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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.

Unborn babies deserve protection from harm

Does the behaviour of women during pregnancy have a long-term effect on children? This critical question seems difficult to answer because many factors will impact on children's health outcomes such as poverty, housing, childhood diseases and schooling.

Vetting agency must foster responsibility

Keeping children safe from abuse is always a highly charged topic. It is naturally the first priority of most parents. It is vital for children's services departments, since a high-profile child abuse case causes untold damage not just to the child but to the whole service.

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.

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