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UK:最悪の児童虐待死事件の推移と考察 [Social Policy]

私が Richard Titmuss, David V.Donnison, Peter Townsend 等の指導を受けたLondon School of Economics & Political Science= LSE にとって,今年は嵐のような年だったようです.

それは,今年,人民革命が起きて殺害されたリビアの独裁者カダフィ大佐の息子が,LSE から博士号を受けていた事実が明るみに出て,その背景に,LSE がカダフィ家から多額の寄付を受けていたことが暴露されたからです. 
LSE の Director(学長),Hoaward Davies は,直ちに(3月3日)辞任し,暫定的後任者として,環境問題で有名なProfessor, Judith Rees が,5月2日から,正式な後任者探しは続けることを条件に,後任学長に就任し,取り敢えず,平常に戻っています.

そのLSEからLSE 修了者宛に送られてきた LSE-Connect という大学の近況を伝える冊子に,新旧Directorの挨拶が載っていますが,別にお馴染みのResearch Update というコラムがあり,そのTop に,Child Abuse の専門家,Professor Eileen Munro の研究リポートが紹介されていました.
それは,Child Protection must focus on the child,not on rules and targets と題されています.

ここでは,その研究リポートの背景を含めて,England の Child Abuse について,私なりの所見を加えつつ,紹介したいと思います.

イギリスのChild Abuse 事件で最悪といわれる重大事件は,At 11.35am on August 3 2007,に起きたのです.

an ambulance was called to the house. Its crew found Baby P already stiff and blue in his blood-spattered cot. As they tried to rush him to hospital, the mother demanded they wait while she collected her cigarettes. と報じられています.救急車の乗員が,急ごうとしたのに,母親(27歳)はタバコを取ってくる間待ってくれと頼んだというのです.

新聞報道(The Guardian)のタイトルは,Sixty missed chances to save baby 'used as a punchbag' となっています.60回も救助するチャンスがあったのに,パンチバッグのように扱われ,身体中が傷だらけ(50ヶ所),顎の骨は折れ,背骨も骨折していた可哀相なBaby P は,前年2006年3月1日生まれですから,僅か17ヶ月で生涯を終えたのです.

これは,イギリスの児童虐待の歴史上最悪事件として,大きな社会的関心を集め,いくつもの公聴会,調査が行われ,イギリスのSocial Work にも変革を迫ることになりました.

父親は母親の出産後3ヶ月で家を出てしまい,母親はパブで知り合ったBoyfriend と同棲を始めます.その1ヶ月後から虐待は始まったと考えられています.
この男性は,he was "sadistic - fascinated with pain" and jurors heard suggestions that he may have tortured his younger brother during childhood. He was described by many witnesses in court as "simple".と説明されています.

母親はたいへんずぼらで,ほとんど子供よりも3匹の犬とネットやTVに関心があり,Boyfriend については,彼女の受ける給付金,月450ポンドが目当てだったようですが,彼女も,Boyfriend がお役人に見つけられては,給付金が打ち切られることを恐れ,ひた隠しに隠し通したようです.警察は,この男に気づいていれば,児童を切り離していたはずだといわれます.

1.事件の経過
いくつか助けられた筈であったエポックを挙げますと,(原文のまま)

On December 11 2006, Baby P's mother took the child to her GP, who noticed that the baby had bruises on his face, chest and right shoulder. When the mother failed to provide a reasonable explanation, he sent them to hospital.
The baby was examined at the Whittington hospital in north London by a consultant paediatrician, Dr Heather Mackinnon, who concluded the bruises were probably not accidental.
Dr Mackinnon wrote in her notes: "Not to be allowed home. Police protection order if necessary."
Four days later, Baby P was discharged and placed, informally, in the care of a family friend while police and social workers investigated.

On December 19, Baby P's mother was arrested for assaulting him and three days later the baby was placed on the child protection register.
The time the child spent in the care of the family friend must have been the happiest of his life. For the month he was with her, he was described as a quiet and placid little boy who was no trouble. More significantly, he did not develop new bruises.
Baby P was returned to his mother . By then, she had been moved into a house in Tottenham. Social services did not know that her boyfriend had also moved with her.
The mother said she would get rid of the dogs and promised to cooperate with the allocated social worker, Maria Ward, and the health visitor, Paulette Thomas, to get Baby P's name off the register.

on July 30 it was the last time Ward saw Baby P. He was sitting in his buggy in the hall, his face, hands and clothes smeared with chocolate. Even though he was restless and fidgety, he smiled at her. Owen later told police that the mother and her boyfriend had rubbed chocolate over the baby to hide his injuries.

