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

The caring child: an evaluative case study of the Cornwall Young Carers Project

A.H. Butler and G. Astbury

Children and Society, vol.19, 2005, p.292-303

The Cornwall Young Carers Project is jointly funded by social services and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health Action Zone and aims to maximise opportunities for the social, educational and personal development of young carers. The evaluation showed that young carers face isolation and social exclusion, problems at school, lack of time for play and leisure activities, and lack of recognition, praise or respect for their contribution. The Project offers a diverse range of services to young carers, including consultation, respite, transport, education and training, mentoring and support. These services are appreciated and well-accessed by young carers and appear to be functioning well and enhancing the quality of life of the user group.

Coherent care

I. Sinclair

Community Care, Aug. 25th-31st 2005, p.34-35

Article summarises the results of recent research on what works in foster care. Models need to be developed that allow children to remain in contact with their families while benefiting from the stability offered by long term fostering. Arrangements need to be made for continued support when the young people leave foster care at 18.

Early years: firm foundations

Ofsted

London: 2005

England’s nurseries, childminders and other types of childcare are praised in this report aimed at disseminating best practice across the sector. It is based on inspections carried out over the previous two years and shows that:

  • Almost half of the 94,000 registered settings provide good quality childcare; they meet the national standards well overall, often exceeding them
  • Aspects of childcare practice are outstanding in 4% of settings
  • Good provision for children is found across all types of setting, but is most evident in full and sessional daycare.
  • Around two-thirds of the settings are judged to be good in meeting the standards relating to caring for children’s individual needs, offering play that promotes children’s development, managing behaviour, ensuring a safe and stimulating environment and working in partnership with parents.
  • All inspections identified areas for improvement, either as actions required to meet one of the national standards or as recommendations to develop further the quality of care. Around a third of settings were issued with actions because they did not meet one or more of the standards.

The effectiveness of parenting support

P. Moran and D. Ghate

Children and Society, vol.19, 2005, p.329-336

This research review considers evidence of the effectiveness of parenting support and education programmes across multiple outcome domains including children’s emotional, behavioural and educational development; parenting skills, attitudes and knowledge; parental mental health and social support; and quality of parent-child relationships. Evidence suggests that parents least likely to be helped are those with multiple, overlapping difficulties such as poverty, poor housing, social isolation, marital conflict and poor health. Services tend to be more successful when they have a clearly articulated set of aims and goals and a clearly mapped-out route for achieving them. Programmes with multiple components also tend to be more successful than uni-modal designs. Generally programmes of proven efficacy use professionally trained workers rather than volunteers.

Looked-after children: time for change?

C. Ritchie

British Journal of Social Work, vol.35, 2005, p.761-767

For the past 120 years those concerned with child welfare in the UK have taken steps to remove them from their homes when the risk of leaving them in situ has seemed too great. Unfortunately the outcomes for children taken into public care are very poor. Author argues that leaving the children in their homes or in the care of extended families could produce better results provided that appropriate professional family support is available.

Measuring outcomes in the “new” children’s services

N. Axford and V. Berry

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.13, Aug. 2005, p.12-23

Article seeks to help senior local policy makers, managers and practitioners in children’s services to develop robust but realistic strategies for measuring outcomes in a multi-disciplinary context. It sets out strategies for measuring outcomes at the level of the individual child, the agency and the community. It is intended to show how different approaches to measuring outcomes can fit together logically and within a reasonable budget, so creating an outcome culture and contributing to service integration.

The parenting of young people: using newsletters to provide information and support

J. Shepherd and D. Roker

Children and Society, vol.19, 2005, p.264-277

The research literature suggests that many parents feel that they do not have enough information or support in bringing up teenage children. Article reports on the evaluation of a pilot project which used magazine-style newsletters to provide information and advice to parents. The evaluation showed newsletters to be an effective form of information provision for most parents. However, the results also brought to light a number of issues to be considered when using newsletters as a parenting intervention, including literacy levels, social class, English as a second language, and reaching fathers as well as mothers.

Taking part: making out-of-school hours learning happen for children in care

B. Fletcher and J, Murison

London: ContinYou, 2005

This guidance document aims to assist those working in children’s services in making study support/out-of-school hours learning an integral part of raising the attainment of looked-after children and of good corporate parenting.

Telephone support for parenting: an evaluation of Parentline Plus

J. Boddy, M. Smith and A. Simon

Children and Society, vol.19, 2005, p.278-291

Recent UK government policy has promoted provision of universal support services for parents, including provision of a national telephone helpline, Parentline Plus. The effectiveness of this service in supporting parents was evaluated through secondary analysis of call data, assessment of taped calls, and interviews with callers. The helpline offers anonymous support to a growing number of callers, and most callers interviewed valued highly the support they received. Many had significant support needs that were not met by any other form of provision.

'They hear every insult, punch and slap'

K. Leason

Community Care, Sept.15th-21st, 2005, p.34-35

Article describes the impact of domestic violence on very young children. Exposure to domestic violence can lead to children displaying symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, behavioural difficulties, and speech and language delays.

Ties that bind

A.U. Sale

Community Care, Sept.22nd-28th 2005, p.30-31

Parents who misuse drugs or alcohol may be unable to care for their children, and when this happens responsibility for their upbringing often falls to grandparents. However, grandparents need more financial and social work support in undertaking this role.

Trends and spends

P.J. White

Young People Now, Sept.14th-20th 2005, p.14-18

Article analyses current local authority spending on youth services and asks how they can attract more cash.

Where has child protection gone?

E. Munro and M. Calder

Political Quarterly, vol.76, 2005, p.439-445

The UK government wants to see a shift in the focus of children’s services away from the protection of child abuse victims and towards the provision of a range of preventive services for all children in need. However, actual victims of abuse are in danger of being lost within this agenda which gives insufficient attention to how deficiencies in child protection services revealed by the death of Victoria Climbie can be resolved.

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