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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2001): Child Welfare - UK

ADOPTION: A NEW APPROACH

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2000 (Cm 5017)

Proposals include:

  • national targets to increase the number of adoptions of children in care by 40% over five years;
  • a national adoption register to match children with parents;
  • independent reviews for people rejected as adopters;
  • new status of "special guardianship" for children needing a permanent home but not wanting legal separation from birth parents;
  • investment of £66.5m over three years to improve services and support for adoptive families;
  • councils to decide if adoption is appropriate within six months of a child being taken into care and to find a family within a further six months;
  • 18 weeks parental leave for adopters.

ADOPTION CHANGES

Social Services Inspectorate

Department of Health, 2000

Report highlights delays and inconsistencies nationwide. One in five looked-after children wait for more than three years to be adopted, and many older children have to wait up to four and a half years. In March 1999, no adoptive family had been found for 2500 children for whom adoption was the plan. One in five of these were black. Major causes of delay included:

  • lack of social work staff;
  • competing work priorities;
  • courts' difficulties in scheduling;
  • guardian ad litem requests for further assessments.
There was little or no recruitment activity for potential adoptive parents, and once recruited, adopters were left with little or no support.

AN ARCHITECTURE FOR MODERN YOUTH WORK

T. Wylie

International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, vol.9, 2000, p.15-26

The task of youth work is to help young people, especially the disadvantaged, with their transitions into adult life. Local services for young people are being reshaped; a new architecture for their design and delivery is proposed. The role of the youth worker is changing and training and professional development need to take account of these changes.

DISCIPLINING PRACTICES: NEW WAYS OF MAKING YOUTH WORKERS ACCOUNTABLE

S. Bradford

International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, vol.9, 2000, p.45-63

Article reflects on current managerial practices in youth work and explores one model of accountability. This model embodies a form of power which aligns contemporary political aspirations (e.g. value for money) with the development of new professional identities (e.g. effective and efficient practice). Suggests that such new accountability practices introduced into youth work should be seen as part of a broader transformation of professional work and identities in ways that accord with the principles of neo-liberalism.

MARGINALIZED YOUNG PEOPLE AND SOCIAL INCLUSION POLICY IN NORTHERN IRELAND

D. MacVicar

Regional Studies, vol.34, 2000, p.883-888

Article discusses how policy makers in Northern Ireland are trying to combat the social exclusion of young people, and how they might strengthen their efforts in the light of a recent major study of youth unemployment in the region. Proposes targeting of measures on vulnerable groups, setting up an independent advice and support service to help young people through their transition to independence, and combating the disaffection of significant numbers of young people with education.

NEW CHANCE FOR EASIER ADOPTION LAW

S. Hall

Guardian, Dec 15th 2000, p.13

Reports that Caroline Spelman, MP, has won the right to introduce a private member's bill on adoption that would set up a national register of would-be adoptive parents and establish national eligibility criteria.

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

S. Wellard

Community Care, no.1351, 2000, p.22-23

Calls for better support for birth families of adopted children, with a view to enabling them to maintain contact. The majority of birth families currently lose their children to adoption unwillingly, and sometimes through no fault of the mothers, through contested orders.

POCKET MONEY PAY FOR CHILD CARERS

Anon

New Review of the Low Pay Unit, no.66, 2000, p.9-10

The government needs to recruit tens of thousands of childcare workers if it is to deliver its promise to provide a million more childcare places as part of its National Childcare Strategy. Article argues that if this target is to be met, the pay and conditions of childcare workers must improve.

PRE-BUDGET STATEMENT 2000: ITS IMPACT ON CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Anon

ChildRight, no.172, 2000, p.3

Summarises the proposals in the pre-budget statement 2000 for investment in education, the Children's Tax Credit and the extension of the New Deal for Lone Parents.

THE YEAR OF THE CHILD?

C. Willow and K. Gledhill

Community Care, no.1354, 2001, p.18-19

Argues that the planned Children's Rights Director for England should:

  • develop effective complaints and advocacy procedures;
  • have power to investigate cases where general principles are at stake;
  • support children in using legal processes to challenge breaches of their rights;
  • be supported by local children's rights and advocacy services.

YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE EDUCATIONAL ROLE OF YOUTH WORK IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM: FROM VOLUNTARISM TO COMPULSION?

R. Gutfreund

International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, vol.9, 2000, p.5-13

The aims of the Albermarle report (to underpin a state funded professional youth service providing for the voluntary association, leisure and personal development needs of young people) are being relegated as government resources increasingly target "excluded" young people and those "at risk". There is a shift to multi-agency teams to combat social exclusion and make the disaffected more employable. The series of compulsory measures introduced, including youth advisors, careers awareness training, learning gateways and the Connexions Service, are an undisguised form of social control reminiscent of the worst totalitarian regimes.