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Every Child Matters faces biggest test

The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) pledged, in its annual report last week, to assess and build on the progress of Every Child Matters (ECM) for the next five years, as a policy priority for the coming 12 months. It is a good priority to hold, particularly given the uncertainty ahead.

Gove gives joint working a rude jolt

Michael Gove's revelation to CYP Now that a Conservative government will remove obligations on local authorities to have children's trusts in place will come as a thunderbolt for children's services, particularly in their efforts to safeguard children and enable them to thrive.

Family help will work for generations

Our main feature this week focuses on how Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) are turning many lives around. FIPs are in vogue. The Prime Minister pledged to extend them to 50,000 of the most chaotic families last autumn. And there is a rich seam of evidence now emerging that FIPs work. The latest evaluations suggest that two-thirds of families are no longer involved in antisocial behaviour as a result.

Social workers must be prepared

An alarming 93 per cent of social workers believe that new staff entering the profession lack the necessary skills to do the job properly.

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.

Work together to hit poverty target

We are now in 2010 and the long-held target to halve child poverty by this very year seems light-years away. Nevertheless, the Child Poverty Bill will soon come into law, committing government to eradicate child poverty by 2020.

Policy into practice Separation and divorce

The issue: For a child, one of the most difficult things to deal with is your parents splitting up. Having their secure environment shattered by the separation of the two people with whom they have developed the closest of bonds can have a serious impact on a child's emotional wellbeing. For some it creates long-term trauma that can take many years to get over.

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.

Policy into practice: Victims of crime

The issue: Being a victim of a crime - particularly if it is serious or violent - can create feelings of fear, shock and anger and may even result in physical symptoms such as difficulty eating and sleeping.

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.

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