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03/06/2010
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Families and children

The Government believes that strong and stable families of all kinds are the bedrock of a strong and stable society. That is why we need to make our society more family friendly, and to take action to protect children from excessive commercialisation and premature sexualisation.

  • We will maintain the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020.
  • We will reform the administration of tax credits to reduce fraud and overpayments.
  • We will bring forward plans to reduce the couple penalty in the tax credit system as we make savings from our welfare reform plans.
  • We support the provision of free nursery care for pre-school children, and we want that support to be provided by a diverse range of providers, with a greater gender balance in the early years workforce.
  • We will take Sure Start back to its original purpose of early intervention, increase its focus on the neediest families, and better involve organisations with a track record of supporting families. We will investigate ways of ensuring that providers are paid in part by the results they achieve.
  • We will refocus funding from Sure Start peripatetic outreach services, and from the Department of Health budget, to pay for 4,200 extra Sure Start health visitors.
  • We will investigate a new approach to helping families with multiple problems.
  • We will publish serious case reviews, with identifying details removed.
  • We will review the criminal records and vetting and barring regime and scale it back to common sense levels.
  • We will crack down on irresponsible advertising and marketing, especially to children. We will also take steps to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.
  • We will encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy – including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave.
  • We will put funding for relationship support on a stable, long-term footing, and make sure that couples are given greater encouragement to use existing relationship support.
  • We will conduct a comprehensive review of family law in order to increase the use of mediation when couples do break up, and to look at how best to provide greater access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents.

Your comments (49)

  1. Wendi Murphy says:

    On the point of increasing Health Visitors – where do you think these will come from? They are not there at the moment and there are a number of issues with the quality of their training to do this work

  2. Tony Humphreys says:

    I wholeheartidly welcome the scaling back of CRB and the new ISA checks. They go against every principle of a democracy (whether modern or not), insofar as presumed innocence and state monitoring.

    I recognise that there is no appetite for no checks (however I believe it is desirable) but checking someone who takes Sunday school for half an hour a week, and then monitoring them for life is grossly dissproportionate, and frankly is deterring good people from wanting to do it.

    After all, the ISA, nor the CRB would have made a difference to the tragic case that ushered in these changes.

  3. Tony Humphreys says:

    I wholeheartidly welcome the scaling back of CRB and the new ISA checks. They go against every principle of a democracy (whether modern or not), insofar as presumed innocence and state monitoring.

    I recognise that there is no appetite for no checks (however I believe it is desirable) but checking someone who takes Sunday school for half an hour a week, and then monitoring them for life is grossly dissproportionate, and frankly is deterring good people from wanting to do it.

    After all, the ISA, nor the CRB would have made a difference to the tragic case that ushered in these changes.

    Big society will NEVER work with these checks in place.

  4. Karen Johnson says:

    I am very concerned about proposals to provide access ” rights” to grandparents . I absolutely agree that where a grandparent has had a meaningful relationship with a child , that should carry on . In our situation though , my ex father and mother – in – law have made no effort whatsoever with my children , they have never bothered to send birthday or christmas cards , shown no interest in how they are doing at school . My children don’t know them – in the 6 months since their father walked out on us , they have made no contact with the children whatsoever. How can giving them automatic rights be in the best interests of my children ? I am not saying that I do not want my kids to have a relationship with their paternal grandparents , but surely they should earn the right to have a part of their lives ?

  5. D Adams says:

    I am completely aghast at what seems to be a blatant conflict in your philosophy and your practice. You have said that stable families are the bedrock of society however you plan to implement cost saving strategies like heavier taxes on married couple, 20% VAT and motoring in addition to heavier taxes on small businesses and cutting child and working tax credits. This approach is sure to undermine any family with small children that has been working towards creating a better future. I am heart broken at the Government change and believe it will further perpetuate class inequality and needless suffering. I do not believe Cameron or Clegg can identify with the lives of the masses and will serve to reinforce their own discriminating ideologies. The worth of a country and a mans heart is seen on how well they treat the poor. Where is the moral and social conscience???

