Child Protection is a huge money earner and this means that decision making is not financially unbiased. Last year over 4,000 babies in the UK were placed on the 'At Risk Register' before they were born and hundreds are taken into care soon after. Without doubt some of those babies were truly at risk, but many of them were taken for very questionable reasons. Conflicts of interests, where decision-makers stand to benefit financially from the decisions they are making, can seriously bias decisionmaking.1 Very large financial interests are in play. Williams2 has suggested how some of these financial processes operate:
After 20 years of outsourcing, the bulk of children's homes are run by private companies, with money sucked upwards into one or two private equity companies, GI Partners or Bowmark Capital or BairdCapital. Two-thirds of fostering provision is controlled by the private sector. Only 11% of children's homes are run by charities; the third sector started off quite big in children's care, as you'd expect, meeting local-authority contracts by spending their own reserves. Eventually, though, the private sector underbid them, and they went bust or moved into other services.
Having whittled down the competition, the private sector became eye-poppingly expensive: £200,000 is actually a low estimate, based on overall spending of £1bn on 5,000 children in residential care homes in England. In 2009, it was leaked that CastleCare, which runs 40 homes in Northamptonshire, was charging £378,000 a year for a residential place. This would be money well spent if the care was brilliant, but it isn't. Only 2.5% of children's homes have an Ofsted rating of "outstanding...1,2
The cash flow does not stop there. Many psychiatrists, paediatricians and lawyers are earning huge fees giving councils the opinions they want. Give the wrong opinion and they are not asked again. Add to that the money paid to foster carers, care workers and social workers the costs are eye watering. Who benefits? Certainly not many of the babies and children. Indeed, if some of the money was spent on supporting families, it could have long term benefits for families and society, and cost less.
AIMS supports all maternity service users to navigate the system as it exists, and campaigns for a system which truly meets the needs of all.
The AIMS Journal spearheads discussions about change and development in the maternity services. From the beginning of 2018, the journal has been published online and is freely available to anyone with an interest in pregnancy and birth issues. Membership of AIMS continues to support and fund our ability to create the online journal, as well as supporting our other work, including campaigning and our Helpline. To contact the editors, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
AIMS Journal, 2021, Vol 33, No 3 To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here Covid-19: We have continued to be involved in the But N…Read more
AIMS Journal, 2021, Vol 33, No 3 To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here By the AIMS Campaigns Team Maternity Voices Partnership…Read more
AIMS Journal, 2021, Vol 33, No 3 To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here by the AIMS Campaigns Team The prospect of sustaining p…Read more
POSTPONED FROM JUNE 2020 Making a difference past and future The purpose of the day is to celebrate what Birth Activists in general and AIMS in particular have achieved,…Read more
AIMS has prepared comments on the draft NICE Guideline for Inducing Labour You can read our comments here The details of the consultation on the draft guidelines can be f…Read more
As part of its non-inquiry work, the Health and Social Care Select Committee have established a panel to conduct an evaluation of the Government's commitments in the area…Read more
AIMS and our partners in the But Not Maternity Alliance and National Maternity Voices organised a webinar for MVP/MSLC representatives. The purpose was to raise awareness…Read more