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Tory policy still needs some improvements

There is a very real prospect that the next government will be a Conservative one. So it's encouraging that apart from the small matter of a global economic crisis, issues affecting children, young people and families took centre stage at the party's annual conference this week.

Editorial: Immigrant children remain children first

Children's rights campaigners won an important breakthrough last week with the decision that immigration officers will be subject to the same duty to ensure children's safety as other agencies (see p9). The requirement relates to Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, which is the duty to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This duty, which will apply to all staff employed at the UK Border Agency (UKBA), will be incorporated in the forthcoming Immigration Bill.

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.

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.

Victory for children is all that matters

CYP Now does not support any particular political party. This title's instincts are, and always will be, driven by what best serves the interests of children, young people and their families.

Editorial: Inherent dangers lurk in staying safe plan

With the publication of the Staying Safe Action Plan last week, the government has been at pains not to be seen to wrap children up in cotton wool. In presentation terms, the document's front cover depicts children happily participating in watersports, climbing and running. Meanwhile, the Department for Children, Schools and Families' press notice on the safety plan leads heavily on the proposal to encourage teachers to take pupils on outdoor school trips by providing advice and diminishing bureaucracy.

Getting past obstructive parents is essential when children are at risk

Trying to work with families who won't co-operate is one of the hardest parts of being a social worker. But getting past obstructive parents or carers, whether they are openly hostile, or charming but tell a story that doesn't add up, is absolutely vital when children are at risk, as we explore in this month's cover feature.

League tables can be a force for good if given more care

League tables appear to be flavour of the month. The Department for Education published local authorities' three-year performance averages for children in care against 15 indicators a fortnight ago. And then children's minister Tim Loughton last week signalled his support for league tables for youth services at the Confederation of Heads of Young People's Services annual convention, which would be scored at least in part by young people.

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.

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