  6. Rachel Gibbons says:

    To continue Tony’s comments on the CRB/ISA, I think over-monitoring just puts people off, as he says, and only people with a real opportunity to harm children should be in the scheme. I hope however, the baby doesn’t get thrown out with the bathwater. The ISA has some advantages over the CRB

    – You only have to do it once.
    With CRBs, if someone worked in several jobs with children, they had to have a CRB for each one. They also had to have it re-done every 2 or 3 years. This hassle also puts a lot of people off.

    - The ISA register is always up to date.
    There is an obligation on the police, social services etc to tell the ISA if the person does something that makes them unsafe. Currently, the CRBs are out of date as soon as they are done, which is why they need repeating every few years.

    - It is nationwide
    Instead of being just for the school or local authority you work in, offences you committed anywhere would registered. I think this means it could have stopped Ian Huntley or other people like him.

    I think there is a fine balance between stopping the dangerous few and not putting off the safe majority of people who want to be involved with children.

    ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. I think maybe the trouble is that responsibilty has been given over to the state to look after our children, instead of it being a shared responsibility.

  7. Lorraine Whybrow says:

    As a Registered Childminder i would like to see ALL childminders eligible to claim the Government funding for 3 year olds rather than the 2 tier system that is currently in place. Being Registered and having a suitable Ofsted Inspection should be enough to qualify all childminders to receive this funding. This offers real choice to parents as Government Funded Minders are harder to find yet many children and parents prefer the home environment of a childminder.

    A review of childminding regulations would help too and i would love it if it could return to being the fantastic home based care it always was without all the over regulation. I mean having to register as a “Food Premises” when you are serving up beans on toast to a small group of children in your own home is surely madness and a Food Hygeine Certificate would be perfectly adequate.

  8. Eleanor Williams says:

    As an Extended Services Manager of a very busy team of Outreach Workers in a Sure Start Children’s Centre, I am appalled by the news that you will be reducing Outreach Workers and services and replacing them with Health Visitors. Outreach workers are a worthwhile, cost effective way of reaching the neediest families and have a track record of doing so. Over the years Outreach Workers have received extensive training and have gained expert experience in engaging families at the earliest of opportunities. We address a whole host of issues within families such as housing, finances, emotional wellbeing, extended families & support networks, social isolation and playing and learning with their children to name a few and work closely with our colleagues from Health to ensure that their Health needs are also met. I think a balance between more Health Visitors located at Sure Start Children’s Centres working in harmony with Outreach Workers will be a much more productive way of supporting families and improving outcomes and life chances. I feel that as the Sure Start Initiative was Labour’s ‘Baby’ we are being messed with unnecessarily so the new Coalition can put their mark on our centres. How about some consultation or at least wait to see the outcomes from the first round of Ofsted Inspections.

  9. Suzanne Bryant says:

    I would welcome greater promotion and funding being available for mediation services and hopefully a review of family law will demonstrate the lack of provision for non resident parents to have contact in a safe environment.where there is relationship breakdown or safeguarding issues. Building strong families that support children whether their parents live together or apart is vital to producing emotionally healthy resilient children.

  10. Fred Barrett says:

    Are CRB checks required by all over 18s in a household who want their child to take part in a language exchange via school? I think so. Can the parents have any checks that are acceptable to UK made in their home country e.g. France, to receive students? I don’t think so. Can we expect parents to pay all the additional costs for CRB checks required on top of paying for exchanges? I don’t think so. Will this help build a base of foreign language skills among the majority of students?
    You decide

