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Putting payment-by-results under the microscope

So the new high ground in the funding of public policy for young people is "payment-by-results". It is so easy to say, so immediately appealing that one can hardly argue against it. Quite naturally, in the difficult fiscal times to come, people will want value for money.

Policy into practice - Domestic abuse

The issue: The effects of domestic abuse on young people can be long lasting. More than a quarter experience depression, anger, guilt and low self- esteem later in life. About 750,000 children a year witness abuse at home, according to the Department of Health.

The cycle of domestic violence can be broken

An incidence of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute of every day. This disturbing fact gives us a sense of the number of children who experience or witness abuse as part of their home environment.

Take better care of the UK's young carers

Support for carers has come under the spotlight lately. A Standing Commission on Carers was established in September, reporting to the Health Secretary, while a renewed bout of publicity will come with Carers' Rights Day on 7 December.

Never mind the inspectorate, recruit the right inspectors

On the face of it, the education select committee's call to split Ofsted into two separate inspectorates for education and children's care would represent a further step away from services centred on the needs of the whole child. It is a trend played out in several areas through the disappearance of children's trust arrangements and local authority children's services departments.

New adoption guidance should ease the strain

The decision that a child cannot remain with his or her birth parents is life-changing. And it is always sensitive and difficult, with some sections of the press talking as though social workers are deliberately and callously ripping families apart.

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.

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 - Children of prisoners

The government estimates that around 150,000 children a year in England and Wales have a parent imprisoned - higher than the number of children who see their parents divorce. Despite this, the issue is not well recognised and there is a need for more support and provision to help families separated by prison.

Policy into practice - Child trafficking

THE ISSUE: Child trafficking is the movement of young people through abduction, deception or force, for exploitation. Children and young people have been found sold into prostitution, drug smuggling, domestic slavery, and forced marriages, with little means of getting help.

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