with the  </li></ul><ul><li>administration of the Poor Law have acquired sinc...
<ul><li>“ The Board is quite aware that it would be most </li></ul><ul><li>inexpedient in many cases to comply with such a...
<ul><li>“ Before concluding our report, it may be as well to mention a visit  </li></ul><ul><li>paid to Jane Perrie by her...
Case Histories ‘unfit mothers’ <ul><li>“ This is the case of a widow, 31 years of age, a field  </li></ul><ul><li>worker, ...
Case Histories ‘unfit mothers’ <ul><li>“ He has on numerous occasions assaulted his wife, seizing her </li></ul><ul><li>by...
<ul><li>Children on the Poor Roll Scotland, June 30, 1945: Summary Report by the Department of Health for Scotland. Year e...
Legislation and Policy under the Welfare State <ul><li>The Children Act, 1948 (10 &11 Geo. 6. c.43.) </li></ul><ul><li>The...
<ul><li>Kinship defenders – prevention and rehabilitation </li></ul><ul><li>Society as parent – permanence </li></ul><ul><...
<ul><li>Distribution of responses by field and residential social workers on the  significance  of poverty in increasing t...
RSW - Frequently significant <ul><li>I would say it plays a factor in about half the cases – maybe even </li></ul><ul><li>...
SW - Frequently significant <ul><li>Poverty can be a major stress within families, which may contribute to, but not cause ...
<ul><li>Distribution of responses by field and residential social workers on their perceptions of the parenting skills of ...
SW – Poor Parenting Skills <ul><li>Varies from parents being concerned enough to be involved in wishing to change themselv...
<ul><li>Distribution of responses by parents, field and residential social workers on whether parents contribute to the pl...
RSW – Parents not very often involved <ul><li>In my experience the majority of parents rarely take the opportunity to get ...
The way forward? <ul><li>Expenditure and accountability….. </li></ul><ul><li>Education….. </li></ul><ul><li>21 st  Century...
Care Commission (2004) <ul><li>‘ Young people spoke about how vital it is to stay in contact with families and frequently ...
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  1. 1. ‘ Parents Whose Children Are Looked After Away from Home: From Rescue to Partnership?’ Kevin Pilkington Glasgow School of Social Work University of Strathclyde ( [email_address] ) Seminar for the Glasgow School of Social Work April 27th 2006
  2. 2. Parents - The centrality of poverty and gender inequality <ul><li>Lone parent women reliant on benefits – children 11% more likely to be accommodated away from home (Wedge and Prosser, 1973) </li></ul><ul><li>62% of children accommodated come from a lone parent background (Holman, 1980) </li></ul><ul><li>90% of child care social work clients in receipt of state benefits (Becker et al , 1987) </li></ul><ul><li>1985 and 1992 – 78% of children in SRC admitted to care from households reliant on benefits & 90% of lone parent households headed by lone mothers (Buist, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>A 2002 study of families who use the children’s hearings system (N = 1090) highlighted that 50% of the families were lone parent households; 69% relied on benefits and 93% of these households were headed by a women. (McGhee and Waterhouse, 2002) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Classification showing causes of separation of children from their parents in The Parish of Glasgow, 15th May 1906. <ul><ul><li>Both Parents drunken, been in prison etc. 245 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parents sent to prison (Cruelty to Children Act) 34 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Father dead; mother drunken and immoral 341 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Father in hospital, seriously ill; mother dead 48 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mother in hospital, seriously ill; father dead 29 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Father in hospital; mother drunken 32 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mother dead, father been drunken, in prison, or in desertion 136 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Illegitimate; mother been drunken, immoral, or in prison etc. 258 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Father dead; mother unfit, not suitable, unable to control, etc. 133 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From variety of causes, such as Remits from Sheriff, one parent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dead, other in asylum, illegitimate through bigamous marriage etc. 37 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> Total: 1293 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress 1909, Scottish Evidence. Submission by Mr J. R. Motion, Inspector and Clerk for Glasgow Parish Council, P.P. Cd. 4922. Glasgow City Council Regional Archives, D-HEW