Barnados are contracted to work within the Yarls Wood detention centre where children are imprisoned.
I have spent my working life dealing with the tensions of working in a system that may be causing kids more harm than it protects them from. I have worked with kids who were detained and shouldn’t have been. But this is something else. This is a government contract where a children’s charity, one of the largest in the UK(and I will blog about large charities another time) is giving legitimacy to the detention of children, and pretending to ameliorate the effects of that on the child’s long term wellbeing.
They won’t be in there as happy volunteers, or with any of the misleading stereotypes of do-gooders wandering round trying to make bad shit better. THey will be in there as an agency working with children who should not be detained as part of the organisation detaining them. They will be as much a part of Yarls Wood Detention centre as the Border Agency who manage the prison. Work with these children has been outsourced to them. Their name gives cache and allows government ministers to pretend this is somehow different to when Labour locked up children. It isn’t.
A lesson in here. What charities are, has changed a lot over the years. THey are agencies who carry out government work, and do it for government money. THey are large bureacracies in the same way as any organisation- and having worked with Barnados projects for several things- they are not really that different to public sector organisations. And they are now taking the government shilling to provide cover for one of the most barbaric practices our government is involved in.