  11. Louise Sowerby says:

    With regard to CTC and WFTC, Many single parents are better off being on their own,working 16 hours per week and getting hefty maintenance payments from ex (tax free and not taken into account on claim form) I have several collegues who earn approx £10k from earnings then receive max CTC and WFTC then receive £1000 maintenance. I also know someone who has seperated from husband,has 6 children and husband pays absolutely everything and pays a substantial amount into her bank account and because he works away just goes home once a month to visit she receives loads of benefits free school dinners etc etc the list goes on because no ‘other income’ has to be disclosed!! Would it be possible to get people to disclose TOTAL income to household whatever and wherever it is from? Maintenance should be taken into account when benefits are being claimed. This would in no way increase child poverty as that is a completely different problem and issue. Oh and while I’m on my soap box why are we giving free laptops to anyone on income support with a child. So many of the travelling community are boasting about getting free laptops!! My partner’s ex now gets a free lap top claims income support works the allowable amount of hours and gets plenty of maintenance because again it is NOT taken into account. Just want a fair system where total income means TOTAL income not just earnings. If I moved my partner into my home I would lose all CTC and WFTC (he probably couldn’t affors to pay me much towards the home as he is generous to his ex to keep things amicable) but if my ex husband paid me £1000 maintenance per month (I wish) I wouldn’t lose a thing!!

  12. 3 + 4 year old funding. We need to be able to offer our parents the free offer however, we also need to ensure we can sustain our business. The current code of practice is too rigid and will have a detrimental affect on the sustainability of many childcare settings. Childcare settings will opt out of the free entitlement which will have a detrimental affect on sufficiency and/or the ability for parents to access affordable childcare.

  13. Sharan Bennett says:

    Firstly, support the provision of free nursery care for preschool children. Will this be the 15 hours from September as we are all planning for or will it be the 20 hours the Libs wanted? Will the age of free nursery care be lowered at all as the Libs did want to reduce it to include children from 18 months?

    Secondly, I think the ISA vetting & barring scheme will be a good way of keeping an up to date database on anyone who works with children and vulnerable people. As Rachel mentions, CRB’s are out of date the moment they are done and people need one for each setting they work/volunteer etc. I currently hold 6!!!! Thats alot of time and expense but the database would be more cost effective, up to date and probably more accurate!

  14. Susan says:

    We will conduct a comprehensive review of family law in order to increase the use of mediation when couples do break up, and to look at how best to provide greater access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents.

    On the point above, if there has been a case of Domestic Violence, or perhaps a history of this from the absent parent, how will greater access rights be achieved? will this be feasible in this instance? surely ensuring greater access rights in this case could put the child at risk? what mechanisms would be put in place to ensure safeguarding of the child? could Access Centres be an option? could there be sound supportive, strategic mechanisms put in place to ensure safeguarding? Domestic Violence is a big issue for both men and women and I do feel this needs to be addressed.

  15. Sarah Randal says:

    I would be delighted to see a reform in family law. CAFCASS are in a dreadful state and cannot seem to cope with the work load they have. They also have the attitude that one size fits all and that an abusive father is better than no father at all. How can this be right for a child? How will this protect them from further abuse? There has to be a system that works on a case by case basis. We are caught in the middle of this system right now and instead of making it easier for my child it has made it a whole lot worse!

  16. Gillian says:

    Any man fathering more than two children and who has not worked for [x years] should have to have a vasectomy. This will not only save the taxpayer money but may lessen the number of problem families.
    As to relationship support the taxpayer should not have to pay for this. Women groups should organise themselves.
    Grandparents rights – if a child wishes contact with a grandparent this should be allowed, providing there is no good reason for it not to happen and I don’t count the fact that the daughter in law doesn’t like her mother in law a good reason!

  17. CC100 says:

    “The Government believes that strong and stable families of all kinds are the bedrock of a strong and stable society. That is why we need to make our society more family friendly.”

