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

Adoption changes to sweep away race rules

R. Bennett

The Times, Nov. 2nd 2010, p.1 + 5

Ministers are drawing up guidance for local authorities and adoption agencies in order to remove barriers preventing white couples from adopting black or Asian children to prevent them waiting too long for a home.

Children need parenting classes to break cycle of poverty - Field

A. Gentleman

The Guardian, Nov. 8th 2010, p. 2

The coalition's poverty adviser, the former Labour minister Frank Field, will call for children to be given parenting classes at school when he presents a government-commissioned review of poverty to the Prime Minister later this year. The report will recommend a move away from a mainly financial approach to tackling child poverty to a strategy that focuses on parenting and on the early childhood years up to the age of five.

Children's agency, children's welfare: a dialogical approach to child development, policy and practice

C. van Nijnatten

Bristol: Policy Press, 2010

Human development is about the growth of children's agency, which is developed in interaction with their parents and families but if parental agency is insufficient, agency in the form of child welfare will be required to fill the gaps. This book provides a holistic view of how children develop agency, combining social, psychological and child development aspects, as well as examining child welfare structures and the roles of social workers.

Councils collaborate to drive down costs

N. Puffett

Children and Young People Now, Nov. 2nd-8th 2010, p. 8-9

Following the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, a number of local authorities are looking to reduce costs by merging child protection services. There are concerns that:

  1. the focus on vulnerable children could be lost during the upheaval involved in the transition
  2. changes in the political leadership of the council could disrupt the process
  3. the need to standardise computer software could necessitate interim measures while the change takes place.

A guide to mutuals

J. Lepper

Children and Young People Now, Nov. 2nd-8th 2010, p. 16-17

Council employees are being encouraged to set up mutuals to run public services. This article looks at how they might work in the youth sector and what funding is available.

It's a family affair

G. Carson

Community Care, Nov. 11th 2010, p. 22-23

Family Group Conferences are a way of making decisions about the care of children by involving the extended family in the planning process. They can produce impressive results, and could save councils millions of pounds every year by preventing children from entering care.

Obstacles to adoption

C. Pemberton

Community Care, Nov. 4th 2010, p. 16-17

This article explores the reasons behind the fall in adoption rates in the UK. It identifies three reasons:

  1. courts and social work teams are reluctant to recommend adoption because of its 'legal finality'
  2. cash-strapped local authorities are unable to provide post-adoption support
  3. courts are turning away from adoption in favour of Special Guardianship Orders.

Personal budgets aim to put families in control

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Nov. 2nd-8th 2010, p. 11

In the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, the coalition government announced plans to expand the use of personal budgets for children with special education needs, disabilities and long-term health conditions. More extensive use of personal budgets should give parents greater choice and control over the services they use, but experts warn that parents could be overburdened by their administration.

Regional partnerships under threat

G. Jozwiak Children and Young People Now, Oct. 19th-25th, p. 12

Due to local authority budget cuts, the future of the seven regional youth work units in England is uncertain. The units primarily enable practitioners within the regions to share best practice, co-ordinate activities, and promote youth participation in decision-making.

Small scale, big ideas

L. Pollock

Foster Care, issue 143, 2010, p. 8-11

This article describes the progressive and innovative approaches to the support of foster carers and young people in care taken in Northern Ireland. Schemes include supporting young people to stay with foster families beyond the age of 18, Fostering Achievement which provides extra resources to help young people in care with their education, or to raise their self-esteem, and encouragement of kinship care.

Starting a family revolution

Family Commission

4Children, 2010

This report on a survey of 10,000 families aims to give an insight into modern family life. Families call for more support from government in areas such as childcare and flexible working, and greater recognition of kinship foster carers. The report recommends the introduction of a family test that would require all government departments and councils to prove how their policies would improve family life.

What would you have done?

P. Gill

Community Care, Nov. 11th 2010, p. 18-19

In the wake of the full publication of the second Baby P serious case review, the author looks over the case history and re-examines the options open to the professionals involved with the family.

Will Staying Put stay put?

G. Carson

Community Care, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 16-17

In order to improve outcomes for young people in care, the Labour government set up the Staying Put pilot in July 2008 to assess the benefits of allowing children to stay in care and with foster parents beyond the age of 18. The 4.5m pilot scheme, which runs until March 2011, enables young people in 11 areas of England to stay with their foster families until they turn 21. An interim evaluation has shown that most managers in the pilots feel that the scheme is beneficial.

Women and kids bear the brunt of cuts


Labour Research, Nov. 2010, p. 12-14

The unions warn that low-income women and children will shoulder the burden of changes to the tax and benefit systems and cuts to the public sector workforce. The TUC has calculated that the poorest families will be 1,293 per year worse off than they would have been had the Sure Start Maternity Gran, the Health in Pregnancy Grant and the baby element of tax credits remained in place, and a toddler tax credit been introduced as the Labour government had planned.

Working with children, young people and families

G. Brotherton, H. Davies and G. McGillivray (editors)

London: Sage, 2010

Written from a unique interprofessional perspective, this book is an essential introduction to working with children, young people and families. It covers policy, practice and theory, exploring key themes and developments, including:

  • poverty and disadvantage
  • ethical practice
  • child development
  • education
  • child protection
  • children and young people's rights.

Worries surround vetting reforms

N. Puffett

Children and Young People Now, Nov. 9th-15th 2010, p. 11

Reports that separate reviews of the vetting and barring processes and criminal record checks for people working with children were launched in October 2010, following concerns that the mandatory registration scheme planned by the Labour government would have led to far too many roles being regulated.

Young people's views of the Child Protection System in Scotland

R.C. Woolfson and others

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 40, 2010, p. 2069-2085

UK government policy and guidelines have been produced to ensure that consulting with children about matters that relate to them is a requirement rather than a preference. In this study 11 children and young people were consulted about their experiences of the Child Protection System (CPS) in Scotland. Their responses show that they typically had clear views about the experience of being the focus of a CPS investigation, and were able to express these views in an individual interview. Many of the responses indicate strong dissatisfaction with the investigation process and procedures and suggest where these could be amended in order to engage young people more effectively.

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