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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2005): Child Welfare - UK

CAREERS AND GUIDANCE SERVICE MAY BE REPLACED

L. Ward

The Guardian, Feb. 2nd 2005, p.11

Reports that the Connexions service, which offers careers advice and guidance to young people may be axed in its present form. There are concerns that it has focused too much on targeted support for socially excluded young people, at the expense of careers guidance for all teenagers. Its funding may be given to schools to run their own careers services

CHILDCARE POLICY AND LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS UNDER LABOUR

H. Penn and V. Randall

Journal of Social Policy, vol.34, 2005, p.79-97

The disappointing results of New Labour's National Childcare Strategy to date stem at least in part from the way it has been driven by welfare-to-work and child poverty concerns. The daycare needs of low-income working families have been marginal considerations only. In this context the article focuses on analysing the role of Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships (EYDCPs). These have performed poorly due to conflicts of interest between members, dominance by paid professionals, and marginalisation of the voluntary sector.

A CLASH OF CULTURES?

P. Neate

Community Care, Feb.17th-23rd 2005, p.24-26

To meet the requirements of the Children Act 2004, child protection services are being merged with education. Most directors of the new children's services departments come from an education background and lack crucial experience of social care and child protection issues.

CONNEXIONS SERVICE

Committee of Public accounts

London: TSO, 2004 (House of Commons papers, session 2003/04; HC618)

Connexions' main objective for the two years 2002-2004 was to reduce by 10% the proportion of 16-19-year-olds not in education, employment or training. Connexions has to maintain a balance in providing a service that is both available to all young people and targeted towards those considered to need the most support. Though on course to meet its main objective, there are risks that the wider population of young people may not always get the advice they need.

DEMOCRATISING THE FAMILY AND THE STATE? THE CASE OF FAMILY GROUP CONFERENCES IN CHILD WELFARE

S. Holland and others

Journal of Social Policy, vol.34, 2005, p.59-77

Family group conferences are interventions designed to remove control of decision-making from professionals and allow family groups to make decisions about the welfare of one or more of their members. Authors argue that family group conferences, in implementing a reduction of the power of professionals over families, may also serve to facilitate more democratic relations within families. However it is also noted that those in the most powerful positions (typically professionals and adult family members) have subtle means of retaining some control over decision-making.

LEAVING CARE, LOATHING SELF

M. Coy

Community Care, Feb.3rd-9th 2005, p.38-39

Article reports research into why female care leavers often drift into prostitution. Interviews with 14 young women with experience of both local authority care and the sex industry revealed that:

  • a lack of aftercare support increased their vulnerability;
  • frequent placement moves led to their never feeling settled or valued;
  • experiences of physical restraint and containment undermined any sense of control over their own bodies.

MEETING PARENTS' NEEDS? DISCOURSES OF "SUPPORT" AND "INCLUSION" IN FAMILY POLICY

V. Gillies

Critical Social Policy, no.82, 2005, p.70-90

New Labour has moved away from the concept of supporting parents through material benefits such as child benefit, income support, etc in favour of the less tangible principle of empowering them. This boils down to moves to encourage (or pressurise) marginalised families to conform to the norms of behaviour of which the government approves.

STEPPING STONES: PARENTING SKILLS IN THE COMMUNITY

C. Harrison, P. Parker and S. Honey

Community Practitioner, vol.78, 2005, p.58-61

The Stepping Stones Childcare course was developed by Bradford South and West Primary Care Trust and was initially delivered to upper school students with the aim of improving childcare skills and preventing early pregnancies. Paper describes how the course was further developed using a health visiting skill mix and a community development approach. The revised course is held at a community clinic after school. It is taught by health professionals and local volunteer mothers. Other mothers bring along their babies and demonstrate practical tasks.

YOUNG CITIZENS OR POLICY OBJECTS? CHILDREN IN THE "RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES" DEBATES

E. Such and R. Walker

Journal of Social Policy, vol.34, 2005, p.39-57

Government in the UK is not clear about the extent to which children can be responsible for themselves and others. Children are at once portrayed as wilful tearaways to be controlled by curfews and anti-social behaviour orders and as victims of feckless parents. Article explores how children themselves understand the concept of responsibility. Family policy and anti-social behaviour policy are examined in the context of children's own accounts of the meaning of responsibility in a family environment.

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