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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2008): Child welfare - UK

Caught in the fat trap

S. Gillen

Community Care, Sept 18th 2008, p. 20-21

By the time they start school, nearly 30% of children are overweight or obese. It is being argued that morbidly obese children should be regarded as suffering parental neglect, and taken into local authority care. However, family support workers should be working to help parents make changes to their life styles before crisis point is reached.

Child health special report

J. Lepper

Children and Young People Now, Oct. 8th-14th 2008, p. 22-25

Reports on joint working between NHS and children's centre staff to offer holistic support to families, and how different partners in Leicester are implementing the Aiming High for Disabled Children programme.

Child poverty special report

Children and Young People Now, Sept. 24th-30th 2008, p. 19-23

In 1997, the New Labour government pledged to abolish child poverty within a generation. This special report examines progress made, focusing on the impact of Sure Start and on how high rents in supported accommodation are trapping young people on benefits.

Child services reforms after Climbié death are hampering efforts, says watchdog

J. Carvel

The Guardian, Oct. 29th 2008, p. 17

The government's response to the death of torture victim Victoria Climbié in 2000 was to order the integration of children's services under the umbrella of local children's trusts in an attempt to improve coordination. However, in the first independent analysis of the trusts, the Audit Commission said they had spent too much time and energy on setting up structures and processes at the expense of improving the lives of children and young people. The Commission also claims that the trusts are unsure of their role and relationships with other organisations. While they do not call for the trusts to be scrapped, the Commission argues that children and young people should be given a greater say in how children's services are designed.

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie: exposing the truth about nursery food

Organix and Soil Association

Bristol: 2008

Investigation surveyed 487 nursery employees and 1772 parents about food served to children. It found many nurseries to be serving junk foods high in fat and sugar that have been banned in schools. About 3% were spending only £0.25p a day on each child's meals, although the average spend was about £1.00. The report calls on the government to set minimum nutritional standards.

The involvement of men: changing notions of fatherhood

L. McKenna

Early Years, no. 56, 2008, p. 5-7

One of the objectives of Sure Start children's centre services is to support fathers in their role as parent and in their relationship with their partner. This article reports on an evaluation of a fathers' group which meets on Sunday mornings at a local community centre. The study revealed that fathers' involvement in both their children's lives and in Sure Start activities appeared to be concerned with two main issues:

  • developing their confidence in being fathers
  • challenging traditional views of fathers as breadwinners or providers.

It is concluded that fathers need to be fully included in the mainstream family support services that have traditionally been targeted on and used by mothers.

Labour ups bid to put children first

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Oct. 1st-7th 2008, p. 14-15

At its 2008 conference, the Labour Party announced a range of new policies aimed at eradicating child poverty, improving schools and reducing juvenile crime.

A new deal for children's trusts

A. Taylor

Community Care, Sept. 23rd 2008, p. 18-19

Following a consultation, a new bill to strengthen children's trusts will be included in Parliamentary session 2008/09. Proposals likely to be contained in the bill include: 1) strengthening children's trusts by placing them on a statutory footing; 2) laying a duty on schools to co-operate with councils in promoting children's well-being; and 3) making all public agencies, not just councils, responsible for creating and delivering children and young people's plans.

The policy context of leaving care services: a case study of Northern Ireland

M.E. Collins and J. Pinkerton

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 30, 2008, p. 1279-1288

This analysis is designed to identify within one country (Northern Ireland) how the political environment affects policy, services and potentially the well-being of young care leavers. It covers social welfare, child care and leaving care policy; children's rights; and the roles of social and youth work.

Pressure on the pledge

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Oct. 1s7-7th 2008, p. 17

Gordon Brown has announced plans to enshrine the government's target of ending child poverty by 2020 in law. It is unlikely that a statutory duty to end child poverty will be laid on local authorities. Its eradication will remain a national government responsibility.

Prevention and social exclusion: new understandings for policy and practice

K. Morris and M. Barnes

British Journal of Social Work, vol.38, 2008, p. 1194-1211

New Labour social policies in the field of child welfare reveal a renewed emphasis on prevention. The national evaluation of one such initiative, the Children's Fund Preventative Programme, has generated empirical evidence about the effectiveness of preventative strategies and services, and of the range of needs of the children they target. These data offer an opportunity for a fresh approach to conceptualising prevention, one that locates it in the contemporary policy context of social exclusion, and draws upon empirical evidence about current practice to arrive at new understandings.

Promoting children's wellbeing: policy and practice

J. Collins and P. Foley (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2008

This book examines the wide-ranging and growing number of policies and practices which are intended to contribute to children's wellbeing. Topics include the development of children's identities; the value of play in the lives of contemporary children; the promotion of children's health; risk and staying safe; and family law. The book draws upon research and practice to analyse and examine the policies, services and practice skills needed for collaborative, effective and equitable work with children.

