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Welfare reform on the Web (January 2007): Child welfare - UK

Children and young people’s plans: a review of the first year

Office of the Children’s Commissioner


Children and Young People’s Plans were introduced in April 2006 as part of a broader strategy aimed at establishing multidisciplinary and joint working practices, greater cooperation between local government and its partners, and greater participation by children and young people in making decisions that affect them. The Children’s Commissioner has analysed the creation and implementation of the Children and Young People’s Plans. In particular, this report evaluates the mechanisms used to pull together the plans, the co-ordination of implementation, and the ways in which children and young people have been involved in their development.

Compulsory mediation: a discussion

M. Stevenson

Family Law, vol.36, 2006, p.985-988

This article addresses the debate about whether parents in disputed children’s matters should be compelled by courts to attend a joint mediation meeting. It is known that mediation works and that children and families benefit when arrangements can be agreed. The author argues that parents should be compelled to attend an initial mediation session, but that subsequent participation in further meetings should be voluntary.

Confidence and confidentiality: improving transparency and privacy in family courts

C. Hamilton and K. Charles

ChildRight, issue 231, 2006, p.29-31

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner consulted young people on government proposals for opening up the proceedings of the family courts to public and media scrutiny. Overall, young people were not in favour of allowing members of the public into family hearings, although they were happy to permit them to attend with the consent of the parties. The young people were also negative about the media and did not see them as a reliable or accurate conduit for informing the public.

Freedom’s orphans: raising youth in a changing world

J. Margo and M. Dixon

London: Institute for Public Policy Research, 2006

This report shows that children from low socio-economic backgrounds are being inadequately socialised due to: 1) changing family structures, including rising rates of divorce and single parenthood; 2) the impact of consumerism; and 3) lack of access to constructive organised activities. A range of recommendations for remedial action is offered covering childcare provision, parental leave, relationship support and strategies to better engage fathers, and the improvement of access to positive extra-curricular activities.

Getting it right for every child: draft Children’s Services (Scotland) Bill consultation

Scottish Executive

Edinburgh: 2006

The Bill aims to reduce the number of children inappropriately referred to the Children’s Reporter. In the past 10 years, the number of children referred has increased from 26,862 to 53,883. Most referrals are due to concerns about health and welfare. The proposed legislation will:

  1. Place duties on agencies to work together to provide support for children and make a clear plan for those with complex needs
  2. Ensure that the views of children and their families are taken into account when developing support plans
  3. Change the grounds of referral so that children are referred to the children’s hearings system only where this is truly necessary.

The Bill impacts on all agencies which provide care and support for children and their families, including local authorities, the police, NHS Scotland and voluntary sector bodies. It also impacts on services to adults who are parents where support for the adult may improve outcomes for children.

Identity and change: youth working in transition

B. Oliver

Youth and Policy, no.93, 2006, p.5-19

The Labour government has introduced four different approaches to youth work since 1997, leading to anxiety, confusion and loss of professional identity among professionals. Based on research with Connexions personal advisers, this article suggests that in seeking to help youth workers facing transition, there is a need to draw on approaches based on the youth work values of dialogue, open questioning and exploration of possibilities in a process of co-inquiry.

The impact of “community cohesion” on youth work: a case study from Oldham

P. Thomas

Youth and Policy, no.93, 2006, p.41-60

There is general agreement that an underlying cause the 2001 riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford was a lack of community cohesion caused by an absence of shared values, respect and mutual understanding between ethnic groups. This paper examines the impact of community cohesion promotion on youth work policy and practice in Oldham. The community cohesion agenda has been positively understood and supported by youth workers. It is also bringing about a modal shift to forms of practice that play to the historic strengths of youth work.

Integration through co-operation

T. Lloyd

Young People Now, Dec. 6th-12th 2006, p.11

This article looks at progress in, and barriers to, the integration of children’s services identified at a recent conference of youth service managers, Connexions advisers and youth offending team workers.

Losing the centre ground

M Hunter

Community Care, Nov. 30th-Dec. 6th 2006, p.28-29

The original centrally funded Sure Start services which focused on the most deprived communities are gradually being replaced by children’s centres run by local authorities. These should cover the entire country by 2010. At the same time funding per child has fallen from £2,500 in 1999 to £250 in 2006. There are concerns that the changes will lead to the loss of outreach services targeted on the most vulnerable groups.

Openness of the family courts: a practitioner’s perspective

S. Cobb

ChildRight, issue 231, 2006, p.26-28

The author calls for a single unified, statutory code to regulate the issues of privacy, confidentiality, and public and media access in the family court system in England. The time has come for a single piece of legislation to replace the statutory rules embodied in statutes which span over 40 years.

Placing children with family members

G. Eddon

Family Law, vol.36, 2006, p.948-952

When a child cannot return home, the law and considerations of good practice combine to make it desirable to place him or her within the extended family or with existing foster carers. Kinship care placements can be implemented under the terms of a care order, a residence order or a special guardianship order. This article sets out the implications of each of these options, highlights some of the inconsistencies and makes suggestions for reform.

Protecting children in a globalized world: “race” and “place” in the Laming report on the death of Victoria Climbié

P.M. Garrett

Journal of Social Work, vol.6, 2006, p.315-336

The Laming report provides a lengthy exploration of the circumstances surrounding the murder of Victoria Climbié by her aunt and highlights the failure of social, health and police services to safeguard her and to respond competently to concerns about her welfare during the time she spent in Britain. This article examines the report’s engagement with issues of “race” and “place”. It argues that Laming’s analysis child welfare and “race” is far to brief and is undermined by a sterile and misplaced attack on political correctness. The report also fails to lay sufficient emphasis on the significance of the transnational mobility of Victoria and her aunt, and of the growing hostility to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Britain.

“There to fight my corner”

C. Oliver

Community Care, Dec. 14th 2006 - Jan. 3rd 2007, p.34-35

This article reports on the findings of the first national study of advocacy for looked-after children and children in need. It concludes that, to have a maximum impact, individual casework advocacy should inform strategic developments in children’s services and that greater receptivity is required towards the benefits of involving children in decisions about their care.

Young people leaving care in Scotland

M. Stein and J. Dixon

European Journal of Social Work, vol.9, 2006, p.407-423

This article presents findings from the first national study of young people leaving care in Scotland. Results show that:

  • Positive outcomes for young care leavers depend on their having experienced stability and continuity in substitute care
  • There is a strong association between resilience among young people and positive experiences of education
  • There is a significant link between the preparation people received for leaving care and how well they coped with independent living.
  • Young people would be assisted by more gradual and extended transitions to independent living
  • Care leavers benefit from reliable and accessible support from both formal services and informal networks of family and friends.
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