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

4P ON TAX 'NEEDED TO HALVE CHILD POVERTY'

L. Elliott and J. Carvel

The Guardian, April 12th 2002, p.8

The Institute for Fiscal Studies, the UK's leading tax experts, have said income tax will need to be raised by 4p in the pound if government is to meet its target for halving child poverty within 10 years. Steady growth of average incomes has meant the government has had to spend more on benefits simply to maintain the status quo. Official figures from the ONS released yesterday show that in Labour's first term, only 500,000 children had been raised above the government's definition of poverty by 2001.

AN ACT FOR ALL THE FAMILY

J. Ellison

Community Care, Mar. 21st-27th 2002, p.40-41

Discusses the impact of the Human Rights Act on UK children's law, and explains how it has been used to challenge local authority decision-making and notification processes.

AGAINST THE ODDS: AN EVALUATION OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES

G. Macdonald and E. Williamson

London: National Children's Bureau, 2002

Study provides insight into the working practices of one Child and Family Support Service in the UK. These services work to prevent children from having to be taken into public care, wherever possible. The service studied was dealing with entrenched problems which went back years. The research showed that assessments of the nature of the problems were inadequate and families were unclear about action plans. Staff were unable to keep abreast of current research, and so were unaware of "what works" with what sorts of problems. However, families and children valued the help they received.

CHILDREN IN THE ROUND

T. Jones, J. Lewis and O. Gill

Community Care, Apr. 18th-24th 2002, p.40-41

The Department of Health guidelines on assessment of vulnerable children introduced in 2000 require social workers to explore parenting capacity, the developmental needs of the child, and issues of social integration and access to resources.

FILLING GAPS

H. Kahn

Community Care, Mar. 21st-27th 2002, p.42

Argues that life story work should be seen as a necessary part of preparing a child for adoption and that local authorities should use Quality Protects money to employ workers for the job.

FOSTERING FOR THE FUTURE: INSPECTION OF FOSTER CARE SERVICES

P. Maddocks

London: DH Publications [for the] Social Services Inspectorate, 2002

Report found that councils were having difficulties in recruiting sufficient foster carers, especially from black and minority ethnic groups. Most placed children through independent fostering agencies as a crisis measure, but did not engage with them as partners. Internal reviews of services lacked the necessary challenge and rigour to lead to fundamental change and there was a danger of costs escalating out of control. Finally there were concerns about arrangements for safeguarding children in some councils.

FOSTERING SERVICES: NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS: FOSTERING SERVICES REGULATIONS

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2002

Standards cover:

  • management of fostering services;
  • securing and promoting the welfare of fostered children;
  • recruitment and training of foster carers;
  • record keeping; kinship foster care; fostering panels;
  • short term breaks.

They are applicable to local authority fostering services, independent fostering agencies, and voluntary organisations.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

B. Broad

Family Law Journal, Mar. 2002, p.21-24

Discusses the legal, financial and policy issues involved when children are fostered by their extended family or friends.

GRANNIES MAY GET PAID FOR CHILDCARE

J. Carvel

Guardian, Mar. 21st 2002, p.15

The government is considering paying grandparents for the time they spend looking after their grandchildren under a scheme to encourage single mothers to return to the labour market. The scheme would compensate for the lack of formal childcare provision in deprived areas.

(See also Times, Mar. 21st 2002, p.10, Financial Times, Mar. 20th 2002, p.1+29)

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER

N. Valios

Community Care, Apr. 4th - 10th 2002, p.24-26

Despite a wealth of evidence that fathers' involvement improves many aspects of children's lives and development, social workers often overlook the importance of paternal input.

MAKING AN IMPACT

V. Combe

Young People Now, issue 156, 2002, p.24-25

Providing meaningful opportunities for young people to be involved in shaping local government services and policies presents a challenge. Issues include:

  • choosing the right vehicle to promote youth involvement;
  • developing the young people's skills; and
  • making sure that their views have a real impact on decision-making.

MANAGING FRAGMENTATION: AN AREA CHILD PROTECTION COMMITTEE IN A TIME OF CHANGE

A. Barton

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002

This book explores the problems and potential of multi-agency working and new public management for the development of child protection in the UK under the "joint working" initiatives. Examines the workings of a large multi-agency committee, providing an insight into how different agencies' representatives brought their own agendas, organisational structures and world views to an area child protection committee.

MINISTERS TO REDEFINE POVERTY

P. Wintour

The Guardian, April 19th 2002, p.12

After admitting it had failed to lift 1.2m people out of relative poverty in their first parliament, the government has announced plans to redefine child poverty. Previously defined as any child living in a household with income at only 60% of median income , the Department of Work and Pensions is now looking at four options for alternatives:

  • Using a small number of indicators to track poverty
  • Constructing an index to produce a final figure
  • Using a headline measure that combines relative low income and deprivation
  • Using a set of core indicators of low income and poverty

MULTIPLICITY OF CHILDCARE OPTIONS FAILS TO DELIVER

R. Bennett

Financial Times, Mar. 20th 2002, p.3

Reports that a rise in the number of nursery places since 1997 has been offset by a fall in the number of childminders. After four years of the National Childcare Strategy there is still only one childcare place for every seven young children. An after school club place is available for only one in 14 children under 16. Lack of affordable childcare is preventing mothers form participating in the labour market.

PARENTING ISSUES THAT MAY BE ADDRESSED THROUGH A CONFIDENTIAL HELPLINE

J. Akister and K. Johnson

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 10, 2002, p.106-111

Sixty per cent of the parents in the study sample thought they might use a confidential telephone helpline. They considered it would be most useful for information and advice about behaviour management, drug and alcohol abuse, and school bullying. It was clear that parents were seeking information and advice rather than support.

POOR DEAL

D. Walker

Guardian, Apr. 11th 2002, p.21

Article comments on Labour's failure to meet its target of lifting 1.2 million children out of poverty during the 1997-2001 Parliament. Discusses options available to the government in its war on child poverty, including redistribution through punitive taxation of the better-off and improving access to affordable childcare to encourage mothers into work.

SOCIAL SERVICES CALL FOR LEGAL REFORMS TO AVOID REPEAT OF CLIMBIÉ MURDER

J. Carvel

The Guardian, March 15th 2002, p.15

The second stage of a public inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié warned today that 10,000 privately fostered children are at risk from inadequate protection under the law. Social services chiefs called for legislation requiring parents and foster carers to notify the local authority wherever a child is privately fostered or brought into Britain by anyone other than a birth parent.

THE STATE OF LONDON'S CHILDREN REPORT

Office of the Children's Rights Commissioner for London

London: 2001

The State of London's Children Report is the first attempt to document what it is really like to be a child in London. It paints a picture of diversity and potential but also identifies a 'capital divided'. London's children experience the highest levels of poverty of any region in Britain, youth homelessness and unequal access to education, transport and other public services.

The report is divided into eight key themes:

  • Child poverty
  • The family, social care and protection
  • Health and well being
  • Crime and justice
  • Education
  • Housing, neighbourhood and environment
  • Play, leisure, culture and out-of-school lives
  • Transport

TAKE YOUR PARTNERS PLEASE

B. Davies

Young People Now, issue 156, 2002, p.28-29

Outlines the chequered history of collaborative working between the statutory and voluntary sectors of youth work. Goes on to draw lessons for partnership working today.

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