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

Childcare, choice and class practices: middle-class parents and their children

C. Vincent and S. J. Ball

Abingdon: Routledge, 2006

This book is based on the findings of a substantive study which investigated the childcare markets and the choices made by middle-class parents in two London localities. It explores the complexities of the relationship between locality, childcare choice and childrearing and highlights processes of social reproduction, the continuation of gendered responsibilities and conceptions of ‘good’ parenting. The main themes are:

  • How parents balance paid work with the responsibilities of childcare?
  • What role modern fathers play in caring for and organizing care for their children?
  • How the childcare market operates, and what kind of care is available?
  • Whether it is possible for parents to find care that complements their own views on childrearing?

Children and young people’s strategic plans: we’ve been here before, haven’t we?

B. Hudson

Policy Studies, vol.27, 2006, p.87-99

Children’s services in England are undergoing their most radical transformation since 1948 following the Children Act 2004. One of the new legislative requirements is for each locality to produce a Children and Young People’s Strategic Plan that will demonstrate how the new arrangements are being put into effect. In the light of previous planning experiences in this field, the article considers how effective this new top-down implementation model is likely to be.

The Children’s Commissioner for Wales: the first five years

O. Rees

ChildRight, no.226, 2006, p. 16-19

Article reflects on the effectiveness of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales. The office has not brought about a seismic shift in attitudes towards children in Wales, but it demonstrates great potential both for helping individual children and for promoting children’s rights generally.

The Climbié Inquiry: context and critique

J. Masson

Journal of Law and Society, vol.33, 2006, p.221-243

This article critiques Lord Laming’s report on the death of Victoria Climbié, focusing on three issues raised by her case which are crucial for the protection of children such as Victoria and for developing a joined-up approach to safeguarding children, but which were largely ignored by the Inquiry. These issues are: 1) the conduct of Victoria’s parents in entrusting her to the care of a relative whom they did not know well and its implications for child trafficking; 2) the recognition of child ill-treatment within the family as a crime; and 3) the refusal of services, particularly housing, for Victoria and her carer. It is argued that the Laming Inquiry was narrow and partial and that it sought to ensure that responsibility for inadequate services continued to be seen as a failure in local implementation, rather than as a consequence of failures of central government policy and resourcing.

Contemporary advocacy: advocacy in child protection conferences and reviews

J. Boylan and J. Dalrymple

ChildRight, no.226, 2006, p.28-30

The value of advocacy in supporting children attending child protection conferences is increasingly recognised and a number of specialist services have been established. This article introduces a specialist advocacy service established in 2002 in Wiltshire which offers free, independent and confidential advocacy for children involved in the child protection process.

Evaluating the impact of a child injury prevention project

J. Carman and others

Community Practitioner, vol.79, 2006, p.188-192

Study examined the effectiveness of free provision and fitting of safety equipment in conjunction with safety advice and information in reducing child accidental injury rates. Results showed injuries to be significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group. A possible reason for this was poor penetration of the intervention; only 35% of families invited to participate in the trial did so. Families with higher levels of disadvantage may have been less likely to participate. Moreover, only 38% of the intervention group actually received the safety equipment. However, although the absolute injury rates were higher in the intervention group, the decrease in injury rates was greater in the intervention group than in the control group.

Fragmenting the All Wales Coherent Route: removing the link between local and professional qualifications

H. Murphy

Youth and Policy, no.91, 2006, p.75-83

The All Wales Route was launched in 1995 to deliver training modules leading to qualifications in youth and community work through franchises. Students could start with foundation (local qualification) courses and proceed through certificate level to obtaining a full professional diploma. However in 2005 the local qualification courses which had previously been embedded in higher education were replaced with lower level courses for youth support workers. Face-to-face youth work in Wales is now increasingly being carried out by these support workers, with fully qualified professionals being diverted into supervisory and managerial roles.

The law relating to children’s home closures

M. Lindsay

ChildRight, issue 226, 2006, p.25-27

It is generally agreed that any decision to close a children’s home will impact significantly on young people resident there at the time. It will contribute to many children’s experience of instability while in care and may result in their being relocated further away from their family, friends and school. This article addresses the issue of children’s home closures and the inappropriate way in which local authorities often reach decisions concerning the timescales by which these closures take place. It also assesses the legal rights of children affected by closures, including their right to be consulted and to seek remedies against decisions not in their best interests.

Peace dividend

P. Jakob

Community Care, June 8th-14th 2006, p.32-33

Describes the technique of non-violent resistance which is being used experimentally in Kent to help parents control violent and destructive behaviour in their children. Family and social networks learn to refuse to give in to the violence, but do not attempt to control the young person. The method has been found to be effective in stabilising foster placements and preventing family breakdown.

A place to call home

S. Flood

Young People Now, June 14th 2006, p.14-15

Crisis intervention centres provide a refuge for more than 1,000 young people who are unable to remain in foster care or other residential placement. Typically, these are the most damaged young people who display extremely challenging behaviour and require one-to-one attention from qualified carers. Article describes the services and approaches of a range of such centres.

Time to play catch-up


Labour Research, vol.95, 2006, p.15-16

There are almost 4.7 million children under eight in England but only just over a million places with childminders, in full daycare or in school out-of-hours clubs. This is still unacceptably low. There are growing calls for government to consider supporting childcare providers rather than giving financial relief to some parents. With childcare workers earning an average wage of £5.00 an hour, there is also a need to improve the status of the profession.

Vetting the overseas child care worker

T. Thomas

ChildRight, no.226, 2006, p.20-21

The question of how relevant authorities get access to international criminal records for the purposes of pre-employment screening of workers with access to children needs to be addressed. The EU is proposing the creation of a central European index of criminal names into which all member states would feed information. The index would not hold criminal records itself, but would indicate their existence and where they could be found.

Where is Youth Matters taking us?

T. Jeffs and M. Smith

Youth and Policy, no.91, 2006, p.23-39

Authors argue that the Youth Matters green paper on the future of youth work is seriously flawed. It fails to analyse the problems young people currently encounter and whether or not existing statutory or voluntary youth work agencies are addressing those needs. The green paper in fact heralds the end of informal education in state-sponsored youth work, attacks young people’s freedom and privacy and fails to engage with civil society.

Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

H.M. Government

London: TSO, 2006

The new guidance reflects major developments in legislation, policy and practice which followed Lord Laming’s inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié and the chief inspectors’ reports on safeguarding children. Key messages include “shared responsibility” for safeguarding children and the need for effective joint working between agencies and professionals with different areas of expertise.

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