Community Care, Mar. 18th-24th 2004, p.30-31
There are three main areas of concern about the Children Bill now before Parliament. These are:
Society Guardian, Mar. 3rd 2004, p.2-3
The Children's Bill promises to improve the way young people are protected and supported. The author questions whether the proposed restructuring can work.
Social Services Inspectorate
London: DH Publications, 2004
The report summarises evidence from inspections of children's services, the Victoria Climbié self-audit evaluation and information provided in councils' delivery and improvement statements. It stresses the importance of effective service commissioning based on a good understanding of local needs; of early intervention and support for parents; of steps to ensure fair and equal access to services; and of competent leadership and management in encouraging staff retention.
K. Sproston, K. Woodfield and K. Tisdull
[Edinburgh]: Scottish Executive Social Research, 2004
Child contact centres promote and support contact between children and their parents. The research investigated users', referrers' and staff expectations and experiences of contact centres.
ChildRight, issue 204, 2004, p.14-16
The Care Standards Tribunal was set up under s.9 of the Protection of Children Act 1999. Article gives an overview of appeals filed in some 280 cases since April 2002, many of which have concerned the regulation of childminders and day care providers.
Community Care, Feb. 19th-25th 2004, p.36-37
Summarises results of research on what children, and the adults that work with them, want from the care system. Investigations showed that:
M. Wyness, L. Harrison and I. Buchanan
Sociology, Vol.38, 2004, p.81-99
The article examines the relationship between young people and the world of politics. On the one hand children are located within the private and personal sphere of the family, where they are under the care and control of their parents. The family is seen as preparing them for a future role in public life. On the other hand children as increasing regarded as having collective interests that require political articulation.
New Economy, Vol.11, 2004, p.3-14
London has the highest child poverty rate in Great Britain, with over a third of children living in households with incomes below 60% of the median after housing costs. The article explores the reasons behind this, including the number of workless households in the capital, the cost and limited availability of childcare and the low percentage of part-time workers in comparison to other parts of the country.
Community Care, Mar. 18th-24th 2004, p.18-19
Rising levels of complaints, intimidation, threats and physical assaults are deterring doctors for entering child protection work. However, the situation is expected to improve as child protection becomes the responsibility of all professionals involved in children's lives, not simply that of specialists or designated consultants.
London: TSO, 2004 (Session 2003/04, Bill no. 35)
Bill provides for:
(For summary, see Community Care, Mar.11th-17th 2004, p.18-19; for interview with the Children's Minister, see Community Care, Mar.11th-17th 2004, p.20-21)
Community Care, Mar. 4th-10th 2004, p.18-19
Councils are discriminating against kinship foster carers by paying them less than non-kinship carers and failing to offer them training or access to help from a social worker. Some kinship carers are now taking councils to court in the hope of getting more money.
Community Care, Feb. 26th-Mar. 3rd, 2004, p.30-31
The article expresses concern that growing scepticism about experts' evidence in child abuse cases may weaken the protection system.
Department for Education and Skills
The document includes draft guidance on the role of the care planning process in ensuring that children are securely attached to carers capable of providing safe and effective care for the duration of their childhood. It also includes draft regulations and accompanying guidance for the introduction of the special guardianship order, a legal route to permanence for children who cannot live with their parents.
National Audit Office
London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons papers, session 2003/04; HC268)
The government has spent some £13bn on early years services since 1998. It is now on course to provide free part-time early education places for all three- and four-year-olds whose parents want one by 2004. In the region of 96,000 more childcare places have been created overall for preschool children since 1998, but threats exist to the sustainability of the new provision. Affordability has improved for parents benefiting from the free part-time early education places and from the childcare tax credit, although costs have risen for others. A detailed framework of measures to improve the quality of childcare has been put in place, but problems attracting staff to the sector remain.
Community Care, Feb. 26th-Mar. 3rd 2004, p.36-38
The integration of children's services proposed in the Green Paper Every Child Matters should lead to education and social services adopting a more joined up approach to assessing educational needs. Social care needs to take account of education as a force for child development, while schooling needs to take account of parenting capacity.
T. Spratt and J. Callan
British Journal of Social Work, Vol.34, 2004, p.199-124
The article reports on the final part of a three-part research project examining the potential for social workers to shift from a child protection to a child welfare orientation in their practice. Findings from the first two stages of the project - which indicated that although a large number of child protection cases could be reclassified as child welfare cases, the child protection processes continued to influence the way in which cases were handled - are summarised before the current study's methodology is outlined. Twelve families referred to social services were interviewed regarding their feelings towards child welfare interventions. The study examined the nature of the referral (whether by the family themselves or through a GP or anonymous caller), the families' initial contact with their social worker and their subsequent contact with both their social worker and other professionals. Results showed that, regardless of the nature and source of the referral, parents' relationships with their social worker proved to be the most influential factor in their evaluation of their experience of social work. The article concludes that child welfare interventions are both similar to and different from child protection investigations and although most social workers are skilled in monitoring risk whilst engaging with families these subtleties are not recognised by official measures of governance, leading to inconsistencies in practice.
The publication was issued as part of the Executive's drive to deliver improved services for children and young people. The standards set out demand that:
Community Care, Mar.11th-17th 2004, p.34-35
Describes, with case studies, a scheme for mentoring the parents of children with behavioural difficulties, using trained volunteers.
Department for Education and Skills
A consultation about revised draft guidance on arrangements for child protection in schools and further education colleges in England.
K. Philip, C. King and J. Shucksmith
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2004
Mentoring has become an important element of government strategy for supporting vulnerable young people. Researchers looked at the impact of mentoring on young people in three settings: a housing project and education project where paid key workers acted as mentors and a befriending scheme where volunteers acted as mentors. They conclude that while mentoring cannot remedy all the ills facing vulnerable young people, it can be one of a number of useful tools. The approach, however, needs to be varied to suits the needs of individual young people.
C. Sutton, D. Utting and D. Farrington (Eds.)
Department for Education and Skills (Research Report: 524)
A review of research evidence which identifies early interventions with vulnerable children that have demonstrated the greatest promise for preventing persistent conduct problems and reducing the risk of future anti-social behaviour, including drug abuse and offending.
Health Service Journal, vol.114, Mar.25th 2004, p.14
The Sure Start programme provides a package of intensive support for families from the most deprived areas, with the aims of pulling them out of poverty, enabling their children to benefit from education, and improving their health.
Community Care, Mar. 18th-24th 2004, p.32-33
From April 14th, children in care will have the statutory right to independent advocacy when making a complaint about a local authority service. Unfortunately the legislation that gives them this right, the Adoption and Children Act 2002, places responsibility for commissioning services with the local authorities they are intended to challenge.
C. Denny and L. Elliott
The Guardian, March 31st 2004, p20
Labour's concerted attack on child poverty since 1997 has failed to prevent the gap between rich and poor in Britain becoming wider than it was under the Conservatives, government figured showed yesterday. Britain has moved from bottom place in the European child poverty league tables, but Labour has so far only made a small dent in the massive increases in deprivation that occurred under the Thatcher administration. More than 700,000 children have been lifted out of poverty since 1997, leaving 3.6 million still living in families earning less than 60% of average income - the government's poverty line.