Child and Family Agency: New Name, Same Problem

January 30, 2014 at 11:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Today the new children’s agency will be formally launched. While institutions and structures may signal change and improvement, real change occurs when culture shifts. Do we have a truly child-centred society?

It’s certainly improving. However, abuse of all kinds continues, much of it secret and unseen. Other forms, such as the Direct Provision system and child poverty, occur in plain sight. Silence and denial remain about so much about what children are enduring. We are still at the early stages of uncovering what experiences many of our children have had.

In a culture where celebrity is based on trivia and appearance we must salute those who show true substance. Louise O’Keefe has demonstrated nothing short of heroism in her long battle with this state to vindicate the rights of school-going children to be properly protected from abuse.

However, pity the country that needs heroes. What a measure of our State that it requires the extraordinary level of endurance and steadfastness that Louise O’Keefe had to demonstrate. Despite her appalling childhood experiences, the State fought her case every inch of the way. She was threatened with losing her home arising from legal costs.

Her case again shows the ambivalence and hypocrisy about the current claim to support child protection. A society generating abused children will create an abused social world of harm and hurt. Our prisons, our pubs and our institutions are filled with child victims now rendered into the addicts, the emotionally distressed and the criminals of today. The pain of these grown-up children is the living measure of the childhood experiences of so many.

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