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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2007): Child welfare - UK

The Bichard Inquiry: a progress report

T. Thomas

ChildRight, issue 239, 2007, p. 8-10

The Bichard Inquiry Report examined the child protection, employee vetting and police intelligence maintenance procedures in place in Cambridgeshire and Humberside at the time of the Soham murders. The Inquiry focused on the recording, retention, use and sharing of information between agencies in the interests of child protection. This article summarises progress in the implementation of the Inquiry's 31 recommendations. In all, 21 have been substantially delivered, and IT-enabled information sharing among agencies in support of public protection is growing apace.

Child employment: policy and practice in Scotland

J. McKechnie and others

Youth and Policy, no. 96, 2007, p. 51-63

It is common for school pupils in Britain to combine full-time education with part-time employment. This article focuses on existing policy on the protection of child workers and provides a unique study of the practices associated with the implementation of policy in 32 local authorities in Scotland. It shows that local authorities fail to prioritise this area and that the majority of young employees are working without their knowledge. The results are discussed in the context of British legislation and it is argued that the existing system needs an urgent overhaul.

Early childhood education and care: policy and practice

M. Clark and T. Waller (editors)

London: Sage, 2007

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) policy has an impact on the daily lives of early years practitioners and the families and children they work with. Practitioners and trainees need to have an understanding of current policy as well as the contexts for policy-making and implementation. Currently, the majority of textbooks for early years education and early childhood students in the UK focus on the situation in England. As a result, readers may have a skewed perspective on policy and practice, and not be aware of the varying and different contexts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Also, those working in settings not in England have to work hard to apply texts to their own contexts. In contrast, this book provides access to information on the policies and practices in ECEC across each of the countries in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

'An effective tool if used appropriately': but what is the effective use of ASBOs for young people?

T. Bateman

Community Safety Journal, vol. 6, July 2007, p. 14-21

There is widespread geographical variation in the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) to control problematic behaviour among young people. This research suggests that this variation in use among police services is, in part, determined by the function accorded to the order in a particular locality, which, in turn influences the range of options considered at each stage of the process. The fact that many areas are able to deal with a range of youthful misbehaviour without recourse to ASBOs suggests that the latter are not a necessary element of dealing with problematic conduct other than in exceptional circumstances.

Grief matters for children

A. Penny

ChildRight, issue 239, 2007, p. 13-15

The death of a close relative or friend can be devastating for a young person. Despite a growing number of services for bereaved children and their families, not all find the help they need. The Childhood Bereavement Network's Grief Matters for Children campaign calls for all bereaved children and their families to have access to support wherever they live and however they have been bereaved. An increasingly warm policy climate offers opportunities to make this a reality.

Location, location, location: the challenges of 'space' and 'place' in youth work policy

A. Barton and S. Barton

Youth and Policy, no. 96, 2007, p. 41-49

It is often the case that policy makers confuse objective and measurable physical space with the more subjective and socially constructed concept of place. The authors argue that this is not only a serious conceptual mistake but it can have the effect of making the lives of those who have to implement policy unnecessarily difficult. This seems to be the case with the government's plans for the future direction of youth work. For example, disaffected young people will often have had negative experiences of formal education spaces, thus subjectively turning school into a 'bad place'. Despite this, the government is intent on giving control of youth work facilities and opportunities back to schools. It pays little attention to the impact that using spaces that have been subjectively turned into negative places will have on young people who have bad memories of formal education spaces.

Making 'anti-social behaviour': a fragment on the evolution of 'ASBO politics' in Britain

P.M. Garrett

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 37, 2007, p. 839-856

This article looks at the role of then Prime Minister Tony Blair and Home Secretary David Blunkett in developing and implementing anti-social behaviour orders, most of which are imposed on young people. It begins by exploring the key words and phrases used by Blair and Blunkett in talking about the issue of anti-social behaviour and continues with a critical overview of the 2003 White Paper Respect and Responsibility: Taking a Stand Against Anti-Social Behaviour. It is concluded that the government's anti-social behaviour agenda confines social workers to the role of policing and controlling marginalised populations.

Protecting powers: emergency intervention for children's protection

J. Masson with D. McGovern and M. Oakley

Chichester: Wiley, 2007

The book provides a critical account of the development and current practice in emergency child protection, identifying good practice and proposals for reform. It is based on two major empirical studies, funded jointly by the NSPCC and the Nuffield Foundation and explores the operation of emergency child protection provisions in courts, local authorities and police services in England. These studies provide an account of practice from the perspectives of a wide range of professionals working to protect children, including police officers, social workers, child care lawyers, and magistrates. The broader questions of professional accountability and the limited ability of the courts to safeguard rights are also discussed.

Reporting on children's rights to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

S. Dimmock

ChildRight, issue 239, 2007, p. 26-30

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by the UK government in December 1991. In doing so, it took on specific obligations to report progress towards full implementation to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The UK government's latest report to the Committee was submitted in July 2007 and will be examined in 2008. In this context, the Children's Rights Alliance for England has developed Get Ready for Geneva, a three year programme to engage children in the reporting process. The project will show how children can use an international reporting process to take action on their rights.

Safeguarding children: exploring the interfaces between policy, pedagogy, psychology and practice

C. Humphrey

Journal of Social Work, vol. 7, 2007, p. 197-216

This article explores four sets of interfaces in educating the next generation of social workers in child protection work in the UK. Part 1 offers an outline of the interface between regulating and researching social work education in Britain in order to contextualise the issues at stake. Part 2 surveys the personal-professional interface in child protection with reference to students' motivations for choosing this optional module, their prior conceptions of child abuse, and their reflections upon their own suitability for dealing with it. Part 3 examines the education-employment interface in child protection with reference to students' experiences of this work, their evaluation of the module, and the impacts of community-based and university-based learning upon career intentions. Part 4 draws out some of the implications of these findings.

UK social worker blows whistle on Jersey

M. Ahmed

Community Care, Aug. 30th 2007, p. 5-7

There are serious concerns about the welfare of children in residential care in Jersey due to staff shortages, poor training, punitive practices, overcrowding and lack of external scrutiny. It is alleged that children in a secure unit have been subject to a Dickensian system under which they were routinely locked up for 24 hours or more in solitary confinement. A culture of fear has in the past prevented staff from speaking out against the abuses. In response to recent complaints, the Jersey government has appointed a UK social work consultant to carry out an independent review of children's services on the island.

Who is there to complain to?

P. Whiteley

Community Care, Aug. 30th 2007, p. 16-17

Children who feel they have been let down by their council are usually unaware that they can complain to the local government ombudsman once local procedures have failed. The service has been actively seeking to increase awareness of its role with young people among advocacy and advice agencies.

Working with parents who have a learning disability

V. Thurtle, C. Nichols and B. Gatt

Community Practitioner, vol. 80, Sept. 2007, p. 10-12

The government has recently published good practice guidance to help services improve their support for parents with a learning disability. This is likely to be by increasing their skills and confidence as parents. The guidance focuses on social care, but this article explores its implications for health visitors, school nurses and community learning disability nurses.

(See also Good Practice Guidance on Working with Parents with a Learning Disability / Department for Education and Skills & Department of Health. DfES, 2007)

Youth in context: frameworks, settings and encounters

M. Robb (editor)

London: Sage in association with Open University, 2007

The book offers an up-to-date overview of the theoretical and practical issues involved in work with young people. It places current practice issues within the context of a rapidly changing field, and demonstrates how critical reflection can be used as a tool to transform individual and collective practice.

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