Letter: Children at risk

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The Independent Online
Sir: While it is true that practice in some local authorities can be very poor, the suggestion that the answer is for the NSPCC or Barnardos, valuable agencies as they are, to take responsibility for child protection ignores a number of realities (leading article, 10 January).

England and Wales has the lowest child mortality figures through violence in the developed world (Pritchard): effective child protection practice receives no publicity. The NSPCC does not carry out initial child protection investigations any more. Barnardos, as far as we know, has no experience in child protection work.

In our work as child care consultants we come across a variety of practice, both good and bad. The proper response to the bad does not lie in switching responsibility to unaccountable voluntary agencies, but in better training, management and support for social workers in child protection, and a much more rigorous, but less mechanistic, monitoring of standards.

MICHAEL GRIFFITH-JONES

GILL KING

London SE5

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