Claims made by politicians and linked organisations that children are ‘hidden’, ‘invisible’, ‘ghost’ are being used to justify the need for State surveillance.

Their arguments frame safety and visibility as being under the watch of the State, ignoring the fact that these children have parents looking after them, will have family, friends, neighbours and will of course be on myriad different databases and known to different authorities.

This argument is dangerous.

  • Undermines parental responsibility and intrudes into the family
  • Parents are the ones who know and love a child, who have their best interests at heart. Unless there is a reason to be concerned parents must be trusted
  • Results in surveillance and intrusive State intervention
  • Ignores where children could be helped – by listening to them and the concerns of family members and friends.


Serious Case Reviews repeatedly show that children who are killed are known to the system, that people, including family and friends and schools were concerned and that they raised concerns but that these concerns were not responded to adequately.

State oversight does not equal education or safety

The State claims it is the provider of safety and yet it is repeatedly shown not to be, from examples such as the negligence and abuse children in Lambeth suffered from the 1960s to 1990s, condemned by The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in July 2021. Indeed, even without horrors such as these the outcomes for Looked After Children are poor on all measures.

State oversight could not be greater than being a looked after child and yet these children are consistently failed. 3000 looked after children are identified as being exploited. 48% of these run away or go missing. Looked after children are one group that miss large chunks of education as a consequence of being moved and of the inadequate admissions system.


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