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Tragic deaths in custody point to a system in need of reform

Five young people in custody died in the space of just 33 days during March and April. The tragedies mark an exceptionally horrific spell in the youth prison system. To put it in context, no more than five teenagers have died in custody during any entire year since 2005, when the figure was nine.

Riot response requires long-term solutions, not knee-jerk policies

The violence across English cities this month triggered its own riot - of condemnation, debate and knee-jerk policy pronouncements. In the days that followed the first outbreak in Tottenham, an exercise in national soul searching took place through the media. Yours truly, for one, did the breakfast TV paper review on Sky News.

Progress in joint working must go on

The decision last week to strip the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) of government funding will inevitably raise concerns that any genuine "development" of the workforce will stall. A plan for how the Department for Education intends to take forward the quango's work is yet to be articulated.

Some young people need non-negotiable support

As Anne Weinstock left the Department for Children, Schools and Families last year, she made a plea for sustained support for the "triple track" approach pioneered during her time as head of the Youth Taskforce.

Outreach work is key to Sure Start

It is becoming pretty clear that Sure Start will be a key election issue. For months, Labour has claimed that a Conservative government would decimate the service it has created, an accusation consistently denied by the Tories.

Policy into practice - Infant health

THE ISSUE: Being a new parent can be tough. Making sense of all the advice and information from relatives, magazines and experts to work out what is best for your baby can be an exhausting challenge.

Policy into practice: Back-to-school costs

The issue: More than half of parents in the UK cannot afford the costs of sending their children back to school, according to a survey conducted by Save the Children and Family Action.

Inspecting home educators is fair

Graham Badman's review of home education has created an unrivalled storm of protest on CYP Now's online discussion forums in the past couple of months. Scores of parents are livid at his proposals.

Policy into practice Looked-after children

The issue: Around 60,000 children in England are in care at any one time. Many of them have suffered traumatic experiences, abuse or neglect. The transition to new adult carers in unfamiliar settings can add to their stress without extended families, friends and siblings around to offer support.