Most of us agree that parents should look after their own children and do the best for them. Most parents do just this, and there is no problem for the state or the neighbours.
There is a problem where loving parents lack the financial means to provide properly for their children, which is usually taken care of by state income top up, free service provision and benefit payments.
There is a worse problem where parents are unwilling or unable to provide a loving and safe home for their children. There the state has to make endless difficult judgements. Should it intervene, requiring the parents to work with a Social Worker in supervision? Should the state take the children away and put them into foster care for a period? Should the children be sent for adoption? Can the wider family including grandparents become involved to safeguard and provide for the children?
Whilst it is sadly the case that a small minority of parents are a threat or a source of harm or neglect for their children, it is also the case that there have been some bad examples of children in state care in childrens’ homes also not being well looked after.
The issue currently back on the agenda is the issue of how many children should a mother or father be allowed to have where they cannot make financial provision? Should it continue to be unlimited as at present? The case that argues for allowing any number of children is based on our understandable wish of not wanting the children to suffer.
Or should there be a future limit on how many children someone can have to attract more state financial support? Should the state ever reach the point where it says to a parent that they cannot increase their drawings from the state for extra children? If they despite the warning go ahead and have an extra child, what then should the state do?