Series, cited in Pilkington, 2006) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Deserving and undeserving poor dichotomy </li></ul><ul><li>Policy of separation (rescue) </li></ul><ul><li>Unfit mother on statute </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ The experience which those charged with the </li></ul><ul><li>administration of the Poor Law have acquired since 1850 </li></ul><ul><li>has established that it is hurtful in practice to grant </li></ul><ul><li>relief otherwise than in the poorhouse to the following </li></ul><ul><li>classes:- Mothers of illegitimate children, including </li></ul><ul><li>widows with legitimate families who may fall into </li></ul><ul><li>immoral habits; Deserted wives;...Wives of persons </li></ul><ul><li>sentenced to terms of imprisonment or penal </li></ul><ul><li>servitude;...Generally speaking, all persons of idle, </li></ul><ul><li>immoral, or dissipated habits” </li></ul><ul><li>(McPherson, 1909, p.11. Cd.4978, cited in Pilkington, </li></ul><ul><li>2006). </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ The Board is quite aware that it would be most </li></ul><ul><li>inexpedient in many cases to comply with such a </li></ul><ul><li>request; but the Board are afraid that an absolute refusal </li></ul><ul><li>to allow a mother to communicate with her child is a </li></ul><ul><li>measure that would not be supported by public opinion, </li></ul><ul><li>and that it might have an injurious effect in exciting </li></ul><ul><li>prejudice against the boarding-out system. If the mother </li></ul><ul><li>were told that the information could not be afforded, but </li></ul><ul><li>if she persisted in her demand relief would be withdrawn </li></ul><ul><li>and afforded only in the Poorhouse to herself and child, it </li></ul><ul><li>appears not improbable that the Parochial Board might </li></ul><ul><li>succeed in effecting their object” </li></ul><ul><li>(J. Skelton, Secretary of the Board of Supervision, April 29, </li></ul><ul><li>1889, cited in Pilkington, 2006) </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>“ Before concluding our report, it may be as well to mention a visit </li></ul><ul><li>paid to Jane Perrie by her mother, who tramped all the way, in </li></ul><ul><li>company with a chimney sweep for the purpose of seeing her </li></ul><ul><li>daughter. This importation for the time being, caused some little stir </li></ul><ul><li>in the village, and did no good to our boarding system, as good </li></ul><ul><li>guardians will not run the risk of having such visitors calling upon </li></ul><ul><li>them. It is a great pity but that powers could be granted to Parochial </li></ul><ul><li>Boards, whereby parents of depraved habits should be refused the </li></ul><ul><li>address of their children who are in the hands of the Board; and also </li></ul><ul><li>in cases where parents may have obtained their children’s address </li></ul><ul><li>and visit them, otherwise action be taken against them, and some </li></ul><ul><li>punishment inflicted. “ </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Minutes of Children’s Committee Barony, September </li></ul><ul><li>20,1886. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Case Histories ‘unfit mothers’ <ul><li>“ This is the case of a widow, 31 years of age, a field </li></ul><ul><li>worker, whose earnings were small and uncertain. She had </li></ul><ul><li>six children, aged 12, 11,10, 8 and 4 years and one infant, </li></ul><ul><li>illegitimate, a month old, born in widowhood. The children </li></ul><ul><li>were suffering a great privation as she was unable to earn </li></ul><ul><li>sufficient to support them, and they were left alone for </li></ul><ul><li>long periods while their mother was out working. The Society’s </li></ul><ul><li>Inspector advised her to apply for parochial relief, but she </li></ul><ul><li>positively refused to do so, as she feared that on account of her </li></ul><ul><li>illegitimate infant, she would be offered the poorhouse. The case </li></ul><ul><li>was specially brought under the notice of the Inspector of the </li></ul><ul><li>Poor by the Society, and, as the mother was not considered a </li></ul><ul><li>proper guardian, he at once had the five children boarded-out. </li></ul><ul><li>The mother is now able to support the infant in a satisfactory </li></ul><ul><li>way” </li></ul><ul><li>(Edinburgh Prevention of Cruelty to Children Society , 1910: </li></ul><ul><li>406-407, cited in Pilkington, 2006). </li></ul>
