Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html en-gb 30 Tue 30 Sep 2014 15:03:58 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html vampirebunny65 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=98#comment59 It always amazes me how our society lets children down! Family values and support is not there for those who really need it. Teenage girls get pregnant and are left to coop on their own, thus starting a circle of chaos and trouble. If the Govt put the money into schemes in our schools, showing young people the values in life and how to be valued members of our society, surely this would help? I feel early intervention via education and family support can help put a stop to the rising child crime we are seeing.Children are all born innocent and pure, its society and family that change them, by breaking the crime cycle surely we can break the child crime too? Tue 15 Sep 2009 12:03:54 GMT+1 DeniseCullum222 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=96#comment58 Mr Blair is not of sound body or mind he came from a back ground of were his mother who was mad about the church inflicted this on her son who got to be PM because of a group of very rich people who think they and only they can chose what suits them to rule this country this is a man who became a catholic because the service is less drab that the C of E this is a man who can lie like a rug who is selling arms with Hoon another strange man and Straw another pathological liar none have them have the right to talk or may comment on any one else be they Yummie Mummies or Scummie Mummies what is wrong the white middle class couple are not producing well that is to do with the pill and the fact that we have bad water and food and work to long. Also maybe the white race is dying off because of what it does what you Sow so shall you reap.You forgot that these children still have their parents genes, and abuse goes on in the best of homes ask the Royals. More American/ Germany rubbish eugenics is the nest and body stealing for organs, and cells they are already doing that in other country one that we are close to with the USA. I think all PMs should be castrated along with bankers war mongers and such like then we only have to suffer one lot and not have to suffer their kids but no one will pass that as la. If children are killed by their parents then put them in prison for a very long time even in prison they are not liked nothing will stop this nor those children who kill others there is not many in this country but we do get them some are born like that look at Brain from Maghull and the boy who killed his sister and her children both came from middle class white homes why did they kill and who drove them to it?Britian is becoming media drama ridden and the BBC I see you a lot on it now. If it is in a person to be bad they will be nothing will stop it nothing. Killing is not class ridden. Sat 12 Sep 2009 11:23:36 GMT+1 MacScroggie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=95#comment57 Some consistency in monitoring parents and children is required by government and public opinion.A few years ago the criticism was that social workers and others were too interventionist in crisis situations.Now the reverse seems to apply.What is also required are more cases of negligent or abusive parents being prosecuted because of criminal disregard for the good and well-being of their offspring. Wed 09 Sep 2009 18:08:24 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=93#comment56 Mark:The early the better is often the best policy and in this type of situation...The information looks like; the authorities should have step in way earlier....=Dennis Junior= Wed 09 Sep 2009 10:22:50 GMT+1 fillandfrowpist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=91#comment55 #54Nothing is "generally predictable". Unpleasant children who do very nasty things to other children come from middle and upper class homes too. "Abuse" is an emotive word covering a multitude of levels. "Resilience" is something many children have in abundance, hence the rarity of incidents like those seen in Doncaster.The Good Parenting TV is a joke. People's habits are already driven by peer groups that, often, talk about last night's TV. What they probably do not discuss are the "ads" that appear and influence their lives. Are these constructive? What they probably also think about are the nice houses, clothes, cars, and so on that are on TV and mark your status in life. Are human beings designed to generally withstand the sensual battering they get which reminds them how worthless they are? Wed 09 Sep 2009 06:27:18 GMT+1 Radiowonk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=90#comment54 Sorry; "How To Be A Good Parent" as a television channel is unlikely to work. (Raised in #11 and mentioned again in #54) The "bad parents" involved have already probably exercised the option to avoid any meaningful learning in school and are unlikely to derive any benefit from what would have to be quite a long series; we have to be realistic and recognise that any such TV based tuition would have to be in short chunks rather than in long sessions that required determination and application to absorb. As such any improvement might be too long in manifesting itself.Far more effective might be: "This house is unsuitable for the raising of children. It is dirty and excessively untidy. Unless there is a clear improvement within one week I will be back with a Court Order authorising the removal of the children to a place of safety, and there is no prospect of their return unless there is clear evidence of an improvement in the environment in which they will live." Or "The food you are giving your children is unsuitable. Unless...etc." Or "Your children are clearly dirty and their clothing shows that little attention is being paid to cleanliness. Unless...etc".The above suggestions are not necessarily an exhaustive list.It really is time to stop pussy - footing around; time to get tough instead. I don't mind my tax being used to fund effective action, but I really do object to it being wasted on warm, pink, fluffy and ineffective "must try to keep the family unit intact" theories. Tue 08 Sep 2009 18:35:12 GMT+1 pandatank http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=88#comment53 Blaming genetics is equally as useful as blaming "society". It enables everyone to abrogate any personal responsibility for (the generally predictable) events that follow. The reason it is possible to spot potential problem children "in utero" is because the indicators pertain to their environment, not their breeding. "Parenting TV" is a good idea that would likely be of help, but given the focus on tangible results (value for money)this Govt. has insisted permeates every part of the Civil Service it is unlikely that funding will be made available for something whose effectiveness is so difficult to measure.Before removal of the children takes place, we have to be able to ensure that we're not placing them in an another abusive environment. Perhaps a "Parents Charter" linked to Family Credit & Child Benefit etc. payments would help, but the objectives need to be achievable, not just an excuse to withold payments. Tue 08 Sep 2009 16:37:53 GMT+1 CarolineOfBrunswick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=86#comment52 How much did the trial cost, and what could you get for that that would do some good? Tue 08 Sep 2009 13:41:59 GMT+1 fillandfrowpist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=85#comment51 #47I am afraid the old "social worker" gags do not square with this unpleasant situation at all, and neither is it any use playing the same "trick" with the police. The authorities are dealing with situations that could develop as this one did each and every day - that is how poor OUR society has become. These agents of OUR consciences have little time to make psychic predictions as they get on with trying to retain law and order AND maintain reasonable life styles for those they do successfully turn around. As for the rest of US we do not have anywhere near the same level of excuses.