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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2002): Child Welfare - UK

BASIC SKILLS, BASIC RIGHTS

T. Burke

Young People Now, no.152, 2001, p.18-19

Argues that if the Connexions Service is to be successful in engaging disaffected young people it will need to develop skills in consulting and listening to them. Describes an extensive user consultation exercise by Newcastle YMCA's Steps Ahead basic skills project which could act as a model.

CARE STANDARDS ACT 2000

C. Daly

ChildRight, no.181, 2001, p.14-15

Discusses the impact of the Care Standards Act on children's services, including fostering services, voluntary adoption agencies, child minding and day care providers, residential family centres, special schools and boarding schools, children's homes, health services and hospice care.

THE CHILDREN (Leaving Care) Act 2000

A. Tregenna-Piggott and C. Daly

ChildRight, no. 181, 2001, p.8-9

The Act came into force on October 1st, 2001. It substantially extends the duties of local authorities towards looked after children, and makes significant changes to certain aspects of the Children Act 1989. The local authority acts as a corporate parent to looked after children. Until now, this substitute parenting role effectively ceased at 16. The new Act will ensure that children leaving care at 16 will not suddenly cease to be the responsibility of the local authority, reflecting the reality of natural parenting. Local authorities are now obliged to advise, assist and befriend looked after children with a view to promoting their welfare when they cease to be looked after. The Act also alters arrangements for financial support and access to benefits.

A DASH OF MORAL OUTRAGE

A. Phillips

Guardian, Nov. 20th2001, p.22

Article starts by discussing the government's Teenage Pregnancy Unit's miscalculated approach in the launch and target audience of its advertising campaign. It then goes on to look at the Unit's advisory report which calls for better access to contraceptive advice and supplies - "even in schools if appropriate" - as well as more coherent sex education and easier access to abortion. It goes on to compare the UK's situation to that of France and the Netherlands and discusses how attitudes towards sex education and motherhood have changed over time.

DO PROPOSALS RELEGATE THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN?

J. Pearce

Community Care, Nov. 29th - Dec 5th 2001, p.19

There is pressure for the Adoption and Children Bill to be amended to allow cohabiting couples to jointly adopt children.

"AN INSUFFICIENT ACT"

T. Wylie

Young People Now, no. 152, 2001, p.24-25

The present statutory basis for youth work in England is the Learning and Skills Act 2000 under which powers and duties relating to the provision of a youth service fall to three different players. These are the Learning and Skills Council, local authorities and the Secretary of State for Health. Argues that the youth service needs a stronger legislative base, and that a clear duty for its provision needs to be laid on local education authorities.

PERFORMANCE targets and stability of placements for children long looked after away from home.

H. Ward and T. Skuse

Children and Society, vol. 15, 2001, p. 333-346

There are concerns that the national performance indicators for children's services may not be adequately interpreted and used to improve service delivery for individual children. Data from a longitudinal study of 249 looked after children demonstrate that one target, improving stability of placements, is more likely to be met if agencies can identify which children are moved frequently and why. While age and behavioural difficulties may have contributed to placement breakdown, the majority of the moves were planned transitions from one temporary placement to another. This suggests that the systems are not geared to meet the needs of children who cannot swiftly return home.

PRIVATE LIVES

T. Philpot

Community Care, Nov. 22nd-28th 2001, p.34-35

In the wake of the murder of Victoria Climbie, author calls for private fostering to be regulated and carers registered. Victoria was a privately fostered child.

TROUBLED TEENS

F. Rickford

Community Care, Nov. 15th -21st 2001, p.28-29

Discusses reasons for the lack of support services for troubled teenagers and their parents. Children's services are currently dominated by child protection, and lack resources to develop innovative ways of engaging with disaffected teenagers.

WHY ADOPTION AND CHILDREN BILL COULD RESTRICT ACCESS TO BIRTH INFORMATION

T. Philpot

Community Care, Nov. 15th -21st 2001, p.20

Points out that Clause 54:4 of the Adoption and Children Bill allows access to birth certificates and other information which identifies a third party (normally a birth parent) to be restricted if the third party objects. This removes existing statutory means for adopted people to trace their birth parents.

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