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

Appeal to parents on teenage births

L. Ward

The Guardian, May 26th 2005, p.1

The government has reached the limits of its ability to contain the UK's high rate of teenage pregnancy and can go no further without the help of parents, the new children and families minister warned yesterday. Beverly Hughes, said ministers had "reached a sticking point" where their efforts could not by themselves solve the problem of teenage pregnancy. Figures on under-16 pregnancies are expected to show the government is failing to meet its target of halving teenage conceptions by 2010. Ms Hughes said parents had to take the initiative by putting aside any embarrassment and starting a dialogue about sex with children. Parents would be given support and advice through government-funded helplines, but would not be told to give particular advice.

'The best of times, the worst of times': young people's views of are and accommodation

H. Ward, T. Skuse and E.R. Munro

Adoption and Fostering, vol.29, no.1, 2005, p.8-17

Paper presents some of the findings of a recent study of children's views of the care system in England. It explores what they did and did not like about being looked after, investigates why some of them found it a beneficial experience while others did not, and discusses the reasons for their largely positive responses. At a time when involving young people in planning service provision is a key policy requirement, research shows how different types of consultation may elicit very different responses, depending on the timing and context of the exercise.

The child and family policy divide: tensions, convergence and rights

C. Henricson and A. Bainham

York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2005

Human rights commitments require the government to formulate policies that take account of the rights and needs of children and parents, but these are often conflicting. Children's welfare has dominated both the social exclusion agenda and issues of residence and contact. In both cases, this may have been to the detriment of the rights of parents and other adults. In education, the balance is in favour of the parents; children do not have rights to representation, consultation or choice. Tough youth justice measures promote the welfare of society above the rights of children and their parents. The greatest balance has been achieved in managing commitments to universal family support alongside investment in child protection.

Child welfare and social policy: an essential reader

H. Hendrick (editor)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2005

This book is a one-stop introduction to the key concepts, issues, policies, and practices affecting child welfare, with particular emphasis on the changing nature of the relationship between child welfare and social policy. Keys topics covered include:

  • morality and child welfare
  • relations between law, medicine, social work, social theory and child welfare
  • children's rights and democratic citizenship
  • children as raw material for 'social investment'

Childcare provider satisfaction survey report

NOP Social and Political

London: Ofsted, 2005

The findings from the 2005 Childcare Provider Satisfaction Survey are very positive for Ofsted. The regulator scores highly both in terms of how it handles new registrations and how it carries out inspections of childcare providers.


'Children aren't little adults who need smaller beds'

T. Philpot

Health Service Journal, vol.115, May 12th 2005, p.20-21

Report of an interview with the new Children's Commissioner for England, Al Aynsley-Green, in which he attacks NHS managers for their lack of awareness of children's needs and their subordination of children's interests to those of adults.

Children's participation in social policy: inclusion, chimera or authenticity?

T. Cockburn

Social Policy and Society vol. 4, 2005, p. 109 - 119

While the empowerment of groups, including children, may be problematic in the context of governing in a liberal democracy, children's participation is being nominally placed in the centre of policy. Contextualised by New Labour's commitments to children's participation, and with examples from the Children and Young Persons Unit, Children in Scotland, and the National Youth Agency, this paper examines:

  • Barriers to participation including perceptions of children's competence
  • Literature regarding participation, power and empowerment
  • Children's civic engagement

The children's view of inspection: first report of children's audits of inspections by the Commission for Social Care Inspection

R. Morgan

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Office of the Children's Rights Director, 2005

During November 2004 the Children's Rights Director undertook a detailed consultation exercise with children in care soliciting their views on CSCI inspections. Results show that:

  • Half the children thought that inspectors were doing well
  • Inspectors should listen and provide feedback correctly and appropriately
  • Action should be taken on the basis of comments
  • More unannounced inspections should occur
  • Questionnaires should be used to find out what is important to children and inspectors should focus on these aspects.

These comments will be taken into account in CSCI's developing plans to modernise inspection processes.

Every child matters: change for children: young people and drugs

Department for Education and Skills, Home Office and Department of Health

Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2005

Sets out proposals to reduce the impact of drugs on the lives of young people, both in terms of preventing drug abuse and protecting children of drug abusers from harm. Calls on Drug Action Teams and children's services to co-operate and plan holistic services.