#49I trust that when you made your judgements about "psychotherapy" you related to the counselling you are required by regulation to receive rather more positively than you did to the profession you discarded. The problem with "self esteem" is that it comes from the "self" not a person sitting a few feet from you asking a few questions. Indeed "self esteem" is a highly precious commodity amongst human beings with probably around 90% of the population being nowhere near achieving it, and another 9.9% knocking at the door, some quite close to getting in. Our western lifestyles, lead as they are by image, status, and ambition, are not designed to develop self esteem. The handful out of a few hundred thousand who do achieve self esteem are not where you'd imagine they should be either - just a little puzzle you may want to try and solve. As for the two boys concerned in this unpleasant mess I doubt that trillions thrown at the issues we "think" are at the core of the problem would achieve anything at all. Tue 08 Sep 2009 08:31:25 GMT+1 Barghest http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=83#comment50 does anyone have further details on the mother-infant eye contact research mentioned? Tue 08 Sep 2009 07:11:39 GMT+1 urnestview http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=81#comment49 An important subject. The research is clear, the required methods and tools are available, but the level of monitoring required is impractical. If it were practical it would be totally unacceptible to a society proud to talk of the freedom of its individuals. Freedom, by definition, implies that the individual is free to do good or bad, as interpreted by society. The bad results of this freedom often shock, but it is part of the price we pay for living in our society.If we feel strongly enough to want to severely limit our freedoms, then that is the way we should go. Its up to us, as a society, to change. Until then these cases will constantly plague us. Tue 08 Sep 2009 06:03:09 GMT+1 jollyLysander http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=80#comment48 I have a question for anybody in related areas of expertise - psychiatry, social work, education etc.Is there any known 'cure' for people who are as cruel and sadistic as these two boys, at whatever age it is applied? If you had unlimited money to throw at this case or other similar cases - psychiatric help etc etc, is there anything that would actually work? I started training as a psychotherapist some years ago and dropped out because I started to realise that therapy is not particularly effective even in relatively common problems like low self esteem.Another case which springs to mind is the disabled teenage wheelchair user who was raped and tortured by a group of men a few months ago. They poured acid over her face after the attack. Then there was the case of the teenage boy in scotland last year who was abducted for no apparent reason, tortured in the back of a car then set on fire while still alive. Is there any 'fix' to this problem? Mon 07 Sep 2009 16:31:37 GMT+1 Radiowonk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=78#comment47 I seem to recall that social workers have an abhorrence of being "judgemental", and would rather jump through all sorts of intellectual hoops to allow the existence of other "equally valid" lifestyles. Removing a child or children from a parent or parents whose "equally valid lifestyle" is manifestly inappropriate for the well being of children is clear evidence of a judgement having been made to the effect that the lifestyle in the house in question is clearly plainly and simply wrong, and that action was absolutely necessary. Such action is in conflict with the concept of being "non - judgemental" and is thus only likely to be invoked as a desperate last resort, rather than an early measure to ensure that the children are not damaged. Perhaps not too little, but almost certainly too late.A broken leg cannot be repaired just by talking to it and providing it with support and encouragement; is there any real evidence to suggest that seriously inadequate parenting can be either, regardless of the nature of the inadequacy? Mon 07 Sep 2009 14:38:30 GMT+1 2009Martin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=76#comment46 To save me typing a long comment, I agree 100% with djlazarus (Number 4). Mon 07 Sep 2009 12:49:22 GMT+1 delminister http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=75#comment45 this can not be just blamed on tv and video games becouse sadly more of the blame needs aiming at the culture and new cultures coming into this country.there are many issues that create the factors that contribute and society must find a path through towards obtaining balance.but sadly successive weak inept governments have failed to solve even the basic issues thus the situation will become worse until the people elect officials willing to grapple with the issues. Mon 07 Sep 2009 12:33:49 GMT+1 newSweetMonkey2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=73#comment44 If the state can fund these children, costing thousands and thousands to be rehabilitated etc. why can’t the money be used earlier? It’s just madness to say the government can’t afford to give local authorities the funds to deal with these problems. I just despair of politicians – from all parties. Can they not see that when the problem escalates then so does the cost? As far as I can see there are so many people put in place to deal with children’s welfare now so how is it that the cases of disturbed and violent children are increasing? This sort of problem stems from way back but authorities are dealing with the result of the front end of the problem, which is costing treble the amount. It’s about time the politicians were forced to spend a year living on a sink estate where 90% of the families are on benefits and then come back with some realistic plan to deal with these disaffected people. Children are being brutalised on a daily basis, fed junk food, watching their mother go through numerous feckless partners and getting pregnant. Sat in front of the TV and computer being exposed to violent scenes on a regular basis. No upbringing, no boundaries, no love and witnessing violence and drug taking. These kids have no idea what is right from wrong. Their brains just aren’t developed like normal kids and have no idea about the consequences of their behaviour. They are victims when they are tiny and by the time they are 10 years old they are the perpetrators. It’s pointless to say they should have realised what they were doing was wrong - this is a learned behaviour and they are only mirroring what has been done to them. Take the children away from these homes from a very early age – break the circle, but no politician will do this because it may lose them votes and at the end of the day that’s all that matters to them. Mon 07 Sep 2009 10:23:51 GMT+1 Return Migrant http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=71#comment43 At last - a bit of common sense re. damaged children. I work in secondary education and deal daily with the result of the nutty concept of 'keeping the family together whatever the cost'. I see children who have been 'a problem' since they were in first years at Primary - but they were left with the parents who were causing this damage. More contraception, more intervention and more adoptions - PLEASE! Mon 07 Sep 2009 08:44:32 GMT+1 Flexiworkingmother http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=70#comment42 I left my violent and abusive husband. My 7 year old son's school and Social Services recommended a referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health for counselling as his behaviour was aggressive and disruptive. My ex husband blocked this. The courts actually supported him blocking it. Remember the husband was the perpetrator of the violence and emotional abuse which had caused the child the exhibit all sorts of symptoms associated with the after effects of abuse. But he was entitled to block a referral to the health services under a co-parenting agreement.I have bought the books and am taking him through the therapy myself (and am pleased to say, it seems to be working). Any intervention requires consent. When you are dealing with violent, abusive and manipulative people, this consent is frequently withheld. Yes, I would totally blame the parents - but I would support those who are trying to get help for their children rather than ostracising them which only makes the matter worse. Mon 07 Sep 2009 08:26:04 GMT+1 Flexiworkingmother http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=68#comment41 Mon 07 Sep 2009 08:19:58 GMT+1 virtualsilverlady http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=66#comment40 Should something be done before these children are born is the most important question asked here.It is appalling that there is now a price on the head of each child in some areas of society.How much is it worth to have as many children as possible. How much in benefits? The answer is too much.For some the prospects and job opportunities for themselves on their own are bleak. Once children are involved everything changes. Housing and money become the priority and the 'nanny state' makes sure it provides.Until some way is found to break this horrific cycle of children brought into the world as cash makers for those who are incapable of caring for them the problems will only be compounded yet again into the next generations. Sun 06 Sep 2009 16:35:17 GMT+1 organisten http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=65#comment39 Mark, I find it ironic that I agree here with the Ministry of Justice. That is because I do not agree with the shamefully low age of criminal responsibility in England. However, let it be said I cannot argue with what the Ministry often says when the question of juvenile custody is brought up: cases like this are the *exception* rather than the rule, and most young people are very decent indeed. It is precisely because of this that I cannot therefore agree with the draconian interventions you describe. Is the United Kingdom not Orwellian enough, with its CCTV cameras in the streets, schools, and even as recently reported by the BBC, in 22,000 homes? Shall we also begin to intervene super early because of these extremely rare exceptions?As an ex-pat I am ashamed at a certain backwardness in how these