Click here to skip to content

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

"A-DAY" TO REMEMBER

J. Pirrie

Family Law Journal, Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003, p. 5-9

"A-day" is the date on which the new Child Support Agency (CSA) formula will begin to apply for new cases. The new regime for child support offers more effective enforcement and a simpler formula. Article suggests eight strategies to protect clients with existing CSA claims pending the introduction of the new scheme.

ADOPTERS BATTLE THE FEAR FACTOR

J. Plenty

Community Care, Jan 23rd-29th 2003, p. 34-35

As more older children with complex needs are adopted the need for greater post-adoption support is being recognised. However adoptive parents can be reluctant to use support services due to stigma, and fear of losing their children. Article points to the need for more respite care, and better post-adoption training.

ADOPTION AND CHILDREN ACT 2002

Anon

ChildRight, no. 192, 2002, p. 3

Article briefly summarises the provisions of the Adoption and Children Act, which received royal assent on 7th Nov. 2002. The Act aims to put the needs of children first in the search for a family, to speed up the adoption process, and to ensure that the adoption service is fairer and more efficient.

CHILD PROTECTION PLAN COULD BACKFIRE, SOCIAL SERVICES WARN

A. Grice

The Independent, January 7th 2003, p. 6

A social services leader warned the Government that plans to set up a national service to combat child abuse might backfire. David Behan, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, warned that a new national body could create "another boundary" that police, social services and health workers would have to confront.

CHILDREN'S HOMES: NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS [AND] CHILDREN'S HOMES REGULATIONS

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2002

These standards are to be used by the National Care Standards Commission in the inspection of residential children's homes. They cover:

  • planning and quality of care;
  • complaints and protection;
  • environmental standards;
  • staffing;
  • management and administration.

CLIMBIE REPORT RULES OUT CHILD PROTECTION AGENCY

S. Womack

The Daily Telegraph, January 23rd 2003, p. 6

The government has ruled out the creation of a national child protection agency as a solution to the weakness in the care system highlighted by the Victoria Climbié inquiry. Lord Laming's report stresses that child protection must not be separated from investigations and claims that such an agency would be counterproductive.

CONNEXIONS EXPLAINED

C. McLeod

ChildRight, no. 192, p. 6-7

Connexions is the governments new advice, guidance and personal development service for 13 to 19-year-olds. Article explains the role of the personal adviser, how connexions relates to schools and colleges, and referral processes

web linkGROWING SUPPORT: A REVIEW OF SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE FAMILIES WITH VERY YOUNG CHILDREN

Scottish Executive

Edinburgh: TSO, 2002

Review found an extensive range of services offering practical help, information, parenting education, advice and emotional support to parents in difficulty in each local authority and health board area. Family centres and services were found to be very successful at helping both parents and children improve their skills. However the review highlighted areas of weakness in service delivery including frontline staff who appeared unhelpful, and access difficulties for families. Report emphasises that early intervention can prevent long term problems, that health, social care, education and the voluntary sector should work together to offer integrated services, and that the role of the extended family in resolving problems should be valued.

IMPLEMENTING CHILDREN'S RIGHTS IN THE CAPITAL

C. Boswell

ChildRight, no. 192, 2002, p. 19-20

The office of Children's Rights Commissioner for London (CRCL) was established in 2000 as a non-statutory time-limited project to help demonstrate the benefits of a permanent statutory children's rights commissioner for England. Article outlines some of the work of the CRCL to date, makes a provisional assessment of its impact and identifies pointers for how the work of the CRCL might best be taken forward.

KINSHIP CARE: PROTECTING CHILDREN AND PRESERVING FAMILIES.

B. Board

ChildRight, no. 192, 2002, p. 10-11

Research evidence suggests that in many cases children who come to the attention of social services and who can no longer live with their birth parent(s) would prefer to be placed with members of their extended family. However kinship care as a placement choice needs to be considered more consistently by social services departments. Research also indicates that kinship carers need more financial and social services support.

MODEL ANSWER

B. Welch

Community Care, Jan 9th-15th 2003, p. 34-36

Presents proposals for the reform of the child protection system in the UK. Calls for more support for parents who are struggling, multidisciplinary specialist child protection teams to back up mainstream social workers, and improved training for social workers in child protection.

NATIONAL PROTECTION FORCE TO CURB CHILD ABUSERS

A. Grice

The Independent, January 6th 2003, p.1

A national child protection service might be set up by the Government to halt the abuse scandals that have exposed failures in the system. The plan would downgrade the role of social services departments and hand over potential abuse cases to a new national body. The idea would be opposed by social services chiefs.

NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE PROVISION OF CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY SERVICES

Department of Health

London: 2002

Advocacy safeguards children and young people in care and protects them from abuse and poor practice. Standards are intended to provide a framework to plan, develop and review advocacy practice at all levels. They lay down that advocacy services should champion the rights of children and work exclusively in their interests. Services should be well publicised and accessible and should respond quickly when requested. There should be an effective complaints procedure and confidentiality should be respected.

RE-THINKING A SYSTEMIC APPROACH TO CHILD WELFARE: A CRITICAL RESPONSE TO THE FRAMEWORK FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF CHILDREN IN NEED AND THEIR FAMILIES

S. Houston

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 5, 2002, p301-312

In 2000 the Department of Health published new guidance on assessment of children in need. The guidance emphasised the connection between child poverty and developmental delay, and overturned the narrow focus on child rescue which had previously dominated local authority practice. In addition it underscored the need for an ecological approach to assessment that placed the child's welfare within the context of family and wider social networks. However this ecological perspective fails to explain the structural inequalities and power differentials that pervade modern society. Without this understanding social workers will be ill-equipped to tackle environmental factors that impact adversely on a child's development.

