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Can good services remain standing?

Like the suffocating drone of vuvuzelas, cuts continue to dominate the atmosphere in the children's services arena and in public services more generally.

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.

Sector must influence the coalition

They say that a week is a long time in politics. Quite. As predicted in these pages for many months, the new Tory Secretary of State Michael Gove has renamed the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) as the Department for Education.

Election result prolongs uncertainty

At the time of writing -- on the historically uncertain afternoon of Friday 7 May -- the Conservatives were about to enter into negotiations with the Liberal Democrats about helping them to form a government.

Every Child Matters faces biggest test

The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) pledged, in its annual report last week, to assess and build on the progress of Every Child Matters (ECM) for the next five years, as a policy priority for the coming 12 months. It is a good priority to hold, particularly given the uncertainty ahead.

Gove gives joint working a rude jolt

Michael Gove's revelation to CYP Now that a Conservative government will remove obligations on local authorities to have children's trusts in place will come as a thunderbolt for children's services, particularly in their efforts to safeguard children and enable them to thrive.

Curbing the trend towards 'combat' dogs

We have good reason to get more anxious about the proliferation of dogs owned, irresponsibly, by young people. Not all young people, of course, but a group of young men for whom ownership of a fighting dog has steadily replaced the possession of a knife. The latter carries a custodial sentence of five years; the former can only result in confiscation.

Young offenders are also victims

The much publicised trial of the two young boys from Edlington who tortured two other boys of similar age has, inevitably, brought back vivid memories of the James Bulger murder 17 years ago.

Outstanding challenge for Ofsted

Ofsted-bashing has been on the rise for several months. Cries of exasperation over the way the children's services inspectorate goes about its business have come in fits and starts from all quarters.

Steps towards child-friendly justice

The Council of Europe is drawing up guidelines on child-friendly justice for member states, as we reveal this week. They cover not just the youth justice system but all elements of justice, from the family courts to care proceedings.

It's time to respect children's rights

You wait ages for one 20th anniversary, then three come along at once. We've just marked the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1989 Children Act. And this week it is 20 years since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child came into existence.

Cuts could enhance joint working

The party conference season is over and national politics is destined for a surreal few months in the run-up to the general election. Expect plenty more short-term children's policy announcements - some even eye- catching - as the main parties try to outmanoeuvre each other to strike a popular chord. Politics in Westminster will become increasingly sensationalised and polarised.

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