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

24/7 SOCIETY HURTS PARENTS

J. Carvel

The Guardian, June 18th 2003, p.6

The government must do more to protect working parents from pressure to work anti-social hours during evenings and weekends o service the needs of the 24/7 society, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said after research into the availability of childcare.

ADVICE SCHEME "FAVOURS SCHOOL DROPOUTS"

J. Kelly

Financial Times, June 20th 2003, p.6

The government's new £500-a-year advice service has been accused of abandoning middle-class children in favour of those who have dropped out of the system. College leaders say that a funding squeeze in the new Connexions service means resources are being targeted on those outside education, employment or training.

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R. Smithers

Guardian Education, June 3rd 2003, p.3

The government is launching a drive to advertise the success of its pre-school flagship sure start scheme. However, the author suggests, there are holes in early years' provision through which many deprived youngsters continue to slip.

BLAIR REJECTS LAW TO BAN SMACKING

S. Hall

The Guardian, June 25th 2003, p.9

A bill to ban parents form smacking their children could still be introduced as a backbench measure later this year, despite the Prime Minister's rejectiong of two calls to introduce legislation. A private members bill would allow MPs a free vote on an issue the government is reluctant to touch for fear of being seen as nanny state.

BUDGET 2003

Anon.

ChildRight, no. 196, p.3

The article summarises measures in the 2003 UK budget which will impact on children, young people and families. It focuses on child trust funds and measures to assist lone parents into paid work.

CHILD PROTECTION IS NO ACCIDENT: VIEWS ON CURRENT PRACTICE IN NORTHERN IRELAND FROM SENIOR MEDICAL AND NURSING STAFF IN A&E

The report examines the role of Accident and Emergency departments in identifying child abuse in Northern Ireland. Recommendations include:

  • child protection guidance for frontline staff;
  • a consistent system for checking the child protection register;
  • staff induction and training in child protection;
  • regular auditing to ensure guidance compliance.

CHILDCARE COSTS STILL PROHIBITIVE

Anon.

Labour Research, Vol. 92, June 2003, p.12-14

Despite five years of Labour's child-care strategy and financial help through the childcare tax credit, workers are still finding childcare costs so unaffordable that many women are downgrading their careers or leaving the labour market.

CHILDREN CARING FOR RELATIVES FOR OVER 50 HOURS A WEEK

J. Carvel

The Guardian, June 9th 2003, p.6

Thousands of British children under 11 are working more than 50 hours a week to provide care for a sick or disabled relative, according to evidence from the Children's Society and the YMCA.

CO-OPERATING TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN

Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Belfast, 2003

The report sets out the roles and responsibilities of different agencies and practitioners involved in child protection work in Northern Ireland. It outlines the way in which joint working arrangements should be agreed, implemented and received through the mechanism of Area Child Protection Committees.

DEVELOPING EARLY YEARS CHILDCARE IN ENGLAND, 1997-2002: THE CHOICES FOR (WORKING) MOTHERS

J. Lewis

Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 37, 2003, p.219-238

The article describes the nature of childcare provision under New Labour. The system developed by the Labour Government is characterised by:

  • demand-side state subsidies for working parents (mainly lone mothers) and a variety of supply-side state subsidies to providers;
  • the promotion of partnerships organised by local authorities between different kinds of providers of early years education and care;
  • the guarantee of a free, part-time, early years education place for all four-year olds (achieved at the end of 2000) and for all three-year olds by 2004.

Efforts to stimulate provisions have focused on disadvantaged areas, have subsidised early years' education rather than care and have aimed to provide women's employment.

DEVELOPING THE BUSINESS SKILLS OF CHILDCARE PROFESSIONALS: AN EVALUATION OF BUSINESS SUPPORT PROGRAMMES

J. Osgood

London: Department of Education and Skills, 2003 (Research report; 421)

Government aims to expand childcare places and ensure gaps in provision are closed. It has funded local authorities to run business support programmes to help early years' providers to expand. The study examines the nature and scope of business support in five cases study areas and explores the impact of the programmes on the childcare sector

FEW PLACEMENTS IN FIRST YEAR CASTS DOUBTS OVER REGISTER'S USEFULNESS

D. Hayes

Community Care, June 5th-11th 2003, p.20-21

In its first year of operation, the UK national adoption register has led to few children awaiting adoption and prospective parents being "matched" through links it suggested. There have been problems due to referring agencies providing inaccurate information about children and families and not updating the register when circumstances change.