Senior police officers had concluded Baby P should not be returned. Legal advice was sought to see whether there was enough evidence to take him into care, but just over a week before he died, Haringey council's lawyers said that the "evidence threshold" had not been reached.

On August 1, the mother took Baby P to the child development centre at St Anne's hospital in Haringey. There he was examined by a consultant paediatrician, Dr Sabah al-Zayyat, who noted that the baby appeared "cranky" and "miserable", but did not find any indication that he had fractured ribs or a broken back.

"He didn't look any different from a child of his age with a common cold," she told the court. "He was sitting without support. There was no reason to suspect anything else."

However, two medical experts told the court that they believed that his injuries would have been evident. Dr al-Zayyat is now being investigated by the General Medical Council.

The next day, his mother was told that she would face no further action following the allegations of assault, as the Crown Prosecution Service had concluded that there was not enough evidence to bring charges.

まさにその翌日救急車が呼ばれたのです.

母親は即日逮捕され,boyfriend とOwenは,11日後に,キャンプサイトで発見され,逮捕されました.
母親 Tracy Connellyは,Labelled a risk to young children and subject to an indeterminate sentence(5年以上の不定期刑), Connelly may serve much longer than the minimum five-year term for allowing Peter's death.

Steven Barker は別件で2歳の女児をrape した罪(この年齢のrape は誠に珍しいのですが,その女児が4歳児になっての記憶証言を証拠認定した点も画期的.)を合わせてlife inprisonment.となりました.死刑が廃止されたイギリスでは最高刑です.

Jason Owen は6年の懲役刑でしたが,留置期間を加算して,既に仮釈放されています.

2.Health とSocial Workの責任
Health Service はイギリスでは,第2次世界大戦後,一貫してNational Health Service すなわち,国営医療制度となっています.そして医師は General Practitioer(開業医:家庭医)とHospitalの専門分化した Doctor,専門医 に分かれており,GP の紹介でしかHospital に行くことは出来ません.Hospital は,Health Districtの地域別に責任を負っておりますから,このケースでは,そのLeader が責任を問われました.
 
それに対して,Children's Service は,大戦中の里子の死亡を契機に作られたCurtis Committee の勧告に基づいて,County Council レベルの地方自治体にChildren's Department が作られました.しかし,この後発のDepartment は弱小でしたから,Seebohm 改革でWelfare Department と合体して,Social Services Department として,拡充されました.しかし,とかくthe elderly のsocial care に押されて,おおむね弱体でした.
それが,国レベルでChild Welfare は,Department of Education(2011から,それまではDepartment for Children, Schools and Families ) の元にあります.つまり国レベルで教育と児童福祉,あるいは幼保一元化がほぼ実現しています.
この国の分担区分に合わせた方が良いという判断があったようで,地方自治体でも,Child Welfare は,Social Services Department を離れて,Department of Education に統合されている場合が多くなっています,
Baby P の居住地の自治体 Haringey(North London)でも,,Department of Education に統合されて,Director は教育職出身の人がそのまま横滑りしていました.すなわち,組織改革の影響があって,Child care を統合した組織の長は,教育分野出身の人だったのです.

Baby P (裁判終了まで仮名となっていましたが,正式にはPeter Connellyです.)の虐待死は強い社会的関心を集めましたから中央政府の意向で,Health のDistrict Leader と自治体 Haringeyの Children のDirector は解職されました.中央政府の大臣には,地方自治体のDirector を解職する権能が認められているのです. Haringey でもCouncil が独自にPanel を設置して検討し,やはり解職に踏み切りました.

Haringey Children's Services, its leader George Meehan and cabinet member for children and young people Liz Santry resign. Sharon Shoesmith is removed as the local authority's director of children's services.
同時に,Social Worker と 3人の関係Managers が解職されました.

