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“at risk of emotional harm”

Comment 8th July 2010

My knowledge of the law is sketchy but I understand that at present children can be removed from their families (or be set on the road to that outcome), merely for being deemed to be "at risk of emotional harm".

My idea is that only children who have actually been harmed by their parents, in obvious, non-controversial ways, should ever be considered for child protection plans or subsequent removal.

Why does this matter?

The criterion "at risk of emotional harm" is vague and could lead to children being removed for ideological reasons, poor judgement or because of prejudice  (if social workers et al. do not approve of the family's lifestyle).

By contrast, being separated from one's parents — even if they are abusive — is a traumatic, emotionally damaging experience. This is not a theoretical risk.

Parents concerned are effectively being punished for crimes they have not committed by people who have a professional and financial interests at stake.

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