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

Baby K's unlawful removal: practice issues in the emergency protection of children

M. Freel

Child Abuse Review, vol. 19, 2010, p. 158-168

In January 2008, less than three hours after his birth, Baby K was removed from his mother's care by hospital staff due to child protection concerns and placed in a separate ward. At a High Court hearing later that morning, it was ruled that Baby K's removal was unlawful. After setting out the circumstances under which Baby K was removed from his mother, this paper considers a number of issues raised by the case:

  1. what constitutes lawful removal under domestic law
  2. European jurisprudence and domestic law in relation to emergency removal at birth
  3. parental consent to removal
  4. professionals' liability for breaches of human rights
  5. the role of child protection plans in safeguarding children.

Changing cognitions in parents of two-year-olds attending Scottish Sure Start centres

L.M. Woolfson, K. Durkin and J. King

International Journal of Early Years Education, vol. 18, 2010, p. 3-26

As part of a Scottish pilot project, three school districts in deprived areas extended their Sure Start programmes to provide early educational experiences for vulnerable two-year-olds and support for their families. This study was conducted to evaluate changes to parents' cognitions in these programmes. Intervention group parents showed a significantly better response to parenting the 'terrible twos' than comparison group parents. They perceived themselves to have learned important new skills for managing their children's behaviour and encouraging child learning. They gained valuable new insights and understanding of their children's behaviour and changed the way they thought about their role as parents and their developmental expectations of their children.

The Children Act 1989: 21 years on. Part 1

R. Hughes and W. Rose (guest editors)

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 10, June 2010, p. 2-83

This special issue reflects on the impact of the Children Act 1989 on the court system. Articles cover amendments to the Act since 1989, the effects of House of Lords and Supreme Court judicial decisions, court orders under sections 8 and 1(5) of the Act, arrangements for the representation of children and their parents in court proceedings, and the concept of significant harm, which is used as a threshold for care proceedings. The historical context of the Act is also considered in an article comparing it with the children acts of 1908 and 1948.

Emergency budget: the impact on children's services

N. Puffett

Children and Young People Now, June 29th-July 5th 2010, p. 8-9

This article comments on the effect of public spending cuts announced in the Coalition government's emergency budget on children's services. The two year freeze on public sector pay will lead to recruitment difficulties, while other draconian spending cuts will trigger massive job losses.

Experts urge TB vaccine for all London children

J. Laurance

The Independent, July 15th 2010, p. 18

All babies born in London should be vaccinated against TB to protect them against the growing threat of the disease, experts from the Health Protection Agency say. Almost 45% of all childhood TB cases in the UK occur in the capital.

Family perspectives of safeguarding and on relationships with children's services

Office of the Children's Commissioner for England

2010

This study sought to discover why families resist social work intervention and find more effective ways of engaging them. Through interviews and focus groups it became clear that families are likely to feel powerless and fear the stigma attached to bring involved in child protection services.

URL: http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/content/publications/content_405

A fresh start for serious case reviews

J. Mahadevan

Children and Young People Now, June 15th-21st 2010, p. 9

There is a growing consensus that the current system of serious case reviews in child protection needs strengthening to better support staff to learn from mistakes. This article presents the Social Care Institute for Excellence's case review model Learning Together as a possible way forward.

Guardian plans are on shaky ground

N. Puffett

Children and Young People Now, July 20th-26th 2010, p.12

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) has revealed that it is developing proposals to restrict the allocation of independent children's guardians to the most pressing cases to relieve pressure on staff. Under the 'watching-brief' system proposed for non-urgent cases, a named practitioner would monitor proceedings by keeping in regular contact with the child's solicitor, but would not be directly involved in court hearings. This article examines whether the move breaches legally enshrined children's rights.

How much risk is safe?

M. Garboden

Community Care July 1st 2010, p. 16-17

A consistent criticism across all Ofsted reports on local authority child safeguarding activities relates to thresholds for intervention. Thresholds are set according to budgets and criteria for taking children into care are tightened in times of financial constraint. Apart from resource difficulties, keeping consistent thresholds in place is complicated because decisions will always rely on professional judgement at some level.

How other agencies can share risk

M. Garboden

Community Care, July 8th 2010, p. 16-17

Children's services directors argue that the burden of assessing and responding to risk is too heavy for their teams to carry alone, especially as resources are squeezed. This article explores how GPs, the police and the courts can carry more risk in safeguarding cases, especially those involving neglect rather than clear cut abuse.

How will local authorities decide where to drop the axe?

J. Mahadevan and R. Watson

Children and Young People Now, July 22nd-28th, p.8-9

Councils are being left to decide how to distribute 311m cuts to the overall area-based grant. The services financed by the grant help local authorities fulfil their duties to children and young people. Councils have been told to give priority to statutory children's services when making cuts.

In loco parentis

C. Hannon, C. Wood and L. Bazalgette

Demos, 2010

A study by the think tank Demos reveals that children in care who experience delays and disruption are more likely to develop mental and behavioural problems and cost the state 32,755 a year more than children who have a positive experience of the care system.

