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

Careers special

B. Willis, E. Rogers and J. Lepper

Children and Young People Now, Sept.21st-27th 2010, p.16-23

This special report on the children and young people's workforce offers: 1) a discussion of the future of the professional workforce in the light of spending cuts and rising numbers of volunteers; 2) consideration of the current drive to encourage more graduates to change career and train as social workers as demand for university places outstrips supply; 3) two case studies of independent youth work projects; and 4) a look at how the coalition government's pledge to boost health visitor numbers will be achieved.

The challenge of the Children Act 1989: balancing support, care and protection for children

R. Hughes and W. Rose (guest editors)

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 5, 2010, p. 1-88

This is the second of a two-part special edition of the Journal to mark 21 years of the Children Act 1989 in England. It presents articles on the services to promote the welfare of children and families, which were at the heart of the Act - support, care and protection. It is in this area in particular that challenges arise in practice and priorities have to be chosen - for example, between safeguarding and welfare, between universal and targeted services and between social services, education and health.

'Institutionalised' lack of trust emerges in family justice review

C. Pemberton

Community Care, Oct. 7th 2010, p. 7

The on-going review of the family justice system has found strained relationships between courts and social workers. Courts do not always trust assessments by local authority social workers and order more assessments, leading to the whole process becoming too long. There is also a tendency for professionals and organisations to blame each other for problems in the system. The review will look at how to divert more cases from court through mediation and dispute resolution, and will consider how to speed up the scrutiny of care plans.

Law could impede outsourcing bid

C. Pemberton

Community Care, Oct. 7th 2010, p. 10

There are indications that the coalition government will look favourably on outsourcing of statutory social services, including child protection. Councils will need to monitor outsourced services closely to make sure that they are meeting their statutory duties. In the rush to outsource, there is a danger that councils will lose sight of their legal responsibilities to vulnerable children.

Learning lessons from serious case reviews 2009-2010: Ofsted's evaluation of serious case reviews from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010

Ofsted

2010

This report provides an analysis of the evaluations of 147 serious case reviews that Ofsted completed between April 2009 and March 2010. As in previous reports, this one brings together findings in relation both to the lessons learnt for improving practice and the conduct of serious case reviews. It identifies issues which require further consideration by Local Safeguarding Children Boards. Previous reports have criticised the quality of a large proportion of serious case reviews. Of the 147 serious case reviews reported on here, 62 were judged to be good, 62 adequate and 23 inadequate. By comparison, in last year's report covering 173 reviews, 40 were judged to be good, 74 adequate and 59 inadequate. The continuing improvement in the quality of reviews reflects the high level of attention that has been given to them, nationally and by most Local Safeguarding Children Boards. It is, however, still of concern that 23 reviews during this period were found by inspectors to be inadequate. Every review of a serious incident should be carried out to the highest standard.

URL: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/100087

Liverpool braced for impact of severe cuts

N. Puffett

Children and Young People Now, Sept. 21st-27th 2010, p. 8-9

In anticipation of severe funding cuts in the October 2010 comprehensive spending review, this article looks at the impact on Liverpool. There are fears that this council could face cuts of up to 25m a year. While child protection, adoption and fostering services would be protected, family support, extended school services and those provided by charities would probably have to be cut back.

Millennium Cohort Study: fourth survey: a user's guide to initial findings

K. Hansen, E. Jones and H. Joshi, (editors)

London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London, 2010

The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is the fourth national birth cohort study in Britain. It has so far followed up the 'Children of the New Century' four times, and is set to track them through their teenage years and into adulthood. The fourth survey (MCS4) collected information from some 14,000 children born in 2000-02 across the UK. The latest survey was conducted when most of the children were aged 7, in 2008, following previous sweeps at 9 months, age 3 and age 5. This report is a first look at the MCS4 data. It offers mainly simple snapshots of the nation's 7-year-olds and their families but paves the way for more complex analysis of the longitudinal data accumulated so far.

URL: http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/text.asp?section=0001000200010012

A model department

J. Griffiths

Community Care, Oct. 7th 2010, p. 20-21

North Ayrshire child protection services have been hailed as a model for the rest of Scotland by HM Inspectorate of Education. North Ayrshire Child Protection Committee is a multi-agency strategic partnership between the local authority, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Strathclyde Police, the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration, and the voluntary sector. Its services are characterised by early intervention, multi-agency working, and reasonable caseloads and have benefited from the investment of significant resources.

Munro review of child protection. Part 1. A systems analysis

E. Munro

Department for Education, 2010

This first report of the Munro review of children's services finds that social workers are too focused on complying with regulations and hitting targets to meet children's needs. Initial observations include:

  1. compliance with rules and regulations drives professional practice more than sound judgement based on interaction with a family
  2. serious case reviews have not fostered a learning culture which supports improved practice
  3. social workers spend too much time on paperwork
  4. a lot of data is collected which describes performance, but not what really matters
  5. performance and inspection systems do not adequately examine the quality of direct work with children or its impact
  6. the assessment framework is inefficient and does not easily facilitate professional judgement about risk.

Serious case review, Child A, March 2009

A. Jones

Department for Education, 2010

This second serious case review of the death of Baby P at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend found that the tragedy could and should have been prevented. Almost all staff in the four agencies involved in the case (Lawyers, doctors, police and social workers) failed to do their jobs properly. The police, who were certain that new injuries to Baby P's face and body which appeared weeks before his death were not accidental, failed to begin an investigation. The review is also critical of the fact that reports of a new boyfriend living at the family home were not followed up and of assumptions by social workers that the case was only routine, and that Baby P's injuries were to be expected given the chaotic family circumstances.

(For summary see Times, Oct. 27th 2010, p. 17)

URL: http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/s/second %20serious%20case%20overview%20report%20relating %20to%20peter%20connelly%20dated%20march%202009.pdf

Vetting scheme will be scrapped

T. Whitehead and A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 22nd 2010, p. 2

Reports that the controversial Vetting and Barring Scheme for adults who come into contact with children is to be reviewed. It will probably either be scrapped or drastically scaled back under plans to treat adults who come into contact with children as innocent unless there is strong evidence against them.

Young people in Bath bear the brunt of cuts

G. Jozwiak

Children and Young People Now, Oct. 5th-11th 2010, p. 8-9

Bath and North East Somerset Council is planning cuts to its children's services budget of 984,000 for April 2011 and a similar level of reduction for 2012/13 and 2013/14. The cuts are expected to lead to youth services becoming targeted on those most in need instead of universal. Other than council-run youth centres and detached youth work, services are likely to be contracted out.

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