Health の District Leader は自らも責任を認めていましたから,この解職に従いました.しかし,自治体のDirector は不当解雇だとして提訴し,最高裁まで争って,彼女の教育を含む職務全体にわたる実績を十分考慮せず,弁明の機会も保障しなかったとして勝訴し,国から解職されていた期間の報酬約 500,000ポンド超の支払いを受けました.
なお,National Health のDistrict Leader に対しても,国が謝罪し,慰謝料約150,000ポンドの支払いを申し出ました.

Baby P の死亡の3日前に診断に当たった,the child development centre at St Anne's hospital in Haringey の consultant paediatrician, Dr Sabah al-Zayyat,はパキスタンで医師資格を取った人だったのですが,実際には He was not on the specialist register for paediatrics and had little experience and training in child protection. ということで,経験を積んだ医師の Supervision なしには,小児科の診療に当たることを禁じられました.
それ以前に Great Ormond Street Hospital(イギリスでも有名病院)で診察した小児科医は,ほぼ2年後の任期切れを機会に,契約が更新されませんでした.
Dr Jerome Ikwueke, a GP who saw Baby Peter 14 times before his death, is suspended by the General Medical Council.

22 October 2010: Two social workers who dealt with Baby Peter, Gillie Christou and Maria Ward, lose their claim for unfair dismissal.と関係した2人のSocial Workersの不当解雇の訴えは,退けられました.

Some say accountability should have passed up the line, from the social worker to the team leader, from the children's director to the council leader. From the chief executive to…...Ed Balls(Children担当大臣). という論説がありました.

それ以後,実際には多くの関係者が関わった事例だったので,責任者追求のムードはほぼ沈静化したといえます.

3.Social Work 改善の動き
During the public outcry over the Baby Peter case, many social workers expressed frustration at the lack of a strong professional voice explaining their perspective to the media or the public.
In a survey by the taskforce, 88% of social workers said the media attacks had made it more difficult for them to do their job.
Social workers also felt the profession as a whole was "failing to influence public policy, the media and national debate", the interim report concluded.
In response, the taskforce called for a professional body based on the royal college model in medicine to be established to represent social work in public debates and policy development, promote the profession and drive up standards.

Now, in the taskforce's final report, the launch of a national college has been confirmed as a central part of the plan to reform social work.
The government has accepted the recommendation in full, and is seeking to upgrade the college to royal status so that it can oversee standards and training.

Royal colleges such as those used by the medical professions often have special powers to license and set standards for the regulation of their members.
However, Hilton Dawson, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers and a vocal advocate for the college proposals, said he was "indifferent" to whether the college achieved royal status, as long as it was independent from the government.
The taskforce's final report calls for independence, but the college will rely initially on government funding while it builds capacity.

Baby P 事件以来,Social Worker のStatus は,今更ながら,著しく低下したといわざるを得ません.それを立て直すのに要求されたのが,医療分野のRoyal College のような,National College of Social Work の設置だったのです.
国がその要求を丸呑みし,既にNational College は完成したのですが,その入学生に最初から Social Workers Union への全員加入を求めるthe British Association of Social Workers 側が対立して,開校が遅れたままの状況です.

最も早く関連コースを作ったのは,上記のLSE で,当時イギリスの植民地だったインドのタタ財閥からの寄付金で第1次世界大戦後に設置されたモノでした.そこでlecturerの地位にあったEileen Younghusband が分厚いYounghusband Report を出して,LSE にもそのReport に沿ったコースを作ろうとして,Professor Titmuss にLSE を追われ,National Institute for Social Wrok (NISW) を作ったことから,イギリスのSocial Worker 養成は,伝統あるUniversity からほぼ外れて,独立ないしUniversity に付随した Collegeで行われてきたということがあります.

National Health Service は医療モデルで資格が明確化され,社会的ステータスもハッキリしていたのですが,Social CareやChild Care は地方自治体の行政モデルの中で,キャリア・モデルが確立されないで来たといえます.

個別の責任者追求の嵐が収まって,ようやく Social Work のあり方,水準を巡る議論が深められる時期が巡ってきて.その先頭に立ったのが,LSE の Professor Eileen Munro だったといえます.彼女は国のDepartment of Education の委嘱を受けて調査に当たったのです.

