Saturday, July 21, 2012

Problem families 'have too many children’

Mothers in large problem families should be “ashamed” of the damage they are doing to society and stop having children, a senior government adviser warns today.

The Telegraph
By , and James Kirkup
9:30PM BST 20 Jul 2012
Louise Casey, the head of the Government’s troubled families unit, says the state should “interfere” and tell women it is irresponsible to keep having children when they are already struggling to cope.
She told The Daily Telegraph that the Government must not be a “soft touch” but instead be prepared to “get stuck in”, challenge taboos and change lives.
Britain’s 120,000 problem families cost taxpayers an estimated £9 billion in benefits, crime, anti-social behaviour and health care. A fifth of them have more than five children. Miss Casey is leading a scheme to turn their lives around after they were blamed for last year’s riots.
“There are plenty of people who have large families and function incredibly well, and good luck to them, it must be lovely,” she said. “The issue for me, out of the families that I have met, [is that] they are not functioning, lovely families.
“One of the families I interviewed had six social care teams attached to them: nine children, [and a] tenth on the way. Something has to give here really.”
Miss Casey warns that the state must start telling mothers with large families to take “responsibility” and stop getting pregnant, often with different, abusive men.
“The responsibility is as important as coming off drugs, coming off alcohol, getting a grip and getting the kids to school.
“So for some of those women the job isn’t to go and find yourself another violent, awful bloke who you will bring a child into the world with, to start the cycle all over again.”
In the wake of last summer’s riots, David Cameron set up the troubled families unit to coordinate action against the problem. He appointed Miss Casey, who was previously Tony Blair’s “respect tsar”, to lead it.
Families who refuse help will be threatened with sanctions such as losing their council housing, having their children put into care or anti-social behaviour orders which, if breached, can lead to prison.
Miss Casey has travelled the country and has analysed the problems of 16 of the worst families, who cost the state up to £200,000 each a year. She said: “Yes, we have to help these families. But I also don’t think we should soft-touch those families. We are not running some cuddly social workers’ programme to wrap everybody in cotton wool.”
She recently visited a family court, where she watched a young woman lose her ninth child to care. The woman, a drug addict, was expected to get pregnant again and the state would intervene again to take the child away shortly after birth. Another mother described her child as a “nightmare” following yet another call from his school complaining of bad behaviour. “You’re the nightmare,” Miss Casey interjected to the shocked woman.
Miss Casey also says that many troubled families have officials monitoring all aspects of their lives without “getting stuck into the actual family”.
“In an odd kind of way, some of the families like the approach. They are not daft. Some of them talk about the fact they’ve known they have been evading help. You’ve got to have toughness. And it’s for the right reason, its not toughness for toughness’s sake. Its toughness so we make sure their kids get to school so they don’t end up as criminals.”
Under the £448 million programme, each family will have a dedicated worker whose job is to turn them around. Sometimes this will involve arriving early to ensure that children go to school. Miss Casey says that getting children to school, and encouraging teachers to keep them there, is the major challenge. “There are a lot of people who use the term 'diversionary activities’, things like angling, netball and all these activities. I always smile when I go along and hear we must set up more youth clubs.
“Actually, I say, the biggest diversionary activity on God’s earth is called school. If every kid in the country who should be in school [was] there, all day, every day, you would transform all sorts of problems.”
Miss Casey also believes that there needs to be a shift throughout society in attitudes over behaviour. “I think we should be better at talking about things like shame and guilt. And not being afraid to call a criminal a criminal.”
She says that the public has a duty to report problems to the police. “The more people are clear about the type of bad behaviour that they don’t want to see, and the more they complain about it, the more the police and other authorities are likely to do something about it. The worse thing they can do is suffer in silence.”
Miss Casey believes it is often “kindness” which stops people from getting involved. “We all know that some of these mums are seriously struggling,” she says. “I have never met women who woke up wanting to be bad parents. In my view, most people do want to be decent and do want their kids to behave. I’m just saying we are not helping anybody if we don’t call the police.”

1 comment:

  1. The pcture does not match the story here. I don't think the family in this picture has any need for social workers or history of rioting, but they are threatened by bitter unmarried "know it all" bureaucrats like Miss Casey.