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Early help must prove it cuts care demand

Graham Allen's 2011 report Early Intervention: The Next Steps makes clear that the real savings from early help lay in its ability to reduce the numbers coming into care to such an extent that fewer high-cost residential facilities would be needed.

National safety net for SEND funding needed

There are few more emotive issues than school funding. The government was reminded of this earlier in the year when, in the run-up to the general election, it was forced to backtrack on plans for a national funding formula over concerns the changes would see many schools lose money. To address this, the government pledged in the summer an extra £1.3bn from existing Department for Education coffers to plug the hole in the schools budget. It means that under the revised national formula, published in September (News, p4), every school will now receive a per-pupil funding rise. Few would argue that the formula needed changing, but questions remain about whether its replacement will solve the current crisis.

Blame games make the job of a DCS untenable

Last Friday, the Reading Post published a story about how children's services in the town received only one application for each of the three senior social worker jobs it advertised. On the same day, the Coventry Telegraph reported that 30 demonstrators had gathered outside the city's town hall calling for more action to be taken against the agencies involved in the Daniel Pelka case.

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.

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.

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.

The joys of sex should be explained

Earlier this year, the government confirmed its intention to make sex education compulsory in schools as part of the introduction of personal, social and health education to the National Curriculum.

Editorial: A backward step for youth justice

The new government's decision to give the Ministry of Justice sole responsibility for youth justice in England and Wales is massively misguided. It ends a three-year spell where responsibility was shared with the former Department for Children, Schools and Families. During that time, as it happens, the youth prison population declined from 2,927 in March 2007 to 2,207 in March 2010.

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.

Yell out about youth work's success

The New Labour years were hardly characterised by profligacy in spending on young people's services. It was generally only the most deprived areas that received more than 100 a head to spend on providing youth services.

A robust case for early intervention

Among the flurry of government announcements to come out in the dying days of this Parliament, last week's long-awaited early intervention paper is the most important.

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