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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2006): Child welfare - UK

Child abuse cases in the Muslim community

R. Scorer
ChildRight, issue 221, 2005, p.6-7

Argues that cases of child abuse by religious leaders are under-reported in the Muslim community due to: 1) the respect in which religious teachers are held and 2) reluctance of police and social services to investigate for fear of accusations of racism.

Consequences of teenage parenthood:  pathways which minimise the long term negative impacts of teenage childbearing:  final report

A. Berrington and others
Department for Education and Skills, 2005 (RW52)

This research aimed to assess over the medium to long term the consequences of teenage births for mothers, fathers and children and to use the results of these analyses to identify pathways by which the negative impacts of teenage childbearing could potentially be minimised.

Exploring the attitudes and behaviours of Bangladeshi, Indian and Jamaican young people in relation to reproductive and sexual health:  a report for the Teenage Pregnancy Unit

R.S. French and others
Department for Education and Skills, 2005 (RW53)

Research aimed to discover the attitudes and behaviours of young people from specific Black and minority ethnic groups to reproductive and sexual health, with specific reference to teenage pregnancy, and what factors influence them.  There are marked variations in attitudes to sexual behaviour among Indian, Bangladeshi and Jamaican young people, influenced by cultural factors such as religious beliefs, parental attitudes and peer group norms.  Gender differences in attitudes and behaviour are strong, with very different and often conflicting messages being given to young men and women.  However, exposure to sex education in school and to more relaxed attitudes to sexual relationships in the wider society are leading to a gradual harmonisation of attitudes towards sexual and reproductive health.  Current knowledge and use of existing sexual and reproductive health services varied across ethnic groups.  There was some disagreement about the need for culturally specific services, with many feeling that well-staffed, culturally competent services with appropriate access times were more important than there being ethnically matched staff.

Implementing SureStart Local Programmes:  an integrated overview of the first four years

J. Tunstill and others
SureStart, 2005

This report provides an overview of the quantitative and qualitative data around implementation issues collected between 2001 and 2004 on the first 260 SureStart Local Programmes.  This includes surveys of programme managers, case study analysis and information from specific issue-based thematic studies.  The purpose of this report is to integrate and synthesise these data on programme activity and achievement in the key areas of facilitating access, transcending organisational and professional boundaries and establishing a new approach to service delivery for children and parents.

Information sharing

C. Hamilton
ChildRight, issue 221, 2005, p.3-5

A recent government consultation on information sharing would have the effect of lowering the threshold at which information is shared between professionals without the consent of the child.  The paper is in places inconsistent and is not in line with current law.

Mentoring young people leaving care:  “someone for me”

J. Clayden and M. Stein
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2005

Research looked at the impact of mentoring from the point of view of the young people and their mentors.  The main type of mentoring provided by the projects studied was one-to-one volunteer mentoring.  Mentoring was either “traditional”, provided by an adult, or peer mentoring by other young care leavers.  Mentoring relationships included both “instrumental”, task-focused work and “expressive” befriending roles.  The mentoring process was dynamic:  setting goals was a flexible and negotiated process.  According to project files, three-quarters of young people had achieved at least one of their original goals, and 93% had had some positive outcomes from their mentoring relationship. The mentors felt that the relationship had increased their skills and confidence in working with young people.

Modern mothers rely on granny to be nanny

S. Womack
Daily Telegraph November 30th 2005, p.11

Research by Mintel links the role assumed by one-third of grandmothers in caring for their grandchildren to government pressure on mothers of young children to return to work.

Private nurseries feel squeeze of council services

J. Boone
Financial Times, November 25th 2005, p.5

Research by the National day Nurseries’ Association has found that its members are in danger of being put out of business by competition from council children’s centres.  The Association is calling for the Childcare Bill currently before Parliament to be amended to require local authorities to work in partnership with the private sector when setting up children’s centres, rather than duplicating existing provision.

Public services face reorganisation

E. Rogers
Young People Now, Dec.7th-13th 2005, p.9

Youth services in Northern Ireland are about to be streamlined and placed under the control of a single education authority, which will commission them from grant-aided organisations.

The Quality of early learning, play and childcare services in SureStart Local Programmes

A. Anning, E. Chesworth and L. Spurling
SureStart, 2005

Study found that early learning, play and childcare services had increased in range, number and type in SureStart Local Programmes (SSLPs) and had benefited both children and parents.  SSLPs made it easier for families to get access to early education, play and learning activities provided locally.  In their early learning experiences, children were getting more support for speech, language and emotional development and extra opportunities for physical and literacy development.  In their play experiences, children were getting extended opportunities, including outings, toy libraries, and outdoor and physical exercise.  For parents, childcare provision increased their opportunities to work, to volunteer and to undertake training as well as giving them a break.  However, in some services there appeared to be too little emphasis on children’s cognitive development, with the bias being towards support for parents and enhancing the parent-child relationship.  Some learning activities were ill-matched to the capabilities of very young children because they were either too difficult or they lacked challenge.  In both cases children were not motivated to engage.

Toddlers left to cry at busy nurseries says Ofsted

S. Womack
Daily Telegraph, December 6th 2005, p.6

Nurseries are opening earlier to accommodate parents’ long working hours, but have insufficient staff on duty to cope with both administrative matters and childcare, according to Ofsted.  This is resulting in children not being looked after properly at the beginning of the day.  One third of those visited by Ofsted inspectors could not support the children’s needs during the first hour of the day.

Understanding early years policy

P. Baldock, D. Fitzgerald and J. Kay
London: Paul Chapman, 2005

Recent developments in policy affecting young children are the most radical for over 30 years, involving wide-ranging changes to structures and practices in children’s services. Analysing policy is a complex process, particularly in the area of early years as policies have become increasingly complicated.  The book explains the process of policy making in the area of ‘early years services’ focusing on day care and education

Voucher system for children

L. Lightfoot
Daily Telegraph, December 6th 2005, p.4

“Lead professionals” will purchase services on behalf of vulnerable children in a pioneering pilot voucher scheme aimed at integrating services around the needs of the child and his/her family. The Chancellor has allocated £10 million to the scheme over two years.

What did you expect? The CSA can’t solve a million mini-Balkans.

D. Aaronovitch
Times, November 29th 2005, p.18

The author argues that the Child Support Agency’s (CSA) job is impossible due to the chaotic relationships between estranged parents.  The article looks at political battles raging over the CSA, its image and recent figures showing that five-sixths of DNA tests requested by doubtful men proved their paternity.

Why nurseries can help to cut stress in children’s lives

S. Womack
Daily Telegraph, November 21st 2005, p.11

Research suggests that attendance at nursery is less stressful for young children than staying at home with mothers dissatisfied with unrewarding employment or full-time motherhood.

Working with young people

R. Harrison and C. Wise (editors)
London: Open University in association with Sage, 2005

The book is a collection of writings about working with young people in particular when their participation is voluntary and the aims are broadly educational. Learning and development emerge through collaboration between worker, young person and the possibilities inherent in the situation. The three parts of the book cover: debates around the meanings of ‘youth’ and ‘youth work’, issues which emerge from the actual practice of this work, and issues of learning and continuing professional development.

Youth charities to benefit from dormant millions

J. Treanor & M. Taylor
Guardian, December 12th 2005, Pre-Budget Supplement

The Chancellor has announced in his pre-budget speech that money from forgotten bank accounts supplemented by additional Treasury funding will pay for voluntary sector youth services and financial education.

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