exceptions are handled in the UK. How many of you know that an almost identical case to the James Bulger tragedy occurred near Trondheim a year later, when two small boys ended up killing a little girl called Silje? That case was treated very differently to the shocking spectacle we witnessed in Preston Crown Court. Suffice it to say that I agree - ironically again - with those who say that case never went away. No, indeed not: I am still discusted to this day at what was done "in my name" as a Brit. That case, and what we did to mere ten year olds still both haunts and angers me. We hear from the "hang and flog 'em" brigade all the time, of course. Yet I would like to think that there are others who are somewhat more enlightened. That does not mean one is a "do gooder", which is often but an insult used to stop any debate before it gets off the ground. I hope so, because some of the comments left on newspaper forums and blogs simply depress me for their ignorant vindictiveness.I do condemn (of course) the appalling actions of these two troubled youngsters, who clearly have to be securely looked after for as much their own as society's protection. Yet how one can read about their being fed drugs by their own mother, and the sort of upbringing the papers have reported this last week, and *still* be so hard of heart as to blame mere ten year olds one hundred per cent for how it all ended up, simply defeats me. If we were talking about older youths, or adults, then that should be a completely different matter. However, they are children, and whilst these children need to be punished - let that word be used - they also need to be given the opportunity, expectation and duty to reform themselves. Sun 06 Sep 2009 14:36:40 GMT+1 CComment http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=63#comment38 #38You obviously haven't taken a walk round some of these sink estates any time recently. Caledonian Comment Sun 06 Sep 2009 14:33:01 GMT+1 RomeStu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=61#comment37 31 Caledoniancomment"regardless of how many giro-valley Labour voters are bred ?"OMG - you think these people actually vote!!!!!! And it's a conspiracy to keep New Labour in power eternally. Tinfoil hats all round. I'm off to dig a big hole in the garden now .... just in case! Sun 06 Sep 2009 14:05:49 GMT+1 fillandfrowpist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=60#comment36 It is regrettable, Mark, that in seeking to put together a piece on the unspeakably wretched and cruel behaviour of two children in Doncaster you fall into the pit of explanations.There are as many traps for humans to fall into as there are babies born. I remember being at a birthday party for a group of seven and eight year old kids. Good with kids I had been left by a group of relieved mums to converse around me while I played with the kids. It was great fun except for one kid whose idea of "horseplay" was to bite me hard, hit me hard and generally try to inflict pain. My protests to him, which I made very carefully and playfully, fell on deaf ears, but not once did any of the other children's behaviour with me change except that they started to ignore and avoid the "bully". Eventually his mother removed him from the play area and took him home, protesting and screaming in temper.These were not deprived kids in any sense of the word. These were not "unintelligent or disadvantaged" mothers; indeed the mother of this child and I had a very significant unspoken conversation at the point of her intervention, and at least a handful of the other kids participated in that. We all knew what had happened and we also knew that tackling it was another matter entirely. The mum and I were completely on the same page and so were those innocent kids.There is always an argument about when kids "know" right from wrong, because we tend to focus on chronology, rather than the experiential influence that is much more involved in "ageing". Your article, for example, would not be quite so "sensational" if the kids ages had been kept out of it completely and, instead, replaced with their experiences.For a child born to a "secure" home, worrying about "what happens next and what must I do?" may not be introduced until they attend school, but for many kids nowadays it may begin at any time after birth. So is the real damage down to "mothers not wanting to be mothers but wanting kids", or is there something else rotten about our social engineering?As food for thought some of the most brutal and cruel people in history were taken away to be cared for by surrogate parents or at some distant public school; but, there again, there were many others who didn't turn out so savagely. So how do we account for these two boys? Truth is we will probably never be able to. Sun 06 Sep 2009 11:22:51 GMT+1 John Ellis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=58#comment35 Forcing vile parents to have their babies adopted will stop this evilhttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/minette_marrin/article6823314.ece Sun 06 Sep 2009 09:19:17 GMT+1 beautifulMelmouth http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=56#comment34 Some have commented that theses brothers shouldn't be treated as criminals as they are too young and that the age of criminal responsibility in the UK is far too low.I disagree. They have committed a crime. These boys knew that what they were doing was wrong and therefore should be punished AND put into proper care with all the support and rehabilitation 'experts' think they require. The fact they are what they are because of they way they have been treated doesn't make it 'OK' and not a criminal act.This is fortunately an extreme case and I agree with comments that say something should have been done sooner, how were this 'family' allowed to excist in he form that it did?I believe that nearly in nearly all cases of child neglect and cruelty the child should be removed and put into care and then for adoption.It's a ridiculous notion that a child should stay with his natural parent/s at all costs. Having a child doesn't mean you 'own' them. Sun 06 Sep 2009 04:49:00 GMT+1 RomeStu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=55#comment33 As ever it all comes down to money. With enough resources children born into problem / broken (whatever you want to call it) families could be spotted, nurtured, educated and would grow into wonderful members of society.With unlimited resources we could pay social workers a significant salary to do a difficult job. With better supervision and management fewer mistakes would be made.Now back in the real world I have no answers. The fabric of society has changed dramatically and quickly, yet this "underclass" is out of sight of most people until some shocker like this story hits the news.The difficult questions such as when should the state intervene only lead to radical and extreme answers but one day these questions will have to be answered.These stories break our hearts, but what could (or should) actually be done? How much more tax would we pay to properly fund social services? Or how quickly would our ethics and morals dessert us if eugenics seemed cheaper in the long run?I wish I had an answer. Sun 06 Sep 2009 00:51:40 GMT+1 stanilic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=53#comment32 Once again the abused have become the abusers as that is what they think it is all about. This horror story reminds of one particularly unpleasant child we had to put up with at junior school over fifty years ago. He had a right vicious go at everyone in the class so that in the end some of the other children approached the teacher about his behaviour only to be told we had to understand him as he had `problems'. I, who had joined the protest late, retorted that this did not solve our problem. I got into trouble for that comment, not for the last time. Several years later I learned that this child was adopted and was having pychiatric help to deal with some trauma or other. Possibly his trauma was similar to that illustrated.Rather than pillorying people we should ask ourselves as to what has happened to the nuclear family, the extended family and wider society? Traditionally all these elements would have interacted with such children much earlier. A dysfunctional nuclear family creates its own problems - I grew up in one - but these can be mitigated by the extended family as my own experience demonstrates. Also growing up in those days one was very aware of the expectations of a wider society. Some of this was the usual peer pressure but other adults - teachers, clergy, youth workers, policemen, even bus conductors - provided advice and guidance as to behaviour. What has happened to all that? My fear is that the state with the best of intentions has intervened too far into the life of every community: penalising those who would use a clip around the ear as an early corrective, criminalising those who would seek to counsel someone else's child, encouraging parents to use child welfare payments as a substitute income and undermining the common standards by which a community disciplines its own members. These events could never have happened in a colliery community thirty years ago. Sat 05 Sep 2009 17:48:58 GMT+1 hack-round