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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 1999): Child Welfare - UK

CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR CHILDREN'S SERVICES

Anon
Foster Care, no. 96, 1999, p. 10.

Describes Quality Protects, a three-year programme initiated by the Department of Health which sets national objectives for English local authorities. These include increasing placement choice and minimising moves in both foster and residential care, improving educational attainments for children in public care and enhancing support services for care leavers.

THE CHILDREN ACT 1989: PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE. 2ND ED.

M. Ryan
Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999.

Book provides a practical guide to those parts of the Children Act 1989 that relate to the provision of services by local authorities, dealing particularly with the power and duties of local authorities in such circumstances, care and supervision proceedings and child protection issues.

CRIMINAL RECORDS BUREAU LAUNCHED

Anon
Volunteering, no. 44, 1999, p. 7.

Explains that the Bureau would process three levels of checks on criminal records. The basic criminal conviction certificate, costing £5,00 will show all unspent convictions held. The criminal record certificate, also costing £5.00, will list all convictions including those spent and cautions. The enhanced criminal record certificate, costing £10.00 and available for those regularly caring for children under 18, will include information from local police about suspicious behaviour which has not led to a conviction.

"DISAFFECTED YOUTH" - A WICKED ISSUE: A WORSE LABEL

H. Piper and J. Piper
Youth and Policy, no. 62, 1998/99, p. 32-43.

Argues that the field of work with disaffected young people is at risk of being dominated by projects characterised by short timescales, discriminatory language, quick-fix attitudes and uni-dimensional performance indicators. Instead, the agenda should be driven by long-term, holistic, democratic and participatory considerations.

EXIT STRATEGY

S. Wellard
Community Care, issue 1259, 1999, p. 18-20.

Late in 1998 the government published draft guidance intended to ensure that children abused through prostitution received protection and support and that action was taken against the adults who abused them. The guidance was based on experience gained in pilot projects in Wolverhampton and Nottingham, which are described in this article.

THE GREEN PAPER ON CHILD SUPPORT: CHILDREN FIRST: A NEW APPROACH TO CHILD SUPPORT

N. Mostyn
Family Law, vol. 29, Feb. 1999, p. 95-103.

Commends the green paper for its insistence that the workings of the Child Support Agency must become more transparent. Argues that if a radically simplified formula for assessing maintenance is to replace the existing sophisticated one, there must be a wide departures system to enable the special circumstances of the individual case to be addressed. The figures thrown up by the new formula are too low to represent a reasonable contribution to maintenance. This is unfair, as is the failure to take into account the income of the non-custodial parent and the failure to impose a maximum.

INNOVATION IN CARE PLANNING FOR CHILDREN

L. Katz and B. Clatworthy
Family Law, vol. 29, Feb. 1999, p. 108-110.

The concept of concurrent planning is gaining support in both the US and the UK. The goal is to put in place a combined social work and legal structure that greatly reduces the number of placements children go through once they are removed from their parents.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

P. White
Young People Now, issue 118, 1999, p. 14-15.

Summarises ways in which bills before Parliament will influence the lives of young people. The Age of Consent and Abuse of Trust Bill will equalise the age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex. The Youth Justice and Witnesses Bill is intended to speed up the way the criminal justice system deals with young offenders. The Fairness at Work Bill should improve life for young workers with new rights for parental leave and increased protection against unfair dismissal. The proposed Community Legal Service may prove more accessible to young people than the existing system.

MP'S BILL PUTS SUSPECTED PAEDOPHILES ON BLACKLIST

A. Sparrow
Daily Telegraph, Feb. 22nd 1999, p. 2.

Under these proposals, which are due to get a second reading in the Commons on Friday, a central list would be established of all individuals considered unsuitable to work with children. Child care organisations would have to carry out checks on recruits, even volunteers.

NO MORE SECRETS AND LIES

K. Inman
Community Care, no. 1258, 1999, p. 8-9.

All organisations working with children will soon be able to dig into the histories of job applicants and scrutinise lists of paedophiles for their names before offering them employment. While professionals welcome moves to improve protection from abuse for vulnerable children, many fear that the proposals to tighten up recruitment procedures for people working with children will prove to be expensive, unenforceable and ineffective.

PREVENTION OR CURE?

N. Valios
Community Care, issue 1259, 1999, p. 10.

By putting £84 million into children's mental health services over three years, the government has addressed a taboo subject. It is argued that money should be invested in prevention and early intervention as well as treatment of children diagnosed with a mental health problem.

PROTECTING YOUNG PEOPLE: GOOD PRACTICE IN DRUG EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS AND THE YOUTH SERVICE

Department for Education and Employment
Sudbury: DFEE Publications, 1999.

Falls into sections covering drug education in schools and the youth service and giving guidance on dealing with drug-related incidents.

SAFE AND SOUND

J. Hirst
Community Care, issue 1259, 1999, p. 18-20.

The government is planning a vast expansion of child care driven by its determination to get lone and low-income parents off benefit and its belief in the long term social benefits of early intervention. Attention needs to be paid to raising standards in local-authority run nurseries and other day care settings, and safeguarding vulnerable users of these services. An integrated system of regulation and inspection needs to be developed, with joint working between social services and education departments needed to replace the present confused and fragmented approach.

THE SOCIAL EXCLUSION OF DISABLED CHILDREN: THE ROLE OF THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR IN THE CONTRACT CULTURE

L. Middleton
Disability and Society, vol. 14, 1999, p. 129-139.

The changes in balance between statutory and voluntary sector are seeing a move towards more local authority influence, which in some cases means that the voluntary sector is becoming a provider wing for social services departments. Those departments not committed to the inclusion of disabled children within mainstream child care or child protection services can make use of the voluntary sector to perpetuate segregation.

SUPPORTING CARE LEAVERS

Y. Sunmonu
Foster Care, no. 96, 1999, p. 8-9.

Looks at a range of existing initiatives by local authorities to support young people leaving care.

THREATENED CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUPS AND NURSERIES WIN £500,000 GRANT

R. Smithers
Guardian, March 17th 1999, p. 8.

The government is to take emergency action to stave off the threatened closure of thousands of nurseries and playgroups, launching a funding rescue package and an urgent review of the entire state pre-school sector. The problem has arisen from the expansion of pre-reception classes in primary schools.

LAC PLACEMENT PATTERNS: MANAGING THE PROCESS

S. Richards
Adoption and Fostering, vol. 22, no. 4, 1998/99, p. 24-29

Reviews the literature on purchaser/provider splits in children's services, and discusses whether there have been quantifiable effects in Social Services Departments which have chosen this management structure.

THE LOOKING AFTER CHILDREN MATERIALS: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THEIR USE IN PRACTICE

M. Bell
Adoption and Fostering, vol. 22, no. 4, 1998/99, p. 15-23.

Discusses some key issues in the use of the Looking After Children (LAC) materials which arose from their use by social work students and practitioners at the University of York. Overall, the practitioners were positive about the materials, reporting their value for the child in recording a detailed history, and in providing a structure for care planning which incorporated the views of all parties.

THE PROBLEM OF 'YOUTH' FOR YOUTH WORK

T. Jeffs and M. K. Smith
Youth and Policy, no. 62, 1998/99, p. 45-66.

Argues that the notion of youth work has a decreasing usefulness. Youth workers as informal educators need to reconnect with a concern for democracy and association. By fostering conversation, building communities and encouraging people to open up the opportunities for learning in daily life, they may help people to live more fulfilled and connected lives. There is a need to work alongside people so that they may learn and organise things for themselves. Current provision singularly fails to address this.

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