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

P. Curtis

Guardian, February 14th 2006, p.7

Following fears about insufficient trained crèche staff, and research finding graduates running the best crèches, nurseries with satisfactory Ofsted inspections, and other childcare facilities will be able to apply for £16,000 towards graduate recruitment and improved training.

V. Wigfall

Children and Society, vol.20, 2006, p.17-29

Article presents an evaluation of the Families in Focus project which works with children aged four to sixteen on a disadvantaged council estate in Camden, London. The project employs community-based officers whose role is to help alienated local residents to become a community. In the view of many stakeholders the project appears to be succeeding. It has brought many agencies together to work in real partnership, while using the programme with young people as an effective route to working with whole families and from there to working with the entire community.

J. Boylan

ChildRight, issue 223, 2006, p.28-30

In this article advocacy is defined, different types of advocacy are discussed and issues associated with the delivery of advocacy are identified.

Charity calls for childcare reform as cost increases 27% in five years

J. Boone

Financial Times, February 8th 2006, p.2

Despite £17bn government spending aimed at keeping childcare affordable, cost increases exceed inflation by 20% according to research by the Daycare Trust. While a typical full time nursery place for a child under two is £7,400 a year some parents pay £21,000. The tax credits system needs reform and struggling middle income families are let down by government according to critics.

[See also Guardian February 8th 2006 p.3; Daily Telegraph, February 8th 2006. p.9; Times, February 8th 2006, p.3]

J. Boone

Financial Times, February 3rd 2006, p.4

Heavily subsidised state provision of childcare places may backfire on government’s policy of facilitating access to nursery places by pushing private providers out of business according to the CBI. It calls on the government to regulate the market by setting limits on state facilities and to establish a national commissioning framework allowing local authorities to create children’s centres in partnership with independent sectors.

Common ground?

B. Raynes

Community Care, Feb. 9th-15th 2006, p.36-37

The Children Act 1989 separated children into two categories: those “at risk of significant harm” and those “in need“. This led to fragmentation of services. The introduction of the common assessment framework could compound the problem by introducing a third category: children and families causing concern. The author predicts that much time could be spent by social workers in deciding what category a child falls into and in trying to pass on cases to other agencies.

Evidence-based policies for residential childcare staff: who benefits from a minimalist approach to education and training?

G. Heron

Evidence and Policy, vol.2, 2006, p.47-62

In contrast to field social work, there has been no requirement for Scottish residential childcare workers to be qualified until registration procedures under the 2001 Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act resulted in a requirement for certain qualifications being stipulated by the Scottish Social Services Council. This study examines the effectiveness of a range of accredited and non-accredited courses for residential childcare staff. Findings suggest that these courses have a positive impact on learning and practice.

D. Foreman, L. Nyatanga and K. Dann

International Journal of Applied Management, vol.6, 2005, p.76-85

Article argues that the effectiveness of Area Child Protection Committees in safeguarding children has been reduced by the prevalence of professional territoriality or tribalism among members. It is suggested that inter-professional education is key to breaking down barriers and facilitating joint working.

K. O’Hagan

Community Care, Jan. 19th-25th 2006, p.34-35

This article highlights dramatic increases in the use of neglect as a category in child abuse registrations. It suggests that the reasons for the increase stem from a lack of clarity in the definition of neglect and from a wish to avoid provoking parents by accusing them of abuse.

H. Bryan and others

Children and Society, vol.20, 2006, p.40-53

On Track is a preventative, early multi-intervention project focused on risk and protective factors in children in the 4-12 age range, their families and communities. Local On Track projects devised or selected interventions falling into one of six pre-defined categories. The majority of interventions selected by local On Track projects fall into the home-school partnership category. This article explores a particular synergy which developed between the three main players in On Track: the project management, the schools and the local community. Schools are both the common location for interventions and the route into the local community. On Track relies on schools for access to the community. However, there is not an equality of influence: while communities play an active role in interventions, the evidence is that schools play a stronger one, and with the On Track team, are the dominant force in the project as a whole.

V. Wigfall, E. Monck and J. Reynolds

British Journal of Social Work, vol.36, 2006, p.41-55

Concurrent planning as an approach to the permanent placement of young children was developed in Seattle, USA in the early 1980s. It involved the simultaneous development of two care plans. While efforts were made to rehabilitate the birth parents, plans were developed in parallel for the child to be adopted if the rehabilitation failed. The approach was introduced into the UK in the shape of three pilot projects in the late 1990s. This paper explains why concurrent planning was apparently slow to take off in the UK. All three projects found that acceptance of the new way of working by social workers involved with the children was slow. Much time consuming groundwork was needed to educate professionals such as social workers, guardians and solicitors about the concept of concurrent planning. Implementation of the programme requires careful planning and systematic training within mainstream social services departments.

SQW Limited

2006

Research provides information on the different governance and management structures already in place in children’s centres, both locally and at local authority level and identifies apparently successful approaches and features.

G. Jones & S. Womack

Daily Telegraph, February 10th 2006, p.12

The Child Support Agency will be scrapped and replaced by a redesigned system following a further review. However, it could take up to two years to get the new system into place. In the interim, the government will invest £120m in an emergency package designed to clear the existing backlog of cases, including tougher action against absent parents who fail to pay up.

J. Selwyn

ChildRight, issue 223, 2006, p.14-17

Article examines the present state of our knowledge about the pathways that black and minority ethnic (BME) children follow through he care system, disentangling good research evidence from unsubstantiated beliefs. It summarises research evidence on: 1) delays in the placement of BME children in adoptive families; 2) recruitment of adopters; 3) matching children with adoptive families; and 4) differential social work activity.

What are children’s trusts? Early findings from a national survey

M.O. Bachmann and others

Child: Care, Health and Development, vol.32, 2006, p.137-146

The Children Act 2004 and the National Service Framework for Children require fuller integration of health, education and social services for children and young people in England and Wales. To this end, the government supported the establishment of 35 experimental children’s trust pathfinders. This report on the early stages of development of these pathfinders shows that they have followed different routes towards fulfilling similar aims. It compares their organisational structures, financial management, priority client groups, and the level of service integration achieved.

B. Featherstone and M. Manby

Children and Society, vol.20, 2006, p.30-39

This article reflects on the authors’ experiences of evaluating the Working with Families project managed by the Children’s Society and located in a primary school on a large council estate in Rochdale. Their reflections focus on some of the issues arising from basing family support services in a school and are timely in the light of government proposals that schools should play a key role in the delivery of support services.

L. Smith & L. Adams

Times, February 21st2006, p. 29

Seventy percent of couples with children are married according to the Office for National Statistics’ Social Trends, while the number of births outside marriage has risen four fold in the last thirty years. Nearly one in four children lives with just one parent. Report covers other results on families and households.

[See also Daily Telegraph, February 21st 2006, p.1; Guardian, February 21st 2006, p.9]

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