http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=51#comment31 It is not how early that mattes, it is from day one until their 16th birthday that mum dad guardians and other influencers should stand charged along with their children in the dock. they should be under no doubt that unless there is good cause or reason they will suffer at least the same if not a greater penalty for the crime of the children.It is high time that if people will not take responsibility themselves they are made to take responsibility for those they bring into or have direct influence over in the world especially while they are in their formative years. So early as you like because every time an adult will be called to account as well. Sat 05 Sep 2009 12:34:48 GMT+1 CComment http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=50#comment30 I see my comment at #1 has been "referred to the Moderators".Now all I said was that it would have been better if the parents of these 2 monsters had used contraception, saving society grief and expense. But clearly such a common sense approach offends the delicate sensibilities of some of the caring, sharing social engineers reading this blog who would rather have our country held to ransom by these types of animals. When are these people going to wake up and realise that if they keep up their acceptance of this kind of obscenity under the guise of being "progressive" then society will unravel, regardless of how many giro-valley Labour voters are bred ? Caledonian Comment Sat 05 Sep 2009 08:35:06 GMT+1 red deer champ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=48#comment29 The problem that I think this debate needs to confront, however, is that from 1997 onwards, New Labour made a genuine and determined effort to address the problems of youth crime, teenage pregnancy, drug use and so on, through preventative initiatives such as Surestart, the Children's Fund, Every Child Matters et cetera, et cetera.And if we are honest, whilst this policy was well-intentioned and well-resourced, the results have been, at best, disappointing; at worst, it has failed.One possibility is that there were too many mistakes in implementing the policy, though I don't think that's the case.However, there is another: that social policy cannot ultimately solve social problems if the economic and cultural context is creating them.The framework of values that held society together over the last century has been shattered: studies such as the OECD's cannot prove or disprove that assertion, nor assess its consequences, but it is such a widely held notion (and the view that it has been enormously damaging is so common)that it cannot easily be dismissed.Similarly, the economic upheaval of the last thirty years has left many communities effectively workless: unemployment is causing concern at the moment, but in truth it has been at very high levels in historical terms since the early Eighties, and throughout the 'boom'.From a purely practical perspective, the problem with seeking solutions to these sorts of crimes through prevention is that whilst it's easy to identify potential offenders with hindsight, the fact is that for every child who commits a serious crime there are hundreds who look to be equally at risk in their early years: so prevention initiatives have to reach huge numbers to have any chance of success.Christianity and the cultural code that prevailed during the first seventy years of the last century provided a degree of social cohesion that has now all but disappeared. In the absence of that sort of common value base and, equally importantly, an economy that offers all an opportunity and an incentive to participate, any kind of prevention, however early, is doomed to fail. Fri 04 Sep 2009 23:04:35 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=46#comment28 Mark Easton:"Should something have been done earlier?" I think that this story; As, I am preliminary reading, the help should be made available early as possible....=Dennis Junior= Fri 04 Sep 2009 20:40:42 GMT+1 John Ellis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=45#comment27 See a few such families were we live. Parents committing constant acts unsuitable for a healthy upbringing towards each other or to the people and property around them. To undo this you must unmeet the people involved re educate them and move them on to other lives.The problem as its put started when they get together then for whatever reason abuse and hedonistic tendencies take over. They breed and a new life then knows nothing of what is normal by moral standards is dragged up in the world. You only fix that cycle by breaking it apart as each part is a catalyst for the next problem or act of abuse. Fri 04 Sep 2009 19:37:36 GMT+1 cping500 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=43#comment26 How ever 'early' things should be done children from five to ten will spend on average 3 hours day in the care of schools (6x24 weeks) Many will have been in early years learning where considerable efforts are made to 'socalise' them. Over the past five years in England in my experience as a school governor things have been tightened up over the detection of child abuse and behavioural problems as the school community recognises it's responsibilities. Some schools have gone further by introducing self referral counselling services for children,(including primary schools) and all of them I hope give intensive help to children in difficulties. Some even have commissioned a shared social worker on the education budget.However even with close a 'personal relationship' with Sure Start (the social services arm of Childrens' Services) there remain three broad problems. The first is simply knowing what all the services are doing about a particular case. The anti surveillance lobby successfully neutered the data base for sharing information on individual children. The second is the range of interventions in the cases by not only different agencies BUT the provision of 'treatment' by specialists with different ideological positions and theories (some illustrated in Mark's investigations.)and little evalaution of their success. Finally there is a need for a person to take responsibility for managing (lets call it co-ordination)cases between agencies which all parties respect.None of this replaces real and moral responsibility of children and parents and the community to 'do their best' Fri 04 Sep 2009 19:26:24 GMT+1 MartynGilbert http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=41#comment25 This is all woeful - like standing on a large sphere and proclaiming the world is flat. It is self-referential microscopic analysis.Human beings are an evolutionary work-in-progress. Children behave as they do because we are what we are... and what we is very good at trying to survive in often appalling environments. Ask Richard Dawkins if you don't believe me. These children behave as they do because of the entirety of their environments. It's why abusers abuse. They have learned to do so in response to their abusive environment and to them, it's what you do to survive.I know some single-parent families with just the most wonderful children you could hope to meet. They are in the minority because of the difficulties in raising children in a demanding, aggressive and confrontational society. Few people have the resources to do so on their own. That is why the OECD report is ambiguous on the matter.These children are as they are because of the way we operate society. It's uncaring, selfish, cruel and frequently unfair and arbitrary. Children in consistent, reliable, supportive (but not blindly manipulatable), loving and caring environments with any number of adults will become people of that sort. Yes, there will always be 'black sheep' but that's because we are very complex organisms... not machines!We presently put over 5% of children on Ritalin to try to control them. When do we sit up and take notice that it is us adults and the society we have created that is at fault? 20%? 