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

BLAIR TO GIVE ALL RUNAWAY CHILDREN A MENTOR

J. Sherman

Times, Mar. 22nd 2001, p. 11

Many children who run away from home end up sleeping rough and/or involved in crime. Government is proposing that a personal adviser is assigned to each child once they have been picked up by the police.

CONSULTATION ON YOUNG RUNAWAYS: BACKGROUND PAPER

Social Exclusion Unit

London: 2001

Report sets out a proposed new system for dealing with children who run away. Ideas presented for consultation include: assigning young runaways a personal adviser or mentor; establishing a network of refuges; having a named person co-ordinate services for runaways in each area; and logging runaways incidents in the Connexions tracking database to ensure that repeat runaways are given priority.

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

R. Winchester

Community Care, no. 1362, 2001, p. 18-19

Family group conferencing is a family-centred approach to planning for children at risk. It involves gathering members of the child's extended family for a one-off meeting with the aim of their coming up with their own plan to address concerns about their family member. It is, however, costly and there are concerns that councils are stripping vital elements from the process in the interests of saving money.

LABOUR'S PATCHY RECORD ON POVERTY

M. Hunter

Community Care, no. 1363, 2001, p. 10-11

Reviews Labour's record on eradicating child poverty. The New Labour government began badly by abolishing lone parent benefit, making two million children worse off. However since then a raft of measures including a 29% rise in child benefit, the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit, the minimum wage and the New Deals, have lifted more than one million out of poverty.

A MODEL APPROACH

J. Wonnacutt and M. Kennedy

Community Care, no. 1363, 2001, p. 27

Explores the implications of the new assessment framework for children in need for social work practice with disabled children. For these to benefit from the new framework, social services will need to:

  • acknowledge the existence of institutional discrimination against disabled people;
  • provide appropriate training for practitioners;
  • encourage joint working between teams responsible for safeguarding and those focusing on promoting welfare.

NEW SCREENING FOR CHILD CARE WORKERS

T. Thomas

ChildRight, no. 174, 2001, p. 8-9

Describes the new pre-employment screening system for child care workers, teachers, etc. which is to be introduced in late 2001. Under the new system, local authorities, local education authorities and other agencies approved as recipients of police held criminal records will go to a centralised Criminal Records Bureau which will disclose convictions on a national basis. The new service will be charged instead of free as now.

OUT-OF-SCHOOL LIVES, OUT-OF-SCHOOL SERVICES

P. Petrie et al

London: TSO, 2000

Surveys the different sorts of out-of-school services for school-age children, and the everyday lives of those who use them. Covers use of services by older children, children's culture, and issues of multiculturalism, racism and disability.

PRE-SCHOOL GROUPS TO GET STAR RATINGS

L. Ward

Guardian, Mar. 27th 2001, p. 7

Reports launch of the Investors in Children scheme, under which nurseries and playgroups will be ranked under a standardised national system to highlight quality of education, care and facilities.

SUPPORTING MOTHERS: ISSUES IN A COMMUNITY MOTHERS PROGRAMME

P. O'Connor

Community, Work and Family, vol. 4, 2001, p. 63-86

Article describes a community support programme which implicitly challenges the assumption that the existence of a partner and local kin obviates the need to support new mothers. Implicit in the programme is the idea that support of mothers, by mothers, validates the activity of child care and is one way of facilitating the child's development. The programme was run on a "paid volunteering" basis and was successful in terms of its perceived impact on both the providers' and the recipients' ability to parent, in terms of providing training and support to providers and in terms of strengthening links within the community and between providers and the statutory and voluntary sectors in Limerick.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

R. Winchester

Community Care, no. 1366, 2001, p. 18-20

Under the government's Connexions scheme, all young people aged 13-19 will be assigned a personal adviser who will act as a mentor and role model. There is concern among social care professionals because:

  • the scheme is heavily focused on academic attainment and employability at the expense of personal and social development;
  • the Connexions Card which will be issued to all the young people will have "smart" facilities which could enable it to be used as a vehicle for spying and surveillance;
  • the scheme offers attractive pay and conditions which could lure young social workers into jumping ship.