It’s difficult to know where to begin with this story. As a newspaper reader does one start from an assumption that this is all true or untrue or a truth for somebody? As social workers we know that much of the story is unlikely – we tend to enter care proceedings too late rather than too soon; \”casual grounds\” are just not accepted and there are other significant players in the system (not least local authority lawyers). So if it were true there is either one pretty pointless conspiracy going on and/or we can expect some social workers and other professionals to be losing their jobs soon. However as a newspaper reader (and the Telegraph is a newspaper and Booker a credible writer of long standing) one cannot accept that they have printed a load of untruths. What would be the point of that at a time when the newspaper industry and journalism is at such a low ebb in the nations esteem? So I come to the conclusion that it is a truth for somebody – in this case probably a parent or relative – and all Booker has done is to floridly articulate that, used his skills to satisfy the preconceived appetites of his readers and ramped it up a bit with a campaigning slant – secrecy in the family courts system. There you have it. A one-sided story.
The challenge for social work, then, is to find a way, not to rebutt nor to tell another-sided story, but to tell a fuller story. One that remains newsworthy and has everybody\’s truth included. Booker concludes his item by criticising judges for not challenging what is before them. A full story would open the roles of journalists, social workers and other professionals to the judgement of public opinion as well as to that of the courts. The question remains, in our partisan media world, of who can write or voice such a full story. For social workers, how do they make their voice and their truth heard? The debate here is important as it is only through some form of collective action that we can get a fuller story before the public.