50%? When will the political dogma be flushed down the toilet so we can face up to the truth and start repairing this badly broken, destructive society.You can have longitudinal studies, academic literature of all sorts until you are blue in the face. None of it will do a bean of good because it is all about symptoms.. emergent properties of the society we have created and the causes and effects are long lost in the myriad loops that have preceded this moment.As one contributor observed... this needs the application of common sense and honesty and not political dogma or academic introspection.We need a systemic approach in which political agendas are set aside. It needs to be our No. 1 objective. It will also take about a generation to achieve. For anyone reading this thinks that is ridiculous... then contemplate just how bad you are prepared this society to get before you agree it is our most important priority?The re-building of our financial system presents a golden opportunity to rebuild how we manage taxation and its distribution... how we educate, both at home and in schools... how we as a societal organism reward positive participation by hitherto unsung heros (remember when we used to have role models???). We must end anonymity... praise those who help others... and (God help us) put an end to a superficial and selfish set of values as embodied by 'celebrity culture'. Few children aspire to be part of a mutually supportive community... to contribute to the prosperity and health of the nation; they would much rather join the lower ranks of recreational drugs-taking and demand that they are respected when in reality, there is precious little reason to do so, other then the (at present) vain hope that by showing them kindness, they might indeed, look at the world through the eyes of others. Fri 04 Sep 2009 17:49:56 GMT+1 valley-ho http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=40#comment24 Let's not get carried away with potentially bad (and dangerous)science. Even if it were possible to identify children who were likely to become socially problematic whilst still 'in utero' ( and I have strong doubts about this), what do you actually do when they are born, assuming that they are 'allowed' to be born? We already know the problem indicators and have hitherto shown little willingness to try and tackle the black holes in our society into which have fallen generations of families who know nothing but the hopelesness borne of extreme social deprivation. So much easier and comforting to blame the children, social workers, teachers, do-gooders etc. and to bandy around words like 'evil'. We seem to be interested more in creating clear distinctions between 'them' and 'us', us being the good and morally superior. Let's us off the hook, we can admire our clean hands, and return to our our myopic comfortable, educated lives, ever ready to throw up our clean hands in horror when the next vile and hideous story hits the headlines. Fri 04 Sep 2009 17:10:43 GMT+1 freddawlanen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=38#comment23 I have always said it, I always get criticised for it, but it is blatantly obvious to anyone with intelligence.A fair proportion of people are not fit to have children, there care for nothing but themselves and in breeding they only continue the cycle.A child is the greatest RESPONSIBILITY that any person can have, it should never be regarded as a RIGHT to procreate. If you can't look after yourself properly, how can anybody expect you to bring up someone as vulnerable and impressionable as a baby?It is the same in most walks of life, sadly those who run our justice system fail to understand it; everyone may have certain rights, but as soon as they abuse anothers (especially those most vulnerable), they should automatically lose their own, until their actions show that they deserve them back.This particular story is a case in pointhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8237886.stmHow can anybody who's serving a life sentence for manslaughter and attempted rape possibly be allowed such preferential treatment, including non-necessary medical procedures, all at tax payers expense? Fri 04 Sep 2009 16:28:23 GMT+1 writingsonthewall http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=36#comment22 Mark,"His conclusion was that we could spot children at risk of becoming socially problematic before they were born"This is the first step to facism - who decides what is 'socially problematic' and what happens next - termination perhaps?I agree that some parents to be should be targetted to prevent drug mis-use and abuse to the baby - but isn't that what social services should be doing?The problem is that like all socially good institutions social services is on a slippery slope of reduced (real) funding - the result will be more and more uncared for kids.I'm just waiting for Jaded Jean to come along and tell us we can see into the womb and decide which children are 'keepers' and which ones are not - oh of course that would be by the scale that the state decides is a good measure - not you or I.Maybe instead of simply blaming the children of this world the adults could grow up and realise it's their action and behaviour which create the environment for kids like this to fester in. Fri 04 Sep 2009 16:19:20 GMT+1 gruad999 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=35#comment21 1. We need more people in prison for longer periods. Mad or bad - Nature or Nurture - the moral argument is irrelevant since society is protected. 2. All drugs should be legalised and the revenue spent on discouraging people to abuse them, treatment programs for addicts and policing consumption by under 18s.3. State resources targeted at the early years of a child's development makes sense. Social workers deserve more status and better managers. Fri 04 Sep 2009 15:58:02 GMT+1 meltonmark http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=33#comment20 Well said #7. Totally agree. It seems we are quite thrilled to place children with same sex 'parents' but not with biological fathers or grandparents. The list of such wickedness could go on for pages. The principle is that the Social Services industry is filled with left-wing, indoctrinated persons many of whom have no idea how to assist, only how to record and report. Fri 04 Sep 2009 15:55:44 GMT+1 RagJunky69 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=31#comment19 In my humble opinion, the UK has many problems because it relies far too heavily on the carrot and not nearly enough on the stick. We've become so touchy-feely about such important matters I wonder how far it will go before the stick is brandished properly. Example 1: £80 fine for drunk and disorderly. Why bother? Most drunken slobs actually spend more than that on their night out. Make it £500 - payable BEFORE they gain their freedom - they would remember that for sure.Example 2: A 15 year old steals his 8th car in less than a year and STILL gets off with a caution. Again, why bother? Give him 3-5 years of chain-gang type hard labour to pay for his crime. He would certainly remember that. (Oh, I forgot its against his human rights).Example 3: An early 30s couple let their 11 year old kids run riot around the neighbourhood and the police just keep bringing them home every time. After just 2 or 3 occasions, Id send the folks to jail for a month and the kids to a detention centre for the duration. Do you think any of them would WANT to go back again? I doubt it.Example 4: Diving in football matches. I know this might be asinine to some but the foundation is the same. When its proven with video evidence that there was no contact at all and the player cheated by diving, ban them from all matches for 3 months with their pay going to some benevolent fund. I promise you, just watch the incidents of diving PLUMMET. They simply would not risk £1 million plus in income and the ire of fans and the media alike for being banned for 3 months.I simply cannot accept that society is responsible for EVERY crime. As a previous poster has suggested, its a matter of responsibility for ones own actions and the actions of those in our charge.Build more prisons. Ignore the rights of those criminals that have ignored societys rights.Teach criminals a real lesson and if they don’t learn – keep them away from society permanently.Controversial I know - but the carrot isnt working very well is it? Fri 04 Sep 2009 15:08:03 GMT+1 timetoponder http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=30#comment18 We are seeing a worrying growth in dysfunctional families and unless the cycle is somehow broken this will grow exponentially and we will have anarchy.Of course all parents are responsible for their children until they are 18 and should be held responsible for their children's actions who ever they are and should appear in court and face the charges placed against their charges but some families need a much greater imput and if children are being born into an environment which is deterimental to their well being they should be removed without question.No-one asks to come in to this world, we get no choice as to whom and where we are born BUT no-one has to have children, so the rights of that child should always come before the parents.Being a parents comes with huge responsibilities, we all live in a society and its our responsibility to behave in a civilised way.If you cannot accept those responsibilities don't have children.We have a problem here and now and need to break the cycle of violence in some parts of the UK. Gangs and groups need to be broken up, they need to be given life skills, open their eyes to wider horizons, so I would propose conscription for all young people and this does not have to be military, it can be humanitarian help abroad or social but all should have to go away from their own environment.Before anyone writes and says I assume your children are to old for conscription, my son-in law did conscription in Germany and it did him no harm. I would also advocate conscription for for all those who have retired. Such a terrible waste of a life time of experience and knowledge, dumped on the scrap heap. Seen by many as a drain on society, what a sad nation we are. This too could take the form of social conscription within their community or an opportunity to go abroad on humanitarian issues. With people living longer more active lives and 60 being the new 40 the Country should value the elder generation.Often young people are in conflict with their