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

30% OF CHILDREN 'LIVE IN POVERTY'

Anon.

The Guardian, Jan. 25th 2002, p.6

There are proportionately twice as many poor children in Britain as Germany, according to a study for the Anglo-German Foundation. Around 30% of British children live in poverty - household income less than 60% of the national average - against a German figure of 19%.

CAN MENTORS HELP PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN WITH BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS? FINAL REPORT OF THE THREE-YEAR EVALUATION OF PROJECT CHANCE CARRIED OUT BY THE THOMAS CORAM RESEARCH UNIT BETWEEN MARCH 1997 AND 2000

I. St James-Roberts and C. S. Singh

London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate 2001 (Home Office Research Study; 233)

Project Chance, the subject of this report, is a community-based intervention programme designed to prevent long-term antisocial behaviour, social exclusion and criminal offending. The project provides trained mentors who work one-to-one with primary school age children. It produced evidence that the use of mentors to support children with behaviour problems has been effective. It offers potentially cost-effective preventive intervention which catches problems before they become entrenched.

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS IN SCOTLAND

A. Cleland and E. Sutherland

Edinburgh: W. Green & Sons Ltd, 2001

This book examines law and practice in Scotland on children's issues. It provides a comprehensive and practical guide to children's rights. It looks at child law in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

HOW SAFE IS YOUR RECRUITMENT

P. Thorn

Young People Now, no. 155, 2002, p. 22-23

On the basis of his experience as a Chief Youth Officer and a consultant, author argues for more stringent personal checks on people applying for jobs as youth workers in order to weed out child sex abusers.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN: IMPLICATIONS FROM TWO STUDIES

H. Minnis and C. Del Priore

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 25, Winter 2001, p. 27-38

Two recent studies of children in care in central Scotland have highlighted the high level of emotional and behavioural difficulties they experience. The authors synthesise the results of the two studies and conclude that:

  • every child entering the care system should have a comprehensive psychological assessment to identify individual needs;
  • foster carers should be closely involved at every level of service delivery as they are likely to be crucial agents for change in the child;
  • service planning should be made on the basis of highly articulated and targeted programmes.

MISSING CONNEXTIONS: THE CAREER DYNAMICS AND WELFARE NEEDS OF BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC YOUNG PEOPLE AT THE MARGINS

L. Britton et al

Bristol: Policy Press, 2002

Government is phasing in the Connexions support service for young people which is intended to be universal for all 13 to 19 year olds, but targeted at those most at risk of social exclusion. However the research suggests that the young people most at risk may be missed, ignored or misunderstood by the new service. Significant numbers were unknown to official agencies such as the Careers Service and viewed professional help with deep suspicion. Special problems faced by minority ethnic groups were ignored, and many of the deep-rooted causes of disaffection were overlooked by existing agencies. If Connexions is to engage with these young people, it will need a fresh approach, including a strong role for community and voluntary organisations and the use of outreach and detached workers.

PRIVATE GAIN

B. Holman

Community Care, Jan. 31st - Feb. 6th 2002, p. 34-36

Identifies three categories of private fostering which produce positive outcomes for the children involved. Satisfactory private foster parents include:

  • professional carers;
  • those who take in children they already know;
  • those who become carers of local teenagers.

Suggest that local authorities should appoint a specialist officer to monitor private fostering and support carers and parents.

SHELTERED BUT FORGOTTEN

N. Valios

Community Care, Feb. 14th - 20th 2002, p. 36-37

Most refuges for victims of domestic violence in the UK are run by charitable organisations, notably the Women's Aid Federation. Article highlights lack of funding from local authority social services departments for specialist children's workers to support youngsters in the refuges. There are also concerns that refuges will be unable to meet the new national standards for childminding and day care services which came into force in September 2001.

SMALLER, BUT BETTER FORMED?

P. Clark

Community Care, Feb. 7th - 13th 2002, p. 38-39

Children in care are increasingly being placed in small private residential homes rather than in local authority establishments. Article reports results of a study that compared the performance of local authority and private children's homes, focusing on use of physical restraint as a measure. Study found that while private homes offered higher staffing levels and a willingness to take on children who could not be coped with elsewhere, there was little evidence to suggest that their staff had greater levels of skill or expertise than staff of local authority homes.

SURE START: KEY PRINCIPLES AND ETHICS

N. Eisenstadt

Child: Care, Health and Development, vol. 28, 2002, p. 3-4

The Sure Start scheme to improve the life chances of children born into poverty is based on a set of key principles. These include:

  • parental and carer involvement;
  • co-ordination to add value;
  • cultural sensitivity in service delivery;
  • provision of long-term support if required;
  • explicit target setting.

TAKING ACCOUNT OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN

P. Hare, M. Baxter and E. Newbronner

Community Care, Jan. 24th - 30th 2002, p. 40-41

The effective collection of data on the number and location of vulnerable children is a highly pertinent issue as government guidance has called for the setting up of local strategic partnerships to address a wide range of children's needs. Article reports on a mapping exercise recently carried out for a children's services planning group in Northern England.

TOO MUCH, TOO YOUNG

R. Winchester

Community Care, Feb. 7th - 13th 2002, p. 28-30

The government strategy for reducing teenage pregnancies involves improved access to contraception, better sex education, and support for those who do become parents to ensure that they and their children flourish. Article reports on progress made by the Teenage Pregnancy Unit in implementing the strategy.

WILL ADOPTION BILL BEAR FRUIT?

J. Feast

Community Care, Jan. 17th - 23rd 2002, p. 40-41

The Adoption Bill currently before Parliament fails to address the service needs of birth relatives seeking to contact an adopted person.

"THE YOUTH QUESTION"

B. Davies

Young People Now, no. 155, 2002, p. 28-29

Author looks at the history of social exclusion and finds that alienated working class young people have been seen as a problem for at least 200 years. The best efforts of the youth service have failed to solve the problem using individualised approaches. Article argues that the structural causes of disaffection, such as poverty and racism, need to be addressed.

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