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

ALWAYS THERE FOR YOU

M. Beek and G. Schofield

Community Care, June 12th-18th 2003, p.36-37

In long-term fostering, social worker involvement may be minimal or non-existent. Article reports research showing that the input of skilled child care social workers can substantially enhance and strengthen the care-giving systems around such children.

BIRTH OF A CHILDREN'S TRUST

T. Salter

Community Care, June 26th-July 2nd 2003, p.32-34

Describes Hammersmith and Fulham Council's plans to set up a pilot children's trust, who will benefit and the difference the new body could make.

BROWN SEEKS TO NAIL CHILD POVERTY WITH REFORMS

P. Wintour

The Guardian, July 8th 2003, p.10

Gordon Brown has announced a three year programme that includes plans to expand the role of the voluntary sector in the delivery of public services, and a fresh drive to meet the government's target of halving child poverty by 2010.

CHILD PROTECTION

H. Edwards

Nursery Management Today, vol.2, May/June 2003, p.14-17

Presents an overview of the legal framework of the UK child protection system for early years practitioners.

CHILDCARE FOR WORKING PARENTS

Work and Pensions Committee

London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons papers, session 2003; HC564)

Report sets out the findings of an inquiry into how suitable and affordable childcare can be provided for all parents who need it to enable them to work. In spite of increased resources for childcare available through the National Childcare Strategy, demand still outstrips supply and providers face considerable funding and sustainability difficulties. Points out that while most government childcare initiatives are targeted on the 20% most deprived wards, the majority of low income households live elsewhere, and so do not benefit. Also discusses various problems with the Childcare Tax Credit, and concludes that the Children's Centre model is the most constructive way to provide childcare for working parents.

CHILDCARE STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS: CONSULTATION PAPER

Sure Start, Department for Education and Skills and Department for Work and Pensions

London: 2003

Consultation covers changes to the national standards for under eights day care and childminding, and details how childcare provision in schools will be registered and inspected. Also calls for comments on the associated regulations which are intended to come into force in September 2003.

CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE'S PARTICIPATION IN THE PLANNING, DELIVERY AND EVALUATION OF POLICIES AND SERVICES: THE 2003/04 ACTION PLAN OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS

2003

Action plan sets out the Department's commitment to consult with children and young people about its services.

THE CHILDREN'S FUND: FIRST WAVE PARTNERSHIPS

Ofsted, Audit Commission and Social Services Inspectorate

London: 2003 (HMI 585)

Reports on the work of the Children's Fund which sponsors programmes aimed at improving services in order to counteract the negative effects of child poverty and reduce the risk of social exclusion. The Fund mainly targets 5 to 13-year-olds who have needs which fall outside of the remit of the statutory services.

CHILDREN'S SERVICES IN THE UK 1997-2003: PROBLEMS, DEVELOPMENTS AND CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE

M. Little, N. Axford and L. Morpeth

Children and Society, vol.17, 2003, p.205-214

Article starts by reviewing developments in children's service since 1997. Goes on to estimate their effects on children in need before examining trends in service data such as numbers of children looked after or on the child protection register. Next, additions to the evidence base since 1997 are described, and finally the potential effects of new policies on children in the community are charted using data from two recent Dartington studies. Argues that the policy of providing predominantly low level interventions for large groups may need rethinking if lasting changes to children's development are to be secured.

EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICES: EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION?

G. Pugh

Children and Society, vol.17, 2003, p.184-194

The last decade has seen many improvements in the range and level of service provision for young children in the UK. The recent Interdepartmental Childcare Review proposes further expenditure and greater co-ordination, with specific targets for areas of high need. However, there is no coherent overall policy that brings together the needs of children (as seen within the education system) and the needs of parents to reconcile employment with family life (as seen within the day care system) and no vision of an integrated approach to services for children under six. There is still a severe shortage of day care places for children under three, a lack of trained staff, and a heavy reliance on short term funding.

FROM PARITY TO SUBSIDIARITY? CHILDREN'S POLICY IN NORTHERN IRELAND UNDER NEW LABOUR: THE CASE OF CHILD WELFARE

J. Pinkerton

Children and Society, vol.17, 2003, p.254-260

In this paper the devolution agenda of New Labour is related to the progress being made in the peace process and its implications for children's policy, using child welfare as a case study.

GOVERNMENT 'MUST RAISE TAXES OR CUT SERVICES' TO HIT CHILD POVERTY TARGETS

C. Swain

Financial Times, July 14th 2003, p.4

Labour's target for tackling child poverty can be achieved only through substantial rise in taxes or by curbing spending on other services. The Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Institute for Public Policy Research have both said the government would need to step up spending dramatically to achieve their targets on child poverty.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS?

