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Welfare reform on the Web (September 2006): Child welfare - UK

Agents of change

S. Lowe

Community Care, July 27th-Aug. 2nd 2006, p.36-37

Article looks the roles of children’s rights officers and advocates in bringing about change in local authority children’s services. Children’s rights officers should act as agents of systemic change within organisations while independent advocates can effect change for individual young people. Children’s rights officers can act as the link between the views of advocacy providers and policymakers.

Bucking the trend: the lasting effects of child poverty in the UK

J. Blanden

ChildRight, issue 227, 2006, p.24-27

This article reviews results from two recent studies of the impact of poverty on children’s development and future life chances. While it is clear that children who grow up in poverty face a substantially higher risk of being disadvantaged adults, this relationship is by no means deterministic. Indeed, most children who grow up in poverty do not go on to be poor adults. There is evidence that parental interest in education and strong early achievement can foster resilience and help children escape the cycle of disadvantage.

CAFCASS Safeguarding Framework

E. Hall

Family Law, vol.36, 2006, p.561-565

The Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) is consulting on its new Safeguarding Framework which sets outs how it will fulfil its duties to promote the five positive outcomes for children laid down in the Every Child Matters policy. The framework covers: 1) CAFCASS as an agency, and the context of its work in terms of children’s rights and needs; 2) how it works with other agencies; 3) how it works with staff; and 4) how it delivers services to children and their families.

Changes in the characteristics of SSLP areas between 2000/01 and 2003/04

J. Barnes and others

2006 (Research report NESS/2006/FR/016)

Provides several examples of where Sure Start local programmes had a positive impact in disadvantaged areas, notably in and increase in child protection activity. There were also far fewer emergency hospital admissions of children aged up to three in Sure Start areas in 2003/04 than three years earlier, possibly due to more joint working between health and social care. However the most disadvantaged local programme areas are not changing as much as those with lesser levels of deprivation.

Locality, school and social capital (PDF)

S. Weller and I. Bruegel

ESRC, 2006

Research examined how children’s social networks are sustained through schooling and their contribution to local social capital in different types of communities. The study found that:

  • Middle class and socially mobile parents were more likely to be able to use their social capital to find and gain places at good schools outside their immediate vicinity
  • Children can draw on and contribute to the social capital of their families and neighbourhoods
  • Children’s social networks are important resources which enable them to cope with the transition to secondary school
  • The make-up and friendship networks of primary school classes have an impact on inter-cultural understanding into the early secondary years.

Mainstreaming learning from the children’s fund: as easy as A, B, C?

A.-M. Martindale

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol.28, 2006, p.47-57

The Children’s Fund initiative was designed to support and enhance early intervention services for children aged 5-13 years in deprived areas, with schemes administered locally. Knowsley, an area of Merseyside containing some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England, received “wave one” funding and became operational in 2001. In 2004 the scheme faced financial difficulty and was in danger of ending two years earlier than planned. Eventually, continuation funding was found on the understanding that learning from the Children’s Fund model would be identified and “mainstreamed” in order to help “smooth the transition” to emerging children’s trusts. This article assesses the extent to which learning has occurred from the Knowsley Children’s Fund and whether lessons from a relatively short-term, experimental programme can be transferred to mainstream agencies.

Managing Sure Start in partnership

L. Hassan, J. Spencer and E. Hogard

Community Practitioner, vol.79, 2006, p.247-251

In March 2006 Sure Start programmes were mainstreamed, becoming children’s centres for which local authorities have assumed strategic responsibility. This paper describes an evaluation of a Sure Start local programme Management Board that was undertaken in preparation for this transition. Results showed that a collaborative style of working had been fostered between board members, resulting in synergy. Furthermore, a number of governance arrangement were identified that specifically supported partnership development, including quorum regulation and adherence to decision-making by consensus.

Parents, professionals and paranoia: the touching of children in a culture of fear

H. Piper, J. Powell and H. Smith

Journal of Social Work, vol.6, 2006, p.151-167

This paper revisits some issues relating to the touching of children by professionals in social and educational settings. Many child-related settings are becoming “no touch” zones as professionals become increasingly fearful of accusations of physical or sexual abuse and act self-defensively. However, these behaviours are not in the best interests of the children, as touch is vital to their physical and emotional development.

Protecting children in Scotland: an investigation of risk assessment and inter-agency collaboration in the use of child protection orders(PDF)

J. Francis and others

Scottish Executive Social Research, 2006

Recent inquiries into the deaths or abuse of young children have indicated that there are ongoing concerns about limited inter-agency communication, information sharing and collaboration and poor standards of risk assessment. This study found that there has been an increasing number of Child Protection Orders in Scotland in recent years. It reports that while most agencies support the principles of joint working and information sharing, arrangements to facilitate these vary across organisations and professions.

Review of child care proceedings system in England and Wales

Department for Education and Skills [and] Department for Constitutional Affairs

The Review has two aims: 1) to improve the court system for children and families involved in cases regarding care and supervision orders; and 2) to reduce costs of proceedings. Recommendations for improvement fall into five inter-connecting categories:

  • Helping families: improvements in children’s and families’ understanding of proceedings
  • Better informal resolution: encouragement of safe and desirable alternatives to court proceedings
  • Preparation for proceedings: improvements in the quality and consistency of applications for care orders
  • During proceedings: improvement in case management
  • Inter-agency working: encouragement of better inter-agency cooperation and closer working relationships

(For a summary and comment see ChildRight, issue 227, 2006, p.15-17 and Family Law, vol.36, 2006, p.617-720)

Towards equal voices: childcare policy and children in the Chinese and Bangladeshi communities in an English regional capital

M.L.S. Lie

Social Policy and Society, vol.5, 2006, p.349-358

This study shows that minority ethnic households can differ significantly between and within communities on dimensions such as socio-demographic characteristics, socio-economic positions, livelihoods and household compositions and family values that vary with migration histories. Use of childcare is but one of many issues around bringing up children that Chinese and Bangladeshi parents deal with, which include child safety, educational achievement, language maintenance and moral and religious development. Childcare as it is offered from a Western perspective, with the aim of increasing opportunities for paid work, initially did not seem relevant to many of these parents because it was unaffordable and did not fit in with their work patterns. There are opportunities for families to benefit, but only insofar as their concerns and views are taken into account. Childcare provision could aim at meeting the language and religious needs of minority ethnic children. Minority ethnic communities can also be viewed as a possible source of childcare workers, contributing to the sustainability of childcare services.

We know who you are

S. Gillen

Community Care, Aug.10th-16th 2006, p.26-27

Government is planning to open family court hearings to the press and public in order to improve understanding of the courts’ work and end the impression of a justice system operating in secret. Under the proposals, names of social workers involved in proceedings could be published There is concern among social workers that this greater openness may expose them to harassment by the media and vengeful families.

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