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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2004): Child Welfare - UK

A CHAMPION FOR CHILDREN

E. White

Community Practitioner, Vol. 76, Dec. 2003, p.455-456

Dr. Huw Jenkins, director of healthcare services for children and young people in Wales, talks about the National Framework Service for Children, Young People and Maternity Services, which he has been leading since September 2003.

BLAIR ABANDONS KEY PLEDGE TO ERADICATE CHILD POVERTY

P. Waugh

The Independent, Dec. 19th, 2003, p.7

Tony Blair's flagship pledge to "eradicate" child poverty by 2020 was quietly abandoned yesterday after the Government rewrote its definition of low income. When the Prime Minister first announced his ambitious target in 1999, he declared Labour's historic mission would be to ensure no child was living on the breadline within a generation. But the Department for Work and Pensions announced yesterday that it would aim instead for Britain to be merely "among the best in Europe" on child poverty.

See also The Times, Dec. 19th, 2003, p.7)

CHILDCARE: AN INVESTIGATION OF LABOUR MARKET ISSUES

J. Campbell, G. Scott and E. Thomson

Regional Studies, vol.37 2003, p957-967

Paper reviews the rationale for the UK national childcare strategy and its Scottish equivalent, with a focus on the local development impacts of each strategy. The findings of a recent survey of childcare provision in Glasgow are used to illustrate some of the key operational aspects of the Scottish childcare strategy. The results show wide variations in pay and job security between local authority and voluntary and private sector providers. This diversity is reinforced by the variety of public sector agencies involved in the promotion of childcare.

CHILDCARE COSTS SET TO BE EASED

D. Turner

Financial Times, December 5th 2003, p.2

Gordon Brown is expected to ease childcare costs by introducing tax breaks for employers who give their staff vouchers. The Chancellor is expected to announce tax relief on the first £50 of a weekly childcare voucher, providing

the parent uses a registered childminder.

A CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER FOR ENGLAND

C. Bessant

Human Rights & UK Practice, Vol. 4, issue 4, 2003, p.11-14

Lord Laming's Report on the Victoria Climbié Inquiry recommended a National Agency for Children and Families and a Children's Commissioner for England. The article considers the functions of a Children's Commissioner, the arguments for and against an appointment and the government's proposals regarding the post.

CUES AND CLUES TO PREVENTING SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME

L. Coles and A. Kemp

Community Practitioner, Vol. 76, 2003, p. 459-463

The article investigates whether shaken baby syndrome is preventable. Cases of children under two years of age with subdural haemorrhage (SDH) admitted to hospital in Wales and south west England between 1992 and 1998 were examined. Child abuse cases were also identified. Results showed that the majority of the cases were in children under six months old and that significant numbers of parents had social difficulties such as a criminal record or mental health problems. The study concludes that shaken baby syndrome is an accumulation of abusive events, rather than a single event, and the article ends with a suggested framework to aid prevention.

DELIVERING SERVICES TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN RURAL AREAS: THE EARLY LESSONS FROM SURE START

Countryside Agency

Wetherby: 2003

The early experience of delivery of Sure Start in rural areas shows the importance of beginning by engaging communities and recognising distinctive needs. Services should be taken out to dispersed communities using small, dedicated family centres, and mobile services such as toy libraries and play buses. Services can also be taken to people's homes through targeted visiting programmes. Families also need help with transport to reach services which cannot be taken to them. It is also important to improve the standard of existing community facilities and services, and to plan for sustainability.

AN EQUAL START: IMPROVING SUPPORT DURING PREGNANCY AND THE FIRST 12 MONTHS.

L. Harker and L. Kendall

London: Institute for Public Policy Research 2003

Poverty has a profound adverse effect on the life-chances of children. Its effects how ever, can, be mitigated by skilled parenting, which develops high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence, and a strong sense of optimism and control in the child. Report calls for more state-sponsored parenting support services. These could be delivered by midwives and health visitors, or by lay mentors engaged in home visiting programmes.

FUNDING FAMILY AND FRIENDS CARE: THE WAY FORWARD

A. Richards and R. Tapsfield

London: Family Rights Group, 2003

Relatives or friends who have taken over the full-time permanent care of a child often experience significant financial hardship. Report argues that such carers should be entitled to an allowance from the state that reflects the cost of care. This should be either an "unsupported child" element of the child tax credit or an improved and expanded "guardian's allowance".

HEADING FOR ANOTHER CRASH?

L. Clark

Community Care, Dec.4th - 10th, 2003, p.30-31

Government is planning for every child to have a computer record, with an identification number and links to any records of previous contacts with services. This system should improve children's services by enabling agencies to share information. Article looks at concerns over funding and maintenance of data accurate and up-to-date

KEEPING SIGHT OF THE VISION

D. Carlisle

Community Practitioner, Vol. 76, 2003, p.452-453

The article comprises of an interview with Margaret Hodge, following her appointment as Children's Minister in June 2003. The focus is on the recent Green Paper, "Every Child Matters", and specifically on the role of health visitors in these reforms. Despite limited reference to their role in the Green Paper, Ms. Hodge insists that they have a key part to play in ensuring every child develops to their full potential.

MAKING EVERY CHILD MATTER

C. Lewis

Community Practitioner, Vol. 76, 2003, p.449-451

The article looks at two reforms introduced after the death of Victoria Climbié - "Keeping Children Safe" and the Green Paper "Every Child Matters". The content of the reforms is examined and the article contains the views of various professionals involved in child care and protection, including Professor Al Aynsley-Green, National Clinical Director for Children and David Spicer, Honorary Secretary of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

MEASURING CHILD POVERTY

Department for Work and Pensions

Hayes: 2003

The new child poverty measure will be used as the basis for tracking progress against the government's long-term goals of halving child poverty by 2010 and eradicating it by 2020. It comprises three separate indicators:

  • absolute low income defined as the number of children living below a particular cash threshold;
  • relative low income, set at 60% of contemporary median income;
  • material deprivation, defined as the number of children lacking particular necessities and living below 70% of contemporary median income.

