Click here to skip to content

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

Adoption: better choices for our children

Adoption Policy Review Group

Edinburgh: Scottish Executive, 2005

Children in Scotland are not now available for adoption as babies, and have generally come into the system through being removed from their birth parents. The current legal framework is not well-suited to meeting the needs of these children. Traditional adoption, which involves breaking ties with the birth family, is not suitable for them. The Review Group proposes the introduction of a new court order which it calls a permanence order. These would facilitate ongoing contact with the birth family. In order to widen the pool of potential adopters, the Group proposes changing the law to allow unmarried heterosexual and gay/lesbian couples to adopt. Finally, the Group proposes various changes in children's hearings and court procedures and improvements in the support given to adoptive families.

At home with participation

S. Learner

Young People Now, June 29th-July 5th 2005, p.17-18

Describes how looked-after young people are being encouraged to participate in the organisation of their care homes.

Childcare Bill consultation: consultation on legislative proposals for the future of childcare and early years provision in England: implementing the Ten Year Strategy for Childcare

Department for Education and Skills

London: 2005

Proposes that local authorities should be required by law to ensure that there are enough childcare places to meet the needs of all working parents in their area. The paper does not provide for free childcare. Like other parts of the welfare state, users will be expected to pay. The measures nevertheless mark a watershed in the provision of children's services. In another first, the paper requires local authorities to improve the "life chances" of all children under the age of 5 by closing the gap in educational and social development between those from the poorest families and the rest.

Life after care: the experiences of young people from different ethnic group

R. Barn, L. Andrew and N. Mantovani

York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2005

Study explored the post-care experiences of 261 young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Research showed that many young people experienced disruption and disadvantage during and after care; however, White young people fared worst in terms of placement instability, early departure from care, poor educational outcomes, homelessness and risky behaviour, including criminal activity and drug use. Caribbean and mixed-race young people were also at a high risk of disadvantage, but placements in families which reflected their own ethnic background helped to instil stability for some Caribbean youngsters. Lack of adequate consultation, poor planning and support, and the fast pace of change required of them by social services proved disempowering for many young people, leading to adverse after care experiences in housing, budgeting and the job market. Help and support from social services after leaving care was described as variable, and lacking focus.

Ofsted names the nationís best child carers

L. Lightfoot

The Daily Telegraph, July 12 2005. p.3

A new league table of child care providers was published today. For the first time centres, clubs, nurseries and childminders will be graded on a scale from "outstanding" to "inadequate" in reports published by Ofsted, the school and childcare inspectorate. Parents will be able to run an official check on the status of childminders for the first time.

A snapshot of childrenís rights in Northern Ireland

U. Kilkelly

ChildRight, issue 216, 2005, p.16-18

Presents some of the findings of recent research on children's rights in Northern Ireland, covering implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, awareness of children's rights, advocacy services and issues around children not being listened to.

Understanding childrenís rights: theory and practice

Baroness Hale of Richmond

ChildRight, issue 216, 2005, p.3-8

Article identifies some important propositions in children's rights law:

  • All children have the right to be properly brought up, as defined by the State, not as defined by the family.
  • All children have the right to be protected from harm in or out of the family, again as defined by the State, which may interfere in families for this purpose
  • All children have the right to be consulted about decisions that affect them
  • All children have the right of access to someone who can assert their rights on their behalf.

Whatever happened to 'Every Child Matters'?

A. Thomas

Public Servant, issue 28, June 17th 2005, p.15

Calls for more use of multi-disciplinary preventative interventions to steer children and young people away from criminal behaviour. Those who do come before the courts should be dealt with through community justice-type proceedings, and housed if necessary in small local authority-run secure units. Schools should be incentivised to engage with troubled youth instead of excluding them.

Working with adolescents at risk of out of home care: the effectiveness of specialist teams

N. Biehal

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.27, 2005, p.1045 - 1059

Paper reports findings from a quasi-experimental study of services for children who appeared to be at risk of being taken into local authority care in England. It compares outcomes for young people referred to specialist support teams offering intensive preventative services with those for a group referred to mainstream local area social work teams. At follow-up, many young people and families referred to both types of service showed considerable improvement on a variety of measures of child and family functioning, but results were not significantly better for the group receiving the intensive service. However, the intensive services group were significantly less likely to enter placement.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web