T. de Castella
Young People Now, July 4th-10th 2007, p. 14-15
This article looks at the role of youth work in combating the growth of extremism among Muslim young people. Research suggests that radicalisation of young Muslims is not linked to deprivation but to an identity crisis. They can identify neither with their parents' Asian values nor the British identity of their white peers. The government is calling on youth work to engage and challenge disaffection.
Young People Now, July 11th-17th 2007, p. 9
This article reviews the impact of the creation of the new Department for Children, Schools and Families by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on youth services.
Family Law, vol.37, 2007, p. 645-648
The new Children and Family Court Advisory Service Safeguarding Framework came into operation in April 2007 and updates policy in line with changes to legislation and guidance. It draws into one place a range of previous policies (child protection, domestic violence, and information sharing) and introduces some new arrangements, for example in risk assessment. This article explores in some depth the Framework's approach to risk assessment.
Family Law, vol.37, 2007, p. 622-628
This article summarises and comments on the main proposals to improve the life chances of children in public care set out in the government green paper Care Matters. It covers proposals regarding avoiding the need for children to be taken into care, the education of children in care, anti-social behaviour problems, the transition to adult life, placement breakdowns, and the role of the local authority as corporate parent.
Department for Education and Skills
London: TSO, 2007 (Cm 7137)
This White Paper proposes that children should be given the right to stay in care up to the age of 18, or even to remain with foster carers up to the age of 21. They would also have the support of a personal adviser up to the age of 25. The government undertakes to revise the National Standards for foster care in order to link training with new development standards. Local authorities will be obliged to set out a 'Pledge' about services and support and establish a 'Children in Care Council' as a forum for young people to express their views and influence services. Other measures announced in the White Paper include an 'annual stock-take' event to review the progress of children in care with key stakeholders and representatives of local government. Carers will work to clear national standards, and will have increased access to specialist training and support.
Family Law, vol.37, 2007, p. 643-645
It is widely recognised that children in care are in extreme need of good legal advice, but there is reluctance by the Legal Services Commission and other funders to ensure that a proper system of representation can be developed, due to stringent financial restraints.
Community Care, July 12th 2007, p. 20-21
In February 2004 the charity Voice launched the Blueprint project to look at how the care system could be changed to make things better for young people. Working with eight councils, and in partnership with children, they came up with four key messages for change: 1) put children's interests first; 2) recognise the importance of children's relationships with family, friends and professionals; 3) actively involve young people in decisions about their lives; and 4) minimise bureaucratic processes to free professionals to spend more time working with children. This article reports progress in putting these lessons into practice in seven councils.
J. Le Grand
Department for Educations and Skills, 2007
Proposes the radical reform of services for looked-after children through the introduction of social work practices. The practices would be independent and would contract with the local authority to carry out field work for looked-after children. Each practice would hold a budget and social workers would fund placements, support and activities as they saw fit. The practice would own its assets and pay the partners and any staff it might employ. The commissioning local authority would remain the 'corporate parent' of all children receiving services through a social work practice, but would delegate its statutory responsibilities in relation to looked after children to practices through a contract.
(For comment see Community Care, July 5th 2007, p. 12-13)
Adoption and Fostering, vol. 31, no. 2, 2007, p. 17-21
The Be My Parent online service was launched by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering in May 2007. The site has been set up to offer a new way for families to find a child to adopt or foster, and uses the potential of the Internet to provide more detailed profiles of children in need of permanent placement. It offers: 1) an online referral service to social workers; 2) a search and enquiry facility to prospective families; and 3) an education and information service to tentative enquirers.
Young People Now, June 27th-July 3rd 2007, p. 8
There is ongoing concern among senior politicians in the UK about the negative portrayal of young people in the media.
Community Care, July 19th 2007, p. 18-19
Adults who have been in local authority care as children face difficulties in accessing their files. Many councils have destroyed files (which was legal up to 1989). Councils are also bound by the Data Protection Act 1998 not to divulge information about birth family members to adults formerly in care. There are calls for new legislation that would take account of the particular needs of care leavers and enable them to get the information they need to gain a full sense of their identity and understand why they came into care.
Department for Work and Pensions
London: TSO, 2007 (Cm 7061)
The report considers the key issues and ideas that have been raised in response to the White Paper A New System of Child Maintenance (Cm. 6979). The White Paper set out the Government's proposals for the fundamental redesign of the child maintenance system, following recommendations made by Sir David Henshaw in July 2006. Stakeholders provided a wide range of views on these proposals. Overall there was a strong support for the proposals to give parents more choice over their maintenance arrangements as well as extending the disregard of maintenance in benefit calculations. Stakeholders also supported the creation of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. The report summarises how the comments and suggestions from stakeholders have influenced the Government's proposals.
Community Care, July 5th 2007, p. 16-35
Looks at examples of work taking place to improve parenting skills and help families affected by separation, parental illness or substance misuse. It covers the role of contact centres and parenting support groups, a pioneering scheme putting children and parents together in foster care so that parental skills can be assessed, support for disabled parents, help for grandparents taking on full-time care of grandchildren, and an innovative service aimed at improving men's parenting.
Labour Research, vol. 96, July 2007, p. 17-18
Many thousands of children work part-time delivering newspapers, serving in shops, etc, but as many as nine out of ten do so illegally. The law requires that all working school children should be registered with the relevant local authority. Several studies have found that only a small minority working children are in fact registered.
Community Care, July 12th 2007, p. 12-13
The social care sector has responded positively to the creation by Gordon Brown of the Department for Children, Schools and Families under the leadership of the amiable Ed Balls. It effectively takes on the children's functions of the now dissolved Department for Education and Skills, and responsibility for the Respect Agenda, and for youth justice, in collaboration with the Home Office.
Professional Social Work, July 2007, p. 12-14
This article traces the development of a generation of feral young people in deprived areas who are abused as children and grow up to be violent bullies themselves. They are then failed by depleted caring agencies, which lack resources to respond to their complex needs and often end up banning them from services. Hard pressed and under-resourced social workers are unable to cope with their temper tantrums, threats and sabotaging behaviours. This sorry situation is the fault of civil society which has allowed systemic failures across health, social education and housing services.
Young People Now, June 27th - July 3rd 2007, p. 9
Over the years the new prime minister Gordon Brown has shown a strong interest in youth policy. The youth work sector is optimistic that his commitment to social mobility and preventative intervention will lead to greater investment.