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

Care and protection in Scottish child welfare: evidence of double jeopardy?

J. McGhee and L. Waterhouse

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 10, 2007, p. 145-160

Since the launch of the Scottish children's hearing system in 1971, the number of referrals on care and protection grounds (as opposed to on grounds of an offence committed by the child) has increased dramatically. This paper analyses data on 225 children referred to hearings on care and protection grounds in February 1995. The children were found to be facing a double jeopardy. Social and economic disadvantage was combined with serious personal difficulties, including exposure to abuse and neglect. Many children experienced multiple referrals, suggesting a recycling of some children. The authors call for the introduction of comprehensive family assistance and services in Scotland, as found in other European countries.

Care matters

Anon

ChildRight, issue 236, 2007, p. 10-12

The Department for Education and Skills has published responses to its Care Matters consultation paper. Responses came from a range of stakeholders including children currently in care, care leavers, universities, voluntary organisations, carers and local authorities. This article seeks to provide a general overview of the responses focusing on corporate parenting, getting the placement right, education, transition to adulthood and children at risk of being taken into care.

Consult with them on their terms

E. Guttridge

Young People Now, June 13th-19th 2007, p. 9

Many youth groups are using elements of popular culture to encourage young people to give their views on the services offered to them. This article looks at some of the approaches taken by successful projects.

Developing interprofessional relationships: tapping the potential of inter-agency training

S. Glennie

Child Abuse Review, vol. 16, 2007, p. 171-183

The creation of effective Local Safeguarding Children Boards in England and Wales is contingent upon the development of new interprofessional partnerships among practitioners, managers and strategic planners. Inter-agency training will have a role to play in facilitating partnership development throughout an increasingly complex system. This article reviews the recent history of inter-agency training and traces the principal theoretical perspectives that have influenced its form and focus, namely the sociology of professions, psychodynamic theory and systemic thinking.

For the benefit of Mr Kite: some assaults on Connexions

B. Coles

Youth and Policy, issue 95, 2007, p. 41-55

This article is based on two research projects which sought to examine the challenges faced by the Connexions Strategy in England. It traces the ways in which this research was put into the public domain, and how the evidence collected was wrongly used to demonstrate that Connexions had failed. The article also seeks to shed light on how the Connexions Strategy, announced at the turn of the century by the prime minister as 'our front line policy for young people' could be undermined within five years by junior ministers.

A guide to early years practice. 3rd ed.

S. Smidt

London: Routledge, 2007

This revised edition places particular emphasis on Birth to Three Matters, the new Childcare Bill and the development of children’s centres, and has additional focus on the Foundation Stage profile and its relationship to the proposed Early Years Foundation Stage. The text also offers:

  • Practical advice on how to successfully involve parents as equal partners in the education of their children
  • Detailed discussion of the Foundation Stage, the proposed Early Years Foundation Stage and early learning goals
  • Guidance to ensure that the activities and support offered to young children will promote learning across a broad and balanced early years curriculum
  • A particular focus on special needs, multiculturalism and multilingualism, play and culture, and the importance of interactions with adults and with peers.

I don’t blame the (middle-class) parents

A Miles

The Times, June 13th, 2007, p.17

Alice Miles observes that current government initiatives aimed at aiding the most vulnerable and poorest families in providing social and educational care for their children are failing. She acknowledges the frustration of community workers that believe initiatives such as Surestart, aimed at poorer families are being taken over by middle class parents that are more informed of the benefits. Miles believes it is not enough to simply make these services 'available' as those who are most needy are either unable or unwilling to take advantage of them. Instead, 'early-years intervention' is advised by way of 'family nurses' that will attach themselves to vulnerable households and guide parents in matters of child welfare for at least the first two years of a child’s development.

Informal education, (in)formal control? What is voluntary youth work to make of self-assessment?

S. Smart

Youth and Policy, issue 95, 2007, p. 73-82

There is an increasing emphasis among policymakers in the UK on the role of self-assessment and self-evaluation as a catalyst for improvement and in order to provide evidence of accountability. This article examines self-evaluation and self-assessment as experienced in a youth work context, through analysis of relevant policy documents in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. It suggests that these can act as technologies of power to enforce certain external principles through the creation of self-regulating individuals. It also suggests that individuals can resist this technology of power, and that evaluation can be used for empowerment.

Joining up children's services: safeguarding children in multi-disciplinary teams

N. Frost and M. Robinson

Child Abuse Review, vol. 16, 2007, p. 184-199

This paper draws on a research project which aimed to investigate the reality for professionals behind the shift towards multi-agency team work in delivering services for children and their families in the UK. The researchers worked closely with five multi-agency teams to explore the implications of such teamwork for professionals’ practice and knowledge development. Drawing on Wenger’s theory of communities of practice, this paper explores key issues relating to the impact of co-location of team members, information sharing, models of understanding of the problems experienced by families, and professional identities.

