If you listen, watch or read the sort of radio programmes, TV documentaries and news items I tend to come across, I'll bet that you, like me, tend to associate that sentence template "the welfare of the * is paramount" very strongly with bureaucracy or hypocrisy or lying through their teeth. The radio programme I heard today was one such example. In this case, the social services were claiming that the welfare of some vulnerable children was of paramount importance to them, when, as is so often the case, covering their own uncaring backs was their paramount concern. Have a listen on the iPlayer to Radio 4's File on 4 programme http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b019rqcl about Carers in Conflict.
In one case investigated by File on 4, foster parents who offered to care for four siblings were denied the financial and practical support they needed from the council. Their official complaints were upheld yet key recommendations continued to be ignored and, as a consequence, the children have now been split up. After giving up their jobs to care for the children, the couple are now in debt and have to sell their home. The local MP describes the council's treatment of the family as outrageous. He says the case is extreme but not unusual and he's called for an enquiry.
In another case, a teenager with complex mental and physical needs was unlawfully removed from the foster home where he'd grown up. His sister told File on 4: "When he was in his foster mum's care he was always clean, always happy and he looked well but when I saw him he was dishevelled. It was as if someone took him away from himself. I felt his personality had gone." When his foster mother went to court to get him back, she was vilified by the council who used public funds to defend their actions to the bitter end but lost in court."