Thank you Victoria for contacting me about this dreadful and discredited series. I have not yet been able to correspond directly with ABC. They are fundamentally wrong in that Claire Verity has not been able to provide any evidence of any qualifications (see the Times article on this blog or here http://www.socialbaby.com/shop/page.asp?id=CVtimes). This is ABC's response to Victoria's complaint in which they use Claire Verity's fake qualifications as a defense. I don't blame ABC for this as I assume they I are using promotional material provided by Channel Four in the UK...
Dear Ms xxx
Thank you for your email regarding the first episode of the British
documentary series Bringing Up Baby, broadcast on ABC1 on 19 February.
The ABC regrets that you were concerned by the inclusion of Claire
Verity and the Truby King childcare method she espoused in this program.
I should first explain that Bringing Up Baby was categorised as topical
and factual content for the purposes of the ABC's Code of Practice. This
content category allows for the presentation of programs which reflect a
wide range of audience interests, beliefs and perspectives, including
programs which present controversial views. Where topical and factual
content deals with matters of contention or public debate, a diversity
of principal relevant perspectives must be demonstrated across a network
or platform in an appropriate timeframe.
Bringing Up Baby is a four-part series in which three of the past
century's most influential approaches to childcare are compared to
assess which, if any, are best for today's parents to use. The series
features Claire Verity, an advocate of the Truby King method, Dreena
Hamilton, an advocate of Dr Benjamin Spock's approach, and Claire Scott,
an advocate of the continuum concept, each of whom instruct and mentor
two families with newborn babies. It is important to note that the
series does not promote or advocate any particular childcare approach,
or endorse the views expressed by the three mentors.
The ABC acknowledges that some of the methods used in the program and
championed by each of the mentors are controversial, and more broadly,
that the question of how best to raise a baby is highly contentious.
Accordingly, in keeping with the requirements of the Code of Practice,
ABC Television must demonstrate a diversity of principal relevant
perspectives on childcare methods in an appropriate timeframe.
On review, the ABC considers that this episode of Bringing Up Baby
itself provided a range of perspectives on each method and on childcare
in general. In addition to the views of each mentor on the methods they
advocated, the program included the views of the other mentors on those
methods through scenes of robust debate between all three mentors, the
positive and negative feedback of each parent in relation to the methods
they were applying, and other views such as those of a broadcaster and a
1950s mother. Furthermore, other relevant viewpoints have been presented
on previous documentaries such as the Life at 1 and Life at 3 series
(http://abc.net.au/tv/life/). As such, the ABC is satisfied that the
requirement to demonstrate a diversity of principal relevant
perspectives has been met.
Your comments in relation to Claire Verity's qualifications are noted.
The ABC understands that Ms Verity is a nanny with many years of
experience. Throughout the program she was described as a mentor,
reflecting her role in the experiment. However, early in the program,
the narrator introduced her as a maternity nurse, which viewers may have
interpreted as implying that she has nursing qualifications. The ABC
acknowledges that Ms Verity has no such qualifications and should not
have been described as a maternity nurse. ABC Television has advised
that the remaining episodes of the series will be preceded by an
advisory note clarifying that the term is not intended to signify a
professionally qualified nurse, but rather, someone with experience in
caring for babies and children.
Please be assured, your comments about Bringing Up Baby have been noted
and conveyed to the ABC Television management. Thank you for bringing
your concerns to the ABC's attention. I have attached a link to the
ABC's Code of Practice for your information:
ABC, Audience & Consumer Affairs
Subject: Bringing up baby- dangerous advice
Comments: I was appalled by the Channel 4 program, Bringing up baby,
aired on Thursday 19th Feb. The program was apparently widely protested
in the UK and its so-called expert, Claire Verity was discredited once
the show had aired. The methods this particular woman promotes are close
to "institutionalised neglect". Her promotion of "leaving a baby to cry"
is proven to cause psychological damage. The baby to develops "learned
hopelessness"- put simply the baby gives up on attempting to communicate
its needs and has no-one in its life that it can trust. This is a
symptom seen in many neglect and abuse cases- very quiet and compliant
children. Verity's approach, which discourages bonding between babies
and their parents- even down to regulating physical and eye-contact
between parent and child, may suit parents who do not want to "deal"
with their offspring but long-term effects are not exposed or even
discussed within this program. It is irresponsible to air such a progra!
m without allowing the general public to understand the potential harm
that can be caused to children in following such a method. A forum or
discussion panel after each program airs- such as was done with the
Great Global Warming Swindle- may go some way to addressing the serious
problems associated with such irresponsible programming.