The current furore over the decision of the Social Services Department of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to take three children away from foster parents on the grounds that the parents were members of UKIP has focused again the spotlight on the activities of social services departments.
Usually press interest has been in the failure of departments to take children out of risk who have died as a consequence.
On the face of it the decision taken in Rotherham had nothing to do with the physical safety of the children, but it would be unwise to consider what has happened as being an isolated case of ill-judged opinion, stupidity, political correctness or political ignorance.
Christopher Booker has been commentating for years in the Sunday Telegraph on the activities of social services departments: snatching children from parents with active police connivance. The work of family courts also has come under Booker's scrutiny: the lengths the courts will go to to prevent publicity and the too ready acceptance of the opinions of social workers.
The hope must be that the events in Rotherham will lead to a wider investigation of the power of, and its abuse, by social services departments as well as open to scrutiny decisions of family courts.