URL: http://www.demos.co.uk/files/In_Loco_Parentis_-_web.pdf?1277484312

Information sharing and reporting systems in the UK and Ireland: professional barriers to reporting child maltreatment concerns

L. Bunting, A. Lazenbatt and I. Wallace

Child Abuse Review, vol. 19, 2010, p. 187-202

Given the current emphasis on reporting and information sharing across the UK and Ireland, this article explores in depth the issue of professional reporting of child abuse concerns. It draws on a wider review of the literature relating to mandatory reporting to examine the degree of non-reporting of child abuse concerns across a range of professional disciplines and the factors associated with it. Consideration is given to the role of education and training in improving reporting rates and the ways in which future training needs to be developed to combat non-reporting behaviour.

Lessons from Total Place

T. de Castella

Children and Young People Now, June 22nd-28th 2010, p. 18-19

Local government insiders predict council budget reductions of 15-20% in 2011/12. The Total Place scheme was launched in 2009 to save money and improve delivery of local services by taking a 'whole area' approach and eliminating duplication and waste. Another aspect has been the redesign of frontline services into multidisciplinary teams. This article explores where five of the 13 pilot schemes have identified savings in children's services.

Making sense of child and family assessment: how to interpret children's needs

D. Helm

London: J. Kingsley, 2010

The application of assessment frameworks hinges on human qualities and skills which are naturally prone to bias and inconsistency. Good assessments take time and need to be appropriately resourced. A range of analytical tools are also needed if practitioners are to present assessments of children's needs which lead to meaningful care plans and improved outcomes. This book aims to support workers in analysing and making sense of the information gathered, and increasing accuracy and empathy in assessing the needs and risks for vulnerable children and young people.

Munro review's task is to cut red tape, improve IT and build sector confidence

M. Garboden

Community Care, June 17th 2010, p.11

The Munro review of child protection has been tasked by the coalition government with finding ways to decrease bureaucracy, improve joined up working, and build confidence within and around the sector. In addition, the review will investigate Ofsted and attempt to sort out the troubled integrated children's IT system.

The plan to make every penny of children's interventions count

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, July 20th-26th 2010, p. 8

The biggest challenge for sector leaders is the need to sustain cost-effective children's services with ever decreasing resources. In response, the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People's Services has developed a model to measure the cost-effectiveness of interventions, establish the cost of universal services and identify how particular interventions impact on outcomes.

Publication of information: Children Schools and Families Act 2010

L. Reed

Family Law, July 2010

The Children Schools and Families Act 2010, when it comes into force, will introduce substantial and controversial changes to the law concerning the publication of material relating to family proceedings. This article summarises the changes, which, instead of advancing the government's stated aim of promoting open justice, in fact further restrict the dissemination of information about children's cases in the press.

Social workers missed chance to save abused girl

R. Bennett

The Times, July 28th 2010, p. 6-7

A serious case review into the death by starvation of Khyra Ishaq has highlighted failures by Birmingham social services as well as police in the handling of her case. The review suggests that had social services more adequately followed up concerns presented to them by Khyra's school, her death might have been prevented

(See also Daily Telegraph, July 28th 2010, p.11)

Strong case for family intervention

J. Lepper

Children and Young People Now, July 13th-19th 2010, p. 12

Family intervention projects were at the heart of the Labour government's attempts to tackle antisocial behaviour, but it is unclear if their funding will continue under the new regime. Their effectiveness has been questioned in a recent report from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, but they are staunchly defended by children's charities.

The technology to assess youth work

R. Watson

Children and Young People Now, June 15th-21st 2010, p. 11

Many youth organisations have developed ways to measure the impact of their programmes, but none has become universally accepted in the sector. Youth charity Fairbridge is attempting to push the boundaries of evidence-based youth work by rolling out a database that tracks the personal and social development of the young people who uses its 15 centres. The system depends on the young people assessing themselves and noting the changes in their skills over time.

Thousands of children given substandard care

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, July 30th 2010, p. 10

According to figures published by Ofsted charting standards achieved by childcare providers in England since 2008, 2% of the 40,081 inspected were rated inadequate. A further 30% were rated satisfactory (a score which Ofsted has previously said is not good enough).

Too posh for children's centres?

J. Cornish

Children and Young People Now, June 15th-21st 2010, p. 18-19

Despite the coalition government ringfencing funding for England's 3,500 children's centres in the short term, it has pledged to target their services on the poorest families. This has prompted fears that families could be means tested and higher earners either charged for services or excluded.

The wellbeing of children in care: a new approach for improving developmental outcomes

K. Owusu-Bempah

London: Routledge, 2010

Because of their previous damaging experiences, many children and young people enter the care system having already developed emotional problems or at a greater risk of developing them. However, in addition to this, research and experience consistently show that being in care is likely to aggravate or worsen developmental problems. Why does public care have these negative effects on children and what is needed to alleviate their problems? This book looks at how children in care can best be helped to attain desirable developmental outcomes. It introduces a notion of socio-genealogical connectedness to help explain why children in kinship care fare better than children in non-relative foster care. It argues, using recent empirical research as well as a wide range of literature from the adoption field and attachment theory, that knowledge about their hereditary background is an essential factor in looked-after children's long-term adjustment to placement. As with all children, this knowledge forms the basis of their identity, self-worth, and general outlook.

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