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When care practice outflanks the law

It is 30 years since the Children Act 1989 received Royal Assent and despite the fact it has not subsequently been repealed or even substantially amended, the current "crisis" in the care system suggests that practice has drifted away from two of its key principles: that the state should work in partnership with parents; and that if families can be supported without recourse to the law, they should be.

The importance of dads in the early years

During Mental Health Week, the Movember Foundation published its survey on new dads and there was some striking similarities with findings from a consultation we did with men in Blackpool about their experiences of being a new dad.

Opinion: Who carries the can when things go wrong in childsafeguarding?

What did you think last month when you heard that the Prime Minister of South Korea had offered his resignation in the wake of the ferry disaster? I don't suppose anybody thought that the PM had been at the helm of the ship that sunk, or that he could personally be held to blame for any lapses in the training of supervision of the ferry. But the culture in South Korea expects that those in highest authority carry responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

Opinion: Learning by doing has more impact than learning by rote

Here's an admission: I've recently come to the view that what I've believed for a long time about how I work is, if not wrong, woefully incomplete. Worse, I've always known this, subconsciously, but have ignored it because it did not fit my prejudices. For years, I have been promoting the need to understand the legal basis of what we do. I am one of the sad people to have read the year 2000 study on the law of education and the role of the local authority, from preface to appendices. I was one of the few students attending the lectures on education law during my Postgraduate Certificate in Education course.

Opinion: Childcare tax reforms come too late as providers struggle on

The coalition government's announcement of a revised childcare tax break scheme received mixed responses from the sector, charities and think-tanks. Some have welcomed the news to increase the childcare tax break from £1,200 to £2,000 a child and the rise in age range from five to 12 years from the start of the scheme. In addition, the revised scheme, which will operate online, will be open to those who are self-employed. Others have criticised the decision to make the tax breaks for childcare available to families with incomes of up to £300,000. They argue the offer will help richer parents most, that it will be difficult to police and for some families it will be less generous than the current childcare voucher regime.

Named person proposals open up a can of worms

The Daily Express (Scotland) proclaimed: "Hundreds of parents have already signed an online petition demanding the Big Brother-style proposals are ditched." The Faculty of Advocates said the proposal has "the potential to be used to undermine families". The Law Society of Scotland warned it amounted to "disproportionate state interference" because it could conflict with the right to respect for private and family life as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Fighting for survival

A manager at one voluntary organisation talks about what the cuts have meant for her project's work, the fight to keep it going and her fears for the future.