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

BETTER THAN YOU THINK: STAFF MORALE, QUALIFICATIONS AND RETENTION IN RESIDENTIAL CHILDCARE

A. Mainey

London: National Children's Bureau, 2003

Research examined current levels of morale among staff working in residential childcare and explored factors which promote and damage it. Found that about 75% of staff are either satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. Almost 75% reported morale to be okay or high in their homes at present. Factors considered to promote morale were good teamwork, support from colleagues, access to training, and recognition of good quality work. However, over half of managers surveyed reported difficulties recruiting and retaining staff.

CHILD TRUST FUNDS

Treasury Committee

London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons Papers, Session 2003/04; HC 86)

Under the government's proposals, all children born from 1st September 2002 will be eligible for a Child Trust Fund account. All will receive a government endowment of £250, with the poorest receiving £500. Government will make a further payment when the child is seven and family and friends will be able to contribute up to £1200 a year to the fund. The report comments in detail on the proposals, concluding that the programme has the potential to make a significant impact, particularly on people's attitude to saving. However, the programme will be very expensive, costing over £4bn over the next 18 years.

CHILDCARE RISES TO 25% OF INCOME

J. Carvel

The Guardian, January 26th 2004, p.7

Parents are struggling to afford childcare as the cost of a nursery place continues to rise faster than inflation and has reached nearly a quarter of average household income, the charity Daycare Trust, will report today. A national survey of childcare costs in England found the average price of a nursery place for a child under two is £134 a week, 5% more than last year. This compares with an average household income of £562 a week.

CHILDREN'S VIEWS FROM CARE AND RESIDENTIAL EDUCATION ON PROPOSALS IN THE GREEN PAPER "EVERY CHILD MATTERS": REPORT OF THE CHILDREN'S RIGHTS DIRECTOR

National Care Standards Commission, 2004

Children in care and residential education have told the government what issues and priorities should be included in the planned new children's legislation. Key issues and proposals raised by the children included:

  • heavy punishment for abusers;
  • training parents in how to assess and reduce risks for their children;
  • better Internet safety;
  • drug awareness sessions;
  • lessons in healthy cookery for children and adults to ensure a better diet;
  • more opportunities for exercise and a wide range of leisure activities;
  • measures to reduce exam stress;
  • rethinking the age at which young people can take paid work.

DEFINING THE FATHER FIGURE

J. Speed

Family Law Journal, No. 32, Dec. 2003/Jan. 2004, p.19-21

The article explores the concept of parental responsibility and how it is applied in practice.

A DISCONNECTED GENERATION? ENCOURAGING YOUNG PEOPLE'S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN THE UK

E. Fahmy

Youth and Policy, No. 81, 2003, p.1-20

Data were gathered on the political disengagement of young people aged 15-19 from a survey carried out in South West England. Many participants emphasised the unresponsiveness of political structures and the extent to which they felt politicians could not be trusted to attend to their interests. What is required to remedy this are new forms of political representation that facilitate access of young people and other marginalised groups to genuine participation in decision-making. For young people, opportunities will need to be provided for early involvement in the decision-making process with adequate support and attention to development of necessary personal skills.

FINDINGS CAST DOUBT ON GOVERNMENT BELIEF THAT ADOPTION IS THE BEST ANSWER

D. Hayes

Community Care, Dec. 18th 2003-Jan. 7th 2004, p.16-17

The article reports research showing that the potential for increasing the number of adoptions of looked-after children may be limited, and that different solutions such as long-term fostering may need to be sought for those harder to place.

NEET FIGURES CONTINUE TO RISE

P. Bivand

Working Brief, issue 150, Dec./Jan 2004, p.17-19

According to the Department for Education and Skills, there are now 181,000 young people under 19 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in England, and numbers are rising. The vast majority are unemployed but not eligible for benefits. Little has yet been achieved by Connexions Partnerships to help these young people improve their life chances through learning or work. Connexions has achieved a significant increase in knowledge about how young people become NEET, but must now move on to reduce their numbers.

PEOPLE UNDER THREE: YOUNG CHILDREN IN DAY CARE. 2ND ED.

E. Goldschmied and S. Jackson

London: Routledge, 2004

This book translates child development theory and research into everyday practice. Focusing on the group day care of very young children, it includes detailed guidance on educational play for babies and toddlers and how to care for children's emotional needs. The book also explores the difficult area of child protection and working with parents and children with a variety of problems. This new edition has been updated to take account of the expansion and radical changes that have taken place in childcare provision since the book was first published and includes new material on assessing the quality of care and short-term and intermittent care.

PROFESSIONAL ADVOCACY AS A FORCE FOR RESISTANCE IN CHILD WELFARE

J. Dalrymple

British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 33, 2003, p.1043-1062

The paper focuses on how service providers understand advocacy in child welfare. It argues that young people who are oppressed through exclusion from full participation need an adult to support them in challenging their denial of agency. To be in a position to initiate dialogue and promote their participation rights, advocates require the credibility of professionals. However, attempts to empower themselves in the face of exclusion by other professionals may distance them from the young people they are working with.

PROJECTS PREPARE FOR JOB LOSSES AND CLOSURE AS THEY AWAIT BUDGET CUTS

D. Hayes

Community Care, Jan.15th-21st 2004, p.16-17

Services supported by the Children's Fund are under threat as the government plans to cut their budgets.

RECONFIGURING YOUTH WORK: SOME FINDINGS FROM THE JOSEPH ROWNTREE FOUNDATION DETACHED AND OUTREACH RESEARCH PROJECT

J. Spence, C. Pugh and P. Turner

Youth and Policy, No. 81, 2003, p.58-73

Through its network of personal advisers, the Connexions service aims to make contact with disaffected young people and steer them back into work, education or training. The article reports results of a research project, which assessed the potential of detached and outreach youth work to help realise these ambitions. If detached and outreach youth work are to realise their potential for contacting disengaged young people, then more stable funding and full-time staff are essential.

REFRAMING CHILDREN'S SERVICES: A VOLUNTARY SECTOR PERSPECTIVE ON "EVERY CHILD MATTERS"

E. De'Ath

ChildRight, issue 202, 2003, p.18-19

Argues that the Green Paper on the reform of children's services is insufficiently radical. It concentrates on changing the structures through which services are delivered, rather than focusing on the cultural change needed to ensure every child can fulfil its potential through the reduction of levels of educational failure, ill health, teenage pregnancy, abuse and neglect, and anti-social behaviour.

A "RIGHT" FAILURE: THE GOVERNMENT'S VISION FOR A CHILDREN'S COMMISSIONER FOR ENGLAND

R. Harvey

ChildRight, issue 202, 2003, p.3-6

Expresses concern that the government's vision of the role of the proposed Children's Commissioner for England does not focus on protecting and promoting their rights. It seems unlikely that the post envisaged by the government will come close to the national human rights institution required by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT

C. Ball and J. Connolly

Community Care, Jan.15th-21st 2004, p.38-39

Article examines evidence that looked after children find it difficult to access the complaints procedure.

YOUNG PEOPLE, "COMMUNITY COHESION" AND THE ROLE OF YOUTH WORK IN BUILDING SOCIAL CAPITAL

P. Thomas

Youth and Policy, No.81, 2003, p.21-42

Reports on how race riots, which occurred in 2001 in Bradford, Burnley, Oldham and Leeds, emphasised the need to promote "community cohesion". Paper investigates what "community cohesion" means to young people involved in the disturbances through analysis of group discussions with Asian and White youth in Oldham. Youth work has the potential to foster "community cohesion" through carefully planned cross-community projects, and the provision of open access facilities.

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