The report sets out proposals for helping parents to leave welfare for paid work, enhancing childcare provision and increasing numbers of non-resident fathers who pay maintenance for their children. Government will also improve the availability of affordable housing, drive up standards in schools, improve healthcare for children from lower socio-economic groups, enhance public transport, and develop early intervention programmes for young offenders.
Society Guardian, July 14th 2004, p.2-3
Article talks to Norman Glass, the 'godfather' of the Sure Start programme, about scare stories in the media and whether the government's proposals to expand its early years strategy go far enough.
This interim report summarises the work of the Group to date and the key issues it has identified affecting childcare in Wales. Issues covered by the report include: regulation and quality, parental choice and affordability, the childcare workforce, business support for childcare, cultural issues, and childcare and education. Each section contains an overview of the issues involved and identifies key questions for consultation.
Department for Education and Skills
Consultation on proposals concerning the regulation of independent providers of adoption support services.
The support childminder scheme aims to assist the recruitment and retention of childminders by improving support through peer mentoring. Data for this report were collected largely from interviews with support childminder co-ordinators and 53 support childminders in the seven pathfinder areas. The report looks at the experiences of the co-ordinators in enrolling their first cohort of support childminders and the experiences and views of the support childminders themselves.
The Guardian, July 8th 2004, p.2
The government is reconsidering its strategy on childcare in the face of mounting evidence that day nurseries for children under two can lead to increased incidence of antisocial behaviour and aggression.
The Guardian, July 6th 2004, p.9
Parents should be entitled to free childcare for children under three to bring Britain closer to the high levels of state-funded care in other European countries, according to a new children's services think-tank launched today. Capacity, which will advise public bodies working with children, argues that the government must provide much more support for families if it is to justify ambitious plans to regard children as a policy priority.
Commission on Families and the Wellbeing of Children
The Commission will be considering:
Community Care, July 8th-14th 2004, p.18
The article outlines concerns about the proposed new integrated inspection framework for children's social services and local education authorities. The new system could leave social services vulnerable to direct intervention from Whitehall and could be overly reliant on self assessment.
J. Bell and others
Hull: Social Policy, University of Hull, 2004
Teenage pregnancy and parenting are issues of concern particularly in areas characterised by deprivation and social exclusion. Among these are a number of seaside resorts, where under-18 conceptions have been higher than national averages. Research found that in seaside resorts a hedonistic leisure and entertainment environment, together with more transient populations, increased the likelihood of young people engaging in unprotected sex. Easy access to alcohol also increased the likelihood of risky sexual behaviour. Sexual health services were experienced by younger people as inaccessible, too visible and not provided at times, or in ways, to meet their needs. Schools sometimes played a key role in helping young people to access them. Young parents considered that expectations on them to work or study were unrealistic due to inadequate childcare provision.
J. Horwath, H. Buckley and S. Whelan
Community Care, July 22nd-28th 2004, p.36-37
In the Children Bill, the government proposes the introduction of a common assessment framework. Article looks at lessons from research into the development of such a framework in Eire. The research suggests that the effectiveness of a common assessment framework depends on information sharing, and that it should not be constrained by the imposition of tight timescales. Finally, policymakers should be aware that the effectiveness of any framework depends on the competence of the professionals using it.
Community Care, July 8th-14th 2004, p.32-33
The article summarises the findings of a national study recording the impact of the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 on care leavers. It examines the work of 52 care leaving services working with 7000 young people. It focuses on the contribution of ring-fenced funding, personal advisers, needs assessments and pathway plans and reports on education, employment and training, accommodation, financial support and health outcomes.
The Times, August 2nd 2004, p.5
One in five employed parents struggles to get home in time to see the children before bedtime, with that figure doubling among those with under-five's, a survey of work-life balance shows. The poll of 1,000 adults, commissioned by the bank Intelligent Finance, found that nearly three quarters regularly work over their contracted hours.
Department for Constitutional Affairs, Department for Education and Skills, and Department of Trade and Industry.
London: TSO, 2004 (Cm 6273)
The green paper sets out a series of proposals designed to improve outcomes for children who experience parental separation. The proposals include:
These steps will help parents achieve better outcomes for their children by enabling them to reach agreements that are child focused and by improving delivery of relevant services.
The report presents quantitative and qualitative data gathered from children and young people throughout Wales. This includes details of responses to a questionnaire sent out in May 2002 to which 708 children replied.
The report lays out a set of principles which the Task Group proposes as the basis for the strategy for tackling child poverty in Wales. It provides an agreed measurement of child poverty and identifies a range of indicators by which performance in tackling it can be measured. It identifies key issues to be addressed and includes sections on income, participation and service poverty. It emphasises that poverty does not fit readily into ministerial portfolios but has implications for all areas, including education, social services, leisure and housing.
Commission for Social Care Inspection, 2004-07-28
Reports on the results of a consultation with children aged 10-18 on how they can be kept safe. Some of the main worries they identified were bullying, road safety, drug abuse, fear of abduction and mugging, poor diet and lack of exercise, and concerns about terrorism, health scares and child murders. They regarded it as vital that police checks were carried out on all people working with children. Suggestions for improving child safety included:
Community Care, June 3rd-9th 2004, p.32-33
The Local Network Fund is a five-year programme which gives small grants to local groups working with children in the poorest communities. So far the scheme has had a variety of beneficial impacts on children and their carers, as well as raising awareness of issues around child protection. However, despite its good outreach work in many areas, some marginalised groups have yet to benefit.
Community Care, June 3rd-9th 2004, p.36-37
Article critically examines the government's proposals for a Children's Commissioner for England and argues that he/she will be more of a government poodle than a children's watchdog.
2004 (Children's centres implementation update; 5)
The key message regarding the development of children's centres focuses on the need for full collaboration with health providers at planning and implementation stages. This will ensure an integrated, consistent approach which best meets the needs of families.