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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.

Co-production vital across child services

The first session of this year's Conservative Party conference is set to focus on education, housing and political participation. All three policy issues have, in recent years, under the same party's watch, produced deep fissures of concern, pushing many young people to the margins and causing anxiety, frustration and sometimes alienation. At the heart of this lies a dramatic deterioration in the subjective emotional wellbeing of children and young people, who are struggling to find out where they fit in the modern world. The Children's Society Good Childhood report 2017 is testament to that.

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.

Government must play fair on antisocial behaviour

Events all over the country this week will see children and young people playing in the streets, playgrounds and parks in celebration of National Play Day. Much fun will be had and, at the same time, I predict a right old racket will be made.

Sure Start is essential for vulnerable families

I have been a keen supporter of Sure Start from the start. It seemed obvious to me from what I saw in Sure Start centres that the most disadvantaged children would not only get a better start in life, but that this would have a lasting beneficial impact.

Bureaucracy is a brick wall to recruitment

I got a text message the other day that is worth repeating almost in full: "Hi h how's you doin, hope your well. I was thinking of probation work or youth work. would you be able to point me in the right direction. the plastering has gone really bad nothing at all. and im getting very stressed out. If you can that would be fab. much love Nathan. take care x"

School trips are unlucky victim of efficiency drives

The squeeze is on for anything that does not appear immediately important. For colleges, enrichment funding is being slashed. This is funding that has contributed to a wide range of important discretionary activity, from sport to family education.

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.