J. Pybus

Foster Care, issue 113, 2003, p.14-16

Research by the Fostering Network has found that two-thirds of local authorities failed to pay their carers the minimum recommended allowance to meet the costs of looking after a fostered child in 2002. The lack of adequate allowances means that many foster parents struggle to give young people in their care a decent standard of living.

GUIDANCE ON ACCOMMODATING CHILDREN IN NEED AND THEIR FAMILIES

Department of Health

London: 2003 (LAC 2003 (13))

Offers guidance to councils on providing assistance to families of children in need and to lone children in the light of amendments to the Children Act 1989 Sections 17 and 22 made by the Adoption and Children Act 2002. Confirms that councils have the power under Section 17 of the Act to provide accommodation for families and children, and that the provision of accommodation in this way does not make a child looked after.

HODGE TOUGHS IT OUT

P. Revell

Public Finance, July 18th-24th, 2003, p.16-17

Children's Minister Margaret Hodge has been accused of failing to root out abuse in Islington's children's homes when she was council leader in the 1980s and so being unfit for office. However she has since done very good work in early years provision and has the confidence of professionals in the field.

THE IMPACT OF LABOUR ON POLICIES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN WALES

C.Williams

Children and Society, vol.17, 2003, p.247-253

Discusses the impact of devolution on policies for children in Wales. The Welsh Assembly has been limited in its development of a distinctively Welsh children's policy by its inability to create primary legislation. However some progress has been made through secondary legislation, such as outlawing smacking by childminders. Goes on to consider the approach of the Welsh Assembly government to issues such as partnership working, transparency, openness and implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

KINSHIP CARE

C. Talbot and M. Williams

Family Law, vol.33, 2003, p.502-507

Presents research evidence that kinship care has more positive outcomes for looked after children than placement with strangers. Points out that the English legal and social care systems often fail to support this placement option and can even undermine it.

THE LAMING INQUIRY: VICTORIA CLIMBIÉ'S LEGACY

H.L. Conway

Family Law, vol.33, 2003, p.513-516

Outlines findings of the Laming Inquiry into the failings of the child protection system that led to the death of Victoria Climbié at the hands of her aunt. Gives an overview of the structural changes in the system recommended in the Inquiry report.

LEARNING TO LISTEN: ACTION PLAN FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

2003

Programme aims to empower young people to engage positively with their communities. Over the coming year the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister wants to develop a clear vision for the future of this work and to build capacity to work more effectively with children and young people. It will also seek to bring about attitudinal change and encourage agencies to do more to involve young people in their work.

LET'S HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS

R. Winchester

Community Care, June 26th-July 2nd 2003, p.26-27

Describes the Blueprint project which is using innovative approaches to canvassing the views of young people on the care system. Children complain of not feeling involved in the review meeting, of loss of identity, and of not being listened to. A parallel research programme has raised issues around the importance of positive relationships, identity and individuality, choice, control and competence, and dependence and independence.

MEASURING CHILD POVERTY CONSULTATION: PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS

Department for Work and Pensions

Hayes: 2003

Following the consultation, it has been decided that the options of measuring child poverty through a consistent poverty measure or through a child poverty index will not be pursued. The options of using a tiered approach or multidimensional indicators will be investigated further.

MEETING THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN FROM BIRTH TO THREE: RESEARCH EVIDENCE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR OUT-OF-HOME PROVISION

C. Stephen, A.-W. Dunlop, and C. Trevarthen

Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Education Department, 2003 (Insight; 6)

Reviews research evidence on the development of children from birth to three-years-old, and the implications of that evidence for the provision of care without the home. Provides an overview of:

  • the ways in which adults can contribute to children's development from the earliest stages;
  • the kind of adult attention and care that are beneficial;
  • the characteristics of out-of-home provision that meets young children's changing needs.

MODEL ANSWER

E. Nicholls

Community Care, July 3rd-9th 2003, p.32-34

Describes the role of the "new life work model" in care planning for looked after children. The model aims to:

  • preserve the child's memories by using memory boxes and age-appropriate memory books;
  • prepare the child to move on to a permanent placement;
  • promote the child's identity by providing a comprehensive family history book.

NEW LAW ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION

G. Haworth and N. Angell

Family Law Journal, no.27, 2003, p.5-8

Explains and comments on the provisions of the Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999. The main thrust of the Act is to implement the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which ensures that this only takes place when it is in the best interests of the child.

OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Z. Kurtz

Children and Society, vol.17, 2003, p.173-183

Article outlines the impact that government policies may have on health outcomes for children. However, the assessment of changes in health status is difficult and mostly relies on proxy measures. The evidence that any changes can be related to policy is extremely limited and mostly based on small-scale local projects. What can be learnt from these and from collective analysis of linked projects, such as those funded through the CAMHS Innovation Grant, is discussed.

