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

ADVISERS: THIS TIME IT'S PERSONAL

T. Burke and Z. Ryan

Young People Now, issue 146, 2001, p.22-23

In order to get a flavour of how a Personal Adviser in Connexions may work, outlines the Personal Adviser role within the Learning Gateway in Leicestershire.

BREAKING BARRIERS : PROVISION AND PARTICIPATION IN AN OUT-OF-SCHOOL CENTRE

B. Mayall and S. Hood

Children and Society, vol. 15, 2001, p. 70-81

Paper takes the case of one out-of-school centre in Hackney as a way in to discussing issues arising from the expansion of out-of-school services over the last 20 years. In particular the authors explore children's participation rights and multi-agency working. Paper suggests that current government out-of-school policy raises key questions about the siting, staffing, coordination and costs of future services; and that underlying these are more fundamental questions about how children should be spending their time and whose perspective on this should be taken into account.

CHANGING PRACTICE AND AN EMERGING SOCIAL PEDAGOGUE PARADIGM IN ENGLAND : THE ROLE OF THE PERSONAL ADVISER.

P. Higham

Social Work in Europe, vol. 8, 2001, p.21-29

A traditional European social work model, the social pedagogue, will soon be introduced in England in the guise of the Personal Adviser within the Connexions Service for young people aged 13 to 19. The social pedagogue and the personal adviser share beliefs in human development, life long learning and fulfilment of inherent potential. Rather than perceiving the new role as a threat, steps should be taken to develop systems for joint qualifications to enable social work practitioners to undertake dual roles as social workers and personal advisers, and thus broaden the definition of social work in Britain.

CONNEXIONS : HOW WILL IT AFFECT ME?

R. Parsons

Young People Now, issue 146, 2001, p. 18-19

Article discusses the impact of the new Connexions Service on youth workers. It considers the role of the personal adviser and the continuing role of the youth service outside of Connexions.

THE CONNEXIONS STRATEGY AND ALL-AGE GUIDANCE

G. Ford

Derby: Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby, 2001. (Occasional paper).

Much concern has been expressed that the focus on "horizontal" integration of services for young people aged 13-19 within Connexions contains the risk of undermining the vertical integration of all-age guidance. Paper shows that the eight key principles of guidance delivery identified in the Connexions strategy apply to adults as well as young people. This is equally true of a number of additional principles of effective guidance, implicit to Connexions and ncessary for the successful implementation of local services. The Connexions strategy therefore provides a unique opportunity to build guidance provision at local level that meets the expressed requirements of all age groups. Genuine partnership working by all concerned is essential.

THE EFFECT OF PARENTS' EMPLOYMENT ON CHILDREN'S LIVES.

J. Amish and M. Francesconi

London : Family Policy Studies Centre, 2001

Study measured the impact on young people of having spent less time with their parents when they were under five because of work arrangements. Longer periods of full-time employment by mothers when their children were aged one to five tended to :

  • reduce the child's chances of obtaining A-levels;
  • increase the child's risk of unemployment in early adulthood;
  • increase the child's risk of experiencing psychological distress as a young adult;
  • reduce the chance of daughters giving birth before the age of 21.

Part-time employment by mothers appeared to have few adverse effects on children as young adults. However, having lived in a lone-parent family during childhood has associated with lower educational achievements.

FEELING WANTED

S. Russell

Community Care, no. 1369, 2001, p. 20

Recent research on the support care leavers want or expect from social services departments challenges some of the preconceptions social workers have about young people. Respondents to the survey showed no aversion to formal meetings and only one third wanted full control of their money. Most thought that social services personal advisers should be available until they were 21, and valued their association with the department.

IN ON THE ACT?

C. Boswell

Community Care, no. 1367, 2001, p. 25

Under the Children (Leaving Care) Act, relevant young people will no longer be eligible for benefits. Instead, the local authority will be required to conduct an assessment of their individual needs and draw up an agreed plan with the young person setting out how their support, including financial support, is to be provided.

MINISTERS TO REDIRECT AID TO THE RURAL POOR

L. Ward

Guardian, Apr. 23rd 2001, p. 4

Reports that Sure Start funds are to be redirected to provide travelling play buses and mobile health clinics in rural areas.

NEW START PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS FOR 14-16-YEAR-OLDS IN SCHOOL 1997-1999

Ofsted

London : 2000

Evaluates the New Start initiative for disaffected youngsters with respect to its impact on student attainment, mentoring effectiveness, and use of the curriculum, including the option of disapplying certain elements of the standard national curriculum.

NEW START PARTNERSHIPS 1999-2000 : LEARNING TO CONNECT

Ofsted

London : 2001

The New Start strategy was introduced in England in 1997 to enhance the involvement and achievement in education and training of disaffected young people. Report draws lessons from the projects that could help with the building up of the Connexions Service.

Emphasizes the need for ongoing evaluation of outcomes and the importance of multi agency working. Recommends that Personal Advisers should have caseloads of 15-20 referrals at any one time as work with disaffected youngsters is time-consuming.

NURSERY STAKES

D. Walker

Guardian, May 1st 2001, p.17

The number of childcare places has risen but only 25% of parents know that the government has a national childcare strategy. The way in which the Department for Education and Employment administers childcare in 12 different packages is to blame for the lack of publicity surrounding the scheme. The official target of the scheme is to have a childcare place in the most disadvantaged areas for every lone parent entering employment by 2004.

