Saturday, 27 October 2007

Letter from The Children's Project to the England Children's Commissioner

Professor A Aynsley Green
Children’s Commissioner
1 London Bridge

26th October 2007

Dear Professor Aynsley Green


The screening of Bringing Up Baby by Channel 4 has raised some fundamental issues about how we as a society set about protecting infants from harm, and indeed, our willingness to be participants in the process.

Some years ago I attended a meeting at Portcullis House at which Peter Clarke the new Welsh Children’s Commissioner spoke. At the time the consensus in Government was that a Children’s Commissioner for England was unnecessary as there already existed a department and a Minister for Children. It is interesting to note one argument at the time - that the appointment of a Children's Commissioner for England would simply add an additional layer of bureaucracy without any real power.

How ironic that the welfare of infants - those most vulnerable in our society, yet too young to be called children - would appear to be outside the jurisdiction of the very person appointed to protect them. I can think of no more urgent issue to be placed at the top of (what must be) an already busy agenda than that of dangerously misguided practices being promoted as both safe and desirable in a television programme. And in complete contradiction of all current government guidelines and those of others such as Unicef, United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child and WHO.

Along with my colleagues who are concerned with the emotional wellbeing of infants, and therefore the future wellbeing of our society, I am astonished at the lack of any response from yourself about this fundamentally important issue – that of protecting infants. One that we all assumed you had been appointed to oversee and enable.

I would like to draw your attention to the statement about your appointment on the Every Child Matters website, from which I quote... "As part of his broad remit and function, the Commissioner works within the framework of the five Every Child Matters outcomes. These outcomes complement the rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the Commissioner must have regard. As the Commissioner is independent of government, he will decide what issues he will focus on as he discharges his duties." I suspect that within the last sentence lies the key. I do urge you to think about the importance of good beginnings for infants and the impact of this on future outcomes.

It is one thing to offer an ear to children suffering as a result of bad experiences when they are able to communicate this, but what of the youngest children for whom speech remains in the future, yet have the same emotions? Do they not deserve special protection from harm when it is highlighted and brought to your attention by those who understand?

We are happy to assist in any way we can.

With best wishes
Yours sincerely

Clive Dorman
Director and Co-founder
The Children’s Project Ltd

Sign the petition at 10 Downing Street here
Statements and information here
Encl. Statement for The Children’s Project re: Bringing Up Baby here


Caroline said...

I guess you've seen this article: -

Not a sentence I ever thought I'd utter, but yay for the Daily Mail.

Karin said...

I received a letter and report from Ofcom in the post today. Colour me unhappy with their "findings".

I am looking forwards to your blogpost on what you think of their "findings".

Joan Hassell said...

Re inhumane feeding regime of infants.

Readers need to be aware of the psychologist and author Alice Miller's personal experience. For some unknown reason she suffered unexplained negative emotions and distress.
She eventually tracked the cause: Dr. Truby King's infant feeding and child raising regime of 4 hourly feeding, minimum touching, left alsone in a quiet room, and minimum stimulation. "For your Own Good" is a book recommended to explain the destructive results of Truby King regime.
All psychologist know that rats are fed only 80% of food rations sothey are constantly short of food and hungry. this way the hunger forces them to learn. My question: are human infants the same as rats? And do rats have the same emotions as a human?

Animals treat their babies with far more care and love than is shown to a deprived infant under the Truby King/Claire Verity regime.

As a sTruby King regime survivor from 1944, the shortage of milk and hunger, and the minimum suckling and cuddling, caused it to be almost impossible to give up my thumb sucking.

You mothers who have trusted Claire Verity, I feel so sad for b oth you and your babies. Especially for your very hungry babies. Would you personally like to be very hungry for half of each day? that is what you are doing, or have done to your baby.

Please, please don't do this to torture to your baby. And I am not talking about the necessity of breast feeding - babies can feel just as loved by their mother with bottle feeding and being held close. Please don't starve your babies - starve them of food and of feeling loved.

Are you awae that the first developmental task of an infant is to learn to trust (E. Erikson). How can a baby trust when there is minimum food and an absent mother/father for so many hours each day?

Joan Hassell