彼女は,first and second reports への反応も踏まえて,Child Protection must focus on the child,not on rules and targets という標題を掲げたFinal Report を,2011年5月に提出しています.
これは,換言すれば,Social Work は自分の専門性に自信を持って,長年の児童虐待死事件で積み重ねられ複雑化した Rules や行政組織目標よりも,児童の置かれた状況に焦点を当てて,何が児童のBest interests かを判断して職務を遂行すべきだと勧告しました.

Munro は,そのためには,multi-agency services based in the community のなかにexperienced, more senior social workers be kept on the front line so they can develop their skills and better supervise more junior social workers, and stresses the need for refinements to be made to the management and inspection process.
と,porofessional 重視の行政への転換,そしてprofessional 固有の職階制創設を勧告しています.

England のChildren's services はBaby P のあと,social workers がrisk を恐れて親子分離を急ぐ傾向が強まり,foster family へのapplications が不足して,逼迫状態に陥っているといわれます.
Britain's fostering system is being strained to breaking point in the wake of Baby P. More children are being put into care – and yet there is a desperate shortage of foster parents.(The Guardian; Friday 5 February 2010)

日本が学ぶべき諸点
イギリスでは,Baby P の不幸な事件から多くの教訓を学んで,画期的な改革が進められようとしています.
日本に置き換えて考えますと,イギリスでは,日本の養護施設に当たるChildren's Home が第2次大戦後,急速に姿を消し,今日では小規模 Group Home しか見られませんが,特に被虐待児童の場合,代わりのfamily home 環境を提供することが望ましいという考え方が定着していますから,foster care かAdoption(福祉国家成立以前の1925年以来の児童福祉制度)が選択されるのです.

日本には児童福祉制度としての養子制度がありませんから,被虐待児童の選択肢は里親しかいないことになりますが,里親ケァの比率は乳児院,養護施設を合わせたケァ児童の約10%にしかならないような貧弱な状況にあります.しかも被虐待児童のほとんどが施設ケァを受けている状況です.

日本の児童福祉は教育と縦割りで文部科学省対厚生労働省に分断されていて,幼保一元化すらかけ声倒れに終わっています.

児童相談所の児童福祉司などのソーシャルワーカーも,国際会議参加のイギリス人の指摘と称して作られた,世界にフィリピンくらいにしか例を見ない「社会福祉士」国家資格試験制度合格者を要件とはしていませんから,その資質はかなりバラバラだと思われます.
Baby P が,失敗に終わったとはいえ,1年足らずの間に,保健を含めて,60回も専門職員と接触していたという事例は,日本から見れば驚異的な数字に響きます.

日本の児童福祉は,保育にのみ関心を集中して,児童相談はほとんどないがしろにしてきたのではないでしょうか.児童の虐待死事件があっても,それに関わった児童福祉司や児童相談所長の責任が問われ,公聴会を経て解雇された例など聴いたことがありません.
イギリスに較べれば無責任体制で,児童福祉やソーシャルワークの改善に繋がる契機となることはなかったのです.

極度のNeglectの中に育って, 「無知の涙」を書くにいたったような悲劇を招かないためにも,この辺で,イギリスの最悪の事件から学ぶべきことは学んで,児童の貧困や児童虐待の再生産のリンクを断ち切るために,日本でも児童相談部門の画期的な充実が図られることを望んでやみません.

 

 


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共通テーマ:学問

UK's priority:Permanent homes through adoption [Social Policy]

日本の児童福祉は,イギリスより一世紀ほども遅れていると思いますが,幼保一元化が1948年児童福祉法制定時,速やかに一元化を図ると国会で付帯決議されながら,終始一貫して自分の省益,権限拡充を優先させてきた厚生省,厚生労働省が,いつの間にか,保育行政を交付金行政から紐付き補助金制度にこっそりと転換させ,幼保一元化をないがしろにしてしまったことは,前にも書いたとおりです. 

イギリスでは,児童福祉全般そして保育所が,日本でいえば文部科学省の所管であることを,まず,指摘しておきましょう.日本もそれに習って,児童福祉を文部科学省に所管替えすれば,日本の児童福祉も大きく改善するのではないでしょうか.

個々で取り上げたいのは,児童福祉の優先課題である家庭を失った児童に対する優先課題としての,児童福祉制度としての養子制度です.

