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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2010): Child welfare - UK

Black boys mentored

T. de Castella

Children and Young People Now, June 1st-7th 2010, p. 16-17

This article introduces ambitious plans to establish a mentoring scheme for disaffected Black teenagers in London. It aims to create a supportive network of volunteer male mentors who will each be matched with a young person in their local area who needs guidance under the auspices of community groups.

Can preventive services survive?

J. Cooper

Community Care, June 3rd 2010, p. 18-19

Faced with ringfenced education budgets, and a growing number of referrals to children's services to which they have a statutory obligation to respond, many councils may be forced to cut preventive services in the present harsh economic climate. Ironically, maintaining early intervention and preventive services should eventually cut statutory referrals and save money.

Child-centric information and communication technology (ICT) and the fragmentation of child welfare practice in England

C. Hall and others

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 393-413

Since the nineteenth century England has developed policy and practice in child welfare with the intent to ensure the state is able to intervene in the privacy of the family in order to protect children, while at the same time supporting the family as the key institution for rearing children. In recent years there has been a shift in the way this fine balance is managed. In particular, there is increasing emphasis on policy and practice being organised in ways that are explicitly 'child centred'. These new organisational and administrative arrangements pose particular challenges where practitioners struggle to locate individual children in their social and familial contexts and where their histories and relationships are important. These challenges are particularly evident in the growing reliance upon a range of new Information and Communication Technologies in day-to-day practice, where the primary data unit is the atomised child.

Child worker vetting plan is halted after protests

C. Hope

Daily Telegraph, June 15th 2010, p. 1

The Labour government's Vetting and Barring scheme for the registration of people working with children and vulnerable adults is being suspended after heavy criticism and will be remodelled along more common sense lines.

Children in care: the challenges ahead

R. Chandiramani (editor)

Children and Young People Now, May 2010, supplement, 22p

The care system for looked-after children has been placed under severe pressure due to a steep rise in demand at a time when children's services are being asked to find cost savings. This special supplement explores whether the care system has reached breaking point and asks what needs to be done to ensure that every looked-after child receives the best possible support. It also assesses the progress that has been made since the publication of the Care Matters White Paper, and asks whether the reforms proposed are being realised on the ground.

The Coalition agenda

Children and Young People Now, June 8th-14th 2010, p. 9-12

This special report presents a guide to ministerial responsibilities for policies relating to children, young people and families, an interview with Tim Loughton, minister in charge of children's social care and young people's services, and an analysis of the impact of the Welfare Reform Bill on efforts to eradicate child poverty.

Cuts force children to play a little less

R. Watson

Children and Young People Now, June 1st-7th 2010, p. 8

England's national play strategy is set to lose 5m of funding as part of the 670m savings the Department for Education is required to make in 2010/11. Capital funding for new playgrounds will not be cut, but 5m must be saved from the rest of the pot. The cuts could fall on revenue funding for staff to maintain the play pathfinder schemes, on the Play Shaper programme, and on investment in evaluation of new play sites.

Family courts

Community Care, May 27th 2010, p. 16-21

This special report focuses on the role of CAFCASS. It includes articles on how children's guardians in Manchester are tackling increased caseloads without cutting corners and on the row about the capping of the fees of independent social workers who provide reports and evidence to the family courts at 30.00 per hour.

Future Connexions

R. Davis

Children and Young People Now, May 18th-24th 2010, p. 16-17

The Connexions service offers a 'one-stop-shop' for careers advice and guidance, but has been criticised from its launch in 2001. It is now under threat from government spending cuts. There have also been proposals to break up the service and transfer its responsibilities to local private providers.

Mother abuse: a matter of youth justice, child welfare or domestic violence?

C. Hunter, J. Nixon and S. Parr

Journal of Law and Society, vol. 37, 2010, p. 264-284

Evidence that emerged from the Family Intervention Projects for households made homeless or at risk of eviction due to anti-social behaviour revealed that single mothers were often victims of violent attacks by their male teenage children. The authors also point to additional supporting evidence that suggests that violent behaviour of teenage children towards their mothers is a prevalent and pressing issue. However there is silence about the issue of mother abuse in the academic and policy literature of the United Kingdom. In this context, the article explores how current UK legal codes and policy frameworks might be employed to respond formally to this issue in the areas of youth justice, domestic violence and child welfare.

Sector confronts the prospect of more formal kinship care arrangements

M. Garboden

Community Care, May 27th 2010, p. 11

An estimated 200,000-300,000 UK children have been placed in kinship care by local authorities. However, kinship carers receive lower allowances and less support than foster carers. There are calls for parity between foster carers and kinship carers, but such an arrangement could lead to loss of their autonomy.

UK to deport child asylum seekers

A. Travis

The Guardian, June 8th 2010, p. 1 & 2

The UK Border Agency is to set up a 4m 'reintegration centre' in Afghanistan so that it can start deporting unaccompanied child asylum seekers to Kabul from Britain, signalling a major shift in policy. Home Office figures show there are more than 4,200 unaccompanied child asylum seekers in Britain with most being supported in local authority social services homes. Those from Afghanistan are the largest groups and of the 400 minors claiming asylum in the first three months of this year, almost half were Afghans. (See also The Times, June 8th 2010, p.12)

Young people not in education, employment or training

Children, Schools and Families Committee

London: TSO, 2010 (House of Commons papers, session 2009/10; HC 316)

The proportion of 16-18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) has changed relatively little over the past decade, despite a succession of government policy initiatives intended to increase rates of participation among this age group. The report recommends that more radical change is needed to increase rates of participation among 16-18 year olds. Young people who are NEET often face a number of barriers to participation and need to access support from a variety of sources. The co-location of services such as healthcare, housing support, access to benefits and financial support, and careers advice and guidance in a joined-up approach could help young people to access more easily the help they require. Such provision could prove to be more cost-effective than current structures.

Youth work courses feel the pressure

J. Lepper

Children and Young People Now, May 18th-24th 2010, p. 19-20

From September 2010, youth work students will need to study to degree level to become fully qualified. However courses are struggling to attract and keep youth work students due to lack of bursaries. Another issue is that employers offering work experience placements to youth work students do not receive any government funding. The survival of youth work degrees is also threatened by the emergence of more generic courses aimed at those working in integrated services for young people.

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