Reaction to child abuse report
Madam, – Once again there are expressions of shock and horror in media circles and in childcare agencies about the level of neglect suffered by the six children in Co Roscommon (Front page, October 28th). It is refreshing that there is no mention of lack of resources because, in my opinion, lack of resources is not the issue, but rather lack of focus.
I retired from social work in 2009, having spent 35 years working with families and children. It is from this perspective that I offer the following observations: 1. Neglect is the commonest form of child abuse, but child sexual abuse receives much greater attention at societal level and the media might do well to examine its role in this area. 2. The biggest reason why children are admitted into care is abuse of drugs/alcohol on the part of their parents, but social workers are often reluctant to use this label and, as a result, this cause becomes subsumed into something more vague such as “failure to parent”. 3. Many social workers emerge from third-level institutions with virtually no knowledge of addiction. 4. As a society we have a problem with alcohol abuse but we consistently fail to consider that it is possible to celebrate any event without it. Our tolerance of very heavy drinking makes it difficult for professionals to recognise addiction. – Yours, etc,