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Welfare Reform on the Web - August 2002

2001 ADOPTION AND CHILDREN BILL: UPDATE

S Mahmood

Family Law, vol. 32, 2002, p.439-443

Summarises the main features of the Bill and analyses its impact on the Adoption Act 1976 and the Children Act 1989. The Bill makes significant changes in the rights of unmarried fathers and adoption orders. It also introduces the concept of the best interests of the child into adoption law.

CHECKS FOR CHILD ABUSERS ARE EASED AFTER IT FAILURE

Ford, R

The Times, June 3rd 2002, p.1

The Times reports that emergency action has been ordered to end chaotic delays at a new government agency set up to check the background of people who work with children and vulnerable adults. The Criminal Records Bureau is meant to provide fast information on past convictions for crimes such as child abuse. It has a backlog of 30,000 cases.

CHILD CARE, SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND URBAN REGENERATION

G Scott, J Campbell and U Brown

Critical social Policy, vol. 22, 2002, p.226-246

Article suggests that while the incorporation of child care into urban regeneration strategy has the potential to encourage mothers in low-income households to take paid work, less positive effects are also identifiable. The commodification of care within economic regeneration policies establishes care work as low paid, insecure employment.

CHILD PROTECTION BLUES

S Gillen

Community Care, May 23rd-29th 2002, p.28-30

Discusses the role of the police in child protection. To date this has been undermined by understaffing and poor training. Reports moves to improve the situation.

CONTACT AT ALL COSTS

N Valios

Community Care, June 6th-12th 2002, p.26-27

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 requires local authorities to keep in touch and assist young people with education, training and employment up to the age of 21. Problems are likely to arise if the young person refuses support, or moves away. In the latter case, the local authority of origin may ask the receiving authority to act on its behalf, but may have to pay for time spent.

DO IT YOURSELF

C Willis

Young People Now, issue 158, 2002, p.22-23

Describes how a youth project in Penzance enabled a group of disaffected teenagers to set up their own community project to help younger children on their estate.

GETTING A GRIP: NEW LABOUR AND THE REFORM OF THE LAW ON CHILD ADOPTION

P M Garrett

Critical Social Policy, vol. 22, 2002, p.174-202

Article summarises the Labour government's policy on adoption reform. The nature of adoption has changed since the 1960s, when there was a greater availability of babies and adoption was conceived as involving a complete break with the birth family. Any reforms need to take account of such changes. New Labour's initial preoccupation centred on issues of race in adoption, but more recent policy has focused on mechanisms for promoting adoption as a means of "rescuing" children from an "abusive" public care system. The policy ignores the fact that the needs of some children are better met through residential care, and marginalises birth families and their needs.

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST? THE PUBLICATION OF LOCAL AUTHORITY REPORTS

M Partington and C Hughes

Child Right, no.186, p.14-15

Article summarises a Law Commission consultation paper on the publication of the reports of ad hoc inquiries into allegations of child abuse in care homes, etc instituted by local authorities.

MEETING THE INFORMATION NEEDS OF PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

C Edwards

Early Education, no. 37, Summer 2002, p.5

Describes the work of the Special Needs Information Point in Edinburgh which acts as a "one-stop-shop" for information for parents. It also acts as a pressure group giving "voice" to parents' concerns in various forums and promotes the case for care co-ordination in Scotland.

NO-ONE TO LOOK AFTER THE KIDS

Anon

Labour Research, vol.91, June 2002, p.14-16

Research has shown that there is still a huge shortfall in the provision of child care needed by working parents. Places are also very expensive. Government needs to invest to improve the training, qualifications, pay and status of child care workers in order to boost recruitment and expand provision.

OFF THE CURRICULUM

R Winchester

Community Care, May 30th-June 5th 2002, p.28-29

Schools are ideally placed to alert the police and social services over child abuse concerns, but have no statutory responsibility to do so. They are prevented from assuming a greater role in child protection by:

  • lack of staff training;
  • the demise of the education welfare officer;
  • poor communication between agencies, due in part to data protection concerns.

ORIGIN UNKNOWN

T Philpot

Community Care, May 23rd-29th 2002, p.32-33

Article laments the lack of services for people who have been in care but not adopted and who wish to trace their birth families.

SHORT BREAKS: PROVIDING BETTER ACCESS AND MORE CHOICE FOR BLACK DISABLED CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS

R Flynn

Bristol: Policy Press, 2002

Over ten years the overall take-up of short breaks by black families has not significantly improved. There is still unmet need and a disproportionate number of families use institutional rather than family-based provision. Parents express anxiety about whether their child's culture, religion and language will be respected and whether ethnic matching with short break carers and sitters is possible. A shortage of black social workers and short break carers means that services cannot adequately represent the communities they serve. Lack of effective information and communication about services is also a major barrier to access for families.

TAKING THE PIP

M Johns

Young People Now, issue 158, 2002, p.26-27

Describes how a youth work project in Northampton is helping re-engage disaffected teenagers with learning through group work. This is used to raise self-esteem and confidence, help individuals identify difficulties and talk through their own possible solutions.

VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN 'AN EVERYDAY STREET SIGHT'

S Womack

The Daily Telegraph, June 10th 2002, p.1

Violence towards children is an "everyday sight in English streets and supermarkets", a United Nations human rights body will be told today. The claim is made in a report by the Children's Rights Alliance, a coalition of 100 organisations, and has provoked some politicians and family groups to allege that what they are saying is misleading and should not be presented to the United Nations.

WHO'S THE DADDY?

S Beebee

Young People Now, issue 158, 2002, p.20-21

The YMCA's Dads and Lads projects use the power of football to enhance interaction and communication between fathers and sons. Fathers and sons receive football tuition and have the opportunity to get involved in other activities, including parenting support sessions.

WHO WEARS THE CROWN?

A Dobson

Community Care, June 13th-19th 2002, p.26-27

Emphasises the importance of trust and good communication between health and social care staff in child protection work. Junior staff also need to be empowered to raise concerns with seniors and to challenge their diagnoses where necessary.

WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY ?

R Winchester

Community Care, June 6th-12th 2002, p.28-29

Article discusses the role of paediatric social workers in child protection. Shows how unclear professional boundaries and poor communication with medical staff on the one hand and social services departments on the other can lead to child protection failures.

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