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

COUNCILS CONFUSED OVER RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHECKING AGENCY STAFF

C. Kenny

Community Care, Sept.30th-Oct.6th 2004, p.16-17

Local authorities are sometimes unclear about their responsibilities for ensuring that agency staff working with children have undergone criminal records checks. However, the Commission for Social Care Inspection in fact requires councils to obtain documentary proof that necessary checks have been carried out by the recruitment agency.

DUTY CALLS

C. Cameron

Community Care, Oct. 7th-13th 2004, p.42-43

The paper reports the results of a study of arrangements in social services for receiving and processing information about possible child abuse cases. The past two years have seen the development of call centres where calls are screened. Managers stressed that the quality of the staff taking the initial calls from concerned members of the public was vital to the effectiveness of the system. They also complained that members of the public and other professionals had unrealistic expectations about what social services could do.

EARLY YEARS: PROGRESS IN DEVELOPING HIGH QUALITY CHILDCARE AND EARLY EDUCATION ACCESSIBLE TO ALL

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons Papers, session 2003/04; HC444)

Government is continuing to increase funds available for childcare and early years provision. The challenge is to spend this money cost-effectively. The report recommends:

  • linking public funding to evidence that providers are well run;
  • setting a target minimum number of places per 100 children at local authority level;
  • development of early years programmes for deprived children outside disadvantaged areas;
  • demonstrating that childcare has become more affordable for all;
  • re-examining choices available to parents of very young children;
  • adoption of a risk-based approach to Ofsted inspections of early years providers.

FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS

C. Ryan

Public Finance, Sept. 3rd-9th 2004, p.26-27

The article presents an overview of government initiatives to expand programmes for the under-fives through Sure Start, childcare tax credits, and the new children's centres. It goes on to consider who benefits from this expansion and who pays for it.

FUNDING AND MONITORING CONCERNS TEMPER SUPPORT FOR FRAMEWORK

P. Stephenson

Community Care, Sept. 23rd-29th 2004, p. 16-17

The article reports the comments of social care professionals on the new Children's National Service Framework. There are concerns about funding and monitoring the changes.

GETTING IT RIGHT FOR EVERY CHILD: REPORT ON THE RESPONSES TO THE PHASE ONE CONSULTATION ON THE CHILDREN'S HEARING SYSTEM

R. Stevenson and R. Brotchie

Edinburgh: Scottish Executive, 2004

The consultation exercise found that:

  • the vast majority of respondents felt that the children's hearings system should remain focused on meeting the needs of the individual child, irrespective of the needs of the other family members;
  • there was strong support for maintaining the current system where all children, regardless of whether the referral was on care and protection grounds or offending grounds, come before a Hearing made up of generalist Panel members;
  • there was general agreement that the Children's Hearings system should be more closely integrated with the child protection system;
  • there were mixed voices about whether Hearings should be given more influence over parents;
  • there was general agreement that more information about outcomes of the Children's Hearings System should be made available to local communities.

GOVERNMENT MOVES TO TARGETED APPROACH FOR ADOPTION REGISTER

C. Kenny

Community Care, Oct. 14th-20th 2004, p.18

The article reports that the national adoption register is to be slimmed down and targeted at the hardest-to-place children, instead of aiming to be a comprehensive database of children waiting for adoptive families.

GROWING PAINS

P. Frampton

Society Guardian, October 20th 2004, p.6-7

For the author, writing up his experiences of abuse as a Barnardo's boy was anything but therapeutic. In the article he states what he thinks of care homes now and how, despite his personal experience, he is not supportive of government policy to place all unwanted children in families. On the contrary he fears this will stigmatise children who do end up in a home. He also accuses the government of championing the cheap option. It costs an average of £3,000 a week to keep a child in a children's home, he says, whereas foster care "costs less than a cattery".

INNOVATIVE, TRIED AND TESTED: A REVIEW OF GOOD PRACTICE IN FOSTERING

C. Sellick and D. Howell

London: SCIE, 2003 (Knowledge Review; 4)

Drawing on practice from the public, private, voluntary and independent sectors across the UK, review looks at why people foster, how to keep foster carers, how fostering can help children and young people, and what fostering agencies can learn from carers, children and birth families.

"IT'S ALRIGHT, MUMMY"

K. Leason

Community Care, Oct. 21st-27th 2004, p.36-37

The article discusses the need for health and social care to work together to support children whose mother or father has a mental health problem.

IT'S OFFICIAL: LISTEN TO CHILDREN!

L. Tickle

Community Care, Oct. 7th-13th 2004, p.40-41

The new National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services explores new ways of working to deliver child-centred care. It requires vulnerable children and their families to be consulted and listened to across the spectrum of care. The article presents comments from professionals in the field.

WRAPAROUND THE CLOCK

M. Hodge and A. Voce

Community Care, Oct. 21st-27th 2004, p.34-35

Minister for Children Margaret Hodge and Director of the Children's Play Council Adrian Voce discuss government proposals for schools to support working parents by offering childcare before and after lessons.

YOUNG FAMILIES UNDER STRESS: OUTCOMES AND COSTS OF HOME-START SUPPORT

C. McAuley and others

Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2004

Home-Start offers volunteer home visiting support to families with children under five. The study evaluates the outcomes and costs of Home-Start support to 80 young families under stress compared with 82 similar families who did not receive this kind of support. The results did not support the view that Home-Start made a significant difference to the mothers relative to the experiences of families in the comparison group. Receipt of Home-Start pushed the costs of support services for the study group to a higher level relative to the comparison group.

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