THE NEXT NATURE/NURTURE DEBATE: OR, SHOULD LABOUR PLACE MOTHERS AND INFANTS AT THE HEART OF PUBLIC POLICY?

D. Wincott

Political Quarterly, vol. 72, 2001, p. 227-238

Discusses the impact of scientific theories on public policy on the welfare of mothers and children. Modern genetics suggests that as the fate of every individual is genetically determined, policy interventions to improve the environment are futile. On the other hand the Barker hypothesis suggests that a range of health outcomes in middle age are significantly influenced by the precise characteristics of the environment experienced by individuals in the womb and in infancy. This theory would support Labour's policy initiatives to improve the lot of children.

ONE-STOP CHECKING SHOP WINS CAUTIOUS APPROVAL

R. Winchester

Community Care, no. 1368, 2001, p. 10-11

The Criminal Records Bureau, which is to be launched in Summer 2001, will provide a single gateway to the confidential and criminal records of employees and volunteers applying to work with children. The Bureau will be self-financing, with each check costing 12.00. This will, however, be waived for volunteers. There is concern about the error rates in the records.

"OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND" : ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF MARKETS FOR CHILDREN'S RESIDENTIAL CARE

I. Kirkpatrick, M. Kichener and R. Whipp

Public Administration, vol. 79, 2001, p. 49-71

Reports findings of a study of purchasing practices for children's residential care in twelve local authorities in England and Wales. The impact of the emerging market is analysed along two dimensions. Firstly, authors assess how far it is operating efficiently, concentrating on market structures, information and transaction costs. Secondly, attention is given to the impact of market changes on the policy objectives of : localised placements; ensuring adequate safeguards and matching needs and services. Results show that there have been significant costs associated with markets in children's services. These difficulties draw attention to the need for greater collaboration between purchasers and provides and point to the continued relevance of local authority managed provision.

PASSING VERDICT

D. Phillips

Young People Now, issue 146, 2001 p. 20-21

Reports on a process developed by the National Youth Agency and British Youth Council to enable young people to evaluate plans by Connexions providers to involve youth in the development and delivery of the new service.

PREVENTING UNSUITABLE PEOPLE FROM WORKING WITH CHILDREN : THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND COURT SERVICES BILL

T. Thomas

Child Abuse Review, vol. 10, 2001, p. 60-69

This Bill will introduce "disqualification orders" preventing people with convictions for offences against children from applying to work with children. Article considers how these orders will fit with existing criminal record check arrangements, current bans and the role of the Criminal Records Bureau, which will tie all these systems together into a "one-stop shop".

SOMEBODY ELSE'S PROBLEM

F. Rickford

Community Care, no. 1370, 2001, p. 20-21

An average of 2000 children run away form home every week in the UK. Currently local authority social services departments are not expected, or funded, to respond to runaways unless they are absconding from care or are referred by another agency due to child protection issues. There is only one refuge for runaway children in Britain, and that has only four beds. Article calls for better preventive services and a stronger safety net.

STATE LIABLE TO PAY CHILDREN ABUSED BY THEIR PARENTS

F. Gibb

Times, May 11th 2001, p.6

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Bedfordshire Social Services are liable to pay compensation for failing to protect four children from abuse. It ruled they suffered inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of the European convention on Human Rights and, because they had been unable to sue the local authority, they had been denied remedy under Article 13. The Court has in effect swept away the immunity from legal action enjoyed by social services when they fail to discharge their statutory duties.

(See also Guardian, May 11th 2001, p. 11)

TRANSFORMING YOUTH WORK: DEVELOPING YOUTH WORK FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Connexions and Department for Education and Employment

Nottingham : DFEE Publications, 2001

Proposes that :

  • Ofsted and the DFEE should toughen the inspection regime for youth work;
  • Local authorities should build links between their youth service and health, education and crime prevention, should not use
  • Connexions as an excuse to cut spending, and should engage with the emerging Children's Fund Partnerships;
  • voluntary organisations should support Connexions and identify young people in need of a Personal Adviser;
  • Connexions Partnerships should work out how they can collaborate with the youth service.

THE WHITE PAPER, ADOPTION: A NEW APPROACH : A "CURATE'S EGG"?

C. Ball

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 25, Spring 2001, p. 6-12

Presents a critique of government proposals for the partial reform of adoption law set out in the White Paper. Welcomes the proposed adoption register, the new and consistent framework for adoption allowances, resources for improved adoption services and better child care training for social workers. Argues that the White Paper is flawed because it failed to tackle thorny issues such as step-parent adoption, freeing orders, post-adoption contact with birth families, and (lack of) parental agreement to adoption.

WHO CARES? CHILD MINDING IN THE 1990s

A. Mooney et al

Policy Studies Centre 2001

Study shows that the number of registered childminders has fallen by 30,000 to 76,000 in 2000 from 106, 000 in 1992. Part of the reason for the decline is the job's low pay and poor status, with childminders earning an average of £103 for a 34- hour week. Most do not get paid holidays and many have insecure incomes because parents can suddenly reduce their hours. Women with few qualifications who have traditionally become childminders can now find other jobs offering the same flexibility over working hours but better pay.