イギリスでは,総理大臣が,improving the lives of children in care is a national priority More children need to find much more quickly - stable, loving and permanent homes through adoption where this is in their best interests. If this is to happen the adoption system needs to work much more effectively and efficiently. と公言しているのです.

イギリスの児童福祉制度としての養子制度は,そもそも第2次世界大戦後の福祉国家成立前に,第1次世界大戦後の大量の戦争孤児を救済するために創設された制度です.旧ソ連邦も時を同じくして養子制度を創設しています.いくつかの改正を経て,1976年Adoption Act が立法の一元化を行ったのですが,2002年にAdoption and Children Act に改正され,2006年に,さらに養親資格を婚姻者に限定せず,異性,同性の同棲者にも広げる改正が行われています.

さらに,養親適格性審査に時間がかかりすぎているとして,それを簡素化し,自治体間で差がありすぎる現状を改善しようとしています.

とにかく,日本でも,早く児童福祉制度としての「養子制度」を早く成立させ,里親から養親への移行も制度化して,施設ケアが圧倒的という時代遅れの甚だしい日本の児童福祉を抜本的に改革することを期待するモノです.

 

England の養子の統計

England

 

Looked after children

 

There were 65,520 children in local authority care in England on 31 March 2011 - a 2% increase from 2010. Of these:

  • 56% were boys and 44% girls
  • Most (62%) came to social services’ attention due to abuse or neglect
  • 48,530 (74%) were in a foster placement. A total of 2,450 children were placed for adoption at 31 March 2010 - 50 less than last year.

 

Age

The average age at adoption was 3 years 10 months

  • 6% (3,660) of children in care in England on 31 March 2010 were under one year old
  • 18% (12,020) were aged between one and four years old
  • 18% (11,830) were aged between five and nine years old
  • 37% (24,160) were aged between 10 and 15 years old
  • 21% (13,860) were aged 16 and over

 


Adoptions

During the year ending 31 March 2011, 3,050 looked-after children were adopted - a decrease of 5% from 2010.
Of the children adopted:

  • 51% (1,560) were boys; 49 per cent (1,500) were girls
  • 2% (60) were under one year old
  • 71% (2,170) were aged between one and four years old
  • 24% (730) were aged between five and nine years old
  • 3% (90) were aged between 10 and 15 years old
  • 84% were of White British origin, 10% of mixed ethnic origin, 2% Asian or Asian British and 2% black or black British
  • 72% were placed for adoption due to abuse or neglect, 12% due to family dysfunction, 8% because the birth family was in 'acute stress'

Adoptive parents

  • 91 per cent (2,900) of looked-after children who were adopted in the year ending March 2010 were adopted by two people, nine per cent by one person
  • Most adopters were married (82%)
  • In 2010, 6% of adopters were an unmarried couple (different gender), 2% was an unmarried couple (same gender) and 2% were civil partners

*In 2010, 72.4% of children who were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2011 were placed for adoption within 12 months of the decision that they should be placed for adoption.

 

Adoption Register for England and Wales

A total of 335 children were matched between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011.

 

The Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)

An independent body set up by the Department for Education and Skills, adoption applicants in England can apply to the IRM for a review of their adoption agency's determination not to approve them as adopters or to withdraw their approval.

In the year 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010, the IRM accepted 91 applications, 14 (15 per cent) of which were adoption cases.
No applications were received realting to inter-country adoption.

Although the IRM is unable to give a full analysis of the reasons given by agencies and the review panels for not recommending a prospective adopter as suitable to adopt, it gave predominant reasons for non-approval :

  • Ability to work with agency and understand the needs of a looked after child
  • A lack of high emotional resilience

 

 

 

統計に付された全体的な説明

This section contains information on adoption for practitioners working with children and families. General information about adoption can be found on the Directgov website. Information about intercountry adoption can be found in the intercountry adoption section.

The Prime Minister has made it very clear that improving the lives of children in care is a national priority. More children need to find much more quickly - stable, loving and permanent homes through adoption where this is in their best interests. If this is to happen the adoption system needs to work much more effectively and efficiently.

