In England in 2007 Peter Connelly, a 17 month old little boy - known initially in the media reporting as 'Baby P' - died following terrible neglect and abuse. Fifteen months later, his mother, her boyfriend and the boyfriend's brother were sent to prison. But media attention turned on those who worked to protect children, especially the social workers and their managers, who became the focus of the reporting and of the blame. This book tells what happened to 'Baby P', how the story was told and became focused on the social workers, its threatening consequences for those who work to protect children, and its considerable impact on the child protection system in England. This is the first book to draw together all evidence available on this high profile case and will make a unique and crucial contribution to the topic. It will make essential reading for everyone who is concerned about child protection and the care of children and about the media's impact. This revised edition contains a new Afterword bringing the story up to date.
Dr Ray Jones is Professor of Social Work at Kingston University and St George's, University of London. A registered social worker, for 14 years he was a Director of Social Services. He has been chair of the British Association of Social Workers and chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence. A frequent media commentator, he oversees child protection in several areas and has written several books and numerous papers on social work and social policy.
"This book demonstrates the very rare combination of policy, practice and academic experience which Ray Jones brings. It deserves to be read by anyone with an interest in contemporary social welfare and its future." Mark Drakeford, Minister of Health and Social Services at the Welsh Government and Professor of Social Policy and Applied Social Sciences at Cardiff University
"A thoughtful and though provoking book...a riveting 'must read' for any professional working in Children's Services, and also for those working in partner agencies." Research, policy and planning
"Its biggest contribution is the insight into how the powerful - including David Cameron - were able to ride rough-shod over a profession with little regard for the consequences." Shahid Naqvi, Editor, Professional Social Work
"An important and incisive study." Critical and Radical Social Work
"This book...challenged my beliefs, my opinions and the systems within which I live and work, and caused me to examine my professional practice. Well worth the read!" Child Abuse Review
“Ray Jones' important book shows how the powerful work against social work and the vulnerable” Harry Ferguson, Professor of Social Work, University of Nottingham
"An important tale of the troubling intersections between the media and political interests that converge in the highly volatile field of child protection." Australian Review of Public Affairs
"A remarkable book that brings balance and clarity to the murky interrelated world of press, politics and the police which the ‘hacking’ trials and the Levenson Inquiry have been to forced to confront." British Journal of Social Work
"Ray Jones has written an engaging and important book. He provides a detailed critical analysis of the case of 'Baby P' and its impact and the key role of the media in this." Professor Nigel Parton, University of Huddersfield
"Ray Jones’ book expertly retells the now familiar story of Baby Peter to present a balanced account that is both believable and challenging...it is something that will resonate with everyone in the health and social care field." Child Abuse Review
"Convincingly and bravely, Jones corrects the tabloid version of the Baby P story…this book is one more piece of evidence that austerity kills." Counterfire
"Ray Jones is a courageous - and all too lonely - voice taking on the tabloids' distortions of child protection services. His forensic indictment of media coverage of the Baby P case reinforces the need for a robust and independent press regulator." Malcolm Dean, former Social Policy Editor of The Guardian and author of 'Democracy Under Attack: How the media distort policy and politics'.
"This book provides an excellent and clear commentary. It forms the basis for the reader to analyse the social work and wider decision-making process. It illustrates the complexity and uncertainty that informs practice." Jameel Hadi, University of Suffolk.
"A very interesting read that dispells much of the myths and media hype." Jane Laing, University of Sheffield, Textbook Adopter
" A probing exposé to be lauded" Sean Ferrer