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What we need is a trusting society, Darling

"What I want to avoid is getting ourselves in a position governments have done in the past where you face an immediate problem and cut back on things the country will need in the future," Chancellor Alistair Darling said last weekend.

Editorial: Children's services remain colour-blind

Findings of a study about engaging black and minority ethnic (BME) parents in children's services have been published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (see p4). Given government policy's emphasis on positive parenting and on connecting with hard-to-reach communities, it contains important messages for professionals who work with the young and their families.

Youth employment is key to revival

The outstandingly depressing budget of 2009 has left children's services in limbo, braced for the tightest of public spending squeezes and a likely change of government.

Editorial: Inherent dangers lurk in staying safe plan

With the publication of the Staying Safe Action Plan last week, the government has been at pains not to be seen to wrap children up in cotton wool. In presentation terms, the document's front cover depicts children happily participating in watersports, climbing and running. Meanwhile, the Department for Children, Schools and Families' press notice on the safety plan leads heavily on the proposal to encourage teachers to take pupils on outdoor school trips by providing advice and diminishing bureaucracy.

Show some respect for state schools

The drama over education reform continued at last week's Labour Party conference. Shadow education secretary Ed Balls naturally joined in, describing the coalition government's plans for free schools as "the most socially divisive education experiment for 60 years".

Class and race merit more attention

The underachievement of white working-class children has justifiably become a cause for national concern. Plenty of schools are making great strides to tackle the issue. Nevertheless, it has led to declarations, most recently from Communities Secretary John Denham, that social class is the most significant factor in determining school achievement rather than ethnicity.

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.

Less money, but much more purpose

The Association of Directors of Children's Services' (ADCS) policy paper, which outlines some priorities to Education Secretary Michael Gove, is compelling and constructive in how the sector can do more with less while meeting government objectives.

Editorial: Hard work begins on 16-19 transfer

The children's services arena is about to get considerably bigger. From next April, local authorities will inherit responsibility from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for commissioning and funding education and training for 16- to 19-year-olds in a 7bn mega-transfer of funds. One of the key principles driving this reform is that provision of education and training is shaped by local demand, both by young people and by employers. The onus will be on councils to plan strategically to ensure a range of providers is set up to meet this demand.

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.

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.

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