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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2012): Child welfare - UK

Children and HIV in Scotland: findings from a cross-sector needs assessment of children and young people infected and affected by HIV in Scotland

V.E. Cree and D. Sidhva

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 41, 2011, p. 1586-1603

This article presents the findings of a recent study that investigated the health and social care needs of children and young people affected and infected by HIV in Scotland. Findings are compared with earlier research into the needs of Scottish children and young people infected and affected by HIV. There are now more people living with HIV in Scotland and a new population of Black Africans who are HIV positive. More young people are presenting with HIV at an older age, and, at the same time, there are more under-five-year-olds that are infected by HIV. Infected and affected children want to be treated as normal, but their lives are far from normal. It is unlikely that generalist practitioners in either health or children's services will have the confidence or expertise to support these children. It is vital that specialist voluntary-sector HIV agencies are given the financial support they need to develop services to support these children and young people in the future.

A chronicling system for children's social work: learning from the ICS failure

D. Ince and A. Griffiths

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 41, 2011, p. 1497-1513

A major part of the work of British social workers in children's departments is interacting with an IT system known as the Integrated Children's System (ICS) that implements both record keeping and reporting functions. After a short time in operation, the system is now regarded as deficient and there is a body of evidence to suggest that the impact of its implementation has all too often been antithetical to core social work values and ambitions. This article describes the mistakes made in developing the system, but points out that many of the short to medium-term problems that have been encountered with the IT component of the ICS can be solved by relatively simple technological means and that such means enable an easy response to long term change such as shifts in government policy.

Decision of a lifetime

C. Goddard

Children and Young People Now, Dec. 13th 2011-Jan. 9th 2012, p. 25-27

The coalition government has launched a drive to increase rates of adoption of children in care. It is attempting to speed up the process of placing children with adoptive parents, it has published league tables exposing the performance of local authorities on adoption, and it has appointed Martin Narey, former chief executive of Barnardo's as adoption tsar. There are concerns that in its enthusiasm for adoption, it is overlooking other permanent care options that may better suit individual children, such as long-term fostering or kinship care.

How NHS reforms will affect the vital role of safeguarding children

L. Higgs

Children and Young People Now, Dec. 13th 2011-Jan. 9th 2012, p. 8-9

It is unclear how child safeguarding will function in the reformed NHS, amid fears that increased localism and competition could created a more fragmented approach to child health. There are unanswered questions about how local safeguarding children boards will link to the new health and well being boards and who will commission specialist safeguarding posts. Clinical Commissioning Groups will take over responsibility for safeguarding from primary care trusts, but will need extensive training to meet the challenge.

Legal right for divorced parents to see children

C. Hope

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 6th 2012, p. 1 + 2

This article reports government plans to place a legal duty on family courts to ensure that both fathers and mothers are given access to children in divorce settlements. Parents who refused to accept the orders would be in contempt of court and risk serious penalties. This decision would overturn the main recommendation of the Norgrove review of the family justice system, which dropped a plan to enshrine equal access rights in law from its final report.

Major charities refine their focus as incomes are set to diminish

N. Puffett

Children and Young People Now, Dec. 13th 2011-Jan. 9th 2012, p. 14-15

Barnardo's, Action for Children, and the NSPCC are all examining the programmes they offer to children and families as they take steps to address a fall in government funding and public donations

Parents 'need text messages telling them to turn off TV'

S. Adams

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 16th 2012, p. 10

One Jean Gross, the outgoing communications champion for children, proposed the introduction of a new government service which would send parents text messages advising them how to improve their offspring's language skills. Use of the service would be voluntary. It would aim to combat the rise in speech and language difficulties among young children.

Safeguarding children from abroad: refugee, asylum seeking and trafficked children in the UK

E. Kelly and F. Bokhari(editors)

London: J. Kingsley, 2012

Children from abroad who are alone in the UK are vulnerable and at increased risk of harm without the care and protection of their parents or caregivers. They may be unaccompanied asylum seekers, refugees, or victims of trafficking. This book examines the issues and problems faced by these children, what their needs are, and how these needs should be met in order to ensure their effective safeguarding. It demonstrates that these children often receive a different level of service to children who are UK citizens, and examines how these gaps in services can be addressed. Chapters cover the identification and age assessment of separated children, accommodation provision, private fostering, mental health, detention and returns, and the role of the guardian.

Staff-led youth services gather pace

N. Puffett

Children and Young People Now, Dec. 13th 2011-Jan. 9th 2012, p. 10-11

Local authorities are being forced to rethink the way that they deliver youth services as budget cuts hit provision for adolescents disproportionately hard. This has led some to consider the creation of staff-led mutuals. Although the idea is proving popular, a number of challenges are emerging.

The UNCRC and social workers' relationships with young children

K. Winter

Child Abuse Review, vol.20, 2011, p. 395-406

In the wake of a series of child deaths, social work practice in the UK came under the spotlight. The Munro review of child protection highlighted the lack of meaningful relationships between social workers and children known to them as one of the root causes of safeguarding failures. This raises the question of what can be done to strengthen these relationships and make social work practice more child-centred. This article applies the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to inquiry findings and from that develops practice principles that are explicitly informed by and mapped onto the UNCRC.

Understanding and achieving quality in Sure Start Children's Centres: practitioners' perspectives

M. Cottle

International Journal of Early Years Education, vol. 19, 2011, p. 249-265

Sure Start Children's Centres are defined as hubs where children under five and their families can receive seamless and integrated services and information. This article draws on data from an ESRC-funded project that explored practitioners' understandings of the elusive concepts of quality and success. The practitioners working in the children's centres in this sample aspired to responsive, localised services as part of their visions of quality. However, their visions of quality were influenced by their personal histories, and the particular context of their setting as well as the wider political agenda. The data suggest that the concept of quality can be elusive and dynamic and that positive relationships, open dialogue and critical reflection are key to developing shared understandings which enable responsive services for children and their families.

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