NEW WORKFORCE REPORT SEEKS RADICAL SHIFT

P. Moss

Nursery Management Today, vol.2, July/August 2003, p. 10

The article examines the call made in the Daycare Trust's policy paper "Beyond Caring" for the creation of a new type of worker to staff the growing number of integrated services that combine education and care for children. The new "core worker" would work with the whole child to meet the needs of children and their families. The move would help to highlight the close relationship between care and learning.

NOT JUST THE EARLY YEARS

L. Feinstein

New Economy, Vol. 10, 2003 p.213-218

The article argues that although development in a child's early years is very important, the policymaker's job is not finished when a child enters school. Children born in a particular week in 1970 were examined at 22 months, 42 months, 5 years and 10 years. Development after 22 months proved to be socially determined, with disadvantaged children struggling, whilst their socially advantaged peers flourish. Policymakers must continue with their interventions through middle childhood to prevent this trend.

PASSING TIME: A REPORT ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES

L. Edwards and B. Hatch

London: Institute for Public Policy Research, 2003

The report calls for the provision of consistent and effective support, intervention and activities for teenagers. The programme envisaged would tackle the root causes of underachievement and disengagement. It would be delivered by a new profession combining youth and community work, social work, adult mental health services and careers services to provide more holistic support. It would aim to involve communities by developing roles for them as fundraisers and volunteers.

PROFESSOR AL AYNSLEY-GREEN [INTERVIEW]

L. Paton

ChildRight, issue 201, 2003, p.12-14

Professor Aynsley-Green discusses the development of the Children's National Service Framework and the role it will have in improving health services for young people.

SAFEGUARDER TRAINING: DESIGN, CONTENT AND EVALUATION

Scottish Executive

Edinburgh: 2003

The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 directs that each local authority must maintain a panel of safeguarders to look after the interests of the child in legal proceedings. The document sets out guidance on the design content and evaluation of safeguarder training. The guidance assumes the need to ensure that the training of safeguarders is of a high quality and consistent throughout Scotland.

SCOTS TAKE A DIFFERENT ROUTE

T. Donovan

Young People Now, Nov.26th-Dec2nd, 2003, p7

Describes child protection reform in Scotland, how they differ from what is proposed for England, and their impact on youth services.

SETBACK FOR GREEN PAPER AS AGENCIES SUBMIT CRITICAL COUNTER PROPOSALS

D. Hayes

Community Care, Nov.27th-Dec.3rd, 2003, p.18-19

Outlines criticisms of the government's proposals for the reform of children's services from organisations in the field. Criticisms focus on proposals for the integration of education, health and social services for workforce planning and for how the changes are to be funded.

TOO MUCH INFORMATION?

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Dec. 11th-17th 2003, p. 32-33

Government is planning to introduce regulations requiring adoption agencies to supply prospective adopters with full information about any child they wish to adopt. This includes details about their health, behaviours, educational history and wishes.

TOO MUCH TOO SOON

N. Valios

Community Care, Nov.27th-Dec.3th, 2003, p.26-27

The government expects all local authorities to have set up children's trusts by 2006 before the evaluation of pilot schemes is complete.

UNDER SURVEILLANCE

N. Hill

Young People Now, Nov.26th-Dec.2nd, 2003, p16-17

Government is extending its surveillance of young people through provisions in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill, through the Connexions, through Smart Cards in Scotland, and through the Information Referral and Tracking System set up by the Children and Young People Unit. Civil liberty and child protections organisations are worried by these invasions of young people's privacy.

VULNERABILITY, NEED AND SIGNIFICANT HARM: AN ANALYSIS TOOL

L. Scott

Community Practitioner, Vol. 76, 2003, p.468-473

The article provides a formula for identifying the concerns, needs and dangers surrounding children. It is divided into three levels, the first examining child-adult dynamics, the second analysing the (im)balance between stress and strengths and the third focusing on the risks of adverse parenting styles. The formula can be used by any child care professional and provides a summarised picture from which professional awareness is raised and action can be taken to protect the child.

WORKING TOGETHER: GIVING CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE A SAY

C. Willow

ChildRight, issue 201, 2003, p15-17

The Education Act 2002 requires local education authorities and schools to consult children about decisions affecting them. Article presents a critique of the draft guidance on pupil participation. Expresses particular concern that none of its provisions apply to individual decision-making.

YOU MUSTN'T PRESUME

A. Weir

Community Care, Nov. 27- Dec 3rd, 2003, p34-35

Three sets of false assumptions clouded the thinking and behaviour of the professionals involved with Victoria Climbié. She was not valued as a person and as a child with rights. Early statements that she had not been abused resulted in professionals who came into contact with her later either denying or explaining away what they saw. Finally, professionals consistently assumed that someone else had responsibility. Author argues that the structural reforms of children's services proposed in the Green paper, Every Child Matters would not affect such mindset issues.

web linkYOUR CHILDREN MATTER: KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS

M. Lynch

Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Justice Department, 2003

Booklet provides information on what the law says about parental responsibilities and rights and how to get legal responsibility for a child. Then focuses on situations where family life comes into direct contact with the law, covering topics such as birth registration, changing a child's name and divorce.

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