    To support this opening paragraph the first point would be to correct the fundamental flaw in the benefits and tax system which infact encourages people not to work when they have young children. For example, a model family of husband, wife and 2 young children, mortgage, and who earn just above the earnings threshold to qualify to for tax credits and have to pay full time childcare costs ultimately end up worse off than those who decide that one parent does not work. Model family are being taxed on both salaries, minimum benefit from voucher system, childcare costs of £1,500 per month, disposal income = very little. The huge flaw is here when one parent does not return to work then only one salary contributes to the “pot” and larger withdrawals can be made through tax credits, disposal income = same or more for less work!

    Why is it that those families that want to set a good example to future generations of working hard, how to appreciate the value of money are being left with less disposal income than those who decide not to work! From an economic prespective why would this country not support those who can contribute to the growth of the economy! The culture being encouraged in the country is wrong – its need to be changed

  18. Keeley Thompson says:

    I do understand the concern for the dire straits of public finances but my main concern is my own personal finances. As mentioned in a previous email I am a Family Outreach Worker and after reading your coalition policies I understand that changes are to be made within Children’s Centres by taking away Outreach and replacing it with Health Visitors. Health Visitors are paid substantially more than Outreach Workers and so this is not a saving of money. Could you please detail how family support will be met within Children’s Centres specifically in relation to my role within a phase 3 Children’s Centre. Although I understand that outreach may disappear what I would like to know is how someone with skills like mine will be used within the Children’s Centre.

  19. ped221 says:

    I have to say I do not agree with CC100, I think one parent should be ENCOURAGED to stay at home with their children and totally disagree with the idea that both parents should be encouraged to go to work. Children are more secure and families a lot less under strain if both parents are not constantly trying to juggle childcare, spending time with their children, looking after the home and working. Why not come up with a scheme that rewards parents for doing a job which will benefit society immensely in the future?

  20. Julie Martin-Hirsch says:

    I am pleased that the government has acknowledged health visitors by promising an increase in health visitor numbers but dispirited by their lack of acknowledgement for school nurses. Specialist school nurses like the health visitors complete the same training adhering to the ‘Standards of proficiency for the Specialist Community Public Health Nurse’ (NMC 2004). Like the health visitor the specialist school nurse role within child safeguarding and protection is integral to the health and well-being of school aged children and young people. The ambitious strategy set out by the previous government (DH 2004 Choosing health: making healthy choices easier) to increase school nursing numbers to have at least one full-time, year-round, qualified school nurse working with each cluster or group of primary schools and the related secondary school has not been achieved but with investment in school nurses we can deliver a service to protect school aged children and young people to help achieve stronger stable families for the future.

  21. I am pleased that the government has acknowledged health visitors by promising an increase in health visitor numbers but dispirited by their lack of acknowledgement for school nurses. Specialist school nurses like the health visitors complete the same training adhering to the ‘Standards of proficiency for the Specialist Community Public Health Nurse’ (NMC 2004). Like the health visitor the specialist school nurse role within child safeguarding and protection is integral to the health and well-being of school aged children and young people. The ambitious strategy set out by the previous government (DH 2004 Choosing health: making healthy choices easier) to increase school nursing numbers to have at least one full-time, year-round, qualified school nurse working with each cluster or group of primary schools and the related secondary school has not been achieved but with investment in school nurses we can deliver a service to protect school aged children and young people to help achieve stronger stable families for the future.

  22. Alison says:

    The Vetting and Barring Scheme is aimed to protect children. If an adult is unprepared to have a check undertaken – what does that say? Would you really want them to look after your children, even for an exchange or to take to school or a club? If you have nothing to hide then what’s the problem? And I believe you will find it’s free for volunteers. That person taking children out could be grooming a child and potentially could have some sort of record… if the VBS puts potential offenders off, GOOD!

