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

Changes in the characteristics of SureStart Local Programme areas 2000/2001 to 2002/2003

J. Barnes and others

SureStart, 2005

Evaluation report found that in SureStart local programme areas:

  • There are fewer children aged 0 to 3 living in homes dependent on benefits.
  • There were increases in most aspects of social service activity with families, whereas there was a downward trend in England as a whole.
  • There was a significant increase in full day care and crèche providers and in provision of out-of-hours school care.
  • Achievement at age 7 was lower in 2002/03 than in 2000/01, reflecting national trends. However, achievement at age 11 and in GCSE at age 15 showed significant improvement, more so than in England as a whole.
  • The unemployment rate had dropped more than in England as a whole.

Changing practices, changing cultures: transforming the inclusion agenda

F. Siebritz

Race Equality Teaching, vol.23, no.3, 2005, p.4-7+17

In order for Black and minority ethnic children to achieve the outcomes envisaged for all young people in the Children Act 2004, it is necessary to root out racism and discrimination in children's services. Article summarises the impact of racism on the five key outcomes for young people laid down in the Act.

The Children Act 2004: child protection and social surveillance

S. Penna

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol.27, 2005, p.143-156

The information, referral and tracking (IRT) system to be set up by local authorities under the Children Act 2004 will record key personal information about all children in England. These databases form part of a web of citizen surveillance systems controlled by the government. Their presentation as merely a solution to technical problems with information sharing and with inter-agency working in the service of child welfare obscures an underlying threat to civil liberties and human rights.

Curriculum debate and detached youth work

P. Harris

Youth and Policy, issue 87, 2005, p.57-64

There is currently a lively debate about the relative merits of the development of a curriculum for youth work. At present even detached youth work with very disaffected young people on the street is being expected to deliver recorded and accredited outcomes as defined by a curriculum. Author argues that this approach is unhelpful with very isolated and disengaged youngsters. A person-centred approach that begins with the issues and questions that have significance for the youngster is more effective in alleviating alienation and social exclusion.

An ethical choice for youth workers

T. Lloyd

Young People Now, July 6th -12th , 2005, p. 9

While an ethical code may help youth work's professional status, its realisation may not be practical, partly due to the varied working circumstances. This article reports on proposals for a code made by the Community and Youth Workers' Union.

Every child matters

Education and Skills Committee

London: TSO, 2005 (House of Commons papers, session 2004/5; HC 40-1)

Reports that some specific aspects of the reform for children's services are giving cause for concern. The government has proposed the establishment of a network of computerised 'child indexes' (databases) containing basic details on all children. The Committee believes these proposals are not well-grounded in research evidence, and welcomes reassurances more research will be undertaken before going ahead. Some crucial services have not been placed under a direct 'duty to co-operate' in local Children's Trust partnership arrangements and there is a real risk that a minority of schools and GPs could choose not to participate.

Farewell welfare?

J. Herring

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol.27, 2005, p.159-171

Article evaluates criticisms that have been made of the principle contained in Section 1 of the Children Act 1989, that the welfare of the child should be the courts' paramount consideration in resolving disputes over a child's upbringing. It focuses on three particular criticisms of the principle: 1) that it is unpredictable in application; 2) that it fails to protect children's rights; and 3) that it does not pay sufficient attention to the interests of others.

A fresh focus on youth work

S. Barrett

Young People Now, July 27th-Aug. 2nd 2005, p.11

Report of an interview with Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children, Young People and Families, in which she discusses the proposed new youth opportunity card and why the recent green paper did not recommend putting the youth service on a statutory footing.

Looked-after children given poor support in distant placements

S. Gillen

Community Care, Aug.11th-17th 2005, p.14-16

As a result of lack of local foster carers, many looked-after children are being placed miles away from their homes. This means that they receive few visits from their social workers and their presence puts strain on local services. Article goes on to discuss reasons for difficulties faced by some authorities in recruiting foster carers.

A Paper designed to please many

T. Lloyd

Young People Now, July 27th-Aug.2nd 2005, p.8-9

Reports reaction to the new Youth Green paper, focusing on the future of advice and guidance services, the failure to recommend statutory recognition for local authority run youth services, the removal of responsibility for crime prevention from youth offending teams to youth support services, and the youth opportunity card.

Parenting support in the context of poverty: a meta-synthesis of the qualitative evidence

P. Attree

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.13, 2005, p.330-337

This qualitative systematic review emphasises the importance of social relationships as a resource for poor parents. Taken together, these studies suggest that material and emotional support from families and friends can help to moderate the stress of caring for children in hardship. However, informal support experienced by parents in poor circumstances varies in both quantity and quality. Parents are often deterred from seeking informal help by concerns about potential interference in their private lives, worries about reciprocity, and desire to retain independence. Parents' experiences of formal support services are mixed. The studies suggest that services which are valued offer practical help in non-judgemental ways. Factors which inhibit use of formal services include lack of knowledge about what is available, fears of being branded inadequate as parents, fears of interference in family life, and perceptions of provision as inappropriate.

