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

ADOPTION AND CONTACT

D. Casey and A. Gibberd

Family Law, vol.31, Jan 2001, p.39-43

Many of the results of current research undermine the rationale for the clean break or permanence approach to adoption. Article explores the manner in which decisions are made about post-adoption contact for children leaving local authority care. Summarises the research data and shows how the history of adoption law is influencing current practice. Demonstrates that the legal system and current social work practice are not keeping pace with research results.

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR: AN OVERVIEW OF CHILD PLACEMENT AND ADOPTION WORK BY VOLUNTARY ADOPTION AGENCIES IN ENGLAND, 1994-1998

G. Ivaldi

London: British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, 2000

Study scrutinises crucial areas of child placement and adoption work by voluntary adoption agencies on the basis of existing data collected by the Social Services Inspectorate.

COMMITTED TO CARING: THE VIEWS OF SHORT BREAK CARERS FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE "HARD TO PLACE"

B. Prewett

York: York Publishing Services, 2000

Shared care schemes provide a support service to disabled children and their families. While the vital family support provided by short break services has been increasingly recognised, and the provision of short breaks promoted by government initiatives, the disabled children and their families most in need of support are waiting for services because of lack of carers. The children most difficult to place include those with complex health care needs or with challenging behaviour. Report highlights fundamental issues relating to recruiting and retaining short break carers. These include: the way in which the service itself and the short break carer's role are conceptualised, the amount carers are paid and the way they are provided with support by short break schemes.

COST OF CHILDCARE "OUT OF REACH FOR MANY PARENTS"

L. Duckworth

Independent, Feb 5th 2001, p.6

Survey shows that childcare costs have soared to the point where they are now out of reach for many parents. A full-time nursery place for a two-year-old now costs at least £110 a week, and the cost of a place with a childminder has risen to £90 a week on average. About 55% of mothers with children under school age now work, creating a demand for affordable child care.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Feb 5th 2001, p.5; Guardian, Feb 5th 2001, p.9).

DRAFT NATIONAL ADOPTION STANDARDS FOR ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND WALES

Department of Health

London: 2000

Proposes a system in which the needs, wishes and welfare of the child are central; prospective adopters are responded to promptly and given clear information; every effort will be made to link approved adopters with a suitable child, and birth families will be supported.

EARLY YEARS DEVELOPMENT AND CHILDCARE PARTNERSHIPS (EYDCPs) IN ENGLAND; POLICY AND IMPLEMENTATION

E Sestini

International Journal of Early Childhood, vol.32, 2000, p.32-39

Paper focuses on the network of Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships established in the UK. These consist of providers and local authority representatives and aim to ensure the availability of pre-school provision within a city or district which meets both the needs of parents and government imposed quality standards. Funding for childcare/education of three and four-year-olds is dependent on meeting government regulations for childcare and successful regular inspection of provision in terms of the government framework for the pre-school curriculum, Desirable Learning Outcomes, now revised as Early Learning Goals.

GOOD ON PAPER

F. Rickford

Community Care, no.1358, 2001, p.18-19

Article comments on the recent adoption white paper. Welcomes the proposals for special guardianship for children who need permanent homes but do not wish to sever their ties with their birth families. However, expresses concern over the white paper's failure to recommend abolition of freeing for adoption orders.

LINKING CHILDREN WITH ADOPTIVE PARENTS: MESSAGES FROM A REVIEW OF BAAF'S NATIONAL FAMILY-FINDING SERVICES

F. Collier, B. Hutchinson and J. Pearmain

London: British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, 2000

Be My Parent and BAAF Link, BAAF's two UK-wide family finding mechanisms, were asked to view retrospectively their statistics for 1998-1999. These data were analysed for any information that might assist policymakers to review practice and procedures. An argument is presented for the development of a UK-wide register of potential adopters and available children.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Childcare Commission

London: Kids' Clubs Network (Trading) Ltd, 2001

Proposes that:

  • a children's centre should be set up in every region to provide nursery and after school care;
  • parents should be offered generous financial support for the first three years of a child's life to help pay for either formal or family care;
  • tax relief on childcare expenses should be offered;
  • a new government department of work and family services should be set up;
  • there should be increased flexibility and a change in the tax system to encourage family friendly employment patterns;
  • mothers should be given the right to return to work 12 months after having a child.

SO EASY IT'S CHILD'S PLAY

P. Toynbee

Guardian, Jan 31st 2001, p.21

Argues for an extension of welfare state provision to include universally available affordable childcare through a network of neighbourhood children's centres.

SURVEYING ADOPTION: A COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS OF LOCAL AUTHORITY ADOPTIONS 1998-1999 (ENGLAND)

G. Ivaldi

London: British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, 2000

Study provides a comprehensive picture of the numbers, characteristics and histories of looked after children who were adopted in England in 1998/99. Provides information about the time taken at each stage of the adoption process and the influence of the child's history and special needs on this. Shows a reduction in the overall period of time a child remains in care, and a reduction of the average age at which children are adopted.

WHO'S LOOKING AFTER THE CHILDREN? INSPECTION OF REGISTRATION AND INSPECTION ARRANGEMENTS FOR UNDER EIGHTS DAY CARE SERVICES

Social Services Inspectorate

London: DH Publications, 2000

Found inspection staff to be working under such pressure that their main concern was meeting statutory targets rather than the quality of their evaluations. They were isolated and marginalised, receiving little support from senior managers or councillors. Many staff lacked the confidence to challenge poor practice and others lacked the knowledge to recognise child abuse.

A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY?

J. Cresswell

Community Care, no.1356, 2001, p.20-21

Explores the impact of government measures such as Sure Start, the Connexions service and the Children's Fund on the work of children's charities.

YOUNG AND IN LUCK

T. Brown

Third Sector, issue 201, 2001, p.10

Argues that young people need to be consulted in depth, with continued involvement, and the voluntary groups that deal with them need support, if social exclusion is to be overcome.