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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 1999): Child Welfare - UK

CHILD CARE: GREEN PAPER OFFERS A WELCOME BOOST

J. Hirst
Community Care, no.1224, 28 May-3rd June 1998, p. 7

Reports response to the Green Paper "Meeting the childcare challenge", raising two concerns: 1) Lack of consideration in the paper of the childcare needs of under-threes, 2) the extra burden on already overstretched Social Services Departments of regulation and inspection of the proposed new day care services.

CHILDCARE PLAN BREAKS WORK BARRIER

S. Overell
People Management, vol.4, no.11, 28 May 1998, p. 13

Reports that government's childcare strategy has found almost universal support. Gives brief outline of the package. Strategy concentrates on provision for school age children, and criticism has centred on thinness of proposals for under threes.

CHILDREN LOOKED AFTER BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES

House of Commons. Health Committee
London: TSO, 1998
(House of Commons papers, session 1997-98; HC 319)

Concludes that children in care suffer from a scandalous lack of educational opportunity and support. Some strong willed and talented individuals survive the care system and do well, but the odds are stacked against the majority. Children in care are victims of social exclusion to a high degree. Recommends that issues relating to children in care should be investigated by the Social Exclusion Unit, that a Cabinet Sub-committee should be set up to co-ordinate policy, and that the office of Children's Rights Commissioner should be established. On a practical level central government should provide local authorities with funding to set up adequate family support services. Authorities should urgently tackle the problem of over-frequent moves between placements.

CHILDREN'S HOMES REVISITED

D. Berridge and I. Brodie
London: Jessica Kingsley, 1998

Based on a three-year national research study, the authors examine the changes in the structure and use of residential child care services over the past ten years. Highlights changes in staffing levels, numbers of homes and problems of behavioural control. Analyses quality of care provided, the multi-agency dimensions of services, and alternative models of residential care. Beginning with a critique of the series of crises which have hit children's homes over the past decade (such as Pindown), the authors analyse the changing patterns of service use, developments in policy and the law, and general social factors affecting families.

A CRIMINAL WASTE: A STUDY OF CHILD OFFENDERS ELIGIBLE FOR SECURE TRAINING CENTRES

A. Crowley
London: Children's Society, 1998

Secure training centres (STCs) for persistent young offenders were first proposed in 1993 and set up against professional advice. Report examines in detail the lives of 19 children eligible for placement in an STC. All shared deprivation, despair, damaged childhood and disrupted education. The majority were known to social services, had a history of poor achievement and were experiencing psychological difficulties. The report demonstrates that STCs are an inappropriate method for combating juvenile crime because they fail to address these fundamental problems.

HOUSE OF COMMONS. EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT COMMITTEE

Sixth special report: government's response to the fifth report from the Committee, session 1997-98: disaffected children.
London: TSO 1998
(House of Commons papers, session 1997/98; HC 859)

Sets out government's response to the Committee's recommendations on school exclusions, working with external partners (voluntary organisations, mentoring, Youth Service and New Start), looked-after young people, extension of the New Deal, resources to tackle disaffection and statistical information.

LOOKING AFTER CHILDREN: ASSESSING OUTCOMES IN CHILD CARE: THE EXPERIENCE OF IMPLEMENTATION

H. Jones and others
Children and Society, vol. 12, no. 3, June 1998, p. 212-222

"Looking After Children" a project sponsored by the Dept of Health, provides a method for assessing outcomes in child care. Presents information about the implementation of the project in England and in several international contexts. Benefits of the approach include: an increase in the information available when planning for individual children looked after; easier access to information at a later date; developing relationships and partnerships between practitioners, parents, carers, children and young people; the involvement of young people and children in the process.

MANIFESTO FOR MATERNITY

Maternity Alliance
London, 1998

Babies from poor families are born with a disadvantage which carries through to later life. The Maternity Alliance is calling for maternity pay for low paid workers, unfreezing the £100 social fund maternity payment, rights to paid parental leave to care for sick children, rights to paternity leave, simplification of maternity rights, ending of inequalities in maternity care, a legal right to work child-friendly hours and a requirement for all government departments to show in an annual report what they are doing to combat low birth weight.

REMEMBER MY MESSAGES

Who Cares? Trust
London: 1998

Results of a survey show that many children in care do not have a care plan, are commonly moved and are denied contact with natural parents. These failings directly contravene the Children Act 1989, which enshrined in law the principle that children in care should be treated as individuals. On the positive side, the children's mental and physical health appears good, there is no evidence of racism, and experiences of education are positive.

USING A CHILD DEVELOPMENT MODEL TO ASSESS THE OUTCOMES OF SOCIAL WORK INTERVENTIONS WITH FAMILIES

H. Ward
Children and Society, vol. 12, no. 3, June 1998, p. 202-211

The Children Act 1989 strengthens the view that the purpose of providing children's welfare services is to support families in promoting their satisfactory development. Using the "Looking After Children" assessment and action records provides data that enables us to assess how far such aims are achieved both for individual children and for groups. Extending such assessments beyond children in care raises questions about the public responsibilities of families.

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