More new-born children need to be taken into care to stop them being damaged beyond repair by poor parents, according to Martin Narey, chief executive of the children's charity Barnardo's
Mr Narey called for less focus on ''fixing families that can't be fixed'' and for social workers to be more pro-active about removing children at risk.
His comments come in the wake of last week's court case involving two young brothers from Doncaster who viciously attacked an 11-year-old boy and his nine-year-old nephew. The siblings were under the care of social services at the time.
Mr Narey told The Observer: ''We can't keep trying to fix families that are completely broken. It sounds terrible, but I think we try too hard with birth parents.
''I have seen children sent back to homes that I certainly wouldn't have sent them back to. I have been extremely surprised at decisions taken.