Guide to growing up

C. Cameron

Community Care, Apr.28th-May 4th 2005, p.42-44

In European countries social pedagogy is established as the main discipline for working with people, including children, in a range of services. Social pedagogues work with parents, community members and other professionals to support the child's overall healthy development. Author proposes using this model to transform the English children's workforce.

Has anything really changed? Managers' views of looked after childrens' participation in 1997 and 2004

N. Thomas

Adoption and Fostering, vol.29, no.1, 2005, p.67-77

A postal survey of local authority child care managers was conducted in 1997/98 as part of a study of looked after children's participation in decision-making. The same survey was repeated in 2004 and responses were compared. Results suggest that there have been significant changes in the way in which local authorities seek to engage children in the provision of care services.

An inspector calls

P. McCurry

Foster Care, issue 121, 2005, p.14-16 As new regimes evolve across the UK, the issue of how carers can or should be involved in inspections of fostering services is being thrashed out. Article presents an overview of the development of the inspection regime in England and the devolved administrations.

It happened to me

L. Moore

Community Care, May 5th-11th 2005, p.36-38

Article describes the author's personal childhood experiences of Satanic ritual abuse, and professionals' failure to believe her. There is strong resistance amongst professionals to accepting that ritual abuse happens.

Labour hits main childcare targets


Labour Research, vol.94, May 2005, p.15-17

Expansion of childcare provision is a key plank of New Labour's welfare-to-work strategy. Key targets for improved provision have already been met and further major expansion through children's centres is planned. However, unions still want to see better pay for childcare workers.

A lot to swallow

D. Hawker

Community Care, Apr.28th-May 4th 2005, p.46-47

Discusses the implications of the government's new children's workforce strategy. The strategy sets out a common core of basic skills and knowledge which everyone working with children ought to have. It also proposes the creation of integrated multidisciplinary teams. Finally, it emphasizes the need for professionals in all disciplines to focus on the needs of the whole child.

Peer education: contributing to child accident prevention

S. Carr

Community Practitioner, vol.78, 2005, p.174-177

Describes the evaluation of an innovative approach to tackling child accident prevention in the home in a deprived inner city community in the North of England. Three local mothers were trained to take on the role of peer educators. Paper highlights some of the successes and challenges of this approach in order to provide practice development messages.

Promoting the human rights of children and young people: the Investing in Children experience

L. Cairns and M. Brannen

Adoption and Fostering, vol.29, no.1, 2005, p.78-87

Children in UK society are seen as being both vulnerable and in need of adult protection and dangerous and in need of adult control. Paper reflects upon the authors' experience of attempting to promote an alternative discourse within which children are seen as active citizens who are knowledgeable about their world and able to play a full part in decision-making processes that affect them. Presents case studies from a project called "Investing in Children" to illustrate both promising developments and obstacles.

Seamless services, smoother lives

K. Tisdall and others

Children in Scotland, 2005

Research explored the effectiveness of integrated children's services, focusing on their impacts on children and families using four services in Scotland (two family centres and two New Community Schools). Parents particularly valued the "one-stop shop" provided by the children's centres and one of the New Community Schools. Continuity in services and relationships were very important. These relationships provided: support in themselves; a quick and easy route to other services; and the basis for staff to assist families in negotiating other services. Problems occurred when families' needs went outwith the remit of the integrated services team. This tended to occur when families had multiple difficulties and/or when adults had problems with their own service connections. The boundaries of an interagency team led to families having overlapping, fragmented or gaps in support services, with significant difficulties unresolved.

What the standards say about...fostering

M. Mehmet

Lyme Regis: Russell House Publishing, 2005

This is a comprehensive guide for foster carers bringing together the two sets of standards in foster care - the National Minimum Standards and the UK National Standards. This guide will help you to:

  • understand what the standards say and where to reference them
  • ensure children and young people are involved in decision making
  • recognise the range of responsibilities in foster care
  • appreciate how different professionals should work together
  • understand your rights and what you can expect from the fostering agency
  • consider best child care practice
  • help children understand their rights in foster care
  • audit your fostering service prior to being inspected
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