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

ASK THE FAMILY

K. Wilson and M. Bell

Community Care, Feb. 27th - Mar. 5th 2003, p. 38-39

Family group conferences are being introduced by local authorities across the UK as a means of engaging the extended family with children's and young people's problems. Article reports results of an evaluation of a pilot project on family group conferences in Hull. Children's views of the project were overwhelmingly positive.

BREAK DOWN THE FRONT DOOR

N. Valios

Community Care, Feb. 27th - Mar. 5th 2003, p. 34-35

Discusses the importance of equipping frontline social workers with the skills to pick up signs of child abuse on home visits and to avoid being manipulated by the families. Competent supervision is also essential. In the Victoria Climbié case, the social worker carrying out the home visits was inexperienced, and had no supervision.

BRITISH POLICY ON TEENAGE PREGNANCY AND CHILDBEARING: THE LIMITATIONS OF COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

L. Arai

Critical Social Policy, issue 74, 2003, p. 89-102

The British government justifies its policy of reducing teenage pregnancy on the grounds that UK rates are higher than those found elsewhere in Europe. These comparisons are inappropriate because:

  • they ignore variations in conception rates and use of abortion across the rest of Europe;
  • they attribute a low incidence of teenage pregnancy to the effects of sexual openness and sex education although the evidence is mixed;
  • they assume that the experience of other European nations can be applied to Britain.

The reasons for low rates of teenage pregnancy in other European countries are varied and attempts to apply an overarching explanation will necessarily fail.

THE BURDEN OF CARE

S. Beebee

Young People Now, no. 175, 2003, p. 14-15

The government-funded Young Carers' Initiative set up by the Children's Society provides support, lobbies government, and encourages good practice in service provision.

CHILDREN'S CENTRES: DEVELOPING INTEGRATED SERVICES FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES: START UP GUIDANCE

Sure Start

2003

The new children's centres will be developed in deprived areas to provide high quality childcare and early education, parenting support and employment advice, and child and family health services.

THE CLIMBIÉ INQUIRY: WHAT BEING "MINDFUL" REALLY MEANS IN PRACTICE

J. Jones

Childright, no. 194, 2003, p. 3-4

Child protection workers in the Victoria Climbié case failed to persist with their inquiries in the face of manipulation, intimidation and deceit by the carers who eventually murdered her. Author attributes this failure to unhealthy workplace cultures in which staff feel unsupported, unvalued and unable to learn from their mistakes.

EXPANDING CHILDMINDING PROVISION IN AREAS OF DEPRIVATION

M. Bond and D. Kersey

Local Economy, vol. 17, 2002, p. 303-312

Suggests that lone parents in receipt of welfare benefits in deprived areas could set up as childminders as a route out of poverty. However, they would need continuing assistance and support to negotiate the financial side of childminding. Presents findings from a small-scale feasibility project as the starting point for the development of a recruitment and support strategy that emphasizes the financial aspects of childminding.

HOME CHILDCARING FOR CHILDREN UNDER EIGHT: CODE OF PRACTICE

Sure Start

Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2003-04-17

Approved home childcare allows families to access good quality, affordable and safe care that suits their circumstances. The code provides a framework that ensures professional practice and safe standards in the provision of home childcare.

IMPACT OF CHILDCARE SUPPORT FOR LONE PARENT STUDENTS

F. Ballantyne, C. Hendry and R. Leishman

Edinburgh: TSO, 2003

The Child Proverty package was launched in July 2001. It is designed to help Scottish lone parents into further and higher education through supporting childcare costs and improving the supply of childcare. Study collected and analysed monitoring data on the first year of operation of two elements of the package. These were the provision of a new £1,000 annual grant towards the costs of formal childcare for lone parents in full time higher education and the funding made available to further education colleges to widen childcare provision.

