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

ADOPTION: INTERCOUNTRY ASPECTS

M. Hinchliffe

Family Law, vol.33, 2003, p.570-574

On 1st June 2003, the UK ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption 1993. Many applicants will now be able to adopt children from abroad on the basis of agreements between central authorities of the countries involved. Article explains the procedures in detail.

BREAKING BARRIERS: REACHING THE HARDEST TO REACH

A. Calder and R. Cope

London: Prince's Trust, 2003

Research shows that too many disadvantaged young people are being held back from accessing jobs and education by a lack of qualifications, their own bad behaviour, drug and alcohol abuse and a criminal record.

CONSIDERATION, RESPECT, GUIDANCE…

R. Winchester and N. Valios

Community Care, Aug. 14th-20th 2003, p.26-28

Reports on the powers and achievements of children's commissioners in Norway, Iceland and Lithuania and discusses how one could operate in England.

DELAY REACTION

A.U. Sale

Community Care, July 31st-Aug 6th 2003, p.26-27

Comments on new protocols to be introduced in November 2003 aimed at speeding up children's care proceedings. The most significant protocol suggests that cases should be completed within 40 weeks. Currently some care proceedings in Southern England and Wales are taking more than 12 months to complete.

DISQUALIFIED FROM WORKING WITH CHILDREN LIST

Scottish Executive Education Department

Edinburgh: 2003

The List is an important part of the Scottish Executive's child protection reform programme. Under the Child Protection (Scotland) Act 2003, an individual working in a childcare position will be referred to the list by their employer if they harm a child or put a child at risk of harm, and as a consequence are dismissed or moved away from access to children. Those convicted of an offence against a child will be referred directly by the courts.

DIVORCING CHILDREN: CHILDREN'S EXPERIENCE OF THEIR PARENTS DIVORCE

I. Butle and others

London: Jessica Kingsley, 2003

Drawing on a three-year study of children of divorced parents, the authors present a guide to understanding the experience of children who are experiencing parental separation. The book provides an account of how children are actively involved in the process of divorce and how they shape that experience. The authors show what children want and need to know and how professionals can respond accordingly. The book also addresses the weaknesses of current legislation in family justice.

DON'T LEAVE RACE ON THE SIDE

D. Mistry and S. Chauhan

Community Care, July 31st-Aug.6th 2003, p.34-35

There is evidence that inquiries into deaths following failures in the child protection system are failing to address issues of race and culture. Proposes introduction of a check list to be used as a guide to ensure that these issues are fully explored in serious case reviews. Argues that there is also a need to develop an understanding of child abuse among minority ethnic and religious communities.

DRIVE TO PUT CHILD PROTECTION ONLINE LEADS TO ARRAY OF EMERGING SYSTEMS

M. Hunter

Community Care, 14th-20th Aug. 2003, p.16-17

One of the key proposals of the Laming report on the death of Victoria Climbié was the creation of a national database to track all children under 16. This is leading to the emergence of a range of overlapping systems that at best duplicate each other. There are also concerns that providers will be unable to deliver software systems which are up to the job.

THE IMPACT OF THE ADOPTION AND CHILDREN ACT 2002. PART 1, PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

J. Masson

Family Law, vol.33, 2003, p.580-584

Explains the provisions of the Act with respect to:

  • parental responsibility for unmarried fathers;
  • parental responsibility for step-parents;
  • special guardianship, which creates a near-adoption status for carers;
  • placement orders, which give adoption agencies parental responsibility.

IRT: INFORMATION SHARING TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN: GUIDANCE

Children and Young People's Unit

London: 2003

Offers guidance on information sharing to improve services for children, with a strong focus on early intervention and prevention. It sets out what is expected of local authorities and others responsible for delivering an identification, referral and tracking (IRT) project as part of their authority's local preventive strategy.

ON THR TRAIL OF KNOWLEDGE

T. Donovan

Young People Now, Aug. 13th-19th, 2003, p.7

Government has issued guidance outlining how agencies dealing with vulnerable young people should pool their knowledge so that they operate together more effectively. The guidance is intended to steer the work of the ten pilot authorities charged with turning the concept of information sharing into reality.

RACE AND THE LAMING REPORT ON VICTORIA CLIMBIÉ

A. Chand

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.11, Aug.2003, p.28-37

Article evaluates critically, against established research evidence, what impact ethnicity had on the way Victoria Climbié was perceived and assessed by different professionals and organisations involved in her short life in England before she was killed. Discusses the problems of working with people not habitually resident in the UK, the complexities of challenging people from minority ethnic backgrounds, the difficulties of using interpreters, the challenges involved in assessing minority ethnic families, and inter- and intra-agency tensions in work with such families.

