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The toughest job in the land just got tougher

If you are looking for evidence of just how tough a job it is to be a director of children's services (DCS) at the moment, the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) conference provided it.

Further austerity is the only election certainty

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  • Monday, April 27, 2015
As the curtain comes down on this Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, it is worth reflecting on what we've learnt from the past five years - as it looks increasingly likely that the future holds more of the same.

'Wilful neglect' laws won't help recruit social workers

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  • Tuesday, March 17, 2015
A number of reports over the past few weeks have highlighted the extent of the problem facing children's services departments in recruiting experienced social workers. Latest Department for Education figures show that over the past year, children's social worker vacancies have risen nearly 20 per cent so that on average, each English authority now has almost 30 full-time posts unfilled.

Editorial: Outsourcing proposals could benefit charities

The announcement last month of the consultation into the widescale outsourcing of children's services would have surprised few in the sector. Controversial though it may be, the government has been laying the groundwork for the creation of a children's social care "market" for the past year. But although the direction of travel has been clear for some time, the ramifications of such a move are only now starting to be thought through.

Labour must produce a clear vision for children

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  • Tuesday, March 18, 2014
After a slow start, Labour seems to be finding its feet in opposition. But with a general election a little over a year away, time is running out for the party to produce a coherent policy vision for children, young people and families.

Councils need the means to deliver foster care support

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  • Tuesday, December 17, 2013
A little over two months ago, the Fostering Network called on the government to do the right thing - both morally and economically - by extending financial support to foster carers and in doing so enable children they care for to stay in the placement past their 18th birthday and up to 21 if they so wish.

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.

Children's services need clarity of accountability

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  • Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The government's proposals to transfer responsibility for children's social services in Doncaster from the local council to an independent trust have come under attack from Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones in her detailed response to the plans.

DfE must serve children, not our sitcom writers

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  • Tuesday, January 22, 2013
In what ended up as an explosive exit interview, Tim Loughton lifted the lid on the inner workings of the Department for Education at a select committee hearing last week with the department's former ministers.

Resilience prevails amid Osborne's bleak choices

Like a piercing, bitter English winter, Chancellor George Osbourne's "autumn statement" was eye-wateringly harsh. It is, without doubt, children and young people growing up in the most deprived households who are being asked to bear the brunt.

Children need a long-term plan in this spending abyss

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  • Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The country might be out of recession (again), but with the size of the deficit still enormous, public spending shows no sign of returning to growth. In our special report, we examine the long-term challenges and consequences of children's services spend continuing to fall during this decade.

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.

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