Why we need a network

Parents Families and Allies Network has been started by a small group of people who are concerned at the growing oppression of children and families carried out, often with the best of intentions, in the name of child protection.

We are concerned at the way our society is increasingly moving away from providing help to parents and their children and instead increasing assessments, investigations and accusations of abuse.

We are concerned at the confusion between neglect and inequality and poverty which leads to growing numbers of children being put under surveillance, removed into care and adoption. Those in poverty face shame and blame and too little is done to reduce inequality, create better housing, fairer employment, better education, improved health …

We are concerned at the misplaced belief that society can protect children from future harm caused by ’emotional abuse’ by putting children and their parents under surveillance, or removing them into care and adoption instead of creating environments that support parents, particularly mothers, and reduce their difficulties.

We are concerned at the exaggeration of risk that is undermining childhoods and creating an atmosphere of fear.

This is why we want an end to child protection as we know it and for a fundamental change from child protection and rescue to child rights that strengthens family and community.

We believe that the current child protection system is oppressive, that it doesn’t protect children and that it undermines parents.

We hope to bring together gatherings of people who recognise this oppression including:

  • professionals in social work, health, law, police and others working in the system;
  • community members and activists;
  • local and national politicians; and most importantly
  • parents and children

We don’t  claim to yet know the answers to a fairer, supportive system that will help parents and enable children to flourish but we know this is not just possible but important for everyone in society.

We have seen different ways of responding to family difficulties such as parent advocacy, community strengthening and children’s participation programmes that might be part of a solution …

AND we want to bring together like-minded people in gatherings to grow the solutions we need.