  23. Eve says:

    A complete overhaul of family law is required from the CTC and WFTC to the still problematic CSA. I am a step parent and my partner and I care for his kids for half the week every week. My partner has been out of work for a year, only recently getting a part time job, but we have never received a penny, nope, nada, nothing! Simply because the kids mother is the supposed parent with care. It’s ridiculous, we care for the kids half the time so should receive half the child allowance and my partner should receive tax credits for being out of work, but he doesn’t – because I earn, so end up supporting the 2 kids who aren’t mine! Much as I ove those kids and it isn’t their fault I can’t help feeling resentful at times. Their mother doesn’t work by the way and is about to become a student so will receive even more from the government. I was a student – with no kids and although I have a good career now I have a hell of a debt to show for it. Being a vehement Labour supporter all my life they really let us down, and I’ve realised that unless you are very very poor or very very rich there is no decent government at all!

  24. Josie says:

    I am disheartened that Sure Start Children’s Centres are likely to focus on the most vulnerable rather than providing a Universal service with targetted supported for families identified by accessing the universal provision . Parents who are parenting on their own or in a partnership are vulnerable when faced with coping with change, whatever that change may be. A family with a new baby are the most vulnerable whatever their economic or social standing. Children’s Centres in their current guise are a life line and are the ethos of early intervention. By narrowing the focus to provide services only to the governments dictat of ‘vulnerable groups’ is removing the ethos of early intervention for all. Government should not be labelling children as vulnerable because their parents are lone and or have mental health issues for example.There are many people who have these ‘vulnerable traits’ and they are not necessarily from economic or socially deprived households, who are most likely unable to ‘mask’ their vunerabilities.

  25. Jane says:

    I absolutely agree with Sarah Randal and her point regarding Cafcass.

    They make lives a misery and alot of the information gathered is patchy to say the least. Please look into the possibility of scrapping this unprofessional bunch who can’t even carry out what they say they will on their website and in their publications.

  26. laura carrington says:

    I see that you are saying you will reform tax credits but yet in the news it is saying they will be scrapped i am a single parent of a young child with another on the way i work full time and myh tax credits enables this as i get help with childcare costs i am currently on maternity leave and taking away tax credits will reduce me to no income and the withdrawal of my child from nursery. people need to know the pacific plans as at present it is a worrying time for myself and probably many other single parents or low income families .

  27. Free nursery provision. This is great in principle but in reality offers unsustainable levels of funding for settings. Thousands of nurseries have closed as a result. Those who can survive cut corners to maintain financial viability, resulting in lower standards and depressed wages for nursery workers who have very responsible positions. Allow top-up fees so nurseries can invest in their provision and tailor their service to local needs.

  28. B Hartle says:

    I feel that some children in some areas are out of control due to the lack of discipline in schools. The schools hands are tied (and the kids know it!) and this is wrong. It never did us any harm to get the ruler or the cane in school. It taught us respect. Most children these days don’t have respect for adults and this must change. I am aware the problems start earlier than school and I do believe in investing more time and money in re educating the targeted families. New parents need all the guidance they can get. They need more home visits from health visitors with good information if the form of dvds perhaps for the poorly educated. Dvds created by real parents dealing with real issues and delivering real solutions.

  29. Pamela says:

    I posted about CTC in the jobs and welfare section as it is completely relevant due to the proposals having a likely effect of increased unemployment but I want to post here too in case it gets missed. The news today says a review has put forward the proposal to cut CTC at £30,000 family income. My childcare, completely average in cost, works out approximately £2000 pa for each day taken up. A family with two children in full time nursery therefore is looking at a cost of £20,000 pa. We have a family income of £37,000 (or at least will this tax year, it’s always been £25,000) and under the current system with the £6000 pa childcare we pay we will get the family element only of £500. After bills, bottom-rung mortgage and living costs this will leave us with £900 spare pa for emergencies. So what happens when we have another baby nexy year? With two children in 4 days a week (assuming our current flexible working will still apply) we are looking at £16,000pa childcare costs. With no help at all are we really expected to be able to afford to go to work? This is my husband’s gross salary so he would have to give up work whilst I go out and earn an income that is very low to support a family and insufficent to pay our mortgage (even more so should the interest rates go up as suggested). As I am the main earner, we take a huge hit when I am on maternity leave and only get statutory SMP, and now no childcare support? This policy will drive us and millions like us into unemployment, remove any free money that could spent keeping the economy moving, and lead to us going hugely into debt.

