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Focus of spending must be balanced

It's official: the UK spends more money on child welfare and education than the average market economy. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report out last week, we spend just over 90,000 per child from birth to 18 compared to an OECD average among 30 member countries of just under 80,000.

Resilience prevails amid Osborne's bleak choices

Like a piercing, bitter English winter, Chancellor George Osbourne's "autumn statement" was eye-wateringly harsh. It is, without doubt, children and young people growing up in the most deprived households who are being asked to bear the brunt.

We must fight for young people's future

The political debate is dominated by the economy. But while the battle rages in Westminster about whether the financial cuts are necessary or proportionate, there is general agreement that they have had a severe impact on young people, women and children.

Shhh... Every Child Matters lives on

Watch out, the language police are about. An internal Department for Education memo lists 30 terms the government wants consigned to history, and the words that should be used in their place. Many relate directly to children's services.

Outstanding challenge for Ofsted

Ofsted-bashing has been on the rise for several months. Cries of exasperation over the way the children's services inspectorate goes about its business have come in fits and starts from all quarters.

The key to Ofsted's rehabilitation

Ofsted has attracted its share of flak in recent months, much of it justified. The verdict of its Annual Performance Assessment of Haringey Council in late 2007 as "good" is now notorious.

Editorial: Children's services remain colour-blind

Findings of a study about engaging black and minority ethnic (BME) parents in children's services have been published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (see p4). Given government policy's emphasis on positive parenting and on connecting with hard-to-reach communities, it contains important messages for professionals who work with the young and their families.

Don't take early intervention for granted

When the Deputy Prime Minister made the welcome announcement at the Liberal Democrat conference that £100m of capital funding would go to help nurseries and childminders increase the number of places they offer, it felt like the party conference season was getting off to a promising start for early intervention.

Early intervention transcends early years

The national focus on early intervention has put a spotlight on the early years. But with many conflating the two ideas, we run the risk of neglecting the need to develop a preventative mindset in our work with school-age children.

Policy into practice Time for fun

THE ISSUEReports looking at childhood have claimed that children's lives in Britain have become "more difficult than in the past", and that "more young people are anxious and troubled".

Commissioner for Wales is up to the challenge

It was an "exceedingly drawn-out" appointments process, according to one Welsh politician. But Keith Towler came through the interviews, both with young people and politicians, to secure the position of children's commissioner for Wales, just under a year after the untimely death of his predecessor Peter Clarke.

Two-year-old places are not deliverable

We all know the benefits of early education. The government's desire to extend the free entitlement to more two-year-olds is therefore laudable, but I'm not sure it's currently deliverable.

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