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

ACHIEVING POTENTIAL: HOW CHILDCARE TACKLES POVERTY AMONGST YOUNG CHILDREN DAYCARE TRUST

London: 2000 (Childcare for all: the next steps; 1)

Paper explains why childcare is key to tackling child poverty amongst young children at the start of their lives; sets out the childcare gap for children under three, focusing on the exclusion of young children in poverty; and proposes policy to close the childcare gap for children under three.

BLAIR TO HELP PARENTS ADOPT

D. Brindle

Guardian, Apr. 10th 2000, p.1

Reports that the institution of a national register to link children awaiting adoption with adults approved to be adopters is being considered by ministers. This idea emerged following the publication of a report showing that 2,400 children in care in England were ready for adoption and awaiting a match with a family, while 1,300 approved families were also awaiting a match with a child.

(See also Independent, Apr. 10th 2000, p.2)

THE CHILD SUPPORT, PENSIONS AND SOCIAL SECURITY BILL

J. Pirrie

Family Law, vol. 30 2000, p.199-203

Summarises the alterations to the child support system proposed in the Bill. Non-resident parents will pay from their net weekly income: 15% where there is one qualifying child; 20% where there are three or more. Reduced rates apply when the net weekly income is between £100 and £200. Generally there is a flat minimum rate of £5.00.

CHILD WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL COHESION: IS THE UK THE ODDBALL IN EUROPE

J. Micklewright and K. Stewart

New Economy, vol. 7, 2000, p.18-23

A comparative analysis of measures of child well-being across the EU, shows that the UK is a serious contender for the title of the worst place to be a child in Europe. While the UK is at the EU average on the benchmark of GDP per head, performance is worse than average on five of the seven measures of child well-being. On three of the measures, child poverty, worklessness and the teenage birth rate, the UK is the worst in the EU.

COUNCILS THAT ARE ADOPTION 'REFUSENIKS' TO BE NAMED

A. Grice

Independent, Mar. 31st 2000, p.8

Reports that an all-party group of MPs and peers is to be set up to campaign for children living in council-run homes to be adopted. It will press for a Bill to shake up the adoption laws to be included in the next session of Parliament.

FALL OUT FROM CARE

F. Rickford

Community Care, no.1311, 2000, p.22-23

Highlights a trend towards keeping vulnerable children at home through the use of family support packages rather than "accommodating" them in residential or foster care when families are under stress.

FAMILY SUPPORT IN CASES OF EMOTIONAL MALTREATMENT AND NEGLECT

J. Thorburn, J. Wilding and J. Watson

London: TSO, 2000 (Studies in evaluating the Children Act 1989)

Study focuses on children under 8 years and their families in three local authorities. It compares the social services supplied to those families requesting help with those provided to children referred because of concerns about emotional maltreatment or neglect. Its main conclusion is that an important minority of cases will need a long-term, relationship-based support service, and that this should be provided earlier rather than later. Finding cost effective ways of providing long-term services presents a major challenge. Family centres, which can provide continuity of buildings and support staff even when key workers move on provide a particularly appropriate service setting.

LOST IN CARE: THE WATERHOUSE REPORT ON ABUSE IN NORTH WALES

Anon.

ChildRight, no.164, 2000, p.3-5

The Waterhouse Report shows that abuse in children's residential establishments in North Wales was the result of a whole range of failures and omissions by those responsible for children's services at all levels, from field social workers to social services managers to the Government.

MINISTER NEEDED TO SPEAK UP FOR YOUTH, BLAIR TOLD

L. Ward

Guardian, March 23rd 2000, p.11

A report by the government's social exclusion unit warns that Britain's young people face more problems than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe. The report proposes creating a team of two youth ministers who would take personal responsibility for progress in key areas including reducing pregnancies and suicides among young people. The ministers would work across government departments, aiming to co-ordinate efforts to lift teenagers out of crime, homelessness, mental illness, educational disadvantage and drug abuse.

NEW CONNEXIONS SERVICE TARGETS DISADVANTAGED

B. Chatrik

Working Brief, issue 112, 2000, p.10-11

Describes the government's planned Connexions Service which aims to support disadvantaged 13-19 year olds through a network of personal advisers.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

A. Richards and L. Ince

London: Family Rights Group, 2000

Results of a survey of social services departments showed that fewer than two-thirds offered specific support to carers where a child had not been ethnically matched to them. Three-quarters had no placement policies for minority ethnic children and only 38% had a recruitment programme for black carers. Only 12 of the 52 respondents had formal links with black and ethnic minority user groups, and only 16% had a specific budget for purchasing services provided by black voluntary groups.

PLAY GROUP PERILS

A. Phillips

Guardian, Mar. 29th 2000, p.22

Argues that pre-school playgroups run by volunteers offer poor quality services and should be replaced by free, statutory school-based provision for children aged three to five.

(See also Independent, Mar. 30th 2000, p.6)

POLICY AND PRACTICE IN CHILDCARE AND NURSERY EDUCATION

H. Penn

Journal of Social Policy, vol.29, 2000, p.37-54

There are a number of local authorities, voluntary organisations and private firms who have attempted to provide nurseries which combine nursery education, childcare and welfare for vulnerable children in one institution. Article draws on case study research carried out in 1995-97 on five such innovative integrated nurseries. Findings suggest that practices in nursery education, childcare and welfare settings differ widely, and that these practices continue when the scope of the institution is broadened. Concludes that a more fundamental analysis of daily practice in nurseries is needed to underpin any policy changes.

THE RESIDENTIAL RENAISSANCE

F. Rickford

Community Care, no.1314, 2000, p.20-22

Argues that residential child care has a necessary and potentially very positive place in public welfare services. The challenge is to improve it by attracting high quality staff and establishing more effective procedures within homes.

THE STATE IS NO SUBSTITUTE

R. Whelan

Community Care, no.1311, 2000, p.14

Argues that the state makes a poor parent, and that local authority care should only be used as a temporary measure on the road to a permanent home.

YOUNG PEOPLE: TOWARDS A NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD RENEWAL: REPORT BY POLICY ACTION TEAM 12

Social Exclusion Unit

London: TSO 2000

Concludes that cross-departmental Youth Unit supporting specific ministers responsible for co-ordination of youth policies would help resolve the fragmentation of service delivery to disaffected young people.

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