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Opinion / Social Care

30 hours has overshadowed vital out-of-school child care

By Naomi Eisenstadt |

06 December 2016

The government is struggling to fulfil its commitment to 30 hours of free early education and childcare by 2017.

In her very first speech, the new Prime Minister introduced a new tagline: "families who are just about managing".

The research section for this special report is based on a selection of academic studies which have been explored and summarised by Research in Practice (www.rip.org.uk), part of the Dartington Hall Trust.

Many sector voices have been speaking overtly about a serious crisis in council children's services.

Some people used the recent National Adoption Week (17-23 October) to renew calls for a national adoption agency. But to advocate such a position is to continue to fall for the fallacy that everything would be all right if only everyone followed the same practice, according to a central template.

The Children and Social Work Bill is becoming the focal point for important sector debates about whether statutory duties are an impediment to innovation in children's services. So it feels timely to examine the nature of statutory duties and the government's approach to them.

Rarely has the effect of a change in policy and practice been so evident as that seen in the youth justice system over recent years.

How do we respond professionally when things go wrong? How do we act and learn from what has happened? Three specific, but very different, issues have brought this firmly to mind.

Over the past 20 years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of the early years to life chances into adulthood.