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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2007): Child welfare - UK

A 'Children's government' in England and child impact assessment

L. Payne

Children and Society, vol. 21, 2007, p. 470-475

This article offers a rationale for child impact assessment, a systematic process in which proposals for policy and legislation are reviewed and assessed for their potential effects on young people. In the UK, government has demonstrated little enthusiasm for the process and child impact assessment of bills has been piloted by the National Children's Bureau and the Children's Legal Centre.

Getting the measure of well-being

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Sept. 20th 2007, p. 16-17

The notion of improving well-being sits at the heart of the UK government's agenda for reforming children's services. This article looks at how the nebulous concept of well-being can be understood and measured to enable progress to be monitored.

Growing up with risk

B. Thom, R. Sales and J. Pearce (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2007

The book provides a critical analysis of ways in which risk assessment and management, now a pervasive element of contemporary policy and professional practice, are defined and applied in policy, theory and practice in relation to children and young people. Drawing on conceptual frameworks from across the social sciences, the book examines contrasting perspectives on risk that occur in different policy domains and professional and lay discourses, discussing the dilemmas of response that arise from these viewpoints - from playground safety to risks associated with youthful substance use. The contributors address issues of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status which impact on definitions and responses to risk, and consider related concepts, such as 'risk-resilience', 'care-control' and 'dependence-autonomy'. It also offers an insight into the complexities of balancing responsibility for protecting the young with the benefits of risk taking and the need to allow young people to experiment.

Partners in power: a radically pluralistic form of participative democracy for children and young people

T. Cockburn

Children and Society, vol. 21, 2007, p. 446-457

This article looks at how children and young people communicate politically and how children's voices, and those of other minorities, may be squeezed out of meaningful participation in the public sphere. When children and young people express their views publicly, they are often either patronised or simply not listened to. Even in the private sphere, children are subject to unequal power relations that place limitations on their communication and participation in decisions. It is argued that these situations must be changed to suit young people. Thus it is essential for the public sphere to adapt to a variety of different voices, including those of children, people with mental health problems and disabled people. This can be done through use of web sites, chat rooms, focus groups, visioning exercises, etc. Young people's actions in the public sphere may also lead to changes in their relationships in the private sphere.

Silenced by anxiety

S. Gillen

Community Care, Oct. 18th 2007, p. 18-20

A gay foster couple approved by Wakefield Council were later convicted of abusing boys in their care. Social workers closed their eyes to warning signs for fear of being accused of prejudice and homophobia. Similarly, an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and fears of accusations of racism have led to social workers leaving children from black and minority ethnic groups in abusive situations. The article calls for better training and supervision of social workers, and for them to be allowed more time to talk to families and elicit information.

(For a detailed analysis of the Wakefield case see Community Care, Oct. 18th 2007, p. 22-23)

Sure Start and the 're-authorization' of Section 47 child protection practices

K. Broadhurst, C. Mason and C. Grover

Critical Social Policy, vol. 27, 2007, p.443-461

The 2006 Sure Start evaluation report Changes in the characteristics of SSLP areas between 2000/01 and 2003/04 notes an increase in Section 47 enquiries and registrations on the Child Protection Register in those areas. The report regards this change as reflecting better and/or earlier identification of need and enhanced collaboration between agencies to identify and support families. However, the authors conclude that the change will simply subject more working class families, mainly headed by women, to unhelpful state surveillance and interference and will draw a broader range of agencies into this activity.

Teenagers' citizenship: experiences and education

S. Weller

London: Routledge, 2007

The introduction of compulsory citizenship education into the national curriculum has generated a plethora of new interests in the politics of childhood and youth. The book explores teenagers' acts of, and engagement with, citizenship in their local communities and examines the role of citizenship education in creating future responsible citizens. The first half of the book provides the context for teenagers' experiences of citizenship, discussing issues around the ideas of childhood and citizenship, as well as the curriculum. The second half goes on to explore teenagers' experiences of citizenship education, practising citizenship and exclusion from citizenship. The book concludes with a call for a new cumulative approach to citizenship which upgrades the status of teenagers, particularly within the classroom.

Who's on track at the safeguarding boards?

S. Vevers

Community Care, Sept. 27th 2007, p. 16-17

Local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) are the successors to area child protection committees. They were designed to involve a range of partner agencies in moving from a narrow focus on child protection to a broader safeguarding agenda. This article reviews progress, and reports that some have started smoothly, while others have struggled to engage partners and with a lack of financial resources.

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