Community Care slams Mail's social work reporting

A magazine for social care workers has hit back at what it sees as unfair coverage of its readers in the national press.

Community Care editor Mike Broad said that, in certain cases, social workers were unable to defend themselves because they are involved in proceedings, creating an unbalanced argument which the national newspapers do not try to redress.

‘There’s a general feeling that social workers are fair game in the right wing press, but there’s a lot of momentum behind criticising the child protection agencies at the moment,”?he said.

Broad was reacting to the case of Fran Lyon, whose unborn child is subject to child protection proceedings at present, as reported in a number of national titles, including the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph.

Community Care deputy editor Janet Snell singled out the Mail’s coverage, labelling the newspaper ‘vile’in a blog post on the RBI website, after the story was published on 6 September.

Community Care objected to the focus of the piece on the decision by Hexham Children’s Services to take Lyon’s child away when it is born. The Mail story suggests the reason behind the decision is the mother’s medical history. The 22-year-old was raped while she was a teenager, has a history of self-harm, the paper said, and spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

Community Care maintains that the reason for the social services action was actually an incident between Lyon and her ex-partner – something that was not included in the Mail story.

Broad said Community Care’s role was to defend the social workers, operating in difficult and often no-win situations.

‘We’re not trying to pass judgement on Fran Lyon in the case, but just present the full facts, which we feel sometimes doesn’t happen.

‘The way the case has been presented to the general public has left some question marks about the role of social workers and child protection agencies.”

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