Kids and Us - a project for lone parent families

C. Mackereth

Community Practitioner, vol. 80, 2007, p. 26-28

The New Deal for Communities funded a project for lone parents and their children in a deprived area of Newcastle upon Tyne, Kids and Us. It sought to support lone parent families by offering a range of services including counselling, systemic family therapy, group work, training, recreational activities and a help-line. Trainee volunteers provided many of the services, which enabled the project to function on limited resources. Evaluation has been extremely positive, with the creation of jobs and people obtaining qualifications, as well as many local people accessing new health opportunities. Clients, both adults and children, valued the service highly.

'Minding the gap' between policy visions and service implementation: lessons from Connexions

S. Yates and M. Payne

Youth and Policy, issue 95, 2007, p. 25-39

From 2001 Connexions was phased in across England to meet policy objectives centred on uniting youth services into a coherent whole, and providing universal advice and guidance alongside targeted support. Recent evaluations suggest that the service was not fulfilling these aspirations successfully, and current policy remains focused on implementing a new configuration of services with the same objectives. This paper draws on research evidence to explore the reasons for the failure of Connexions.

Moving on from 'anti-racism'? Understandings of community cohesion held by youth workers

P. Thomas

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 36, 2007, p. 435-455

Lack of community cohesion, defined as the absence of meaningful direct contact among people of different ethnic backgrounds, was offered as an explanation of serious race riots in Northern England in 2001, and its promotion has become the cornerstone of the New Labour government’s race relations policy. This article explores what community cohesion means to youth workers in Oldham, one of the affected towns. The research shows that the community cohesion analysis of the state of race relations is largely accepted and supported by these practitioners, and has enabled a significant shift in the assumptions and operations of their professional practice.

A question of support

S. Vevers

Community Care, June 7th 2007, p. 20-21

The Childcare Act 2006 places a duty on local authorities to provide enough childcare for disabled children, and the Treasury has promised financial support. However, at present, 90% of families of disabled children find cost of childcare a major barrier to work. Proposed solutions include: an increase in the level of tax credits available to parents with disabled children; local authority subsidy of childcare places; and improved training for daycare providers.

Reviewing Lesbian and Gay adoption and foster care: the developmental outcomes for children

F. Tasker and C. Bellamy

Family Law, vol.37, 2007, p. 473-570

When taken together, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 make it clear that, as a matter of social policy, in all issues relating to adoption and fostering, same-sex couples are to be treated equally with heterosexual couples. This should lead to an increase in the possibility of many children in public care being placed in a permanent home. However, placing children with same-sex couples is likely to remain vulnerable to criticism when evidence on developmental outcomes for children adopted or fostered by lesbians or gay men rests on generalising results from the wider literature on lesbian and gay parenting.

Spend early, spend less

G. Allen

Public Finance, June 1st-7th 2007, p. 24-25

Early intervention programmes produce lasting benefits for children, and reduce future spending on healthcare, policing and criminal justice, social security and employment training. However these programmes suffer from two major problems. Firstly, their funding comes from many different departments and agencies, each with its own priorities, targets and spending cycles. Secondly, it is often impossible to develop a successful local pilot into a nationwide or city-wide programme because the funding or mechanisms needed to achieve the change of scale are not present. This article describes how Nottingham is addressing these challenges.

They are not asking a lot

C. Seneviratna

Community Care, June 21st 2007, p. 20-21

Many young carers' support projects are facing closure as their funding runs out with the winding up of the Children's Fund and Carers' Grant. Young carers are also falling through the gap created by the recent splitting of council social services for adults and children.

Young people's views of children’s rights and advocacy services: a case for 'caring advocacy'?

V. Barnes

Child Abuse Review, vol. 16, 2007, p. 140-152

The number of local children’s rights services has increased rapidly since the 1990s. These services are designed to advocate for children in residential or foster care. This paper looks at the preliminary findings of qualitative research with young people who have received advocacy services from a range of local authority and voluntary agencies. The analysis shows that the majority of young people appreciated a caring relationship with rights workers, but had difficulties with some attempts to represent their concerns. In particular, the care arrangements of young people could be jeopardised by taking up issues out of context, without regard to their dependence on carers.

Watched from every angle

R. Holmstrom

Young People Now, May 30th-June 5th 2007, p. 14-15

Young people are coming increasingly under surveillance through the spread of CCTV cameras and through a new information-sharing index that will contain basic information on everyone under 18 in England. Under recent Home Office proposals, professionals could be legally obliged to report suspicious behaviour by young people to the police. In this article young people and professionals comment on these developments.

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