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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.

Parental involvement is not just for mums

Ensuring that fathers play an active role in family life is essential to children's wellbeing. Their involvement can make a big difference to a child's attainment and development. Yet too often in policymaking parenthood equates to motherhood and services are very female-orientated.

Just the job for parents who want to work

Welfare reform is a political hot potato at the moment. The Conservative Party's widely trumpeted Work for Welfare policy paper this month followed hot on the heels of the Department for Work and Pension's Ready for Work strategy, published in December.

Lobbying bill must remove gag on children's charities

When he was leader of the opposition, David Cameron famously proclaimed that lobbying was "the next big scandal waiting to happen". Cue several undercover sting operations where journalists passed themselves off as lobbyists representing commercial interests to expose politicians accepting cash in return for using their political influence. Cameron waited. It happened.

Lightweight guidance puts children's interests at risk

This government's appetite for reducing regulation, prescription and bureaucracy in services for children is well known. Its desire is, to some degree, understandable. Labour in government did over-prescribe, it did over-regulate and it did micro-manage.

Remove adoption barriers but keep the safeguards

Michael Gove has been sending out system-wide messages about his views on adoption. He wantsto increase the numbers of adoptions, while decreasing the time for adoptions to take place, with fewer artificial barriers. Since he himself was adopted at the age of four months, his views carry some weight.

Sir Philip Green right to propose centralised approach

Sir Philip Green has spotted that the government is inefficient. It buys laptops and paper for wildly different and inflated prices, and manages its property portfolio appallingly. He proposes centralisation, and who could argue against that? A central agency could distribute supplies much more cheaply than every business unit buying their own.

Can good services remain standing?

Like the suffocating drone of vuvuzelas, cuts continue to dominate the atmosphere in the children's services arena and in public services more generally.

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