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

ADOPTION GOOD, FOSTERING BAD?

H. Bond

Foster Care, no. 98, 1999, p. 16-17

Argues that, for many children, adoption is not the right option. Wherever possible, the best family for most children is their own family. Foster care has an important role in helping many families through a difficult period and enabling children to return home. Figures quoted in newspapers about children languishing in care just don't recognise this.

CHILDCARE IN WALES

Welsh Affairs Committee

London: TSO, 1999. (House of Commons papers. Session 1998/99; HC 156)

Covers issues of raising the quality of care, making childcare more affordable and accessible, and implementation of the strategy through local childcare partnerships, TECs and employers.

CHILDREN ON THE MOVE: STABILITY AND CONTINUITY FOR LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN

S. Jackson and N. Thomas

Childright, no. 158, 1999

Adoption should be the placement of choice where children cannot be looked after in their own families. Traditional fostering and residential care in its present form both seem to have reached an impasse, and need completely rethinking if looked after children are to provided with the stability and continuity that is their right.

CODE OF PRACTICE ON THE RECRUITMENT, ASSESSMENT, APPROVAL, TRAINING, MANAGEMENT AND SUPPORT OF FOSTER CARERS

National Foster Care Association

London: 1999

Provides a more rigorous assessment of prospective carers, while at the same time seeking to encourage applicants by providing a more transparent process of assessment and approval and making explicit the skills and competencies required. Also emphasises the responsibilities laid on local authorities and independent providers of fostering services to offer appropriate training and support.

COMING UP TO STANDARD OR FOSTERING ILLUSIONS

P. McCurry

Community Care, no. 1278, 1999, p. 12-13

The launch of national standards for foster care has been broadly welcomed. However there are fears that lack of concrete aims, shortage of foster carers and insufficient funding may mean that the aspirations expressed in the standards may go unrealised.

DECOUPLING MANAGERIAL AUDIT: EVIDENCE FROM THE LOCAL AUTHORITY CHILDREN'S HOMES SECTOR

M. Kitchener, I. Kirkpatrick, and R. Whipp

International Journal of Public Service Management, vol. 12, 1999, p. 338-350

Paper has drawn on evidence from the under-researched area of local authority children's services to assess predictions regarding the colonisation and decoupling of management audit within professional state agencies. Findings suggest that introduction of Reg. 22 visits has involved a complex, negotiated and uneven process in which older patterns of autonomy have proved to be resilient. A key outcome has been the sometimes ritualistic, and partial implementation of management audit, as professionals have decoupled attempts to strengthen management control over their work.

EYES ON THE EARLY YEARS

M. Hake

Guardian. Society. August 4th 1999, p. 8-9

Argues that regulation of the rapidly developing range of day-care provision would be best undertaken not by Ofsted but through the proposed regional commissions for care standards. This approach would address directors' of social services concerns about strengthening the child care element within those commissions. It would greatly simplify the transfer of responsibilities, given that many existing inspection units already carry out this function. It would still demonstrate 'joined-up' government, since it would involve a joint approach within a single organisation overseen by two secretaries of state.

FINDING THEIR VOICE

P. McCurry

Community Care, no. 1278, 1999, p. 22-23

Introduces National Voice, a new user-led organisation that will facilitate campaigning and lobbying by young people in care and care leavers.

ME, SURVIVE OUT THERE? NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE LEAVING CARE

Department of Health

London: 1999

Proposes that Local Authorities have a duty to assess and meet the needs of all 16- and 17-year-olds who have been in care for more than 3 months or are care leavers. Benefits for 16- and 17- year-olds in care or leaving care would be transferred to social services departments to use for supporting these young people. Every young person in care would have a pathway plan by their 16th birthday, drawn up by their social worker, setting out the support they would receive as they become independent. They should be provided with personal and financial support to meet their needs as identified in their pathway plans. There would be a range of suitable accommodation, including foster homes, residential homes and supported lodgings. Decisions about placement should not be driven by finance. Local authorities would have power to assist with education and training up to the age of 24.

