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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2003): Child Welfare - UK

£4M CAMPAIGN TO BRING MEN INTO CHILD CARE JOBS

D. Charter

The Times, December 27th 2002, p.8.

Ministers are to launch a £4 million drive to recruit men as child care workers across England amid concern that they are being put off by public suspicion about their motives. Only one in 50 nursery workers and one in ten helpers with after-school clubs for young children are men.

ADOPTER PREPARATION AND ASSESSMENT AND OPERATION OF ADOPTION PANELS: A FUNDAMENTAL REVIEW

Department of Health

London: 2002

Proposals relating to potential adopters cover vetting, preparation and assessment. Assessment should cover parenting experience and capacity and family and environmental factors. Paper also deals with issues which should be addressed in cases of inter-country adoptions, adoption by foster carers, and "repeat" adopters. Proposals relating to adoption panels cover issues of composition, tenure and payment of members.

THE CHILD CARE WORKFORCE: CURRENT CONDITONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS.

C. Cameron, A. Mooney and P. Moss

Critical Social Policy, vol. 22, 2002, p.572-595.

The current child care workforce in the UK is overwhelmingly female and low paid, but largely happy in its work. At a time of increasing demand for both child care and social care workers, and of more alternative job opportunities for women, the current situation may not be sustainable in the long term. Instead, article proposes the development of a new generic early childhood worker who would be qualified to work with children aged 0-6 years across all day care settings.

CHILD POVERTY IN SOCIAL INCLUSION PARTNERSHIPS

P.A. Kemp, J. Dean and D. Mackay

Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2002.

Child poverty has rocketed in Britain, rising from one in ten children in 1968 to one in three in 1995/96. In Scotland, many initiatives to tackle child poverty are located in and funded through Social Inclusion Partnerships (SIPs). SIPs are partnership bodies made up of representatives from the statutory sector, the voluntary sector, the private sector and the community. Research found that any reduction of child poverty in SIP areas was a by-product of the work they were doing to tackle socio-economic deprivation and disadvantage generally. Report also points out that the majority of poor children in Scotland do not live in areas covered by SIPs.

CHILDREN AT RISK BECAUSE OF UNDER-QUALIFIED CAREWORKERS

M. Woolf

The Independent, December 27th 2002, p.7

Britain's most vulnerable children are receiving inadequate protection from abuse because government targets on training childcare workers have not been met. Less than a quarter of those required to get the NVQ in Caring for Children and Young People have obtained it.

CHILDREN WHO GO MISSING: RESEARCH, POLICY AND PRACTICE

N. Biehal and J. Wade

London: Department of Health, 2002

Begins by describing the characteristics of young people who go missing from home and care and explores why they do it. Summarises the legal position of runaways. Then goes on to discuss procedures for responding to young people who go missing from care, and prevention through improved corporate parenting.

DELIVERING QUALITY CHILDREN'S SERVICES: INSPECTION OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES

P. Cooper

London: Department of Health Publications, 2002

The Social Services Inspectorate looked at 32 local councils in 2000-2001. Found that only 13 were serving all or most children and families well, although three-quarters of them had favourable prospects for improvement. Councils had made progress in delivering on some key national targets. Most were set to meet government targets on adoption; and there were promising initiatives to help children in care achieve better educational outcomes. In child protection, children were adequately safeguarded in only two-thirds of the councils inspected. Councils were also struggling to provide an appropriate range of placements and services. Some had placed significant numbers of looked after children in expensive out-of-area placements. The cost of these had prevented the council from developing family support services. Councils in London and the South were experiencing real difficulties in recruiting permanent staff and this was having a serious impact on service quality.

DRAFT NATIONAL CARE STANDARDS FOR CHILDCARE AGENCIES: A CONSULTATION PAPER

National Care Standards Committee

Edinburgh: Scottish Executive, Care Standards and Sponsorship Branch, 2002

Childcare agencies introduce parents to carers who will look after children in the parental home. Proposed standards for the operation of these agencies cover:

  • provision of information about the agency;
  • written service agreements;
  • service quality, management and staffing;
  • concerns, comments and complaints.

EDUCATION PROTECTS: COLLECTING AND USING DATA TO IMPROVE EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN IN PUBLIC CARE

Department for Education and Skills [and] Department of Health

London: 2002.

This discussion document is intended to provide ideas and support better collection and use of data in improving services and targeting resources, so that individual children in public care will benefit. It is designed for social services and education departments which are responsible for the strategic planning and delivery of services for children in care.

