Lola baby plot angers social workers

An EastEnders storyline featuring a baby being removed from a teenage mother by social services has been branded 'disgraceful' by the body that represents social workers.

The head of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) accused the BBC of being 'too lazy and arrogant to get it right' over the story.

The plotline, which saw teenage mother Lola Pearce's baby Lexi taken from her, prompted a reaction on Twitter.

But the BBC said it had not intended to portray social workers in a negative light, and there was no suggestion the worker's actions arose from 'anything other than a genuine desire to protect Lexi'.

Bridget Robb, acting chief executive of BASW, said: "Social workers don't want to hear patronising excuses from the BBC about the use of dramatic licence.

"A badly written and poorly acted portrayal of a car mechanic does not have the same effect on the public as a poor portrayal of a child protection expert.

"Social workers have a difficult enough job as it is. Unlike the writers and actors on EastEnders, they have to step through those front doors that no one else wants to step through, and they do it on a daily basis, to protect children, not to target families."

But an EastEnders spokeswoman said they had worked with a social worker on the storyline, which led to 556 complaints over the last two and a half weeks.

The BBC said in a statement: "It is not our intention to portray social workers in a negative light. Whilst the audience has seen how much Lola loves Lexi, and seen her behaving responsibly in caring for her baby, her social worker has not.

"Each time the social worker visited, she regularly saw worrying behaviour that concerned her... we believe the audience will have understood why she had to act quickly to remove Lexi when Lola was arrested for assault."


Anonymous said…
when all's said and done, EE is just a soap that employs the use of artistic license.

trouble is, there are a lot of people watching who think of it as 'real' and any portrayal of authority; police, social workers, teachers, medical personnal, viewed in an unrealistic light can, and does, damage the credibility of these professions; and EE and these professions know it very well, but anything goes for an exciting story.

EE, and other in the moment soaps who portray realistic subject matter, have a real and definite responsibility to get it right, or risk offending the professionals who face enough agro from those who are under their care as it is.

It's just too bad that too many viewers use this kind of portrayal to come down hard on and get suspicious of the great majority of public servants.

Bottom line: it'll be forgotten as quickly as any other of the unreal storylines that have raised hackles and objections.
Elaine said…
However the social workers protest that it was a bad portrayal. In my experience it was exactly what happened in my case. I had no prior contact with any social worker and then my son (who has Down's Syndrome) went to school with a tiny bruise on the top of his ear one day. Because I was not able to tell them how it happened I was told to take him to them or the police would come and remove him. They wrongly accused my partner of harming him with no evidence and after many court hearings he still remains in Foster Care 3 years later. Now I barely have any contact with him as I have had to move out of the area and Social workers still won't allow me more then a few hours access at the time, which is not easy when you live 200 miles away. Would love to hear anyone else who has had an experience like mine.
Anonymous said…
First of all Elaine, very sorry for your situation.

The social workers are right; it was a 'bad portray' showing them in a bad light,as it is a very popular soap, reaching millions of viewers watching week after week the playing out of this one unfortunate scenario with all sympathy going towards Lola and away from the S.W.

Many S.W. do risk personal injury protecting real children from real harm and abuse.

We the viewers are aware of character Lola and Billy, and their good intentions, but the S.W. isn't.

I doubt that anyone's denying there are unfortunate cases, (such as Lolas) but the Majority of S.W. do use their experience and judgment properly.
It's like adding fuel to the fire with everyone using Lola's case as an example of what happens when S.W. take control of what they see as a bad situation.

The more we get involved with a soap, the more we take everything we see on screen as true; there's the danger, and the set-back, for the social services.
Anonymous said…
No reason at all to take that baby..she was well fed and thriving..the storyline is ridiculous. Teen girls have babies all the time. Just a dumb plot so Phil can steal Lola's baby.
Anonymous said…
Phil's nuts, he's past his sell-by date
Anonymous said…
teen age girls do have babies every day, but not all of them get accused of beating up someone in the street, not the best environment for a baby to be brought up in and by someone seen as vionet to do that.

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