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Welfare Reform on the Web - January 2001: Child welfare - UK

£155M CHILDCARE PLAN TO HELP SINGLE PARENTS

M. Woolf

Independent, Oct. 10th 2000, p.4

More than 900 new nurseries are to be set up in deprived areas of England in a £155m injection of funds into childcare over the next four years. Annual investment in childminding and after-school clubs will also rise from £66m this year to more than £200m by 2003/04. Improved access to childcare should help single parents return to work.

(See also Guardian, Oct. 10th 2000, p. 9; Financial Times, Oct. 10th 2000, p.4).

ACTING FOR THE BEST?

J. Wood

Foster Care, no.103, 2000/01, p. 16-17

Examines the impact of the establishment of the new National Care Standards Commission on the inspection and regulation of foster care services.

ADOPTION: THE PRIME MINISTER'S REVIEW

C. Barton

Family Law, vol. 30, 2000, p.731-735

The government proposes setting targets to increase the number of children in local authority care who are adopted. The targets could be achieved by recruiting more adopters and supporting them better, improving the performance of local authorities, making the court system work better, and changing the law. Author argues that the proposed reforms could lead to the welfare of the child being ignored in order that targets should be met, and could undermine the rights of birth parents. Adoption could then be used as a means for the wholesale redistribution of children.

ADOPTION IS ONLY ONE OPTION

Douglas and A. Thompson

Community Care, no. 1341, 2000, p. 26-27

Presents case for reforms to adoption procedures, including replacing parental consent with parental agreement, better post-placement support, regularisation of open adoptions, and an overhaul of the cumbersome freeing for adoption process. Also reminds readers that some very damaged children are unsuitable for adoption.

ADOPTION TRAINING ON CARDS AS TASK FORCE HITS ROAD

L. Revans

Community Care, no. 1343, 2000, p.2-3

Announces the launch by government of a new adoption and permanence task force. It will be made up of 20-30 part-time members who will work in individual authorities in teams of five or six members and will agree an action plan with councils to improve performance.

ASSESSING THE DILEMMA

R. Winchester

Community Care, no. 1345, 2000, p. 24-25

The government has set tough targets for the assessment of children's and families' needs. Social Services departments are faced with the dilemma of failing to meet the targets due to lack of staff resources or spending money on expensive outside agencies.

FINDING THEIR FEET

Laurent

Health Service Journal, vol. 110, Oct. 26th 2000, p. 14-15

Reports on encouraging progress in respect of Sure Start projects in Hastings and Bradford.

HOLY ORDERS

Thompson

Community Care, no. 1340, 2000, p.25

Looks at the implications of the provisions of the Human Rights Act relating to freedom of religion for social care. Focuses particularly on the inter-religious and placement and adoption of children.

LEARNING THE LESSONS: THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO 'LOST IN CARE'

Anon

Child Right, no. 169, 2000, p. 6-8

Summarises the government's response to the Waterhouse report in the areas of children's commissioners, complaints procedures, absconsions, physical restraint, private residential schools and placement options.

LINKING CHILDREN WITH ADOPTIVE PARENTS

Felicity Collier, Barbara Hutchinson and Julia Pearman

London: British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, 2000.

Research shows that, contrary to popular belief, the majority of adopters are married couples, with only 5% being single. Progress is being made in reducing delays in arranging adoption for children in local authority care who cannot return to their birth parents. Findings highlight delays in the adoption process for black children and confirm the need for post-adoption support for the 40% of children with special needs. Report also calls into question current foster carer adoption policies, the adoption allowances scheme, the preference still given to traditional family structures and the myth that adopters need to be under 35.

THE NATIONAL YOUTH AGENCY: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

T. Wylie

Youth and Policy, no. 69, 2000, p.62-69

Gives a summary history of the National Youth Agency. Calls for the creation of a single body to act as the voice of, and deliver services to, both voluntary and maintained youth work sectors to replace the National Youth Agency, the British Youth Council and the National Council of Voluntary Youth Services.

PARTNERSHIP REVIEWED: WORDS OF CAUTION, WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

M. Hill

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 24, no.3, 2000, p. 56-68

Partnership with birth parents was one of the main principles of child welfare policy in the UK in the 1990s. Article reviews research evidence about progress and shortcomings in the ways in which British child welfare agencies, particularly local authorities, have sought to work with parents in relation to family placements. The implications of the research evidence are then discussed in terms of a spectrum of co-operation and the need for honesty about what degree of co-operation is desirable or feasible when the primary goal is promoting the child's welfare.

PLAYING WITH FIRE?

F. Rickford

Community Care, no. 1340, 2000, p. 20-21

There is increasing pressure on councils to contract out children's services to the private or voluntary sectors. Problems with this approach include communication and liaison difficulties, the questionable ethos of some providers, and difficulties in adequately monitoring the performance of the contractors.

SAFE GUARDING CHILDREN: PLACEMENT CHOICE AND CREATING A VISION FOR LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN IN NORTHERN IRELAND

McAuley

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 24, no.3, 2000, p.48-55

Three-and-a-half years after the implementation of the Children (NI) Order 1995, government reports have confirmed that there are serious concerns about the sufficiency of placement within both residential and foster care services: Article argues that regional strategic leadership to address these concerns is particularly important in the context of the current complex organisational arrangements for the commissioning and delivery of social services in Northern Ireland.

SIDELINED: YOUNG ADULTS' ACCESS TO SERVICES

Howarth and C. Street

London: New Policy Institute, 2000.

Argues that young adults are bearing the brunt of the country's social problems without adequate support from state or voluntary services. As well as current initiatives focused on employment, education and training they need practical and emotional support, particularly to ease the transition from living with parents to living independently.

TASK FORCE MOVES CHILD CARE TOWARDS NEW ADOPTION MODEL

L. Revans

Community Care, no. 1344, 2000, p. 10-11

Announces the imminent launch of an Adoption and Permanence Task Force to help failing local authorities improve their services and plans to set up a national adoption register by Spring 2001.

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