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

Childcare Bill

D. Reale

ChildRight, issue 222, 2006, p.16-18

The Childcare Bill currently before Parliament will place a statutory duty on local authorities to ensure there are sufficient childcare places in their areas to meet the needs of working families and parents of disabled children. Article summarises and comments on key provisions of the Bill.

Childcare for all: the year in review

B. Reid

Working Brief, issue 170, Dec./Jan 2006, p.13-15

Article reviews progress in making affordable, high quality childcare available to all working parents.It covers availability of places, childcare costs, children’s centres and extended schools, the childcare workforce, care of very young children, and the provisions of the Childcare Bill currently before Parliament.

Children’s advocacy in Wales: organisational challenges for those who commission and deliver advocacy to looked after children

A. Pithouse and O. Parry

Adoption and Fostering, vol.29, Winter 2005, p.45-56

Research showed that advocacy providers in Wales tend to deliver individual case-based services and not to challenge injustice at the systemic level. Most advocacy providers see themselves as both independent of, and insufficiently funded by, those commissioning their services. Local authority staff tend to see advocacy as a service benefiting the children and their families rather than the local authority. There remain significant difficulties in providing advocacy for “hard to reach” children such as those in respite care or those placed outside of the local authority area. Authors conclude that the Welsh Assembly government should promote a more strategic regional approach to provision.

Court may tag fathers who don't pay

Daily Telegraph, January 4th 2006, p.2

The Work and Pensions secretary confirms that the Child Support Agency may be given powers to apply to courts for tagging non paying parents.

Ex-welfare minister urges radical overhaul of child support agency


Financial Times, January 16th 2006, p.2

Frank Field makes the case for the agency's reform which would involve taxing absent parents for maintenance payments. Ministers have received a report on the agency’s future from chief executive Geraghty, and government is expected to report soon. While low achievement, and cost effectiveness, have prompted suggestions for transfer of certain functions, further disruption from an overhaul, it is feared, would make things worse for recipients and their children.

Government may stop school milk subsidies

F. Lawrence

Guardian, January 4th 2006, p.1

High cost and minimal health benefits underpin the government’s consideration of scrapping the primary school milk subsidy.

Leaving care: throughcare and aftercare in Scotland

J. Dixon and M. Stein

London: J. Kingsley, 2005

The book investigates the successes and failures of care services for young people, identifying factors that hinder effective transition from care and the type of support that help to promote positive life choices.

The Parent Positive programme: opportunities for health visiting

S. Parker and S. Kirk

Community Practitioner, vol.79, 2006, p.10-14

The Parent Positive programmes trains health visitors to use positive reinforcement and an empowerment approach to improve parenting skills. Article reports a qualitative study which explored how 12 health visitors who had undergone the training thought it had influenced their practice. Participants reported that the training had developed their communication skills, enabled them to make links between public health and family focussed work, gave their role greater clarity, and enabled them to reflect on their practice with others.

Secure care: a positive option for distressed and damaged young people

M. Graham

Childright, issue 222, 2006, p.11-12

Social workers are reluctant to place troubled young people in secure care. However, it may be the best option for young people who are likely to abscond from any other kind of accommodation, are likely to suffer harm should they abscond, or are likely to injure themselves or others if placed in non-secure homes.

Setting up shop: establishing the office of Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People

L. Paton

ChildRight, issue 222, 2006, p.26-29

Article describes the process of setting up the office of Scotland' first Commissioner for Children and Young People, covering choice of location, structure, policy priorities, media relations and links with other Commissioners.

Super models

C. Cameron and E. Chase

Community Care, 26th Jan.-1st Feb. 2006, p.36-37

This article summarises recent research about the kind of support valued by young care leavers. They are looking for personalised, integrated support that meets a range of complex needs. Such support could be provided by four groups of workers requiring different models of professional training: the North European pedagogue, the mentor, the private foster carer, and the informal support worker.

Support care: how family placement can keep children and families together

Edited by H. C. Brown, E. Fry, J. Howard

Lyme Regis: Russell House, 2005

Support Care offers help to families whose children are at risk of coming into the care system. The book collects together 'stories' about the development and realisation of Support Care from the perspectives of parents, carers, practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

Tories back concerns over parental leave

C. Adams

Financial Times, January 18th 2006, p. 2

As amendments to the Work and Families Bill are tabled, Conservatives are backing businesses' concerns about administration costs of parental leave reforms, in an apparent departure from Cameron’s pledge.

Why gender matters for Every Child Matters?

B. Daniel and others

British Journal of Social Work, vol.35, 2005, p.1343-1355

Article comments on the green paper for children's services in England, Every Child Matters, focusing on the lack of gender analysis in the document. It argues for 'gender mainstreaming' in child welfare policy. Such an approach would recognise that policies may impact differently on the lives of men and women and boys and girls. Every Child Matters was a missed opportunity to begin this process.

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