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

BEYOND THE EMPTY VESSEL

A. Moore

Young People Now, no.149, 2001, p.26-27

Article compares the US and UK approaches to 'positive youth development' a term which is widely used in the US. It looks at what the phrase means and examines ways of developing and explaining the concept in the UK. The ideas of continuous improvement across youth work, along with the next generation of New Deal and transitional employment programmes are all opportunities for developing and exploring the youth development concept in practice.

BREAD IS FREE: CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE TALK ABOUT POVERTY

C. Willow

London: Children's Rights Alliance for England, 2001

Presents views of 106 children and young people living in communities with high levels of deprivation on the experience of poverty. The main message from the consultation exercise was that children and young people want to contribute to finding solutions to poverty at both local and national level.

THE CHILDREN ACT REPORT 2000

Department of Health

London: 2001

Study charts progress in fulfilling the ambitions of the Children Act 1989. Finds that the government's target of reducing by 10% the number of at-risk children who are re-registered on the child protection register has been met;

  • the number of children taken into care is falling;
  • there has been a sharp rise in young people being cared for beyond their 18th birthday;
  • there has been a significant increase in the number of children placed for adoption over the past five years.

Confirms familiar problems with staff recruitment and retention, and the urgent need to improve the educational attainment of children in care.

CONNEXIONS PARTNERSHIPS: A FRAMEWORK FOR INSPECTION: DRAFT FOR CONSULTATION

Ofsted

London: 2001

All inspections will focus on the experience of young people and will evaluate:

  • the quality and effectiveness of the partnership;
  • the achievement of the young people;
  • the responsiveness of the partnership;
  • the quality of provision;
  • the value for money provided;
  • management effectiveness and efficiency.

FOSTERING SERVICES: NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS: FOSTERING SERVICES REGULATIONS

Department of Health

[London]: 2001

Presents 27 draft national standards for local authority and independent fostering services. The standards address:

  • the educational needs of children in foster care;
  • the competency and experience of fostering services management staff;
  • promotion of equality and diversity.

IT'S LIKE THAT: THE VIEWS AND HOPES OF DISADVANTAGED YOUNG PEOPLE

Prince's Trust

London: 2001

Research based on interviews with 3000 young people from disadvantaged communities explodes media myths about them and shows them to have positive attitudes and to want a place in society. Finds that most young fathers feel great love and responsibility for their children, most young mothers can cope with and enjoy motherhood and most of the young unemployed want to work and regret their wasted opportunities at school. Among the recommendations of the report are family planning advice that focuses on the realities of parenthood, help for young people at risk of offending, including anger management training, and mentoring and skills training to help young offenders get out of crime.

MAP POINTS TO NEW DIRECTIONS FOR PARENTING

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Jul. 19th-25th 2001, p.10-11

A map of family support services in England and Wales has been produced by the National Family and Parenting Institute. Although the establishment of these services has been positive, that success has been hindered by a lack of access. This was seen especially in areas already experiencing high levels of social exclusion. Article goes on to discuss ways of promoting the services through schools or family support co-ordinators along with other issues surrounding the services.

NATIONAL REGISTER TO SPEED ADOPTIONS

N. Martin

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 8th 2001, p.10

A national adoption register for England and Wales will start in October in an attempt to speed up the process of finding families for thousands of children in care. The Health Minister Jacqui Smith has said the register should help government reach its target of a 40 per cent increase in the adoption rate by 2005.

(See also Times, 8th Aug. 2001, p.5; Independent, 8th Aug. 2001, p.8).

NURSERY PLACES TO FREE PARENTS FOR WORK

R. Smithers

Guardian, July 25th 2001, p.10 + 17

Reports a package of government measures aimed at developing more integrated childcare services to make it easier for parents to work. Plans include:

  • the creation of 45,000 new childcare places in 900 new neighbourhood nurseries in deprived areas;
  • a £40m boost for pre-school education for three- and four-year-olds in disadvantaged areas;
  • £10m funding from the European Social Fund for training childcare workers.

(See also Times, July 25th 2001, p.5; Independent, July 25th 2001, p.8).

PROBLEMS WITH BRIDGING THE GAP: THE REVERSAL OF STRUCTURE AND AGENCY IN ADDRESSING SOCIAL EXCLUSION

H. Colley and P. Hodkinson

Critical Social Policy, vol.21, 2001, p.335-359

The Social Exclusion Unit's report "Bridging the Gap" discusses how to reintegrate disaffected young people who have dropped out of education, or training. It attributes the problem to the personal failings and shortcomings of the individual young people themselves, without reference to the effects of structural inequalities in society. However the solution offered, the Connexions Service, offers only bureaucratic standardised solutions governed by increasingly punitive government targets without due attention to individual needs.

RUNNING ON EMPTY

N. Valios

Community Care, no.1385, 2001, p.20-21

Spending on children's services has risen due to:

  • more frequent family breakdown;
  • a rise in the birth rate;
  • more professional awareness of the signs of child abuse;
  • disabled children living longer. These factors have led to a rise in the number of children in care. In order to fund services, local authorities may be tempted to siphon money from other areas such as care of the elderly and disabled.

SETTING THE STANDARDS FOR FOSTERING

A. Dobson

Community Care, no.1387, 2001, p.10-11

Reports professional responses to the proposed national minimum standards for fostering.

STRONG FAMILIES, SAFE CHILDREN

N. Westland

Foster Care, no.106, 2001, p.8-9

Argues that more use should be made of family and friends as foster carers for children who are unable to live with theirparents. Such carers however, need financial and emotional support.