ENCOUNTERS IN THE NEW WELFARE DOMAINS OF THE THIRD WAY: SOCIAL WORK, THE CONNEXIONS AGENCY AND PERSONAL ADVISERS.

P.M. Garrett

Critical Social Policy, vol. 22, 2002, p.596-618.

The Connexions service in England is to provide advice and guidance for all young people aged 13-19. Article discusses the impact of the new service on social work. Goes on to consider the role of Connexions in relation to:

  • the transition to work;
  • social exclusion and disaffection;
  • the surveillance of young people.

FATHERS AND SERVICES: THE FINDINGS OF SOME RESEARCH INTO MEN'S EXPERIENCES

C. Gabbidon

WYM: Working with Young Men, vol.1, Sept. 2002, p.28-30

Article looks at the findings of research into the ways in which providers of services to families with young children work with fathers. It is important that services offer activities that appeal to men in a setting in which they feel comfortable, rather than focusing solely on mothers and female carers.

HOUSING: THE MISSING SOLUTION TO CHILD POVERTY

S. Jones

Child Right, issue 191, 2002, p.6-7.

Where a child lives, and the condition of their home, fundamentally impacts on his or her development, health and education. Summarises government action and the work of Shelter in developing solutions to child homelessness and bad housing.

JOINED-UP CONNEXIONS

A. Mulvehill and K. Williams

Young People Now, Jan. 2003, p.24-25

Presents evidence of how local Connexions Partnerships are working closely with the National Youth Agency's Neighbourhood Support Fund (NSF) projects to improve the life chances of disaffected young people. NSF projects try out innovative ways of working in partnership with existing services to reconnect disengaged young people with education, training or employment.

MAKING CONNEXIONS

A. Weinstock

Foster Care, issue 111, Nov. 2002/Jan. 2003, p.13

Explains how Connexions, the government's integrated advice, guidance and personal development service for 13 to 19 year-olds, can support young people in foster care and their foster carers.

ONE IN TEN OUTSIDE WORK AND EDUCATION

P. Bivand

Working Brief, issue 140, Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003, p.20-21

The number of 16-18 year olds not in employment, education or training rose to 10.1% of the age group in 2001-2002. Article suggests that as the new youth and careers service, Connexions, will not be fully operational until 2003, it may take some time to make a significant impact on these figures. Connexions is currently delivered through complex local partnerships. Argues that quicker progress could be made if it was nationalised.

PROTECTION ON THE AGENDA

S. Gillen

Community Care, Dec. 5th-11th 2002, p.34-35.

Discusses concerns about physical abuse of children attending Moslem religious schools (madrassas). As these are voluntary supplementary schools, they are outside of the jurisdiction of education and social services departments. However there are indications that madrassas themselves are beginning to institute child protection procedures.

REVIEW OF SERVICES FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL HEALTH NEEDS

Health and Social Services Committee, Welsh Assembly.

2002

Report is the result of a year-long review of services available in Wales to children with special health needs, their families and carers. It focuses on:

  • early identification and diagnosis of special health needs;
  • provision of information to parents;
  • availability and co-ordination of care;
  • support for families;
  • equipment needs;
  • services for children with special educational needs.

'SHE SUFFERED MORE PAIN THAN ANYONE COULD IMAGINE'

J. Carvel

The Guardian, December 19th 2002, p.4.

An enquiry into the killing of two-year-old Ainlee Labonte in east London in January 2002 found that the health and social workers who should have protected her were "paralysed by fear" of her abusing parents. Police had visited the parents' flat 53 times during her short life.

(See also The Times, December 19th 2002, p.2 ; The Independent, December 19th 2002, p.1; The Daily Telegraph, December 19th 2002, p.1)

TRAINED IN WALES

H. Murphy and C. Heslop

Young People Now, Jan. 2003, p.18-19

Article looks at difficulties encountered in attempts to expand training for youth work in Wales. The All-Wales Route to qualifications in youth work originally delivered modules belonging to the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education. Courses have since been franchised out, leading to a confusing plethora of competing routes and opportunities.

YOUNG RUNAWAYS

Social Exclusion Unit

London: 2002

Announces a wide-ranging package of measures to help vulnerable young runaways. The measures should ensure that young people have help to solve their problems before they reach crisis point, somewhere safe to stay if they do run and someone to talk to. Key measures include:

  • better local co-ordination of services;
  • new flexible approaches to emergency accommodation;
  • better information for teachers to help prevent young people from running away;
  • guaranteed follow-up support and advice for the most vulnerable.
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