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

ARE CHILDREN SAFER?

M. Stuart

Community Care, Nov.18th-24th 2004, p.34-36

Article reports on a study of actions taken by government to safeguard children living away from home in response to proposals in the 1997 Utting report. Study identified groups of children that remain very vulnerable and concluded that a major rethink about how to tackle the sexual abuse of children is needed.

(See also Progress on safeguards for children living away from home [PDF format] by M. Stuart and C. Baines)

AXE OF COMPASSION

C. Shannon

Community Care, Nov.4th-10th 2004, p.34-35

Very premature babies who survive are often severely disabled. Article questions whether the resources devoted to saving them are well-spent.

BUILDING BRIDGES

J. Wheeler

Professional Social Work, June 2004, p.9

Although the statutory sector and the voluntary sector have traditionally viewed one another with suspicion, the article argues that the statutory sector could improve its child protection services by learning from the voluntary sector's child-involving, co-operative approach.

CAN I TALK TO YOU AGAIN? RESTORING THE EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

C. Easton and J.D. Carpentieri

London: Childline, 2004

Provides first hand accounts of how Childline counsellors have helped children deal with problems including sexual abuse, self-harm and bereavement. Also suggests ways in which the government can improve children's mental health services in the UK, including provision of counselling services in schools.

CHILDREN'S HOUR

P. Revell

Public Finance, Oct.15th-21st 2004, p.26-28

Government is planning to fund 2,500 children's centres to promote the integration of health and social care for children. The centres will foster joint working by a range of health professionals, educators and social workers, and will deal with children's needs holistically. However there is concern that there is no statutory duty on schools, GPs or social landlords to collaborate.

COLLABORATING FOR THE SOCIAL INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE: EMERGING LESSONS FROM THE FIRST ROUND OF CASE STUDIES

National Evaluation of the Children's Fund

Department for Education and Skills, 2004 (Research report; 596)

The Children's Fund was set up, in part, as a catalyst to move forward interagency co-operation and child and family-led preventative services in local authorities. Report offers early evidence from initial case studies of local partnerships, covering the working of partnership boards and their committees, collaboration between service providers, and mainstreaming collaborative working.

CSA CHIEF GOES AMID COMPUTER CHAOS

S. Hall

The Guardian, Nov. 18th 2004, p.7

The head of the crisis-hit Child Support Agency has stood down amid widespread criticism of his role in overseeing the computer system that has made payments to only one in eight single mothers in past 20 months

(See also: The Financial Times, Nov. 18th 2004, p.4; The Times, Nov. 18th 2004, p.3; The Independent, Nov. 18th 2004, p.2)

FALSE DAWN

M. O'Hara

Guardian Society, Nov. 24th 2004, p.2-3

The Good Friday Agreement heralded a period of economic prosperity for Northern Ireland. But the beyond the luxury flats, second homes and flashy cars, the region's poorest people continue to endure some of the UK's most desperate poverty and it remains Britain's child poverty capital.

FOSTER CARERS WHO CARE FOR CHILDREN WITH CHALLENGING BEHAVIOUR

A. Pithouse, K. Lowe and J. Hill-Tout

Adoption and Fostering, Vol.28, No.3, 2004 p.21-30

The article looks at the background, experiences and role perceptions of foster carers looking after special needs children with challenging behaviour in order to learn more about their motives and attitudes.

HALF OF COUNCILS STILL FAILING VULNERABLE CHILDREN

J. Carvel

The Guardian, Nov. 18th 2004, p.14

Nearly five years after the social work profession was rocked by the murder of child abuse victim Victoria Climbié, half the local authorities in England are still failing vulnerable children, the Social Care Inspectorate discloses today. Its annual league tables show some signs of performance improvement, but eight get a zero rating, the same number as last year.

