In the new Channel 4 drama Kiri, the social worker played by Sarah Lancashire is seen being hung out to dry for a decision she makes that leads to a child, who is about to be adopted, being abducted by her birth father. The little girl is later found dead, and Lancashire’s character, Miriam, knows instantly that every judgment she has ever made relating to the child’s contact with her birth family will be scrutinised and probably found wanting, especially as the prospective adopters are an articulate, white, middle-class family, and Kiri’s father is black and just out of prison. Has Miriam rushed or been sloppy in arranging an unsupervised visit for the young girl with her birth grandfather? Has she done the right paperwork? Can she cover her arse – and, more to the point from her bosses’ point of view, theirs?
These are questions that should be at the forefront of the minds of all professionals whose daily decisions affect the lives of people at their most vulnerable.