FROM YOUTH WORK TO YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: THE NEW GOVERNMENT FRAMEWORK FOR ENGLISH YOUTH SERVICES

M.K. Smith

Youth and Policy, no. 79, 2003, p.46-59

English youth work is to be moulded to fall in line with the Connexions agenda and its focus on keeping and reconnecting young people with schooling, training and employment. There is a shift towards targeted services, an emphasis on young people achieving accredited outcomes, less focus on building relationships between youth people and youth workers, more emphasis on work with individuals than with groups and pressures towards bureaucratisation. This way of working is very close to conventional North American approaches to youth development.

THE GAP YEARS

J. Carvel

Guardian Society, June 11th 2003, p.10-11

The government is about to overhaul children's services. The article looks at what could be learned from an initiative in Essex to integrate social services and education.

GETTING OFF TO A SURE START

P. Healy

Community Practitioner, Vol. 76, 2003, p.204-206

The article discusses the role of health visitors in a range of sure start projects, which aim to give support to poorer families and their children.

HIDDEN HARM - RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN OF PROBLEM DRUG USERS

Advising Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Home Office

London: 2003

About 350,000 children in Britain suffer from having to deal with parents addicted to hard drugs. Six key messages from the inquiry are:

  • there are between 250,000 and 350,000 children of problem drug users in the UK - about one for every problem drug user;
  • parental problem use can and do9es cause harm to children of all ages;
  • reducing the harm to children should become a main objective of policy and practice;
  • effective treatment of the parent can benefit the child;
  • by working together, services can improve the well-being of affected children;
  • the number of affected children is only likely to decrease when problem drug users decrease.

NORTHERN IRELAND'S BILL OF RIGHTS: A CHILDREN'S RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE

S. Boyce

ChildRight, no. 196, 2003, p.18-20

The Human Rights Commission has been consulting on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland for the past three years. The article argues that, from a children's rights perspective, it should include:

  • a separate chapter or section on children's rights;
  • basic socioeconomic rights;
  • provision for effective and accessible enforcement mechanisms.

The bill should also incorporate the provisions of the convention on the Rights of the Child.

PARENTAL SUBSTANCE MISUSE AND CHILD WELFARE

B. Kroll and A. Taylor

London: Jessica Kingsley, 2003

The book focuses on the needs of children of substance misusing parents and the dilemmas faced by professionals working with them. Describing the efforts of substance misuse on "good enough" parenting and attachment, the authors analyse the issues facing children, including the impact on psychological and emotional development. The book presents a practical model for risk assessment and intervention that balances the "competing" needs of parents and their children.

TOMORROW'S FUTURE OR SIGNS OF A MISSPENT YOUTH? YOUTH, POLICY AND THE FIRST BLAIR GOVERNMENT

P. Mizen

Youth and Policy, no. 79, 2003, p.1-18

While all modern UK governments have developed policies for young people, New Labour has produced something administratively coherent that may merit the term "youth policy". The paper argues that Labour's insistence on new administrative arrangements for young people overlays a more fundamental process of change. Government is seeking to redraw the boundaries between state and youth and ultimately to effect its withdrawal from any previous commitment to providing substantive sources of support for the young.

WEDGE OF SUPPORT

L. Jeffery

Community Care, June 5th-11th 2003, p.42-45

The article describes the implementation of the Children's Fund in Leeds. The fund is being rolled out gradually but will eventually exist in all local authorities. It will support projects offering services to children aged 5 to 13 and their families.

WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE

Department of Education and Skills

2003

This is the government's response to the manifesto of the UK Youth Parliament. It emphasises the importance of consulting with young people and engaging them in dialogue. It deals with issues such as health education and law, and makes concrete suggestions as to how the government will respond to young people's concerns. For instance, concerns about affordable transport will be addressed by offering half fare concessions to 16-19 year olds. In response to concerns bout sexual and mental health, the government promises better relationship education and more information provision.

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