HEARTS AND MINDS RELUCTANTLY FOLLOW AS BILL FINALLY COMPLETES PASSAGE

M. Hunter

Community Care, Nov.18th-24th 2004, p.18-19

The Children Bill has passed into law, but there are ongoing concerns among professionals about the envisaged children's databases, the definition of reasonable chastisement, and the watered-down proposals for a Children's Commissioner for England.

INFORMATION SHARING AND ASSESSMENT (ISA): CAN DATA MANAGEMENT REDUCE RISK?

L. Payne

Children and Society, vol.18, 2004, p.383-386

The Children Act 2004 requires children's services authorities to establish and operate information databases covering all children living in their area. Professionals working with a child can flag its record to show that they have a "cause for concern". Article summarises a number of unresolved issues in relation to information sharing, including:

  • a lack of agreement among professionals about what constitutes a "cause for concern";
  • problems relating to how the system can be kept secure;
  • lack of clarity about what information can or cannot be considered confidential.

IS THIS THE END FOR YOUTH SERVICES?

T. Donovan

Young People Now, June 23rd-29th 2004, p.8

The article considers whether the arrival of children's trusts and the adoption of youth work methods by other agencies could lead to the end of local authority youth services.

LOCAL AUTHORITY NEGLIGENCE: CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM THE ROCHDALE "SATANIC ABUSE" CASES

R. Scorer

ChildRight, Issue 207, 2004, p.6-7

In 1990 an investigation of alleged "Satanic abuse" in Rochdale led to 20 children from six different families being taken into care. These allegations were subsequently found to be false by the courts. The victims, now adults, are claiming damages from the local authority for the psychological distress caused to them by their unjustified removal from their families. Author considers that such legal challenges are likely to become more common.

LOOKING OUTSIDE OURSELVES

D. Ariyo

Professional Social Work, June 2004, p.20

Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA) was established to promote the welfare of African children in the UK. The article explores the primary aims of the organisation and looks at how it helps to prevent the abuse of African children.

MAKING IT R WRLD 2: CONSULTATION ON A DRAFT STRATEGY FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Children and Young People's Unit

Belfast, 2004

Strategy sets out a vision, values and an integrated way of thinking about all aspects of children and young people's lives, including rights and citizenship. It aims to facilitate information sharing, common standards and a child-centred approach within agencies. It will apply to the statutory, voluntary and community sectors, faith-based organisations and the private sector.

A NEW DEAL FOR CHILDREN? RE-FORMING EDUCATION AND CARE IN ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND SWEDEN

B. Cohen and others

Bristol: Policy Press, 2004

Important reforms are taking place in children's services in the UK, with a move towards greater integration. In England, Scotland and Sweden, early childhood education and care, childcare for older children, and schools are now the responsibility of education departments. This book is the first to examine, cross-nationally, this major shift in policy.

'PARENTING PLANS' TO GIVE SEPARATED FATHERS BETTER ACCESS TO CHILDREN

M. Firth

The Independent, Nov. 30th 2004, p.16

Fathers are to be given better access rights to their children in the event of family break-ups, under new proposals from the Government. New 'parenting plans' for custody arrangements will be drawn up with the help of counsellors. The plans will assume fathers should have reasonable access. The proposals, contained in the Government's Green Paper on parental separation, are seen as an olive branch to fathers who believe the family courts system is biased against them

PARTIES COMPETE WITH PLEDGES TO BE CHAMPION OF CHILDCARE

B. Hall

Financial Times, Nov. 12th 2004, p.2

Britian's poor record in providing affordable high-quality childcare has sparked a bidding war among political parties about the need to do more to help balance work and family life. Party promises include:

Conservatives

  • give parents cash instead of tax credits to buy childcare ;
  • possibility of making childcare costs tax deductible;
  • maintain funding for Sure Start;
  • lighter touch regulation of childcare providers ;
  • consultation on higher maternity pay if Labour extends entitlement to 12 months.