Many dedicated people are already working very hard to drive improvements. We are working equally hard at the national level. The work of the Family Justice Review, for example, will be critical in helping to reduce delays. But at the local level what is really striking is how variable performance is - some authorities are doing so much better than others. For example, the percentage of children in care being adopted ranged from 2 per cent to 16 per cent in 2009-10.

We have therefore published detailed Children in Care and Adoption Performance Tables. They show, against 15 key indicators, how each local authority is performing. Three of the tables relate to adoption. We’ll be updating the full set of tables as more up to date data becomes available. And we will be talking to local authorities and other partners about how the tables can be developed and extended.

 

以下は,Adoptive parent checks の合理的簡素化を提言した BBC の主張をコピーしたモノです.improving the lives of children in care is a national priority がいかに広く認識されているかを顕示して余りあると思います.



baby Ministers say there should be a "common-sense approach"
The government is to overhaul the way people in England are checked to see if they are suitable to adopt children.

It has set up a new panel which will work with its adoption adviser, Martin Narey, to draw up plans.

Ministers say the process is "painfully slow" and that many are put off, while others are turned away unnecessarily for being overweight or ex-smokers.

The government has pledged to speed up the adoption system and says it wants more children adopted.

It says children wait an average of two years and seven months to be adopted, while it can take a year for a couple or individual to be approved to adopt.

'Common-sense approach'

Earlier this year ministers highlighted figures which showed that of the 3,660 children under the age of one who were in care in England last year, only 60 were adopted.

They say they want a "common-sense" approach.

Children's minister Tim Loughton said: "The assessment process for people wanting to adopt is painfully slow, repetitive and ineffective. Dedicated social workers are spending too long filling out forms instead of making sound, common-sense judgements about someone's suitability to adopt.

"Children are waiting too long because we are losing many potentially suitable adoptive parents to a system which doesn't welcome them and often turns them away at the door.

"We cannot afford to sit back and lose potential adoptive parents when there are children who could benefit hugely from the loving home they can provide."

The new panel will include representatives from the British Association of Adoption and Fostering, the Association of Directors of Children's Services, Adoption UK and the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies.

Start Quote

I have met couples who have adopted children from China and Nicauragua, but they all wanted to adopt a child from care here”

End Quote: Martin Narey Government adviser on adoptions

They have been asked to suggest ways to improve the way would-be adoptive parents are recruited, assessed and trained and to "remove bureaucracy and over-prescription" in information collected about them.

A report on would-be adopters can run to more than 100 pages.

The panel will also set out timescales for checking people's suitability and training them and suggest new ways of monitoring the success of the adoption system.

In October, the government published figures which showed wide variations in how many children had been adopted in England's local authorities.

Government adviser Martin Narey said the assessment process was the "the biggest cause of delays" in adoptions and the reason so many children were being left in care.

"I have met couples who have adopted children from China and Nicaragua, but they all wanted to adopt a child from care here," he said.

"The parental assessment process is not fit for purpose. It meanders along, it is failing to keep pace with the number of children cleared for adoption, and it drives many outstanding couples to adopt from abroad."

'Heroes'

Mr Narey, the former chief executive of the charity Barnardo's, told the BBC too many local authorities did not welcome people who came forward to adopt, sometimes treated them with suspicion and took months to set up meetings.

Start Quote

The current process is cumbersome and does not leave room for social workers to use their professional judgement to make decisions in the best interests of children”

End Quote: Matt Dunkley Association of Directors of Children's Services

"It is not a system that values people. I believe that people who are willing to bring up children who are not their own by birth - they are people who should be treated as heroes," he said.

Local councils agree that the existing system for assessing would-be parents is slow and bureaucratic - but say it is vital that it remains as rigorous as possible - because the children involved are among the most vulnerable in society and a breakdown in an adoption could be catastrophic for them.

Detailed checks can reduce the risk of such breakdowns, they believe.

And they say many adoptions are held up in the family courts, where final decisions about adoptions are taken.

Matt Dunkley, the president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services said: "Local authorities ... recognise that adoption offers the best chance of stability for a lot of children.

"The current process is cumbersome and does not leave room for social workers to use their professional judgement to make decisions in the best interests of children.

"We are delighted that the government are forming a group to examine the streamlining of this process so that potential adopters are asked relevant questions to ensure sufficient rigor, but are not bombarded with questions that do little to help identify the best match between children and adoptive parents."

