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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2000) - Child Welfare - UK

ADOPT THEM

D. Davis

Guardian Oct. 20th 1999, p. 20

Proposes that adoption should be treated as the preferred option for children removed from their families due to abuse or neglect, or who are voluntarily placed in care, if the birth parents are unable to prove over a 12 month period, that they able to provide a suitable upbringing.

ADOPTION NOW: MESSAGES FROM RESEARCH

Chichester: Wiley, 1999

Brings together up-to-date and authoritative research on adoption. Provides an overview of studies commissioned by the Dept. of Health to identify the principal messages about adoption policy and practice to emerge from its programme of research. Studies cover the processes which adoption entails; children joining new families; single-parent adoption; transracial adoption; children talking about their adoption; and, the support needed and provided before and after placement.

BETWEEN THE REPORTS: NEW LABOUR IN OFFICE, MAY 1997 TO AUGUST 1999

M. Roberts

Childright, no. 160, 1999, p. 9-16

Provides a comprehensive chronological guide to New Labour policy in the areas of social exclusion, education, health, looked after children and child protection, family policy, crime and juvenile justice and immigration and asylum.

BOOST FOR QUALITY PROTECTS

R. Winchester

Community Care, no. 1295, 1999, p. 12

Argues that the increasing use of care orders by Social Services shows that the Quality Protects guidelines are taking effect and encouraging local authorities to become proactive and intervene earlier to remove children from families with severe problems.

CHILD WELFARE IN ENGLAND: PROBLEMS, PROMISES AND PROBLEMS

D. Berridge

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 8; 1999, p. 288-296

Paper discusses developments in child welfare services in England, and, particularly, the role and contribution of research. It is shown that a significant and coherent body of research has developed and linked formally to the policy process. Research has highlighted problems in three specific areas: first, moving away from a narrow focus on child protection to an approach that provides broader family support for children in need; second, the absence of policies relating to services for adolescents; and lastly, problems in the delivery of residential care. A major programme of reform has been introduced by the new Labour government, consistent with the research messages.

COUNCILS PAY OUT MILLIONS TO FOSTER AGENCIES

R. Ford and A. Pierce

Times, Oct. 29th 1999, p. 1+2

Fostering is in crisis because of an explosion in the number of private agencies which charge and pay premium rates for placing children with families, quadrupling the cost to council tax-payers.

(See Times, Oct. 29th, 1999, p. 4)

FOSTER CARE HAS COME A LONG WAY

G. Davies

Foster Care, no. 99, 1999, p. 16-17

Outlines the fundamental changes in foster care that have taken place in the past 25 years. These include: a higher percentage of older and more challenging children coming into foster care; the increasing professionalisation of social services; improved training; and greater contact with birth parents.

GETTING THE BEST FROM CHILDREN'S SERVICES

Audit Commission and Social Services Inspectorate

Abingdon: Audit Commission Publications, 1999

Finds that too many vulnerable youngsters are being shunted around between carers, depriving them of stability. Recruiting more foster carers would be one way of reducing outplacements in independent residential children's homes. The review also found that good performance in one area of children's services was very easily undermined by poor performance in another, and that children's services were too often disjointed and unconnected. Overall the report reveals variations in performance amongst councils, pressure on resources and weak strategic planning.

(For summary see Community Care, no. 1295, p. 10-11)

NOTHING'S SACRED

J. Wild and G. Precey

Community Care, no. 1293, 1999, p. 26-27

Argues that the Quality Protects initiative will result in a bureaucratic system of performance indicators and excessive monitoring of a child's progress through the system. It also fails to address the significant problem of abuse within the care system. Finally points out that receipt of good services in care does not guarantee a favourable outcome for looked-after children.

THE TROUBLE WITH TEENAGERS

J. Coleman

Community Care, no. 1293, 1999, Supplement. 8p

Young people have been at the sharp end of rapid social change. Looks at the effect of changes in family structure, the labour market, sexual mores and attitudes to race and gender on teenagers. Briefly mentions government initiatives to reduce teenage pregnancy rates and reintegrate dropouts into the education system.

UN-CHARTED TERRITORY? EXPERIENCES OF THE PURCHASER/PROVIDER SPLIT IN LOCAL AUTHORITY CHILDREN'S SERVICES

I. Kirkpatrick et al

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 29, 1999, p. 707-726

Drawing on case study data from seven local authorities, article describes what purchaser/provider structures involve in the context of children's services and assesses their impact. It is argued that many changes have been cosmetic and that, while it is not possible to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the model, there is evidence that it can have some negative consequences for the co-ordination and delivery of services.

`WHITE CHILDREN TWICE AS LIKELY TO BE ADOPTED'

C. Norton

Independent, Oct. 11th 1999, p. 5

Reports research showing that while a third of all children put up for adoption in 1998 were black or mixed race, only half the number of families were interested in adopting them compared to white children. Black and mixed race families may be deterred from adopting children in their care by financial constraints, such as loss of their foster care allowance. To remedy this, the government is considering introducing an adoption allowance, which would encourage low-income families to adopt, and paid adoption leave.

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