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

DEVELOPING THE CONCEPT OF PROFESSIONAL ADVOCACY: AN EXAMINATION OF THE ROLE OF CHILD AND YOUTH ADVOCATES IN ENGLAND AND WALES

J. Dalrymple

Journal of Social Work, vol.4, 2004, p.179-197

The development of advocacy services for young people and children living away from home has been patchy, but its provision is now a government priority for children's social services. However critical dialogue between advocates, practitioners and policy makers is necessary to promote a culture of advocacy. A community of advocates to facilitate that dialogue is being developed through the agency of CROA (Children's Rights Officers and Advocates). Acceptance of advocates as committed practitioners with professional expertise may be more conducive to developing this culture than reliance on more conventional professional models or the legal institutionalisation of advocacy.

DRIVE TOWARDS CONCILIATION LEAVES CHILDREN AT RISK IN DIVORCE CASES

S. Kumar

Community Care, Aug. 5th-11th 2004, p.18-19

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is to focus its efforts on mediation between divorcing parents. There are fears that this will silence the child's voice and prevent abuse from being uncovered.

EARLY WARNING

N. Valios

Community Care, Aug. 5th-11th 2004, p.26-27

Government is investing in preventative services targeted on children at risk of falling into crime. There are concerns that universal youth services are being cut to pay for these crime reduction initiatives.

THE HEART OF THE FAMILY

P. Andrews

Community Care, Aug.12th-18th 2004, p.34-35

Introduces Families First, an intensive in-home crisis intervention and family education programme aimed at preventing family breakdown and the out-of-home placement of children. It builds on existing family strengths and develops the basic skills they need to remain together.

HOW GREAT IS THE RISK OF ABUSE IN INFANTS BORN TO DRUG-USING MOTHERS?

K. Street and others

Child, vol.30, 2004, p.325-330

The article explores whether children born to drug-using parents in the UK are more likely to be abused that children born to non-drug using parents of the same social class. Sixty-eight children born to drug users and 127 children born to non-drug users were checked against the child protection registers and child health surveillance records when they were 18 months old. Results showed that there was no significant difference between the drug users and non-drug users, and the article concludes that maternal drug use does not necessarily lead to unacceptable standards of parenting. However, as the children were only monitored at 18 months, further research is needed to ensure that these findings remain constant as the children continue to grow.

INCLUDING YOUNG MOTHERS: LIMITATIONS TO NEW LABOUR'S STRATEGY FOR SUPPORTING TEENAGE PARENTS

J. Kidger

Critical Social Policy, vol.24, 2004, p.291-311

The paper criticises the government's assumption that the only way teenage mothers can avoid long-term social exclusion is to enter education, training or employment. It argues that this is unhelpful in a number of ways, not least because it discounts full-time motherhood as a valid option, and ignores the structural and contextual barriers to them gaining inclusion. The author advocates a broader understanding of social inclusion, emphasising community participation alongside economic self-sufficiency. Reports interviews with 14 young mothers acting as "peer educators" in school sex education. Results of these interviews show that participating in the community in this way boosted the girls' confidence, gave them a sense of achievement and allowed them to recreate social networks. The article concludes that a wider conceptualisation of social inclusion might be more useful for meeting teenage mothers' needs.

KINSHIP CARE FOR CHILDREN IN THE UK: MESSAGES FROM RESEARCH, LESSONS FOR POLICY AND PRACTICE

B. Broad

European Journal of Social Work, vol.7, 2004, p.211-227

The article provides an overview of kinship care, with particular reference to UK child welfare, legal, and policy/practice contexts. It aims to raise awareness and provide information about this invisible, but expanding, form of placement. The views of kinship carers, young people living in kinship care and the social workers involved in the placements are sought to establish their attitudes towards kinship care before the future development and support of kinship care are discussed. The article concludes by detailing a new paradigm for child welfare to meet the challenge of the growth of kinship care.

MATCHING AND MISMATCHING IN TEENAGE ADOPTIONS: IMPLICATIONS OF THE ADOPTION ACT FOR PRACTICE

S. Briggs and L. Webb

Journal of Social Work Practice, vol.18, 2004, p.181-195

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 included targets for increasing the numbers of children leaving care for adoption. As a result there will be an increased emphasis on adoption for older children, despite the fact relatively little is known about teenagers in adoption, for example which kinds of young people succeed with which kinds of parents. The article looks at the issues surrounding teenage adoption, with a particular emphasis on how therapeutically orientated post adoption services can help to make the process easier for all involved. It also includes a case study discussing the difficulties one troubled teenager had in relating to her adoptive parents.

NOWHERE TO HIDE

D. Berridge

Community Care, Aug. 5-11th 2004, p.36-37

The article looks at new research findings on violence between children in residential homes. It concentrates on the children's own definitions and experiences of violence. Organisational factors in residential homes which facilitate violence are highlighted and the children's suggestions about how they could be better protected are considered.

PUBLIC HEALTH AND CHILDREN

A. Cordell

Children and Society, vol.18, 2004, p.243-246

Reviews current policy initiatives aimed at promoting child health, including the provisions of the Children Bill, and the current national public health consultation.

USER VIEWS AND EXPERIENCES OF POST-ADOPTION SERVICES: A STUDY OF A REGIONAL POST-ADOPTION AGENCY.

P. Harris

Adoption and Fostering, vol.28, no.2, 2004, p.50-60

Data were gathered through interviews with users of the West Midlands Post Adoption Service (WMPAS). This charity provides a range of support and counselling services to anyone involved in adoption, including adoptive parents, birth relatives and adopted children and adults. The analysis revealed that nearly all service users had approached other people and places for help before contacting WMPAS, that most valued WMPAS services highly and that, for the majority, receiving the service had made a significant difference to their lives.

USING STANDARDISATION MEASURES TO PRIORITISE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN NEED

A. Buchanan and C. Ritchie

Journal of Social Work, vol.4, 2004, p.167-178

Government expects social services to commission or provide a range of services that are responsive to the assessed needs of children and families and that offer value for money. The article reports the results of a study of 72 Wiltshire families in which standardised measures were used to determine levels of parent and child distress. Findings suggest that use of standardised measures of well-being for both parents and children may help in prioritising service provision.

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