He also said the information published by the government on adoptions was "flawed" and that he hoped the new panel would agree on a "more relevant set of indicators to help drive improvement across the country".

The association has pointed out that basic adoption figures do not reflect other "permanent placements" - such as when a child is being looked after by their grandparents.


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EU の危機はObama の危機 [Social Policy]

Obama の Health Care 改革の成否が連邦最高裁の判断にかかることになって,Obama にとっっての2012年大統領選勝利の成否は,第1には,アメリカの景気回復の成否,第2に,イラクからの米軍の2011年内撤退が名誉ある撤退になるか否か,に大きく依存することが明らかになってきました.

イラクからの撤退が名誉の撤退になる可能性はかなり危ぶまれていますが,もっと危ぶまれているのは,アメリカの景気回復=失業者減少です.日本は,未曾有の円高にもかかわらず,アメリカの輸出先として頼りない限りですし,中国もこのところ低調なのです.
そこで昔から縁の深いEUROPEが頼みの綱なのですが,これもまた,最近,各国の財政赤字問題で悩んでいて,ドイツの国債発行さえもが売れ残る始末で,アメリカの輸出先としてこれまた低調なのです.それでも,Europe に立ち直って貰わないと,アメリカの失業率は下降しそうにありません.

つまりEUの経済状況がObama 再選の鍵を握っているといって過言ではないのです.
来年春には長いアメリカ大統領選が始まりますが,EU経済が回復してアメリカ経済に好影響をもたらすのでないと,Obama は,下手をすると,民主党の大統領候補から引きずり下ろされかねないのです.
既に,民主党内からは,民主党候補をMs.Clinton に置き換えた方が良いのではないかといった議論が半ば公然と囁かれているのです.

そこでアメリカは内政干渉といわれかねない恐れも顧みず,次々と閣僚級の大物をEurope に送り込んで,Europe の財政赤字問題に解決策を見いだして欲しいと頼んで回っている状況です.

あとは,どうぞご自由に,ご渉猟下さい.
なお,財政赤字問題が一番深刻なのは実は日本だということをお忘れにならないで下さい.国債の保有者が95%位まで日本国内なのは事実ですが,いったん格付けが下がって,長期金利が上昇に転ずれば,日本国債を保有する日本の主要銀行はあっという間に危機的状況に陥りかねないのです.
「税と社会保障の一体改革」といいますが,そんな議論は日本固有の議論で,いくつにも分断された社会保険制度が,実は大幅に税とない交ぜになっているからこそ出てくる不可思議な議論です.
消費税引き上げ分をを社会保障目的税とするといってみても,もともと保険料と税をない交ぜにしてしまった日本の社会保障制度では,何にも明確にはならないはずです.

何よりも,消費税を引き上げれば税収が上がるという発想自体が,たいへん不確かな議論であることは,前回の消費税引き上げが,消費マインドを冷え込ませたために,ほとんどまったく税収増をもたらさなかった先例が如実に物語っていることを忘れてはならないでしょう.

 

 

Eyeing 2012, White House Presses Europe on Debt

 

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. visited Prime Minister Lucas Papademos of Greece in his Athens office on Monday. Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, hopscotched across Europe on Tuesday and Wednesday, urging leaders to address the European debt crisis more urgently. And President Obama has been on the phone almost every other week — including on Wednesday — with either Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany or President Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

Ian Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency    
From left, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner; the French finance minister, François Baroin; and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France conferred on the debt crisis in Paris on Wednesday.
Publicly, Obama administration officials talk only about the economic consequences of a potential debt conflagration in Europe. Privately, though, they are well aware that Europe’s success in dealing with the troubles — and the administration’s success in persuading them to do so — is arguably the single most important factor that will determine Mr. Obama’s re-election chances.

The American economy has shown signs of life recently, with talk of a double-dip recession fading and job growth picking up. The change has raised the prospect that the economy may not be quite the political weight around Mr. Obama’s neck in 2012 that his advisers had feared — unless Europe goes downhill. Mr. Obama’s aides realize that there is no easy way to plan a re-election strategy for one potential body blow: an implosion of the European currency. Such an event, experts say, would undoubtedly send the American unemployment rate higher and possibly induce another recession. Other than lobbying from the sidelines, Mr. Obama and his administration have little control over the situation.

