Time for early years intervention?

We're in the process of adopting a rescue dog, which is not as easy as it sounds. Our home has to be vetted, there are reference checks to be made – everything you could wish for, in fact, to ensure the dog is happy in their new home.

I was speaking to someone recently who told me that you have to jump through similar hoops if you want to adopt a child – only of course, as you would expect, the process is far more stringent and takes a lot longer. In fact, even though she and her husband had a lot to offer, they became so disheartened by the whole thing that after two years they gave up, simply unable to bear any more heartache.

What a pity, then, that similar stringent checks aren't done on some prospective natural parents.

The two Doncaster boys who tortured their younger victims came from the worst possible background. The whole family is known to the police and social services, their elder siblings have already been in serious trouble. Their mother reportedly gave them cannabis to keep them quiet, their father gave them beatings. The only way to get attention in that family was to get into trouble. Hardly surprising, then, that these kids should grow up devoid of compassion, determined only to cause chaos, torture and maim.

Now Martin Narey, chief executive of the children's charity Barnado's, has called for early years intervention which would result in some children being taken away at birth.

It sounds so clinical. But the sad truth is that some parents view their children as a nuisance, or a commodity – or, as in the case of Karen Matthews, an opportunity to be exploited. Yes it's inconceivable to caring, loving parents like you and me, but that's the harsh reality. They are simply wired differently, and in my opinion should have to prove they can be responsible before they are even allowed to have access to their kids.

Removing those children at birth would stop this cycle of indifference and abuse – and give them a fighting chance of normal family life.

written by Liz Jarvis