IT'S TOUGHER AT THE TOP

N. Valios, R. Winchester and A. U. Sale

Community Care, Mar. 13th-19th 2003, p. 30-32

The Laming report on the death of Victoria Climbié emphasized the need for clear lines of accountability within local authority social services departments. Article gives views of front-line social workers social services directors and local authority chief executives on these recommendations.

LABOUR FAILING TO MEET CHILD POVERTY TARGET

A. Perkins and C. Denny

The Guardian, March 14th 2003, p. 8

Labour's pledge to eradicate child poverty received a blow when figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed the government to be in danger of missing a key target of lifting more than a million children above the breadline by 2005.

(See also Financial Times, March 14th 2003, p. 7)

LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES

I. Johnston

Professional Social Work, Mar. 2003, p. 8-9

The Director of the British Association of Social Workers responds to the Laming report on the death of Victoria Climbié. Calls for better training for social workers, an end to excessive change in social work settings due to government reforms, a clearer accountability framework, and action to protect young children in private foster care.

(See also Professional Social Work, Mar. 2003, p. 10-11 for responses from other organisations).

OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN: WHY THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE IS OUR CONCERN

G. Hocking and G. Thomas

London: Demos, 2003

Proposes that children should get voting rights from birth. Children's votes should be cast on their behalf by the parent until they reach the age of 14, when they would acquire the right to vote themselves. Argues that these proposals would force politicians to focus on children's needs. Also suggests that, to ensure that children are given a more consistent place in political decision-making, ministerial portfolios should be restructured to focus on different age groups. Proposes the creation of ministries for very young children, for those aged five to 14, and for young people.

PEER WARNS OF MORE CHILD DEATHS

A. Perkins

The Guardian, March 28th 2003, p. 19

Lord Laming, who chaired the enquiry into Victoria Climbié's death, challenged the government to act on his report or face more deaths of children at risk.

PROTECTION DOWN THE LINE

R. Winchester

Community Care, Mar. 6th-12th 2003, p 38-39

The Laming report into the death of Victoria Climbié recommended the establishment of a database to track all of the country's 11.1 million children. It would record personal details and any involvement with the police or social services. There are concerns about the cost of such a database, the feasibility of keeping the records up to date and accurate, and the intrusion into families' privacy it would represent.

RESIDENTIAL HOMES DESPERATE FOR HELP IN FACE OF RISING INSURANCE PREMIUMS

S. Gillen

Community Care, Mar. 20th-26th 2003, p. 20-21

Insurance companies are raising premiums for residential children's homes due to fears of large pay outs arising from abuse claims. The rises are so steep that homes are being forced to close.

STUDY OF THE RELATIVE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH DELIVERING THE CONNEXIONS SERVICE IN RURAL AND URBAN AREAS

P. N. Bradley and P. R. Barratt

London: Department for Education and Skills, 2003 (Research report; 390)

Found mixed urban-rural Connexions Partnerships to be the norm. Detailed analysis of cost factors was limited by the partial and fragmentary nature of available data and differences in the way the service is delivered. The available evidence suggests that:

  • travel tends to be more repetitive and costly in rural areas;
  • clients in rural areas are less intensively served by personal advisers than their urban counterparts;
  • there is no evidence that urban partnerships can more easily attract non-Connexions Service finance than their rural counterparts.

There is a perception that running costs are higher in rural areas, but little supporting quantitative evidence.

A VALUABLE LEGACY

N. Garnham

Community Care, Mar. 13th-19th 2003, p. 34-35

In order to avoid catastrophic child protection failures such as the death of Victoria Climbié, senior managers need to leave their offices and personally monitor front line social workers.

WANT ANSWERS? DON'T ASK LAMING

J. Wild

Community Care, Mar. 20th-26th 2003, p. 30-39

The Laming report on the death of Victoria Climbié recommends that social workers undertaking child protection investigations should be properly trained. Author suggests that this training should include:

  • resolution of personal traumas;
  • use of personal and professional support systems;
  • communication skills.
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