immediate upper generation i.e parents but bond with grandparents, so maybe working together for the common good of all would be beneficial to all of us???Its no good politicians, social workers, the police etc condemming such behaviour, having inquiries after inquiries. We all know there is a huge and growing problem, they need to think out of the box. Recycling old ideas are just not working.Everyone has a skill or a talent and these need to be harnessed in a positive way, otherwise it will be used destructively.Idle hands make mischief and that is what so many young people do on a daily basis. Young men in particular have an excess of testosterone and boundless energy and will through frustration become very negative and isolated.It is quite shocking in a modern supposedly civilised society, incidents such as Doncaster are still in our newspapers and on our screens.The media also has huge responsibilities and much of the negativity we see on our streets has been learnt or influenced by what is shown on TV and in the papers. People who are educated know the difference between drama and real life, right from wrong etc but people who have missed out on life's chances seem to be disproportinately influenced by what is transmitted into their homes on a nightly basis. Fri 04 Sep 2009 14:47:29 GMT+1 bang_bang_bang http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=28#comment17 I blame the prenates? Fri 04 Sep 2009 14:46:21 GMT+1 Sandra Duncan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=26#comment16 I very much enjoy and mostly agree with the positions and views of Mark Easton on many subjests and especially this article. (My own blog contains a linked to his.)I come from a background as a paramedic, then Trauma Nurse in San Francisco. Like others in those professions,early and acurate assessments are vital in treating injury or underlying diseases. It is known as the Medical model.These children like many others exhibited what I call "RED FLAGS", drawing attention, that in their early deveopmental years their care and nurture, (which shapes the character and future attitudes/behaviors) were less than adequate. It is sadly telling that neighbours were aware of this and commented on it.There is a program in Canada, where many large Police Services have a Community Resources/Victim Services in house prgrams; functioning under their Crime Prevention Branches. I cordinated and expanded such a program in Western canada for ten years. Apart from being reactive to events that have happened and assisting those involved...a very important function is to assess, advise, intervene and coordinate with other agencies. About half of the suspected problems, were of a social nature, which may eventually lead to criminality. (Teenage problems, shoplifting, firesetting, Historical and active abuse, Runaways, neighbours concerns re child abuse.)This is a free 24/7 service, available for advice, assessment, intervention, support, referral and follow up.It is an invaluable service, which can react when early signs of predelinquency appear, preventing actual criminal offending. Some signs and symptoms of potential trouble are varied, some are early warning signs, such as juvenile arson, cruelty to other children and mistreatment of animals.If we are to prevent such heinous acts as those just perpetrated by these 10 and 11 year olds, we need to stick our necks out, speak up and maybe,look at setting up such a scheme. CRIME PREVENTION is not as glamourous as Reactive Policing,but it is cheaper in the long run,and very rewarding to see resolution and successful outcomes,especially in todays troubled society.P.S. Charles Manson was a neglected child from an abusive relationship...Such children, if ignored, grow up to be without consciences.How many more are out there? Fri 04 Sep 2009 14:38:23 GMT+1 ccc1996 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=25#comment15 I wonder if there is a politician in this country who is going to be brave enough to say what many ordinary people are thinking. If we are serious about reducing these appalling cases from reoccuring we need to go back to the times when it was affordable for parents to raise their own kids rather than to rely on well meaning social engineers and educators to tell us how to do so.Most two working families I know would love to raise their kids themselves, if they could afford to.Personally although both of us are qualified professionals capable of earning a very good salary, I decided to stay home and raise our boy -- to teach him our Christian values, and to show him that we love him not only with our hugs and kisses but also with boundaries and clear consistent rules.What have we sacrificed? Maybe a nice big house in the green suburbs, expensive holidays and perhaps an exclusive education for our boy.What have we gained? A happy boy who knows that he is deeply loved by not only his parents but by his God; a boy who will hopefully know right from wrong, learn grace under pressure and compassion to be kind to those in need.I think it is a price worth paying. Let those who have ears, let them hear before it is too late! Fri 04 Sep 2009 14:26:15 GMT+1 Mincepie Murderer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=23#comment14 Someone's going to scream "Eugenics!" but I'm going to say this anyway...How about intervention BEFORE the foetus is in the womb? In years past, dysfunctional families and their children did not survive, they died of starvation/disease/neglect. Nowadays these families thrive and their dysfunction is passed down the generations. The underclass and its attendant problems are constantly increasing.Why not introduce contraception to prevent some of these unfortunate children being conceived in the first place? Payment to teenage girls in return for having a contraceptive implant or the like? Fri 04 Sep 2009 14:23:30 GMT+1 jones_gone http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=21#comment13 The problem is that so long as we have a government who financially rewards people for breeding successfully, regardless of their suitability as parents, we are going to have more and more inappropriate parents who are totally incapable of raising emotionally well-rounded productive members of society. Having children must stop being a taxpayer-funded meal ticket for life and an excuse not to work, and become the reasoned decision of a person who can stand on their own two feet and take responsability for their own decisions and for their own families.Take away the financial incentives and many people who really would be better off not having children, at least until they've had the help and support they need to get their own lives sorted out and find stable employment, would lose the incentive and might take advantage of the free contraception that is already readily available in family planning clinics throughout the land.In a world and a country that is already seriously over-populated, it would be foolish not to seriously look into this in rational and impassive manner. Fri 04 Sep 2009 14:17:03 GMT+1 Doctor Bob http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=20#comment12 Re #8"As others have mentioned, it shouldn't just be the boys paying the price for their actions. The entire family and the support services that should have done more need to all be taken in to court to explain themselves."Even so, this pair is still in the gene pool, likely to breed and propagate the same. I agree about the parents but if these children are irreparable, what usefully can be done with/for them?Ah....it's suddenly gone quiet."There should be more resources to support families where such problems are likely, that is the responsibility of the local authorities. It's completely unacceptable when a system is allowed to fail to the point where people are forced in to failure or further problems. Do the authorities have full responsibility here?"Where are these resources to come from? Authorities are generally understaffed now and can't recruit. These intensive support roles often against a violent backdrop are not for everyone. Would you like to be a Children's Officer in one of these fractured neighbourhoods? I certainly wouldn't. That's before we start looking at pay scales. The trouble is that society has pretty-well fallen to pieces and no amount of policing is going to sort out the anarchy on our streets and deprived homes.As I see it, it's going to take some really, REALLY tough love to even stem the tide let alone bring about a better outcome.So, on the basis that we need to do SOMETHING practical I'm all for catching potential cases in the womb....until something better and proven comes up. Fri 04 Sep 2009 13:35:15 GMT+1 jayfurneaux http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=18#comment11 There are obvious 'Minority Report' problems with attempting to spot sociopaths and psychopaths early and attempting to prevent them from harming others. Not least that society could begin confining people on the grounds of what they might do in the future, not what they have done. (Neuroscience might well provide the tools for such detection; clearly there are major ethical issues around how such information should or could be acted upon.)A few thoughts on a large and complex subject, and