Labour

  • after- and pre-school childcare for all primary school pupils by 2010;
  • increase paid maternity leave to 12 months, with option to share between parents;
  • Sure Start children's centres in poorest 20 per cent or wards by 2008;
  • £50-a-week tax break for parents using childcare provided by employer.

(See also The Times, Nov. 12th 2004, p.23; The Daily Telegraph, Nov. 12th 2004, p.12; The Guardian, Nov. 11th 2004, p.1)

RESIDENTIAL CARE: HORIZONS FOR THE NEW CENTURY

H. Goran Erriksson and T. Tjelflaat

Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004

Discussing key contemporary issues in residential and foster care for children, this volume draws upon new research from across Europe and Canada. The book particularly focuses on anti-oppressive practice, foster care, mainstreaming in education, ethnic origin, competency level and research as a tool in residential care.

TAKE A BREAK … IF YOU CAN

J. Statham

Community Care, Oct.28th-Nov.3rd 2004, p.44-45

Support foster care schemes which provide short-term placements for children and help for parents under pressure have proved popular. However, few schemes are operating and those that exist are beset by problems including insecure funding and a lack of commitment from managers.

WHAT WORKS FOR TROUBLED CHILDREN? 2ND ED.

A. Buchanan and C. Ritchie

Ilford: Barnardo's, 2004

The first edition of the book resulted from a collaboration between Barnando's and Wiltshire County Council. It combined a review of research with the results of a consultation with social care practitioners. The consultation identified the types of problems that troubled children presented to - and the solutions offered by - practitioners. These issues include:

  • bullying;
  • family breakdown;
  • anxiety and depression;
  • aggressive behaviour;
  • loss and bereavment.

The revised edition of this book looks at developments in assessment, prevention projects and behavioural/cognitive behavioural interventions.

WHAT WORKS IN ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE? REV. ED.

C. Sellick, J. Thoburn and T. Philpot

Ilford: Barnardo's, 2004

Since the original publication of this book, there has been renewed interest in family placement, its effectiveness and value for money. This revised edition reviews changes in policy and practice and features new material in the field of adoption and foster care and on kinship care. Three specific questions are addressed:

  • what does research indicate are the factors likely to be associated with positive outcomes?
  • how can practice be evaluated and what outcome measures can be used?
  • what does research not tell us where are the messages from research unclear or contradictory?

WHAT WORKS IN PARENTING SUPPORT? A REVIEW OF THE INTERNATIONAL EVIDENCE

P. Moran, D. Ghate and A. van der Merwe

DfES Publications, 2004 (Research report; RR574)

Parenting programmes are proliferating across the UK, but there has been little research that systematically draws together international evidence on their effectiveness. Drawing on over 2000 studies, this review provides a broad overview of the field. Successful services tend to:

  • have clearly specified, concrete objectives;
  • stick to a consistent delivery plan for all users, supported by a detailed written manual;
  • have multi-mode designs, combining different interventions;
  • work together or in parallel with different family members;
  • pay close attention to keeping parents engaged.

However, there is almost no information about the children's perspectives on the effectiveness of parenting support, and much of the research available comes from the USA and may not be applicable in the UK.

WHY EVERY CHILD'S RIGHTS MATTER

J. Templeton

ChildRight, Issue 207, 2004, p.19-20

The New Labour government has been very active in the promotion of child welfare. In many of its initiatives it has promoted the involvement of children and young people in the development of services. However, some believe that its overall strategy is fatally flawed due to its failure to promote children's rights. The Government has failed to grasp the essential nature of human rights and the potentially transforming power of giving children themselves knowledge of their rights and the means to challenge the authorities which infringe them.

THE WRONG END OF THE STICK

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Oct.28th-Nov.3rd 2004, p.36-37

Some of the classic indicators of child abuse are the same as symptoms of Asperger's syndrome. Some social workers unfamiliar with the condition may be misdiagnosing its symptoms and launching child protection actions against innocent parents.

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