|Michael Taylor, leather mask|
The tension created for social workers is constantly reflected on this blog because on one hand we, the public, want to insure the protection of children against parental abuse and on the other hand we want to champion the family as the citadel of democratic freedom with which no one, including governments should interfere.
Therefore, it is imperative that initial information be checked thoroughly for accuracy of reliability since child abuse is so emotive and reports can be exaggerated or false. Certainly the social workers must make rapid judgements about the character of people, parents and informants but all these should be checked and rechecked for a thorough investigation. Properly following investigative procedure can result in further details that revise the initial case assessment and there must be a willingness to change the opinion. Further, a social worker may find that given some reflective time away from the child and the parents, and in collaboration with others such as a supervisor, the facts produce a different picture of the case.
I have listened to the divergent opinions of a Ministry lawyer and a parent/defendant lawyer, one arguing that the investigation was thorough and all pieces of the puzzle fit together to portray the truth that one or both parents injured an infant, and the other counselor arguing that the investigation was a cursory, inferior narrative to substantiate a medical report and placement of blame to which the social workers had committed themselves early, and that the truth lies in their innocence and in a mistaken diagnosis and blame assessment. I accept the latter position and I am confident so will Judge Thomas Crabtree.