Private fostering: some views from privately fostered children on the government’s proposals about private fostering

Office of the Children's Rights Director

Newcastle-upon-Tyne: 2005

The two major changes requested by the children and later incorporated into the proposed regulations and standards are that:

  • Social workers visiting privately fostered children will now be expected to see the child alone, instead of only seeing the child alone if they thought they needed to.
  • Privately fostered children will be told how to contact their visiting social worker at any time, to inform them of a concern or to ask them to visit.

Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act: a public consultation

Department of Health

London: 2005

Consultation on regulating the technology and techniques used to assist human reproduction. It asks for views on a wide range of issues including the rules governing embryo screening and selection for medical purposes, the scope for "lighter touch" regulation of IVF and the best way to safeguard the welfare of a child born through assisted conception.

The RHP companion to foster care. 2nd ed

A. Wheal (editor)

Lyme Regis, Dorset: Russell House Publishing, 2005

This comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of foster care has been revised and updated, incorporating the changes that have happened in the field since 1998 (for example, asylum seekers and refuge children, children with disabilities).

Service with stigma

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Aug.11th-17th 2005, p.30-31

Recent research shows that step families often exhibit clear signs of strain and tension but do not receive the services they need. This is due in part to the fact that they are they are often reluctant to seek help until they are in crisis, as they do not want to be identified as failing again, having been through one family breakdown.

A single inspectorate for children and learners

Department for Education and Skills

London: 2005

The proposal to create a single inspectorate for children and learners is part of wider plans to reduce the number of public sector inspectorates from 11 to four. A single inspectorate will better reflect current and proposed local service structures, for example the merger of services for children and young people in line with the Every Child Matters Green Paper. It should reduce inspection duplication and overlap and produce efficiency savings. The consultation document sets out the benefits and rationale of the reconfiguration, and seeks views on the duties and governamce of the new body.

URL: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/

Space, autonomy and respect: the potential contribution of youth clubs to the lives of disaffected and disengaged young people

Z. Hilton

Youth and Policy, issue 87, 2005, p.15-28

Based on interviews with young people attending two youth clubs in Edinburgh, this study explores the benefits to disaffected youth of voluntary participation in clubs. These include keeping the young people out of trouble and off the streets, access to informal advice and guidance, and provision of peer support. The author argues that the contribution of the clubs is particularly important in the context of the current pressures in mainstream schools, and the increasingly hard line approaches to juvenile justice.

Special Guardianship guidance: Children Act 1989: the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005

Department for Education and Skills

London: 2005

This document supports the introduction of special guardianship orders and provides guidance on the interpretation of the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005. Special guardianship status offers children greater security than long term fostering without the absolute legal severance from the birth family that stems from an adoption order.

A SureStart children’s centre in every community: phase 2 planning guidance (2006-08)

SureStart 2005

The planning guidance is designed to help local authorities implement the next phase of the government's strategy to develop 2,500 SureStart children's centres by 2008. The aim is to create a network of centres across the country offering information, advice, early years provision, health services, family support, parental outreach and employment advice for disadvantaged families.

Target in their sights

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Aug.18th-24th 2005, p.28-30

Reports on how Cambridgeshire is progressing with plans to integrate its children's services in advance of the government's requirement for children's trusts to be created in all areas by 2008.

Testament of youth

A. U. Sale

Community Care, Aug.4th-10th 2005, p.28-29

Presents reactions to key proposals in the youth green paper, including the integration of Connexions into local authorities, the opportunity card, the promotion of volunteering, and the opportunity fund that will empower young people to fund local projects of their choice.

They need to be involved

J. Moseley

Community Care, Aug.4th-10th 2005, p.30-31

Author calls for the establishment of an integrated support service that would help all young people in need, including young offenders, care leavers, and truants. Services would be accessed via multi-disciplinary assessment teams that would commission a tailored package of support designed to meet the young person's needs. Services would only be effective if young people themselves were involved in their design and delivery.

Youth clubs: association, participation, friendship and fun

S. Robertson

Lyme Regis, Dorset: Russell House Publishing, 2005

Youth work can include buildings-based generic work in communities and short term projects targeted on 'disaffected' young people. Sometimes both operate together. Sometimes one is promoted at the expense of the other. This book document the history of club work, explains why it is so valuable and sets out a case for preserving and developing it. It also offers:

  • Guidance on managing and working in clubs to help achieve specific objectives
  • Support for 'making a case' for the relevance and potential of general, mixed clubs and for their increased support
  • Help for anyone involved to validate their youth club practice and access research-based supportive arguments to promote it.

Youth matters

Department for Education and Skills

London: TSO, 2005 (Cm 6629)

Green paper proposes:

  • An opportunity fund in each council of up to £30,000 that young people can spend on projects
  • Children's Trusts led by local authorities to take over Connexions' advice and guidance work
  • Children's Trusts will develop an annual local offer about things to do and places to go
  • Targeted youth support teams will identify early on young people in need of additional help
  • Introduction of opportunity cards which will provide young people with discounts on a variety of activities. The cards can be topped up by young people or their parents with money to spend on sport, etc, but can also be withdrawn or suspended to punish anti-social behaviour.
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