Melanie McDonagh Melanie McDonagh

Social workers have become the new moral arbiters

You’d never think the country’s short of foster parents, would you, though we’re 9,000-odd short at the last count.  I wouldn’t qualify myself, even if I were solvent. Because if you open your trap in the presence of a social worker to say that a child is best off with a father and a mother, viz, probably the view of most actual parents, you can kiss goodbye to your chances of looking after a child unless it’s one you have given birth to.

I refer, obviously, to the case of the Catholic couple who’ve been told they can’t adopt a couple of children they’ve been fostering since the start of the year – warm and loving is how they were described – because when they were told that a gay couple was looking to adopt the children, their reaction was along the lines of – you are joking, aren’t you?

Bad mistake. When they then formally applied to adopt the children themselves – they’d said several times before that they were interested in doing so – they were told they couldn’t; that their views about gay parenting were ‘concerning’.

The couple have appealed against the council’s decision. As they say, they have ‘not expressed homophobic views, unless Christian beliefs are, by definition, homophobic.’ They go on: ‘we are Christians and we expressed the view that a child needs a mother and a father. We expressed our views in modest, temperate terms based on our Christian convictions. We love everyone (regardless of sexual orientation …The children love us; we love them. All the reports show that we are a loving, caring and stable family. What more could a child need?’

Well, it turns out that what children need is not just a mother and father who love them; what they need is parental care plus the provision of views on homosexuality compatible with those of the council’s social services department.

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