“It’s certainly true that Europe is the gorilla in the room when people look at how the economy could affect the election,” one senior Obama adviser said, speaking on grounds of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. Added Edwin M. Truman, former adviser to Mr. Geithner: “If the euro comes apart in a messy way — and it’s hard to imagine it will come apart in a nonmessy way — it would make the fall of 2008 look like a clambake.”

And so it is, Mr. Truman and others said, that Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy could have far more to say about who will be the next president of the United States than anyone thought.

For Mr. Obama, the change of fortune is stark. This is a president whose election was greeted in Europe with rapture; as a candidate, he visited both Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy in the summer of 2008, where he received welcomes more fitting to World War II heroes — including a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and an arrival ceremony at the Élysée Palace in Paris. France would be “delighted” with Mr. Obama’s election, Mr. Sarkozy gushed at the time.

Now, incongruously, it is Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy who could play a part in whether Mr. Obama wins re-election. The president himself has called Europe the “wild card” in the domestic economic recovery and his aides have privately expressed frustration at what they view as a passive response from European leaders to the debt crisis. Obama administration officials say that leaning on European leaders to get their house in order, as the president has been doing, is in best interest of the United States, and not something that Mr. Obama is doing for his own political benefit.

Mr. Geithner is in Europe this week in advance of the latest European summit meeting on Thursday that is meant to, yet again, try to deal with the debt issue. In a hurried, five-city, three-day tour, meeting with heads of state, Europe’s central banker and high-ranking economic officials, Mr. Geithner has quietly dispensed advice on the sovereign-debt crisis while pressing for decisive action for the good of the global economy.

Some prominent Europeans have bridled at what they consider the unsought American intervention. On Wednesday, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former French president, told Reuters: “Geithner’s visit is inopportune. He should not be meddling in European affairs.” Cognizant, no doubt, of such sensitivities, Mr. Geithner has tried to chart a careful course in Europe this week, meeting behind the scenes, careful never to push or prescribe publicly, and so far taking only two questions from the news media. So far, European leaders have largely declined to yield to pressure from Obama administration officials who are advocating the same aggressive way that the United States responded to its own banking crisis in the fall of 2008 and through early 2009.

Frustrated Obama officials have been urging their European counterparts to move as much money as possible to prop up the debt of countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. “Ultimately, Europe will need to find a path that allows for stronger growth, but right now, the most important thing Europe can do for the global recovery is to manage this crisis successfully,” Michael Froman, the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, said in an interview.

Administration officials say that besides the potential for drying up demand in Europe for American goods and the looming potential of a European bank failure’s setting off another financial debacle, the European crisis could stymie growth not only in Europe, but also in emerging markets.

Anxiety over what could happen across the Atlantic, coupled with earlier undue optimism about the domestic economic recovery, has the White House nervous about trumpeting even modest good economic news for fear of a later downturn.

Democratic campaign strategists concede that a collapse of the euro would transform the political dynamic even as some see the president’s standing improving, enhancing the prospects of other Democratic candidates.

“It is absolutely an important assumption that if the economy really tanks, really tanks, as the result of strong headwinds coming from Europe, it would be a more challenging environment,” said Representative Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

While political analysts say Mr. Obama, as the incumbent, would bear the brunt of the political fallout of another economic crisis, some Republicans are fretting as well. At a Washington dinner party two weeks ago, David Smick, a Republican financial consultant, approached Karl Rove, the Republican strategist, with a provocative question. “What if I told you that given what’s happening in Europe, that whoever is president in 2013 might not see his party elected for another 30 years,” Mr. Smick told Mr. Rove, according to guests who were present. Mr. Rove, one guest said, “just listened.”

In an interview, Mr. Smick said that the European crisis, in his view, could eventually make another huge government bailout like the controversial bank rescue program of late 2008 and 2009 necessary. But most political analysts say that could be political suicide for the country’s leaders. On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Obama was on the phone with Mrs. Merkel again. “As usual,” the White House said in a statement afterward, “the president expressed his appreciation for the efforts the chancellor and other European leaders are making to resolve the crisis.”

Helene Cooper reported from Washington, and Annie Lowery from Paris


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