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

Adoption sector concern over likely loss of Catholic agencies

H. McCormack and D. Hayes

Community Care, Feb. 1st-7th 2007, p. 16-17

Catholic adoption agencies have said that they will close if forced by new laws to place children with gay adoptive parents. This article presents a range of comment (mostly critical) from other voluntary agencies working in the field.

Community partnerships: integrating early education with childcare

P. Broadhead and J. Armistead
Children and Society, vol. 21, 2007, p.42-55

This article tracks the progress of the Shared Foundation Community Partnerships initiative in York, which aimed to establish early education and childcare partnerships between 51 primary schools and adjacent voluntary and private sector childcare providers. The study looks at the development of relationships between providers of early education and childcare and proposes a typology.

Complaints from children: the new police complaints procedure

Anon

ChildRight, issue 232, 2007, p. 12-15

While children and young people have the right to complain about statutory services, their specific rights and needs in relation to making complaints are generally unacknowledged. The new procedures for complaints about police behaviour brought in under the Police Reform Act 2002 are no exception and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) initially gave minimal consideration to the needs of children. This article outlines the role and duties of the IPCC and illustrates the issues associated with complaining for children.

Dangerous liaisons

B. Gallagher

Community Care, Feb. 1st - 7th 2007, p. 34-35

This study identified six major categories of international and Internet child sexual abuse: 1) international victims and abusers; 2) international movement of child abuse images; 3) Internet-initiated grooming of children for sexual abuse; 4) Internet-initiated incitement or conspiracy to commit abuse; and 5) Internet-based abuse. Most of these cases are relatively rare, but the research identified ways in which the official response could be improved.

Growing pains: progress and ongoing challenges in the response to parental substance misuse and its impact on children

L. Templeton

ChildRight, issue 232, 2007, p.16-19

Conclusive evidence demonstrates that many children are negatively affected by parental substance misuse on a range of dimensions and that problems can continue into adulthood. There is a growth in services and interventions for children and families affected by substance misuse, with evidence demonstrating positive benefits from a more holistic approach to treatment. However services and interventions tend to be patchy, localised and supported primarily by short-term funding. There is also a lack of rigorous, in-depth and long-term evaluations of new interventions and services.

How far is England in the process of introducing a mandatory reporting system?

E. Munro and N. Parton

Child Abuse Review, vol.16, 2007, p. 5-16

The mandatory reporting system for England and Wales is set out in Section 12 of the Children Act 2004, which empowers the Secretary of State to establish and operate databases about children. The national database for children will be called the Information Sharing Index (England) and it will be mandatory for professionals to flag up on it the “existence of any cause for concern in relation to” the child. This article summarises the key criticisms that have been made of mandatory reporting systems and discusses how these are likely to apply to the English situation.

Prevention in integrated children’s services: the impact of Sure Start on referrals to social services and child protection registrations

J. Carpenter, S. Brown and M. Griffin

Child Abuse Review, vol. 16, 2007, p. 17-31

Every Child Matters, the green paper which set out the government’s plans for integrated children’s services in England, proposed that preventative approaches such as those developed through Sure Start Local Programmes should reduce referrals to children’s social services and numbers of children on the child protection register. This study examined the impact of Sure Start Local Programmes on four local authorities with social services responsibilities in the North East of England. Analyses of referrals to social services and child protection registrations before and after the introduction of Sure Start revealed no discernable short term effects of the programme. It is possible that the universal approach to family support espoused by Sure Start is ineffective in helping “at risk” families.

A public health approach for preventing child sexual abuse

M. Reynolds and P. Blackstock

Community Practitioner, vol.80, Feb. 2007, p. 14-15

The Stop it Now! Campaign launched in 2001 sees child sexual abuse as a public health issue and responds by offering accurate information to all adults. Its message is that preventing sexual abuse of children is the responsibility of all adults. This article reports on a baseline evaluation of public awareness of child sexual abuse undertaken by Stop it Now! Black Country in 2005. The survey showed that participants were willing to talk about sexual abuse and identified their GP as a main source of help and advice.

Staying still helps you grow

K. Hilpern

Foster Care, issue 128, 2007, p.10-12

Long term foster care provides looked after children with a stable family life and a good chance of staying in contact with their birth families. However it is not currently defined as a distinct legal concept across the UK. This means that its potential for providing permanence for children in care is often underestimated. The Fostering Network is calling on governments and local authorities to promote long-term foster care as a placement of choice.

Sure Start: delivering a needs-led service in Swansea

S. Harris and C. Koukos

Community Practitioner, vol.80, Feb. 2007, p.24-27

This article describes Swansea’s Sure Start health development scheme which was introduced in 1999. It presents an overview of work undertaken in schools, teenage pregnancy prevention, and services provided for black and minority ethnic communities.

Sure Start Children’s Centres

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2006 (House of Commons papers, session 2006/07; HC 104)

Sure Start Children’s Centres are multi-purpose centres bringing together childcare, early education, health, employment and support services for pre-school children and families. Between 2004 and 2008 the Department for Education and Skills is planning to spend a total of £3.2 billion on children’s centres and Sure Start Local programmes. This report examines the capacity of the centres to deliver value for money through sound financial management; reaching the most disadvantaged families; and monitoring their performance effectively. It recommends:

  • Using outreach and home visiting to reach the most disadvantaged families and children
  • Centres and local authorities should establish the cost of centres’ various activities and how well they are being used, so that they can take informed decisions to move resources
  • More relevant training should be available for the managers and staff of the centres
  • Health services, employment advice and childcare provision need more formal partnership arrangements

“We don’t like to talk about this”

A. Taylor

Community Care, Jan. 25th- 31st 2007, p. 14

Research has found that between a quarter and a third of sexual abuse of children is carried out by young people under 17. Services for this group are patchy, due to children coming to their attention through two different routes, child protection or criminal justice, depending on whether their behaviour is reported to social services or the police. Joint-working in multi-agency teams is the best way to support this group.

Working with the contradictions: New Labour’s social exclusion policies

A. Fitzsimons

Youth and Policy, no.94, 2007, p. 51-59

There appears to be mounting evidence that New Labour’s policies to engage disaffected youth, such as the New Deal and the Connexions service, are not working. It has been suggested that this is because the strategies individualise the problems faced by young people and discuss them in terms of rights and responsibilities. The structural inequalities and constraints faced by young people are glossed over. It is argued that the political focus on agency over structure has resulted in conflicting policies and strategies for disengaged young people. This article explores how the limitations of youth policies are experienced by youth workers and how they impact on youth work practice.

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