to act as a Devil's advocate at the end.The notion of imprisoning people for various lengths of time originated with early Christian social reformers. The hope was that given the opportunity to reflect on their sins the prisoners would decide to reform their ways. Today we can see that periods (of varying lengths) of imprisonment for serial rapists and child abusers (or violent gangsters) don't appear to have any effect on behaviour. Drug addicts present even greater difficulties; if they are still addicts when released from prison then it is highly likely they will quickly reoffend.Perhaps we should consider that some individuals are so emotionally /mentally/ neurologically damaged that to protect society their liberty should be curtailed for the duration of their lifetime. There is little discussion as to the effectiveness of the sanctions (prison sentences in the main) available to society; or what the priorities are: protection of society, punishment, deterrence or reform. Should, say, a child abuser or serial rapist who shows no regret or remorse for their actions; nor any ability to empathise with those they abused or any real ability to relate (empathise) to and with people be released? It can be argued that the best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour. It surprises no-one that highly dysfunctional people, brought up in dysfunctional families go on to become dysfunctional parents themselves. Are we surprised at the fact that whole families of career criminals exist; or that several people from the same family gain reputations for violence, crime, alcoholism or even being abusive towards children.How to break the cycle of appalling parenting being passed down the generations is on of the great challenges of our time.It is unlikely any of them would agree that they need any 'help'.I'll pass on, without comment, a project run by a charity in the USA; it offers drug addicted women 200 dollars to be sterilised or go on long term contraception. There are conditions regarding age, they have to have traces of drugs in their bloodstream and so on. But the thinking is to break the cycle of messed up, addicted parents with chaotic lives producing identikit children.http://www.indianexpress.com/ie/daily/19991008/ige08090.htmlWhat response would that get here in the UK? After all, the option is voluntary.As Mark's blog has highlighted in the past the 'war' on drugs is being lost; the majority of attempts to rehabilitate addicts off drugs failing. Fri 04 Sep 2009 13:35:13 GMT+1 quiffy99 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=16#comment10 i don't believe anyone wants to be a bad parent. on the most base level, it doesn't make sense to make your life harder. the experiment mentioned above is just one simple tip, among many, that could be passed on to new mums and dads that would improve their lives.the answer is obviously education, helping people create a more loving and disciplined environment for their children. over a year ago i wrote a letter to the prime minister suggesting something that i can't believe the government hasn't already done - create a dedicated parents TV channel. i got a polite reply saying that the matter would be referred to the appropriate department, but that was all. i was disappointed, because in an era of digital TV with the scope for hundreds of channels, one dedicated to helping ALL parents with bringing their kids up - potentially nipping a lot of social problems in the bud - would be relatively cheap and easy to set up. i personally believe it would save the government a lot of money in the long run.there's very little worth watching on television through the day time and as someone who was a house husband who's struggled to bring up 2 kids i know i would tune in to a half hour program dedicated to my childrens' age range, the common problems and a range of potential solutions. i think even the jeremy kyle fans would take an interest if it was presented without condescension and with a bit of humour. as well as experience of being a house husband, i've a degree in sociology and psychology and have taught in a secondary school with kids from areas of deprivation.i really do believe a free dedicated channel aimed at helping parents with the common problems they face and possible solutions would be miles more effective than a pamphlet or website. so why has nobody done anything? Fri 04 Sep 2009 13:32:50 GMT+1 AlphaPhantom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=15#comment9 I agree with post #7My family had an issue, I don't wish to divulge the intricacies but let's just say that due to such indoctrination and training with social services, nobody investigated anything properly, even the police proved to be inept and if it hadn't been for legal aid, one well off family member and a judge that was prepared to listen to all sides before developing any views we would have lost a member of our family.The baby was immediately taken away and adoption proceedings were put in effect at the beginning before there was evidence in any way. His mother was working in a social services department and the hierarchy were unhappy with the situation. The entire system was biased and all that mattered was doing what the higher ups told them to do, more than likely to meet targets.There is a bond between parents and their children, a special and unique bond. The last option on the table should be removing children from families. However, there are situations where children need to be removed and it may be a difficult line to judge at times but where the lines can be easily drawn many mistakes are still made and families are failed at a time when they are in most need. So why do authorities wait until only the last minute before choosing a black or white extreme?This goes back to my saying about a failed system that acts irresponsibly, ineffectively, at the wrong time and fails completely to offer the support it's supposed to. However, the system doesn't always fail and problems can still occur so again, solving the system may not solve everthing but it would certainly be more helpful to have the right support processes in place provided by the organisations that are supposed to provide them. Fri 04 Sep 2009 13:19:33 GMT+1 Mincepie Murderer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=13#comment8 I echo AlphaPhantom's comments. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it stands out a mile that the mother in this case either wouldn't or couldn't care for her children. Why were they left in her care?There is a grain of hope here - by all accounts, Jamie Bulger's killers are now well-adjusted members of society. Fri 04 Sep 2009 13:15:37 GMT+1 AlphaPhantom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=11#comment7 As others have mentioned, it shouldn't just be the boys paying the price for their actions. The entire family and the support services that should have done more need to all be taken in to court to explain themselves.People aren't simply born committing crimes, yes there are people born with certain genetic differences or mental problems that may increase bias towards such criminal behaviour but they can clearly vary.There should be more resources to support families where such problems are likely, that is the responsibility of the local authorities. It's completely unacceptable when a system is allowed to fail to the point where people are forced in to failure or further problems. Do the authorities have full responsibility here?No, children learn from a variety of stimuli and it's during their early development phases that they are most responsive to stimuli, where they will absorb, learn and adapt to their environments. If the environment is a chaotic & destructive one (especially where parents are also involved in criminal activities themselves) then the children will absorb information, learn and adapt to this environment accepting it as the normal way of life. If this happens, we must remember that we may be humans, but we are also animals with animalistic behaviours and instincts. If left uncontrolled children will develop more primal animalistic behavioural patterns in such environments. The home is the most common environment children will be accustomed to. Does this mean parents should take full responsibility?Again No, however it is the choice of parents to have children. No child is relatively unplanned, if you choose to have intimate relations with someone without adequate protection you should be expecting what may happen next. However, if you look at statistics for the UK, we as a country and society are getting worse in many problem areas (I don't wish to list things). These growing problems create the wrong perceptions in our society and people will adapt to their changing environments.We may learn a lot passed down from generation to generation within a family but we also learn a lot from the world we interact in. That impacts our views, values, beliefs, how we choose to act towards others, etc. There are lots of adults out there who have chosen the wrong paths in life but somehow the wrong things that happen become the right things in the perspective of our society. Over the years, our society has gained things and lost things and I feel there has been a turning point