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CARERS DO CARE, SAYS ADSS PRESIDENT

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Responding to an editorial in last week's Sunday Telegraph, Jo Williams, president of the Association of Directors ...
Responding to an editorial in last week's Sunday Telegraph, Jo Williams, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, responded with a letter to the editor (p36). She wrote:

'I must dispel your delusions in your leading article 'Adoption is the answer'. If there has been a 'deliberate decision to promote the employment of homosexuals to protect young girls from heterosexual men' at care homes, it is not one that this association has heard of.

'You say that 'there are no safeguards in place to prevent care homes to prevent care homes from emplying men with a record of paedophilia'. There are. Applicants for posts working with vulnerable young people are subject to thorough vetting, including police checks.

'It is not true to say that social workers are 'completely convinced that council care is the best solution for children...'. The number of children in councils' residential care has been reduced from some 40,000 to less than 6,000 in the past 25 years. Meanwhile, the proportion of adoptions of children from care has risen from 7% to 40% in the nineties.

'Your comments on 'same race' adoption policies simply fuel hysteria. Social services are obliged by statute to give due consideration to the child's religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background before making decisions concerning placement. This, however, does not prevent trans-ethnic adoptions being arranged if it is considered to be in the child's best interests.

'Your suggestion that voluntary agencies be used as an alternative to 'dogmatic' authorities misses several points: the voluntary sector, although helpful and laudable in its support to social services in a number of ways, has by no means been a stranger to the sort of paedophile penetration that Waterhouse considered. Their staff have often worked in local authorities, and vice versa. By and large they have been reluctant to take on the onerous responsibilities which you would seek to impose on them.

'Finally, saying that thousands of children remain trapped 'in the sort of hell so horrifically described in the Waterhouse report' might discourage suitable families from offering themselves as potential adopters - the opposite of what you intend, and we desire.'

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