Children of the Underclass or “The Dustbin Kids”
articles I wrote of the abuse of children brought about by
a hostile environment and ignorance which over time
translated into the use and abuse of children throughout
the industrial era.
is now a third stage in history – that with social
problems as the factor that impacts the children, fuelled
by the breakdown of family values, poverty, crime, drugs
and alcohol; and an alarming increase in diseases once
thought to be overcome such as Tuberculosis (TB) and
released by the British National Statistics Office in
March, 2000, reveal that 25% of families have a
single-parent as the head of the household compared to
just 8% in 1971; that 23 % of children now live in a
lone-parent household compared to 8% in 1972 and there are
currently about 8000 children born annually to mothers
under 16 years of age.
statistics make grim reading – the crime rate in the UK is
now twice that in the USA; two of every five births in the
UK are born to unwed parents and of these parents, over
half are unskilled and unemployed. Poverty blights the
lives of some 4.6 million Scottish children – more than
one in three – and is the highest rate in the European
If that is
not enough the Mental Health Foundation calculates that 20
percent of children and young people in the UK are
experiencing psychological problems. The “children of the
underclass ” or ” the dustbin kids ” as they have been
called, are not just those of people at the margin of
society who live cheek by jowl amongst the violent
criminals in the big city ghettoes.
too, the children of parents who mean well but cannot cope
– perhaps caught by the poverty trap; and those of parents
who are unable or unwilling to contribute to their
neighbourhood who are locked into an existence barely
maintained by social security payments.
my view, is the fact that children are growing up and
themselves becoming parents of another generation who may
know only social deprivation and exclusion.
“dustbin children” is both offensive and apt for amongst them are the rejected children, the disabled, the fractious, those with learning difficulties – all those that require a very special kind of help and are labelled “difficult”. Sadly society lets down this especially vulnerable group of children, and even when providing residential homes for them, the children still become the victims of abuse.
result of the social problems is that some children are
growing up to be idle, unthinking and anti-social; who are
accustomed to seeing crime and violence as everyday events
and integral to their life. The media does little to
assist, seeming to over emphasise and almost glorify the
darker side of life, with newscasters trying to be
`investigative` reporters by asking those on the scene the
most obvious and stupid questions, thus drawing out the
issue unnecessarily. The quality of television programmes
is frankly abysmal and dumbed down to such an extent that
children take it in as the norm.
Whatever happened to
to parents talking to (not down) to children and
participating in leisure activities with them ? Are
we all becoming victims of a `Nanny` government
dedicated to media spin and perpetuation of their image – and to
hell with doing anything about the real issues that impact
the populace ? What moron decided to introduce formal education to children between 1 and 3 years of age ? Have these air heads ever been parents themselves ? Have they ever experienced the delight of playing and talking to a very young child, of hesitatingly letting go of a tiny hand as the first solo steps are taken ? These politically correct twerps should first experience parenthood and in any event keep their holier than thou, all knowing, attitudes and opinions to themselves. Let the children grow up naturally in a loving and caring environment and damn forever this political correctness gone mad. If they must interfere then do so where there is a real need.
statistics tell us that there is increasing trend away
from marriage and this correlates with a gap in the
development of children from single-parent households
compared to those of a two parent, stable relationships.
Disturbingly, the most serious forms of child abuse are
overwhelmingly inflicted by co-habiting boyfriends and
the professed concern of government, the TV sound bites by
Ministers, and the millions of pounds of funding poured
into local government bureaucracy, the reality is that the
charitable institutions continue to play a vital part
providing on the ground, pragmatic help.
Scotland, two of the leaders in this work are The Aberlour
Trust, founded by the Reverand Canon Jupp, and The
Quarrier Homes, founded by William Quarrier in the 19th
century. Two other worthies who deserve a much wider
recognition than history affords them. are the Rev. Thomas
Guthrie, founder of the Ragged Schools in Edinburgh; and, Dr. William Buchan whose publications on self-medical care
transformed health and hygiene standards.
The Rev Jupp and the Aberlour Trust