(For commentary see Community Care, no. 1281, 1999, p. 12-13)

MENU FOR ACTION

S. Brighouse

New Review of the Low Pay Unit, no. 57, 1999, p. 14-15

Introduces the Child Poverty Action Group campaign "Free School Meals - for Children Who Need Them". The campaign has three main aims: extension of entitlement to free school meals to all families in receipt of the WFTC; maximisation of the take-up of free school meals; and introduction of minimum nutritional standards.

MORE CHILDREN - MORE PROBLEMS?

C. Walby and M. Colton

Community Care, no. 1281, 1999, p. 26-27

Argues that the rising numbers of children in care indicates a failure to invest in preventive services.

OFSTED TO OVERSEE CHILDCARE SERVICES

R. Smithers

Guardian, August 3rd 1999, p. 4

Reports that a new arm of Ofsted will be created to regulate childcare services in an expansion of its remit that will lead to annual checks on childminders as well as nurseries and playgroups. Other measures announced include plans to recruit 3,000 classroom assistants in the 60 poorest areas of Britain to enable primary schools in those areas to achieve a ratio of one adult for every 15 four-year-olds in reception classes. The measures may also enable private nurseries to operate on the same basis as state nurseries, with one teacher in charge of 13 children instead of the present eight, provided that the teacher is qualified.

(See also Times, August 3rd 1999, p. 8; Independent, August 3rd 1999, p. 1)

PARENTING MATTERS: WHAT WORKS IN PARENTING EDUCATION?

E. Lloyd and T. Newman (editors)

Basildon: Barnardo's Child Care Publications, 1999

Offers a review of the evidence base for parenting programmes, illustrated with examples of good practice. Includes an analysis of policy and practice implications drawn from the research discussed.

PLAYING ITS PART IN 'JOINED-UP' SOLUTIONS: YOUTH WORK ON SOCIAL HOUSING ESTATES

B. Coles, J. England and J. Rugg

Youth and Policy, no. 64, 1999, p. 41-55

Paper based on research which explored youth work on 10 social housing estates across England, Scotland and Wales, focusing on multi-agency co-operation and partnership. Concludes that youth work must show that it is willing to co-operate with other agencies, many of whom may be sceptical of its value and effect, and it must be prepared to embrace new methodologies which can clearly demonstrate that it provides value for money.

THE POLITICS OF THE BIG STICK

N. Daly

Community Care, no. 1278, 1999, p. 14

The government's strategy to tackle the high number of teenage pregnancies in Britain includes a threat to withdraw children's services grants unless social services departments include measures to prevent unwanted teenage pregnancies in their Quality Protects plans. Local authorities are keen to get on with the job and appear unfazed by the government's tough talk and threats.

PROGRESS TOWARDS ACTION PLANS SLOW

S. Herbert

Community Care, no. 1280, 1999, p. 6-7

Reports that many social services departments are resistant to developing the management action plans needed to push forward the Quality Protects Initiative.

A REVIEW OF THE FIRST SCOTTISH CHILDREN'S SERVICES PLANS IN RELATION TO ADOPTION

I. Clark and E. McWilliam

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 23, 1999, p. 57-65

Article evaluates the current status given to adoption and where this service features in strategic planning within Children's Services Plan. Findings suggest that adoption is at risk of becoming marginalised as a service for children in Scotland.

SETTING NEW NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR FOSTER CARE

D. Warren

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 23, 1999, p. 48-56

Discusses the background to the creation of national standards for foster care, and the implications of the initiative for the future of foster care services.

TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG

T. Turner

Community Practitioner, vol. 72, 1999, p. 196-197

Summarises recommendations of the Social Exclusion Unit's report on teenage pregnancy and considers its implications for community practitioners, particularly school nurses, who will have an expanded role in sex education and in facilitating access to contraception.

UK NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR FOSTER CARE

National Foster Care Association

London: 1999

Designed to ensure that the specific needs and rights of each child in foster care are met and respected, that appropriate and effective care is provided by each foster carer, and that each authority responsible for the provision of public care for children and young people offers a high quality foster care service for all who could benefit from it.

YOUNG PEOPLE AND DRUGS: NEW POLICY GUIDANCE

A. Dale-Perera and C. Hamilton

Childright, no. 158, 1999

Summarises policy guidance on young people and drugs launched by SCODA in June 1999, covering strategic planning, engaging young people, consent and confidentiality, drug treatment and provision for vulnerable groups.

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