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

AUDIT OF SERVICES TO CHILDREN IN NEED IN RESPONSE TO THE PRACTICE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE VICTORIA CLIMBIÉ INQUIRY REPORT

Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate

London: 2003 (CI (2003) 2)

Framework is to be used by councils with social services departments to audit their position in relation to the practice recommendations of the Victoria Climbié Inquiry report. It provides performance criteria against each of the recommendations linked to statutory requirements and guidance.

THE BLAME CASCADES DOWN

M Ivory

Community Care, Feb 13th-19th 2003, p.32-33

The Laming report on the death of Victoria Climbié criticised the failings of senior managers even more strongly than those of frontline social workers. In past inquiries into child murders, frontline social workers have been blamed and the organisational context ignored.

BOARD TALK

S Wellard

Community Care, Feb 20th-26th 2003, p.30-31

The Laming report on the death of Victoria Climbié proposes the establishment of a series of local management boards to co-ordinate child protection services. Each board would report to a local children and families committee made up of elected members, and would appoint a director to ensure effective inter-agency working. Article reports on reaction to the proposal.

CHILDREN'S TRUSTS

Department of Health

2003

Document contains information about the proposed new Children's Trusts, including their legal status, what services they may commission or provide and who should be involved in their development and implementation

EFFECTIVENESS OF CHILDMINDING REGISTRATION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR PRIVATE FOSTERING

L Bostock

London: Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2003 (SCIE position paper; 1)

Identifies a group of white private foster carers who look after West African children by agreement with their parents. Like childminders, this group might be amenable to participation in a registration system based on supervision and support. The current legal definition of private foster care also covers children trafficked into Britain to work as domestic servants, host families looking after language students, and informal arrangements made by teenagers following family breakdown. Registration would not be effective or appropriate in these cases.

THE EMERGING ROLE OF THE SPECIALIST NURSE: PROMOTING THE HEALTH OF LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN

C Hill and others

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 26, Winter 2002, p.35-43

Article presents evidence from projects in Southampton and Cardiff to demonstrate better outcomes and additional quality through nurse-led health assessments for looked after children. However, specialist looked after children's nurses face insecure funding for their posts and sometimes work in isolation. There is an urgent need to collate the evidence for the effectiveness of these posts if they are not to melt away once the dedicated funding available through the Quality Protects and Children First programmes becomes absorbed into mainstream health and social services budgets.

FOSTERING SERVICES: NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS [AND] FOSTERING SERVICES REGULATIONS

Department of Health

London: TSO, 2002

Standards cover:

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

HOME ALONE: PREPARING FOR ADULT LIFE

J Pybus

Foster Care, issue 112, Feb-Apr 2003, p.14-15

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 lays a duty on local authorities to support care leavers until they are at least 21. They should help care leavers find jobs, education and training, and ensure that they have the skills and support they need to live on their own. Evidence suggests that local authorities are struggling to fulfil their new duties.

ISSUES CONCERNING THE HEALTH OF LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN

H Ward and others

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 26, Winter 2002, p.8-18

There is substantial research evidence that looked after children have extensive health needs, and that they have often missed out on routine health surveillance and promotion before entry into local authority care, but that at present they receive little compensatory care. Frequent changes of placement and poor inter-agency communication exacerbate difficulties. Article present an overview of Department of Health guidance and standards aimed at improving the situation.

LAMING DEFENDS PROPOSAL FOR NEW MANAGEMENT BOARDS AND DIRECTOR

S Gillen

Community Care, Feb 6th-12th 2003, p.16-17

The Laming report proposes structural reforms of the child protection system designed to facilitate inter-agency working. Area Child Protection Committees would be replaced by management boards for children and families, which would report to a committee for children and families. Overseeing the work of the board would be a director of children and families, a newly created role designed to give responsibility for the co-ordination of joint working to an individual.

MEETING THE CHILDCARE CHALLENGE

J Casebourne and T Saunders

Working Brief, no. 141, 2003, p.12-17

Outlines current UK government policy on childcare following the Interdepartmental Review. Proposes further measures to improve access to quality childcare for working parents, including:

  • clarifying policies on informal care;
  • increasing pay for childcare workers;
  • increasing help with childcare costs;
  • introducing universal provision with a range of options;
  • abandoning area based strategies.

MESSAGE THAT HAS GOT MUFFLED

D Walker

Guardian, Feb. 24th 2003, p.12

Discusses progress in improving childcare provision in Enfield. Provision remains patchy, with access dependent on family location. Take up of tax credits aimed at helping parents pay for childcare remains low.

NOW THE BUCK STOPS

P Gosling

Public Finance, Feb. 7th-13th 2003, p.26-28

The Laming report concludes that failures in communication and cooperation between health and social care were a key cause of the tragic death of Victoria Climbié. Author predicts that the government will respond by promoting children's trusts, which will run a range of local children's services.

PREVENTATIVE METHODS

J Carvel

Guardian Society, February 5th 2003, p.4

Every social services department and NHS organisation will be required to complete a self-audit by the end of April on whether it is following recommendations by the statutory inquiry into lessons to be learned from the death of Victoria Climbié.

RELIEF AS PROSPECT FOR CHILD PROTECTION AGENCY RECEDES FOR THE TIME BEING

J Snell

Community Care, Jan. 30th-Feb. 5th 2003, p.16-17

The Laming Report on the death of Victoria Climbié asserts that the statutory system for child protection in England is basically sound. It rejects the idea of a separate national agency for child protection. However it does suggest scrapping area child protection committees and replacing them with local management boards for services to children and families. There would also be a new strategic national agency for children and families headed by a chief executive who could act as a children's commissioner for England.

SCHOOL'S OUT: FRAMEWORK FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUT-OF-SCHOOL CARE: CHILDCARE AND ACTIVITIES FOR SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Scottish Executive

Edinburgh: TSO, 2003

Out-of-school care (OSC) is designed to meet the childcare needs of school-age children through the provision of breakfast clubs, after-school care, and holiday care. Study reviews models for the delivery of out-of-school care other than through a parent-led management committee. Alternative models include management by a local authority; management by a voluntary organisation; and running the scheme as a social enterprise or workers' cooperative. The report also reviews good practice in business support to the parent-led management committee model of OSC.

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SLOW BUT SURE

T Shifrin

Health Service Journal, vol.113, Feb.6th 2003, p.13-14

Government is proposing that the new Children's Trusts for the delivery of health and social care should be delivered via the "flexibilities" of the 1999 Health Act (pooled budgets, lead commissioning and integrated arrangements) with one local manager in charge. They will be local government-led rather than NHS bodies.

SYSTEM OVERLOAD

P Neale

Community Care, Jan. 30th-Feb. 5th 2003, p.30-32

The child protection system in the UK has been shaped by reforms following inquiries into catastrophic failures. Resources have been focused on protecting a small number of children classified as "at risk". Preventive services for those in need have never been developed.

WHAT WE WANT FOR CHILDREN

Community Care, Jan.30th-Feb.5th 2003, p.34-36

In the wake of the Laming report four key agencies (Barnardo's Family Rights Group, ATD Fourth Word and the Association of Directors of Social Services) set out their views on the future of children's services.

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