RIGHT CHEMISTRY

K. Leason

Community Care, Aug.28th-Sept.3rd 2003, p.28

Hammersmith and Fulham is one of the 35 pathfinder children's trusts. The Council will be bringing together children's social services, education and health services in a single structure.

RISK, REFLEXIVITY AND SOCIAL CONTROL IN CHILD PROTECTION: NEW TIMES OR THE SAME OLD STORY?

J. Scourfield and I. Welsh

Critical Social Policy, vol.23, 2003, p.398-420

Article begins by summarising recent claims that child protection in conditions of reflexive modernity can be liberating, and by reviewing recent research evidence for and against this claim. Goes on to raise some general questions about the reflexive modernisation thesis and its applicability to the social policy arena through a consideration of debates from the sociology of the environment that have clarified issues of lay-expert relations and the model of transformation advanced. Finally draws on ethnographic evidence to argue that child protection can be seen as a form of social control aimed at disciplining working class parents.

SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE PARENTS

B. Lindley

Community Care, Aug. 14th-20th 2003, p.34-35

Reports on research into advice and advocacy for parents involved in child protection investigations. There was a strong consensus that advocacy is helpful provided that the advocate has specialist knowledge and experience of child protection, acts in a professional manner and becomes involved early in the process. However provision across the country is innovative and patchy. Goes on to describe a protocol on advice and advocacy for parents developed for the Department of Health which covers ethical and practice issues.

STUDY FINDS 90% OF MOTHERS' WAGES SPENT ON HOME HELP AND CHILDCARE

H. Carter

Guardian, Aug. 28th 2003, p.12

A study by British Gas has shown that the average monthly take home pay for working mothers is £864 after tax. However they spend on average £808 of this on childcare and domestic help. This illustrates Britain's need for affordable childcare to support working mothers.

SUPPORTING MINORITY ETHNIC FAMILIES: SOUTH ASIAN HINDUS AND MUSLIMS IN BRITAIN: DEVELOPMENTS IN FAMILY SUPPORT

H. Becher and F. Husain

National Family and Parenting Institute, 2003

Report brings together findings from previous research which has recognised that families from minority ethnic communities have, in some respects, different approaches to parenting and different needs from those from the ethnic majority. Additionally, families from these communities are less likely to access preventative or universal services due to a range of barriers and a lack of trust in current provision. As a result, minority ethnic families suffer inequality in access to parenting support.

SUPPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE LEAVING CARE IN SCOTLAND: CONSULTATION ON REGULATIONS AND GUIDANCE TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE CEASING TO BE LOOKED AFTER BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Scottish Executive

Edinburgh: 2003

Proposals are designed to ensure that young people leaving care are adequately prepared for the next stage of their lives. They will ensure that young care leavers have somewhere safe to live, appropriate help with their income and access to local health services. Paper suggests improvements in needs assessment, closer involvement of young people in the "throughcare" and aftercare process, and strengthening follow-up contact for young people leaving care.

SURE START: THE EXAMPLE OF ONE APPROACH TO EVALUATION

A.M. Houston

Community Practitioner, vol.76, 2003, p.294-298

Sure Start is a complex community initiative aimed at improving services for children and their families in deprived areas. Having invested heavily in the programme, the government has introduced a stringent monitoring regime, linking future funding with milestone achievement and risk assessment procedures. Paper demonstrates how Sure Start monitoring demands can be met and how a local evaluation strategy was developed and applied to two projects in London.

TEENAGE PICKS

N. Hinks

Community Care, Aug.7th-13th 2003, p.36-37

Discusses involvement of a group of young people from Torbay in Devon in selection of staff for a new service funded by the Children's Fund, Connexions and the local education authority. In order to participate effectively, the young people needed to experience respect, to find the process fun, and to receive clear and understandable communication.

UNIVERSAL CHILDCARE "WORTH 40BN TO ECONOMY"

E. Crooks

Financial Times, Aug. 28th 2003, p.5

The consulting firm PwC has found that universal childcare for all children between one and four would have a net benefit worth £40bn at today's prices over the next 65 years. Initial gains come from an estimated rise in female employment over the next ten years. Longer term gains come from an estimated 2% increase in average earnings for those who have been in pre-school care. Mothers would also have higher average earnings in the longer term, because they would need to take less time out from their careers to raise their children.

WORKING TOGETHER: CONNEXIONS AND ADULT INFORMATION, ADVICE AND GUIDANCE PARTNERSHIPS

Department for Education and Skills, Connexions and Learning and Skills Council

Learning and Skills Council, 2003

Guidance about how a young person's transition from the Connexions service to Information, Advice and Guidance Partnerships' services for adults should be managed.

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