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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 1999): Child Welfare - UK

ANYBODY WHO BELIEVES THAT TEENAGERS WILL HOLD BACK FROM SEX BECAUSE IT MIGHT COST THEM A FIVER SHOULD HAVE GONE OUT MORE WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG.

M. Hume

Times, June 16th 1999, p.20.

Argues that it is unrealistic to try to prevent teenagers from having sex. Government should concentrate instead on preventing unwanted pregnancies through easier access to improved contraceptive services.

CHILD CARE DETAILS AT PUSH OF BUTTON AS STORES GO ONLINE FOR PILOT SCHEME

R. Smithers

Guardian, June 1st 1999, p.8

Describes scheme being piloted in Cambridgeshire that allows parents to feed their personal details and child care requirements into an online system, which then prints our information about local nurseries, play groups, child minders and nannies, together with availability.

CHILDCARE GAPS

Daycare Trust

London: 1999

Results of a survey show that child care provision for under-eight-year-olds has improved since 1998 but gaps still exist. Those excluded through cost or lack of provision include low income families, students and shift workers.

CSA FACES THREAT OF PRIVATISATION

F. Abrams and A. Grice

Independent, June 23rd 1999, p.10

Tony Blair has threatened the Child Support Agency with privatisation if planned reforms fail to bring in more money from absentee fathers. It has been suggested that collection of late payments could be outsourced to private security firms or the Inland Revenue.

EARLY INTERVENTIONS: EVIDENCE FOR IMPLEMENTING SURE START

S. Cowley

Community Practitioner, vol.72, 1999, p.162-165

Paper explains why the government has been convinced that a policy to reduce inequalities in health and social exclusion must begin with infants and families. It outlines some of the evidence that shows the most effective early interventions to be multi-faceted and community-based. Finally some of the issues that arose when health visitors tried to identify outcomes from their service are revisited to consider potential difficulties in evaluating Sure Start.

FIRST CONTACT

D. Burley

Young People Now, June 1999, p.22-23

Reports results of research on three LEA-funded early intervention projects in Peterborough. The projects were all targeted at disaffected young people aged 11-14 at risk of exclusion. Study examined the conditions for successful youth work intervention in such circumstances. Concludes that youth work can make a distinctive contribution to work with disaffected young people in schools if key organisational arrangements are in place.

FIT PERSON CRITERIA

Better Regulation Task Force

London, 1999.

Report examines methods for ascertaining whether potential staff are fit to work with children or vulnerable people. The Task Force recommends:

  • new criminal record checks to prove whether a person is fit to work with vulnerable people;
  • checks on home-based service providers if there is a risk to vulnerable people;
  • checks to be based on evidence and assessed against the risk of harm;
  • a review of access to high-level checks for small organisations and parents;
  • minimisation of duplication of checks leading to repeat fees;
  • clarification of forms of harm before statutory fit person checks are introduced.

MIXED-UP TEENAGERS NEED MORE THAN THIS BOTCHED JOB

P. Toynbee

Guardian, June 16th 1999, p.18

Argues that teenage pregnancies would be effectively cut by intensive sex education and easier access to contraception. Girls yet pregnant through ignorance, lack of sex education and the difficulty of getting access to contraception. Young people need access to friendly walk-in clinics and intensive sex education from a young age.

MODERN SERVICES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: PROPOSALS FOR ACTION

National Youth Agency

London: 1999

Paper explores the place of specialised youth work within broader services for young people and argues the need for a minimum standard of provision and coherent local arrangements to help young people with their transitions to adult life and to promote their social inclusion.

MOVING ON UP: HOW YOUTH WORK RAISES ACHIEVEMENT AND PROMOTES SOCIAL INCLUSION.

T. Burke, J. Hand and L. McFall

Nottingham: DfEE Publications, 1999

Highlights how youth work raises young people's achievements and contributes to the key government agenda of promoting social inclusion. Features ten case histories of projects that are making an impact and explores the reasons for their success.

A NEW CONTRACT FOR WELFARE: CHILDREN'S RIGHTS AND PARENTS' RESPONSIBILITIES

Department of Social Security

London: TSO, 1999 (Cm 4349)

Main points of the reform of the Child Support Agency are:

  • simplified maintenance system with lower average payments;
  • working lone parents to keep all maintenance;
  • lone parents on income support to keep £10.00 a week;
  • failure to co-operate to be a criminal offence;
  • private sector expertise to help overhaul the system;
  • changes to affect new cases from 2001; existing cases later.

(For comment see Daily Telegraph, July 2nd 1999, p.2; Times, July 2nd 1999, p.12; Independent, July 2nd 1999, p.9; Guardian, July 2nd 1999, p.6)

THE POVERTY TRAP

L. Eaton

Community Practitioner, Vol.72, 1999, p.155-156

Outlines the government's strategy for alleviating child poverty, and considers the part that health visitors could play.

A QUALIFIED SUCCESS?

A. Thompson

Community Care, no.1275, 1999, p.23

Introduces the new Post-Qualifying Award in Child Care. This is the first post-qualifying award based on national occupational standards, which are meant to underpin the Quality Protects agenda and meet the goals that the government expects every social services department to deliver.

STRAW LAUNCHES FAMILY HELPLINE AFTER CRITICISM OF TAX REFORMS

I. Burrell

Independent, June 9th 1999, P.7.

Reports the launch of ParentLine, a national telephone helpline for worried parents. This was one of 30 family friendly initiatives announced to accompany publication of responses to proposals in a government consultation document "Supporting Families".

TEENAGE PREGNANCY

Social Exclusion Unit

London: TSO, 1999 (Cm 4342)

In order to cut the high rate of teenage pregnancies in Britain, report proposes:

  • publicity drive to show the harsh reality of life as a young mother;
  • lone mothers under 18 to be put into supervised hostels instead of being allocated council flats;
  • Child Support Agency to pursue fathers of children born to teenagers for maintenance payments;
  • expansion of the role of the school nurse in helping youngsters to get access to contraception;
  • mothers under 16 to be required to return to school after 18 weeks birth leave.

(For comment see Times, June 15th 1999, p.12; Guardian, June 15th 1999, p.11; Independent, June 15th 1999, p.6; Daily Telegraph, June 15th 1999, p.8)

TOWARDS THE DISINTEGRATION OF CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

S. Petrie and K. Wilson

Social Policy and Administration, vol.33, 1999, p.181-196

Argue that the philosophies of the market place are flawed when applied to children's services. Markets are predicated upon the idea of competition between providers, in which poor quality providers are forced out of the market and good quality providers remain. Such thinking is unsuitable for the provision of children's services. Children's needs are best met by care which is sustainable and consistent, and it is essential that such care is planned strategically, developed flexibly, adapted and supported over a period. Relational contracting is one way of supporting such developments. However, under the present system, the kind of approach currently adopted by many local authorities seems destined rather to force good committed providers out of the market altogether.

YOUTH WORK: THE POSSIBILITIES FOR CRITICAL PRACTICE

J. Bamber and H. Murphy

Journal of Youth Studies, vol.2, 1999, p.227-242

Paper seeks to explain what is meant by a critical youth work practice and to show how this can be achieved by youth workers in their everyday situations. Argues that the essential components of social education (mutual trust and respect, power and purposeful learning) can be extended into the sphere of social action by linking the personal with the political. According to the three stage model presented, empowerment begins when a group of young people are encouraged by youth workers to make statements about their social reality. This leads to a second stage involving enlightenment, which, in turn, leads to a third concerning action.

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