5 April 2022
The Association of London Directors of Children's Services has issued a statement on Child Q, a Black female child who was wrongly accused of carrying drugs in school and strip searched by the Met Police in 2020.
“No one who has read the Child Q Safeguarding Practice Review published by City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership, or indeed who has seen the media coverage, can fail to be appalled by its findings. For a 15-year-old girl to be subject to a strip search is bad enough, for this to happen in a school which should be a place of safety, and without an appropriate adult present is completely unacceptable. It is hard to imagine the trauma that Child Q experienced or to underestimate the impact this is having on her and on her family.
“We hope that Child Q and her family are able to draw strength from the public reaction to the report and are able to find healing in due course. We praise this young girl for her bravery in speaking up.
“ALDCS commends the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership for their decision to conduct this review and commits to working with each of our communities, schools, partners, and young people to apply the learning from this distressing case.
“The report found that racism was likely to have been a factor in the decisions taken on the day in question. This is stark reminder to us that the experience of Black children in London is likely to be very different to that of their white peers and therefore we must re-double our efforts to call out racism.
“As the leaders of Children's Services across the capital we know that trust between professionals and communities is essential if we are to ensure that every child is safe and able to thrive. We also know that a culture of healthy challenge between agencies and a commitment to learning is crucial if we are to safeguard all of our children. We will be working locally and with partners, including the Metropolitan Police, and through the London Safeguarding Children Executive to strive for anti-racist practice across all the agencies responsible for our children’s safety, education, and care."
The Association of London Directors of Children's Services (ALDCS) is a pan-London body representing all of London's statutory Directors of Children's Services. It provides strategic leadership which promotes and improves the work boroughs do to offer all children and young people the best start in life and opportunities and support to achieve their full potential.