  9. 9. Case Histories ‘unfit mothers’ <ul><li>“ He has on numerous occasions assaulted his wife, seizing her </li></ul><ul><li>by the hair of the head and beaten and kicked her and </li></ul><ul><li>threatened to murder her and for protection she has been </li></ul><ul><li>obliged to keep one or other of the aforesaid children from </li></ul><ul><li>school each day, in order that they could be sent for the </li></ul><ul><li>police if necessary...the other members of the family he </li></ul><ul><li>describes as “fuckers” and by his cruel treatment and </li></ul><ul><li>threatening language they live in a state of terror of him...In </li></ul><ul><li>respect of the conduct of the said [father] towards his children </li></ul><ul><li>aforesaid, it is desirable that they be taken from his custody </li></ul><ul><li>and committed to the care of a fit person...within the meaning </li></ul><ul><li>of the said Act, the more especially as his wife aforesaid </li></ul><ul><li>refuses to live with him as his wife in future and she having no </li></ul><ul><li>means of maintaining them herself” </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s Act, Criminal Officers’ And Female Assistant </li></ul><ul><li>Inspectors’ Reports. 1919-20, VOL X. Glasgow City Council </li></ul><ul><li>Archives. D-HEW 28/8, cited in Pilkington, 2006) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Children on the Poor Roll Scotland, June 30, 1945: Summary Report by the Department of Health for Scotland. Year ended 30th June 1945. Cmd. 6661. Edinburgh: HMSO. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In Poorhouses 176 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In children's homes </li></ul><ul><li>provided by local </li></ul><ul><li>authorities or in </li></ul><ul><li>detached blocks of </li></ul><ul><li>poor law institutions 710 </li></ul><ul><li>In orphanages, approved </li></ul><ul><li>schools 966 </li></ul><ul><li>Boarded out in private homes </li></ul><ul><li>(a) with relatives 883 </li></ul><ul><li>(b) with strangers 4494 </li></ul><ul><li>Total 7229 </li></ul>
  11. 11. Legislation and Policy under the Welfare State <ul><li>The Children Act, 1948 (10 &11 Geo. 6. c.43.) </li></ul><ul><li>The Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (c.37). </li></ul><ul><li>Kilbrandon Report (1964), Report of the Committee on Children and Young Persons, Scotland, Cmnd.2306. Edinburgh: HMSO. </li></ul><ul><li>The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 (c.49). </li></ul><ul><li>United Nation Convention On the Rights Of the Child (1989; UK 1991) </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Office (1992) ( Skinner Report ) Another Kind Of Home: A review of residential child care , Scottish Office, Edinburgh: HMSO. </li></ul><ul><li>The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (c.36) </li></ul><ul><li>The Children (Scotland) Act 1995, Regulations and Guidance, Vol. 2, Children Looked After by Local Authorities, Edinburgh: Stationary Office. </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation of Care (Scotland ) Act 2001 </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Kinship defenders – prevention and rehabilitation </li></ul><ul><li>Society as parent – permanence </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership with parents </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Distribution of responses by field and residential social workers on the significance of poverty in increasing the likelihood of children being accommodated in children’s homes N = 30x2 </li></ul><ul><li>Social Workers Residential Workers </li></ul><ul><li> Cases % Cases % </li></ul><ul><li>Highly 11 37 6 20 </li></ul><ul><li>Very 8 27 8 27 </li></ul><ul><li>Frequently 7 23 12 40 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Occasionally 1 3 4 13 </li></ul><ul><li>Rarely 3 10 - - </li></ul><ul><li>Never - - - - </li></ul>
  14. 14. RSW - Frequently significant <ul><li>I would say it plays a factor in about half the cases – maybe even </li></ul><ul><li>more. I don’t know how much of this is self-inflicted though. We have </li></ul><ul><li>cases where parents have spent the money we have given them for </li></ul><ul><li>access on drink. </li></ul><ul><li>I grew up, in fact still live in the area where some of our children </li></ul><ul><li>come from, but you have to remember that poverty is important, the </li></ul><ul><li>stress and things, but it is also about attitude. How people deal with </li></ul><ul><li>poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>Parents are often very needy. I’m sure poverty doesn’t help. It would </li></ul><ul><li>be wrong though to suggest that poverty was the main reason. Most </li></ul><ul><li>people in poverty manage fine. For some people poverty is obviously </li></ul><ul><li>important. But sometimes parents have only themselves to blame. It </li></ul><ul><li>wouldn’t matter how much money they had. </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty is not easy, but we are not living in the third world. If </li></ul><ul><li>parents were taught how to manage their benefits/money better then </li></ul><ul><li>this would help. But I suppose that has been tried. The attitude of a </li></ul><ul><li>lot of parents is what is mainly the problem. </li></ul>