The reach of early intervention: a case study of a Sure Start programme

P. Hannon and others

Evidence and Policy, vol. 4, 2008, p. 205-225

Early intervention is currently an instrument of public policy for addressing inequalities in children's education, health and social inclusion. It is typically targeted on social groups where children's development is thought to require additional support. A concern about all early intervention programmes is whether they reach the families for whom they are intended, since participation is voluntary. In this article reach is conceptualised as having two different aspects: contact and use. This distinguishes the responsibilities of programmes (to contact all target families) from the choices of families (whether or not to use services). This article presents a case study of the reach of one Sure Start programme. It was found that, conceptualised as contact, programme reach was virtually 100%. Conceptualised as use, it varied according to services within the programme, and to some extent according to family characteristics.

Single parents face seven-year wait for child support

R. Bennett

The Times, Oct. 27th 2008, p. 9

The chairwoman of the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, Janet Paraskeva, has told The Times that it will take several years before all child support cases are transferred to the new system from the Child Support Agency. There is concern that thousands of single parents may have to wait until 2015 for their cases to be processed fully to enable them to start receiving the correct payments from the other parent of their child.

(See also The Guardian, Oct. 28th 2008, p. 15)

Skills for life

S. Learner

Children and Young People Now, Sept. 17th-23rd 2008, supplement, 7p

Communications giant BT has developed a corporate responsibility programme that is transforming children and young people's speech and language skills. This special supplement showcases a number of projects supported and practical resources produced by the company.

Social work with looked after children

C. Cocker and L. Allain

Exeter: Learning Matters, 2008

The book details the organisational systems and structures that are part of the assessment and planning process for looked after children. This description is closely interwoven with discussions about their emotional development, educational, health and cultural needs and how these can be met through social work and a range of other services. The views of looked after children are highlighted through case studies and summaries of research findings, and the range of skills and knowledge necessary to support looked after children through the key events they experience, including loss, change and the development of new relationships, are explained and illustrated.

Supporting children and families: lessons from Sure Start for evidence-based practice in health, social care and education

J. Schneider, M. Avis and P. Leighton (editors)

London: J. Kingsley, 2007

The book gathers together the lessons learned from perhaps the largest scale social experiment ever undertaken in England - Sure Start, the programme designed to improve the emotional development, health and education of children. It summarizes the huge amount of knowledge and experience generated by the Sure Start programmes and local evaluation studies, with chapters encompassing child development and healthcare, partnership working with existing local services, parental employment and supporting families with young children, reaching out to marginalised groups and strengthening communities. In addition to summarizing the findings of numerous innovative projects, contributors draw on their experiences of the successes and challenges to offer advice for those engaged in current and future practice.

Supernanny banished to naughty step by report on children's rights

O. Bowcott

The Guardian, Oct. 3rd 2008, p. 5

The UN's committee on the rights of the child (CRC) has attacked the UK's treatment of its 13.1 million citizens aged 17 and under. Britain is accused of undermining children's rights by imprisoning children as young as 10, tolerating corporal punishment and broadcasting reality television shows like Supernanny which 'invade children's privacy'.

'There's nothing to fear from us'

A. Mickel

Community Care, Sept. 25th 2008, p. 20

Report of an interview with shadow minister for children Tim Loughton, in which he emphasises that the Conservative Party has changed its stance and is no longer hostile to social workers. He also discusses amendments he has tabled to the Children and Young Persons Bill currently before Parliament.

Watchdog to protect young from suicide and bullying websites

J. Swaine

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 29th 2008, p. 10

The new UK Council for Child Internet Safety will monitor the web for offensive content accessible to children. Sites that illegally encourage suicide or harmful behaviour will be ordered to be taken down.

What would a Tory government mean for young lives?

R. Chandiramani

Children and Young People Now, Oct. 8th-14th 2008, p. 14-15

This article reports on the implications of Conservative Party policies presented at their 2008 annual conference for young people, including education, early years provision, youth justice and information sharing.

Working together in children's services

D Fitzgerald and J. Kay

London: Routledge, 2008

The importance of inter-agency cooperation within children's services has been highlighted within recent government strategy, including the Every Child Matters agenda, the development of Children's Centres and the expansion of Extended Schools. Following tragic cases such as that of Victoria Climbié, the need for effective multi-disciplinary teamwork and interagency co-operation across all education and care settings remains as pressing as ever. This book addresses a range of theoretical perspectives and contexts and explores key issues such as:

  1. the notion of 'working together' and what it means in practice
  2. the benefits of, and barriers to multi-agency work
  3. current policy and requirements for successful interdisciplinary working
  4. essential skills for inter-professional teamwork.

Young children's rights: exploring beliefs, principles and practice. 2nd ed.

P. Alderson

London: J. Kingsley, 2008

The book examines the often overlooked issue of the rights of young children, starting with the question of how the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child applies to the youngest children, from birth to eight years of age. The question of finding a balance between young children's rights to protection, to provision (resources and services) and to participation (expressing their views, being responsible) is discussed. The book suggests that, in the belief we are looking after their best interests, we have become overprotective of children and deny them the freedom to be expressive, creative and active, and that improving the way adults and children communicate is the best way of redressing that balance. This second edition has been updated and expanded to include the relevance of UNCRC rights of premature babies, international examples such as the Chinese one-child policy, children's influence on regional policies, and the influence on young children's lives of policies such as Every Child Matters and those of the World Bank, IMF, OECD and UNICEF.

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