REPORT INTO CLIMBIÉ CASE 'POINTS UP THE NEED FOR REFORM'

K. Guha and M. Brun-Rovet

Financial Times, January 29th 2003, p. 4

In response to the Laming report into the death of Victoria Climbié, health, education and social services for children could be merged into new not-for-profit community trusts under proposals set out by Alan Milburn. However Lord Laming did not echo the call for institutional restructuring. Instead, he called for a minister to be responsible for children's affairs bringing together different services. Lamming also dismissed the idea of a National Child Protection Agency and a national children's database because of potential conflict between data protection and child welfare.

(See also The Guardian, January 29th 2003, p. 9)

RETHINKING CHILDREN'S CARE

J. Brannen and P. Moss (eds)

Buckingham: Open University Press, 2003

Looking at care from the perspectives of children, parents and care workers, this book provides discussion on economic, social and political change from modernity to late modernity. It looks at four key issues: the conceptualisation of care; how care translates its public policy into practice; the nature of the care relationship; and how care might be transformed in the future.

STREAMLINED CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS READY TO GO AHEAD

G. Hirst

The Times, January 28th 2003, p. 2

Reform of the Child Support Agency is finally to go ahead after the Government announced yesterday that it was confident that problems with a new computer system had been overcome. From early March all new cases will be based on a standard formula using a proportion of the absent parent's net income rather than calculated case by case as before.

SURE START: SUPPORTING FAMILIES WHO HAVE CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES

Contact a Family

Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2003.

Guidance aims to ensure that all families who have children with special needs or a disability have access to and get a good quality service from Sure Start. It will help programmes develop awareness of and respond appropriately to the needs of these families. It will also help them to build and share knowledge about existing information and support available to parents of children with special needs or a disability.

TRANSFORMING YOUTH WORK: RESOURCING EXCELLENT YOUTH SERVICES

Department for Education and Skills

London: 2002

Begins with a definition of an adequate youth service. Goes on to discuss funding, making clear that significant public funds are to be invested in the service. Finally discusses performance monitoring and measurement and quality assurance.

UK CHILDCARE BILLS 'EUROPE'S HIGHEST' AT £128 A WEEK

J. Lawrance

The Independent, January 30th 2003, p. 4

The typical cost of a nursery place for a child under two has risen to £128 a week, an increase of 7 per cent. In certain parts of the South-East, the cost of a nursery place is higher - typically £168 a week. The rising cost is putting pressure on working parents and threatens the Government's childcare strategy.

(See also The Times, January 30th 2003, p. 11;The Guardian, January 30th 2003, p. 4)

THE VICTORIA CLIMBIÉ INQUIRY

Lord Laming

London: TSO, 2003 (Cm 5730)

The key findings are:

  • Victoria Climbié could have been saved at least 12 times.
  • The four social service departments, three housing departments and two specialist child protection teams involved with Victoria's case knew little more about her at the end of the process than at the start. The performance of social workers was 'sloppy and unprofessional'.
  • There was a 'gross failure of the system'.
  • There was 'widespread organisational malaise' and failure to apply 'good medical practice'.
  • The greatest failure was that of management and senior staff, which 'did not accept, there was anything that could be done for Victoria'.
  • It was 'impossible to answer the question with any confidence' of whether Victoria would have been treated differently if she had been white.

(See also Daily Telegraph, January 29th 2003,p. 1; Financial Times, January 29th 2003, p.4; The Guardian, January 29th 2003, p.1; The Independent, January 29th 2003, p.1)

web linkVULNERABLE CHILDREN: YOUNG RUNAWAYS AND CHILDREN ABUSED THROUGH PROSTITUTION

Working Group on Young Runaways and Children Abused through Prostitution

Edinburgh: TSO, 2002

Proposes a range of measures to protect vulnerable children in Scotland. These include:

  • a greater focus on legal action against abusers;
  • better follow-up, support and advice for victims;
  • interviews with young runaways to probe the reasons behind their behaviour;
  • development of local protocols to deal properly with the needs of both groups.

WHAT DO PARENTS FEEL THEY NEED? IMPLICATIONS OF PARENTS' PERSPECTIVES FOR THE FACILITATION OF PARENTING PROGRAMMES

S. Miller and K. Sambell

Children and Society, vol. 17, 2003, p. 32-44

Paper is based on in-depth interviews with a range of parents and explores their beliefs, expectations and experiences of parenting support. Analysis of the interviews revealed that parents had three broadly distinct views of parenting support and learning. In the dispensing model, parenting support is viewed as enabling parents to develop more effective ways of dealing with a problem child. The relating model views parenting support as helping the development of the parent. The reflecting model views parenting support as critical reflection and understanding of parent-child relationships.

WILL BOATENG DEFY ALL OPPOSITION AND REVOLUTIONISE CHILD PROTECTION?

L. Revans

Community Care, Jan 16th-22nd 2003, p. 20

The Treasury may favour the establishment of a national agency to co-ordinate and standardise local child protection services. These could be delivered by the proposed local Children's Trusts.

WORKING PRACTICES SET FOR REVIEW AS BEACON COUNCIL FALLS FOUL ON ADOPTION

D. Hayes

Community Care, Jan 9th-15th 2003, p. 18-19

The December 2002 the High Court ruled that Essex Council had failed in its duty of care towards two adoptive parents by not fully informing them about the behavioural difficulties suffered by the children placed with them. The couple claimed they would not have gone ahead with the adoption if they had been fully informed about the boy's violent behaviour.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web