OUTCRY OVER HODGE DELAYS PROPOSALS TO REDUCE CHILD ABUSE

A.Grice

The Independent, July 3rd 2003, p.6

The government will delay long-awaited proposals to protect children from abuse because of the controversy surrounding Margaret Hodge, the Minister for Children. The proposals were originally due last February.

THE PARENTING FUND: PROPOSALS FOR CONSULTATION

Department for Education and Skills and the Treasury

[London]: 2003-08-06

The Parenting Fund will assist voluntary and community organisations in delivering parenting support. Consultation document proposes that the fund should be used to:

  • expand support available to all parents, by, for example, increasing the availability of helplines;
  • increase support services for black and minority ethnic parents;
  • spread parenting support services to wider geographical areas;
  • increase the capacity of the parenting support sector to grow, by, for example, improving workforce skills.

POOR CHILDREN

J. Bradshaw

Children and Society, vol.17, 2003, p.162-172

Article explores trends in child poverty in the UK since 1979 and the impact of current government policies in reducing it. Child poverty trebled during the 1980s and is only now beginning to fall slowly. However there are huge national, regional and local variations in child poverty. Children at risk of poverty are concentrated in workless households, lone parent families, families with four or more children, families where there is a disabled adult or child and households dependent on state benefits.

PROTECTION BRACKET

M. Gould

Health Service Journal, vol.113, July 24th 2003, p.14-15

Describes how pilot children's trusts plan to improve services by integrating health care, social care and educational support.

REBELS WITHOUT A CLAUSE

J. Pearce and R. Smith

Community Care, June 12th-18th 2003, p.34-35

Authors present the case for and against social workers with religious beliefs being allowed to opt out of working with same-sex couples looking to adopt children.

REPORT ON CROSS-CUTTING EXPENDITURE IN RELATION TO CHILDREN IN POVERTY: 2ND REPORT 2003 (SESSION 2)

Finance Committee, Scottish Parliament

2003 (SP paper; 4)

Report is the result of a review of the level and effectiveness of Scottish budgetary allocations aimed at eradicating child poverty in a generation. Committee found it almost impossible to track spending in this area and concludes that the Scottish Executive's strategy needs a "step change" if targets are to be met.

SCOTLAND'S CHILDREN AND THE NEW PARLIAMENT

B. Cohen

Children and Society, vol.17, 2003, p.236-246

The establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 has raised the profile of children's issues. This has led to a decision to establish a Children's Commissioner, more legislative provisions enabling children's views to be taken into account, and a more explicit commitment to child and family centred working. A National Education Debate has strengthened the Scottish Executive's resolve to reaffirm its commitment to comprehensive schooling and "an equality of outcomes" approach. New Community Schools put education in the driving seat of change, and are charged with expanding the range of support and services offered to young people.

SURE START

A. M. Houston

Community Practitioner, vol.76, 2003, p.257-260

The Sure Start programme is concerned with improving and enhancing services for disadvantaged children aged nought to four and their families. The programme includes child care, health care and access, family support, economic development, adult education and family focused recreation. Paper sets out to explain the inner workings of Sure Start programmes, including targeting, monitoring and audit mechanisms.

SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS: THE ASSESSMERNT FRAMEWORK, NEW LABOUR AND NEW TOOLS FOR SOCIAL WORK WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

P.M. Garrett

British Journal of Social Work, vol.33, 2003, p.441-463

Article analyses and comments on aspects of the "Framework for the assessment of children in need and their families" implemented in 2001. Provides part of the context for the evolution of the Framework by referring to some of the comments of its primary definers and to a number of background documents issued since the 1980s. This is followed by an articulation of the new assessment paradigm featured in the Framework. It is then suggested that the Framework needs to be understood both in terms of previous policy documents and earlier methods of intervention related to child protection and in terms of its relation to the rest of the New Labour political project. Discussion concludes by examining two facets of the Framework that are of importance for social workers' micro-engagements with children and families:

  • its preoccupation with an ecological approach to assessments;
  • the significance of the questionnaires and scales which accompany it.

UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD: TENTH REPORT OF SESSION 2002/03

Joint Committee on Human Rights

London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons papers, Session 2002/03; HC81)

Calls for smacking by parents to be outlawed as being incompatibe with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and reiterates the Committee's call for a Children's Commissioner for England to be instituted.

THE VICTORIA CLIMBIÉ INQUIRY REPORT

Health Committee

London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons papers, Session 2002/03; HC570)

Report comments on the recommendations of Lord Laming's inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié. Calls on the government to:

  • issue clear guidance on action to be taken under sections 17 and 47 of the Children Act 1989;
  • outlaw smacking;
  • investigate the feasibility of setting up a national database tracking all children under 16;
  • establish a Children's Commissioner for England;
  • register all private foster carers;
  • establish clear lines of accountability in the child protection system.
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