Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2009): Child welfare - UK

Balls orders intensive training for children's services directors in wake of Baby P tragedy

A. Lipsett

The Guardian, Jan. 9th 2009, p. 4

In a move to address concerns that they have been too focused on schools at the expense of social care, children's services directors are to be sent on intensive training programmes to help them deal with complex child protection cases. Since the merger of children's social services and education departments in 2004, most director posts have gone to managers with an education, rather than a social services background.

Care applications soar after Baby P case

R. Bennett

The Times, Jan. 19th 2009, p. 11

The wake of the Baby P case has seen a sharp increase in applications to take children into care, with more being issued than at any time since the present system of child protection was established. The government last year instructed all local authorities to look again at cases of children at risk to see whether they were really safe from harm.

Child poverty pledge ditched for new targets

M. Beckford

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 29th 2009, p. 4

Points out that the new Child Poverty Bill includes a commitment to reduce the proportion of children in households earning less than 60% of the median income to between 5 and 10%. Another target will be to reduce the number of children who are 'materially deprived' to 'approaching zero'. Councils will be required to set local targets on reducing child poverty and will be penalised in annual performance assessments if they fail to meet them.

Child protection crisis: implications for social work

Professional Social Work, Jan. 2009, p. 17-19

This special supplement highlights the actions of the British Association of Social Workers in defence of the profession since the conviction of three people in connection with the death of Baby P. Social workers have been the subject of public anger at their alleged failure to protect Baby P and other vulnerable children.

Children's trust boards: changes after the death of Baby P

S. Shah

ChildRight, issue 252, 2009, p. 11-14

In November 2008 the Children's Secretary Ed Balls announced that new legislation would be introduced to make it a legal requirement for multi-agency Children's Trust Boards to operate in every local authority in England. The Boards will aim to prevent abuse by co-ordinating and strengthening child protection work.

Early intervention in the round: a great idea but .

A. Pithouse

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 38, 2008, p. 1536-1552

The New Labour government and the devolved administrations have expanded early intervention schemes for children and families at risk as a preferred way of tackling their multiple and overlapping problems. While this paper endorses the ambitions of early interventions, it questions assumptions of a relatively uncomplicated and positive role for such an approach. It is concluded that early interventions will be of limited value unless they are integrated with other programmes tackling social problems such as family instability, community decline and youth disorder.

Fifty-three children abused every day, says NSPCC study

S. Laville

The Guardian, Jan. 19th 2009, p. 8

Figures from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children have shown that 53 children a day are subjected to sex crimes in England and Wales. These figures are not collected by the Home Office and police forces only record them on an individual basis.

Legislative agenda: a brief look at major legislation in the 2008-2009 Parliament

D. Bascombe

ChildRight, issue 252, 2009, p. 15-17

This article provides an overview of major legislation impacting on children passed in the 2007/08 Parliament, including:

  • The Education and Skills Act 2008, which places a duty on all maintained schools in England and Wales to consider the views of their pupils and requires young people to stay in education to the age of 18.
  • The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act which sets up the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission
  • The Children and Young Persons Act which reforms the statutory framework for the care system

Low-wage economy 'creates child poverty'

A. Grice

The Independent, Jan. 7th 2009, p. 16

According to a report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), because Britain has a low-wage economy more than half the children growing up in poverty have a parent in work. Although Labour has lifted 600,000 children out of poverty since taking power in 1997, almost all of them had parents that were unemployed. Some 2.9 million children are still classed as poor because their family's income is less than 60 per cent of the median. The IPPR report also found that despite the Government's efforts to improve social mobility, many of the 5.3 million workers in low-paid jobs have little prospect of moving up the career ladder and boosting their earnings. The jobs include the wholesale, retail, hospitality, service, sales and customer service sectors.

New childcare reforms unveiled as cost of pre-school care rises higher than rate of inflation

A. Gentleman

The Guardian, Jan. 28th 2009, p. 10

New figures recently released reveal that the cost of full-time nursery care has risen above the rate of inflation and now costs anywhere between 8,700 and 20,800 a year. According to the Daycare Trust survey, which collated responses from Family Information Services offices nationwide, parents are worried not just about the cost of childcare but also about the lack of it. As many as 69% of offices reported that parents had complained about a shortage of childcare in their area over the past year and 59% of local authorities said that there was insufficient childcare in their area for the over 12s.

Official: children must not drink a drop

R. Garner

The Independent, Jan. 29th 2009, p. 4

The Chief Medical Officer, Liam Donaldson has recommended that parents should not allow their children to drink alcohol, even at home, until they are 15. The recommendation marks a significant change of emphasis from the current position which legally allows children to start drinking at the age of five. Others argue that the UK should adopt the policy of some other European countries where children are introduced to diluted wine or small amounts of alcohol in order to demystify it.

(See also The Guardian, Jan. 30th 2009, p. 17)

A public dysfunction

S. Gillen

Community Care, Jan. 15th 2009, p. 16-18

The number of applications to take children into care in England has fallen, although the incidence of abuse has not declined. Experts fear that children at risk are not receiving the protection they need because of two recent changes in the operation of care proceedings. In April 2008, the Public Law Outline, a very bureaucratic system for case management, was introduced in England and Wales, and in May the same year the cost of care proceedings was transferred from the court service to local authorities.

Social work with young people

R. Smith

Cambridge: Polity, 2008

This book provides an accessible guide to working with young people in a range of social work settings. It places clear emphasis on the development of key skills, but does not shy away from important theories and evidence. The book explains why taking a user-centred approach is important, and highlights ways in which this can be put into practice. Chapter by chapter, the book introduces the reader to the challenges and potential of working with a range of groups, such as offenders, young people with disabilities, teenage parents, and young asylum seekers and refugees. The book explains clearly the current policies and organizational frameworks which shape social work practice. At the same time, it recognizes that effective social work practice is about much more than simply meeting guidelines, and gets to grips with the day-today realities of working with young people.

Why blaming and shaming doesn't work

M. Mellon

Professional Social Work, Jan. 2009, p. 22-23

The Scottish government has announced a review of child protection policies for 2009, triggered by the Baby P case in Haringey and the recent poor results of an inspection of arrangements in Aberdeen. The author calls for the review to focus on improving core practice skills, rather than on creating new bureaucratic processes and procedures.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web