where we have lost more of the right things and less of the wrong things.Every decision made by everyone in this country has an impact on others, those impacts can have different effects that can lead on to impact others. However, we never like to talk about these types of things, they get left out as our lives take on new focus.As much as it's easy to just place blame on the parents, the authorities are just as responsible and we as a society must act together to take our society forward in a positive direction.As the saying goes: United we stand, Divided we fall.Today, there are far more divisions in our society, there are far more people in need of help, there are far more problems that need to be overcome but our divisions have created a different type of class and tier system within our society where we have chosen to close ourselves off from others. Please note, I'm not saying this is the case everywhere or that it's the norm for the UK, I'm merely stating there are growing problems that need to be addressed across the entire country and we as a country need to resolve them together by supporting each other.Why did it take so long for the problem to be picked up?Because even though people saw what a state the boys were in, nobody did anything.Why?Because it's someone else's problem and because complex laws make us less likely to interfere with other people and because as councils and the government like to claim that they invest and they resolve problems, there are still many places where government policy, council employees and lack of staff & resources leads to the same problems happening over and over again.Who will be next and who will we all try to blame then? Fri 04 Sep 2009 12:57:33 GMT+1 jon112uk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=10#comment6 I still think you are missing the basic point. The evidence is there - longitudinal studies are pretty clear that the damage is done at a very early age. But you can have all the evidence you like if the people making the decisions are off the rails.I can quote cases of children suffering the most extreme neglect and abuse or exhibiting appalling levels of harm to others. Yet they are left with their parents. Drug addict criminals who neglect their kids and train them as the next generation of criminals are 'vulnerable' or 'disadvantaged' people who 'need support'I can also quote cases of the most minor infractions by otherwise loving parents and the child is immediately abducted from them. For example loving parents who use corporal punishment to in a desperate attempt to keep a challenging teen on the straight and narrow are 'abusers'Social workers have a culture and politicised understanding of the world which is quite alien to most normal people. Until this disfunctional sub-culture is addressed and broken up these incidents will continue with monotonous regularity.Let's start by getting some normal people into the job - mature parents with common sense, experience and some on the job training. Basically anyone without the three years of political indoctrination (sometimes called a social work degree) would probably do better. Fri 04 Sep 2009 12:29:33 GMT+1 spectrum http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=8#comment5 What a cheek of Blair to suggest the screening of potentially dangerous individuals. He is responsible for more death and injury than everyone else in Britain put together. Fri 04 Sep 2009 12:28:13 GMT+1 calmandhope http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=6#comment4 Obviously these kids would have had problems anyway no matter what, but they shouldnt be on trial here. The mother should be in the dock, the boys seperated and put into therapy and care. Fri 04 Sep 2009 12:09:28 GMT+1 Lazarus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=5#comment3 Mark, as a Doncastrian, I have some knowledge of the situation at local level, and my impression has always been that this is just the tip of a national iceberg. Shocking as this event was, there wasn't as much surprise about it as you'd expect.Edlington has historically had many social problems. I can recall a few years ago shopping there one Saturday morning just after 9am to witness an argument outside the shop between a young mother in her pyjamas with a baby in a pram and another hanging from her arm, and a shirtless heroin addict of a guy who was evidently her other half. It was like something from the Jerry Springer show, F-ing and blinding, screaming at the tops of their lungs, and people wandering past trying not to look up at them.That's not to say there aren't decent people in Edlington, there are loads of them, some of whom I know who have overcome amazing personal difficulties to make successes of themselves - some of them single parents, teenage mothers, even former drug addicts. My father was a deputy head at one of the local schools and told me the story once of a drug dealer he caught in school, only to find that when he visited the boy's mother (no father on the scene) it was in fact her that was the drug dealer and she was using her son to supply them to the school.The problem in this case, as it is in so many other similar cases, that often the majority of issues at local level are caused by problem families. As I understand it, the two brothers guilty of this heinous crime are two of six or seven, all to various fathers, the usual story. It's been reported that the brothers and family were well known to the police and social services, presumably because the family have a history of crime and trouble-making, and these two brothers are just the latest in a long line of misery caused by one family. I used to live in another less-than-fashionable side of town and again, all the local social problems were the work of four brothers, whose mother and latest partner paid little to no attention to the antics of any of them, providing the benefits kept being paid.It's wrong to blame the community for these crimes, just as it's wrong to blame the police or social services. The blame lies with the welfare state which directly encourages women with no discernable life-skills to make a career out of breeding without responsibility. This is the catalyst for all these problems - the police, social services, the courts, the community in general - all they can do is try and clean up the mess.Yes it's wrong that these boys haven't had the chances that others have had. Yes it's wrong that their upbringing has been difficult. Yes, there is no simple solution to the problem.Regardless of these facts, these boys have openly demonstrated that they are a danger to society and as such need to be removed from it. But this is just one individual case and there must be thousands of other cases across the UK just waiting to happen.Until we make a direct link between the right to receive welfare and greater social responsibility, this tragedy will be doomed to repeat itself.The mother also needs to be held to account for her part in this as well. This is hardly a random, unforseen event, and she is more responsible for this tragedy than anyone. What's to stop her having yet more babies in future at the expense of the taxpayer? Fri 04 Sep 2009 11:26:06 GMT+1 stephenjak http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=3#comment2 A very thoughtful article as ever.but the case is a clear demonstration of the futility of using the adult court system and adult criminal codes to deal with deeply troubled and troubling children.Evidently even the mother went to social services years ago and warned of the dangers of keeping the brothers together.what use (or indeed true Justice)will it be to sentence these children to lengthy terms of custody as though these horrific actions were not mainly the result of society's shortcomings in detecting and preventative treatment.It must be emphasised that we are virtually the only country in Europe to subject children as young as this to the unnecessary ritual of criminal proceedings. Maybe Doncaster will be holding an internal enquiry but this is not good enough. surely we need an independent enquiry into what can be done about the relatively small number of children in England and Wales who are likely to prove themselves a danger to others and inter-alia our disgracefully low age of criminal responsibility.Stephen Jakobi"Children Arent Criminals." Fri 04 Sep 2009 11:25:26 GMT+1 U14126496 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=1#comment1 Mark,Good piece.Your final para says it all although why leave it to the very end? Say it very quietly but actually the parents should be standing trial for this outrage.Of course it doesn't fit with the prevailing consensus that society is to blame and no personal responsibility on the part of the parents should be countenanced. This is a rights and responsibilities question. The right to bring children into the world without having the slightest intention to bear responsibility for their upbringing. The peripheral figleaf of social conditions as an excuse does not wash but continues to be trotted out. Fri 04 Sep 2009 11:18:15 GMT+1 CComment http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2009/09/how_early_should_something_be.html?page=0#comment0 This post has been Removed Fri 04 Sep 2009 11:12:48 GMT+1