  15. 15. SW - Frequently significant <ul><li>Poverty can be a major stress within families, which may contribute to, but not cause situations leading to children being accommodated in children’s homes </li></ul><ul><li>If not the most significant factor, often connected. For example, areas of poverty often have high levels of drugs and alcohol misuse. </li></ul><ul><li>Drugs and alcohol abuse is most problematic, child care standards rapidly decrease if parents have a drugs and alcohol dependency. </li></ul><ul><li>The problem with drugs, especially, is more pressing than poverty. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Distribution of responses by field and residential social workers on their perceptions of the parenting skills of parents whose children are accommodated in children’s homes N = 30x2 </li></ul><ul><li>Social Workers Residential Workers </li></ul><ul><li> Cases % Cases % </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent - - - - </li></ul><ul><li>Very Good - - - - </li></ul><ul><li>Good 2 6 1 3 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfactory 3 10 6 20 </li></ul><ul><li>Poor 16 54 17 57 </li></ul><ul><li>Unsatisfactory 9 30 6 20 </li></ul>
  17. 17. SW – Poor Parenting Skills <ul><li>Varies from parents being concerned enough to be involved in wishing to change themselves, to parents who are verbally and emotionally abusive towards the child in care. I find that the majority of parents I am involved with did not enjoy good parenting in their childhoods. </li></ul><ul><li>All of the parents I have come across have had no positive experience in their lives of good parenting. Often they have learning difficulties and at a personal level have limited coping abilities. Their needs are Number 1. </li></ul><ul><li>Their skills are generally poor, which is why, after, all their children are in care. </li></ul><ul><li>Parents of children in care are on the whole neglectful, provide poor nutrition and hygiene standards. </li></ul><ul><li>There have been occasions when parenting skills have been excellent but generally this has not been the case. </li></ul><ul><li>In the majority of cases the parenting skills are poor affected greatly by addiction problems. However, I have also seen very able parents struggling with adolescent children who make the wrong choices in their friendships. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Distribution of responses by parents, field and residential social workers on whether parents contribute to the planning of their child’s care N = 30x3 </li></ul><ul><li>---------------------------------------------------------------- </li></ul><ul><li>Parents ‘Yes’ = 11 36% </li></ul><ul><li>---------------------------------------------------------------- </li></ul><ul><li> Social Workers Residential Workers </li></ul><ul><li> Cases % Cases % </li></ul><ul><li>Always 2 6 2 6 </li></ul><ul><li>Frequently 8 26 4 13 </li></ul><ul><li>Occasionally 14 46 10 13 </li></ul><ul><li>Not very often 6 20 14 46 </li></ul><ul><li>Never - - - - </li></ul>
  19. 19. RSW – Parents not very often involved <ul><li>In my experience the majority of parents rarely take the opportunity to get involved in care planning, although there are some exceptions. </li></ul><ul><li>A lot of parents don’t seem that bothered that we have taken over the care of their child. </li></ul><ul><li>Usually most of the ideas, discussions have taken place before it is even discussed with parents. </li></ul><ul><li>Parents are not helped to participate enough and even when they are their views are usually not explored in any detail. </li></ul><ul><li>In my experience parents contribute little to care plans. Residential workers play too much of a leading role. </li></ul><ul><li>More recently parents are becoming more involved in the care plans for their child, but this I feel was not always the case and we have a bit of catching up to do. If parents are not actively demanding or showing real commitment to this then we tend to resort back to making decisions on their behalf and seeking agreement at meetings. </li></ul>
  20. 20. The way forward? <ul><li>Expenditure and accountability….. </li></ul><ul><li>Education….. </li></ul><ul><li>21 st Century Review…. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Care Commission (2004) <ul><li>‘ Young people spoke about how vital it is to stay in contact with families and frequently rated it as one of the most crucial standards. While some were given help to keep in contact, others were not. Young people must be helped to maintain these vital links. Time and resource is needed to make sure that partnerships are made with families and parents’ (39). </li></ul>

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