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It's time to respect children's rights

You wait ages for one 20th anniversary, then three come along at once. We've just marked the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1989 Children Act. And this week it is 20 years since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child came into existence.

Asylum policy ignores child welfare

It's a bit much to expect governments to demonstrate consistency. As of last week, under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, UK Border Agency staff have a duty to consider and promote the welfare of children when exercising their functions. That's a welcome and long-anticipated development.

Children in care need to be heard

Young people from the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) debated in the House of Commons chamber last Friday, the first body of people other than MPs to occupy the green benches.

Homeless teens enter the equation

The numbers of looked-after children are on the rise as the recession takes its toll on families and social workers become more risk-averse in the aftermath of Baby P.

Target families to end worklessness

One in six children and young people in the UK - around 1.9 million - live in a household where no-one works. The past few decades have seen the rise of intergenerational worklessness, where unemployment is deeply entrenched in families. This is despite the fact that employment rates have increased overall, the current recession notwithstanding.

Cuts could enhance joint working

The party conference season is over and national politics is destined for a surreal few months in the run-up to the general election. Expect plenty more short-term children's policy announcements - some even eye- catching - as the main parties try to outmanoeuvre each other to strike a popular chord. Politics in Westminster will become increasingly sensationalised and polarised.

Haringey needs intensive support

Who would want to work in Haringey children's services? As we reveal this week, care proceedings in the London borough soared after Baby P's death dominated the news.

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.

The best champions have empathy

The challenge to reach out to disadvantaged families has long been the holy grail of children's services, not least in the take-up of childcare.

The next commissioner needs bite

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has fired the starting gun to recruit a children's commissioner for England to succeed Sir Al Aynsley-Green early next year.

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