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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2000): Child Welfare - UK

ADOPTION IS NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER

D. Orr

Independent, Review Supplement, Feb. 25th 2000, p.5

Argues that some children in the care system may be too damaged to be suitable for adoption or fostering. Instead more resources need to be poured into the care system to attract and reward more suitably qualified staff. Social work is expensive, but government always wants it done on the cheap.

AFTER WATERHOUSE

Community Care, no.1310, 2000, p.18-24

Examines reaction to the Waterhouse report on historical child abuse in residential homes in Wales. For residential care to succeed, the status of staff working in homes must be raised, there must be provision for independent investigation of complaints, more research is needed into what works for vulnerable young people, and staff training must be improved.

BIG BROTHER'S WATCHING..

H. Palmer

Third Sector, issue 177, 2000, p.23

Describes the launch of a mentoring scheme to boost the self-esteem of children from one parent families by the charity Big Brothers and Sisters with government backing.

CHANGE IN LAW WILL EASE PATH TO ADOPTION

P. Webster and A. Frean

Times, Feb. 18th 2000, p.2

Tony Blair is to chair a new Cabinet committee which will look at measures to reduce hurdles facing prospective parents and sharply to reduce the time adoption proceedings take.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Feb. 18th 2000, p.13 and Guardian, Feb. 18th 2000, p.4)

THE CHILDREN ACT REPORT 1995-1999

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2000 (Cm 4579)

Reports progress on the development of children's services in the areas of child protection, services for disabled children, looked after children, and young people leaving care, with a wealth of statistical details.

CONNEXIONS: THE BEST START IN LIFE FOR EVERY YOUNG PERSON

Department for Education and Employment 2000-03-27

The Connexions Service will entail statutory agencies, the voluntary sector and specialist private sector and specialist private sector businesses working together to provide every young person with access to a Personal Adviser. The adviser will provide a wide range of support including advice on learning and employment choices, help with family problems, and help to overcome severe problems such as drug abuse.

DARK SECRETS OF OUR CHILDREN IN FEAR

Y. Alibhai-Brown

Independent, Feb. 17th 2000, p.5

Discusses the neglect and abuse of looked after children prevalent in the care system. Calls for increased resources, provision of counselling, improved complaints and inspection procedures and enhanced status for care workers to attract better quality recruits.

IN SEARCH OF A PROTECTOR

A. Thompson

Community Care, no.1309, 2000, p.20-21

In the wake of the Waterhouse report, calls for the establishment of a children's commissioner to champion children's rights.

(See also Community Care, no.1309, 2000, p.14)

IS THE CHILDREN ACT FAILING SEVERELY ABUSED AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN?

N. Speight and J. Wynne

Archives of Disease in Childhood, vol.82, 2000, p.192-196

Argues that the Children Act 1989 in many ways acts as a deterrent to social workers intervening firmly in cases of abuse and neglect. The Act has shifted the emphasis of child protection towards keeping the family unit together at the cost of leaving youngsters in abusive homes. Because the Act requires a higher standard of proof of abuse, social workers leave children to be repeatedly abused in order to produce sufficient evidence that they should be taken into care.

IS THERE A MISSING LINK?

L. Carrington

Community Care, no.1307, 2000, p.24-25

Reports on a campaign by one social worker for a legal obligation to be placed on local authorities and adoption agencies to provide a link worker for every adopted child, who can maintain contact after the adoption order has gone through. This has met with a mixed response from adoption agencies.

LOST IN CARE: REPORT OF THE TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY INTO THE ABUSE OF CHILDREN IN CARE IN THE FORMER COUNTY COUNCIL AREAS OF GWYNEED AND CLWYD SINCE 1974

London: TSO, 2000 (House of Commons papers, Session 1999-2000; 201, 2 vols. incl. Summary)

Reports the findings of an inquiry led by Sir Ronald Waterhouse. According to the report widespread sexual abuse of boys and girls occurred in children's residential homes in North Wales between 1974 and 1990. Names of some of the perpetrators are given. Report identifies failings in practice such as: lack of complaints procedures, low quality of care, inadequate education, etc., evident in the running of residential homes. The management of the services by the Social Service Departments was also inadequate. The report's recommends include:

  • Establishment of an independent children's commissioner for Wales;
  • Appointment of a children's complaints officer;
  • Local authorities should establish clear whistle-blowing procedures;
  • Social Services departments should be vigilant when recruiting staff and foster parents;
  • Every child should be given an individual social worker.

MIND THE GAP

H. Bond

Guardian. Society, Feb. 16th 2000, p.243

Reports on a campaign by the Action on Aftercare Consortium to lay a legal obligation on local authorities to assist young people in care up to the age of 24 if they are still in education or training.

MINISTER MOVES TO HALT 'EDUCATION MIS-SELLING'

J. Kelly

Financial Times, Feb. 4th 2000, p.5

Reports that the government is launching a scheme to give millions of 13-19 year-olds independent advice from personal mentors. The service will advise teenagers on careers, leisure, and family matters. It aims to reduce truancy levels, exclusion rates from schools, and the incidence of teenage pregnancies.

(See also Guardian, Feb. 4th 2000, p.6)

NO NATIONAL NETWORK FOR CHILDREN'S REFUGES

D. Carlisle

Community Care, no.1306, 2000, p.8

The government has turned down calls for a national network of refuges for runaway children, on the grounds that local authorities should make any provision necessary.

PROMOTING HEALTH FOR LOOKED-AFTER CHILDREN

Department of Health

London: 1999

Consultation document on improving access to health care for children in care. Many of these health needs have been neglected, and are likely to be more pressing than those of the general population. Recommends that the NHS should: ensure that children in care are registered with GPs and dental practices; make clear arrangements to liaise with other health authorities when children are placed out of the area or change placements; make arrangements for the change from child to adult services at age 16 to 18; fast track medical records when children change placements and ensure that previous waiting times are taken into account when children transfer to a new list.

(For comment see Health Service Journal, vol.110, Feb. 24th 2000)

SPONSORED DAY CARE IN A CHANGING WORLD

J. Stratham, J. Dillon and P. Moss

Children and Society, vol.14, 2000, p.23-36

Sponsored day care is the term used for the purchase of places for children in need in private and voluntary day care services by social services. Paper considers the development and operation of sponsored day care services in 12 English local authorities. Results suggest that provision for children in need is in danger of being marginalised by the current focus on early education and child care for working parents. Sponsored day care is now largely a short-term crisis intervention for families of 'children in need', located within a child welfare framework, which is in danger of being detached from current debates about the labour market and welfare-to-work policies.

STAFFING CRISIS HITS CHILD PROTECTION PLAN

D. Brindle

Guardian, Jan. 31st 2000, p.9

Two-thirds of local authority social services departments have warned the Department of Health that they are struggling to recruit the staff they need to implement measures to tighten safeguards for children in care. Of 150 local authorities in England, 105 have told the DoH that the implementation of the Quality Protects initiative is being held up because 40% of designated posts remain unfilled.

STANDARD BEARER

T. Burke

Young People Now, issue 131, 2000, p.20-21

The National Youth Agency will be publishing the final version of the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work. Article explains the implications for the Youth Service, and suggests how these standards will define youth work more clearly.

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