    I second what Josie above has said about Sure Start centres. They are a lifeline to any new parent and the mixing of parents from different backgrounds allows for an exchange of information and good practice that otherwise would not take place to the detriment of the children.

    It’s about time people realised that raising children is not a drain on public money, it is the nurturing of tomorrow’s workers who will pay for this aging population’s care in the future.

  30. PD says:

    Pamela – ” So what happens when we have another baby nexy [sic] year?”
    My answer would be, don’t have another baby! Think it through and be sensible about what you can afford.

    Please don’t ask everyone else in the country to subsidise you when you want another baby; there are plenty of people who aren’t having any because they can’t afford it. Whining about not being funded by everyone else so that you can have another isn’t entirely fair on those people who are being sensible and looking at their finances *before* they make the choice to procreate. And it *is* a choice, you could just not have another.

  31. PD says:

    Also “It’s about time people realised that raising children is not a drain on public money, it is the nurturing of tomorrow’s workers who will pay for this aging population’s care in the future.”

    If I wasn’t subsiding other peoples children through tax I’d have enough money to contribute to a private pension.

    Right now, I don’t.

  32. ss says:

    Surestart children’s centres were intended to help those ‘hard to reach families’, but in reality, many are a complete and utter waste of money.Our local one completely refurbished several rooms at the end of the financial year, using top-notch suppliers, because they didn’t want to lose out on their funding for this financial year! If they hadn’t spen the money, their funding would have been reduced, so they spent THOUSANDS on equipment that is either sitting in cupboards, or is still waiting to be unpacked, because they have nowhere to put it, As they only opened four years ago, and had used the same top=notch suppliers ( community Playthings), everything was in pristine condition anyway. I also note that they have very few children using the facilities each week, to the point that a local preschool has virtually taken over some of the rooms for their own use. Local preschools and nurseries live hand to mouth, and under the new funding system are having to wait months for funding that is owed to us,leading in some cases, to severe financial hardship. PLEASE let us go back to receiving our Nursery education funding in the old way…….upfront, so we can manage our budgets better and pay our bills!

  33. David Wright says:

    I am very pleased to see an explicit aim stated to achieve a greater gender balance in the early years workforce. The barriers to this are well known and documented, the biggest factor generally being identified as the poor wages, which is not a specific gender issue, more a sad reflection of the low value that we as a nation place on the hard work performed by those responsible for the care and development of our youngest citizens. As a nation we are currently excluding the majority of the male population from the early years and primary education workforce and depriving children of male input into their early years experience. We must do something to address this. This aim must be translated into real action, coordinated at a national (ministerial?) level.

  34. Pd says:

    Great we need the health visitors , but what happens once the children are in school 4+. the 5-19 population need extra input too! or else the next generation will have parents like many we see in the present generation of under 5’s lacking in education ,resiliance for themselves and their children , becoming drink and drug dependant to overcome the boredom of not working and being tied in a home with small children at the mercy of unscrupulous partners on a constant carosel of swapping homes loosing possessions and being dependant on state workers to ensure another tomorrow !
    Hope you can find the cash for workers rather than that wasted on recent bright idea’s that also bleed the economy . Look to the dedicated workforce you already have and support them to do the job . School nurses are in there with the skill but not time and resources, give us too the opportunity to show what we can do. The government has shown they see worth in us but have not resourced us for years!!!! we are almost bled dry small in numbers and have to manage cases when the health visitors have backed out once the children have reached 5.This is not the whole picture but it is a start

  35. Jim says:

    You will not achieve a gender balance in the childcare workforce whilst the government funding is so low that many childcare workers are working on or just over minimum wage.

  36. S.S says:

    Pre-schools and Nurseries either have to be given the correct amount to stay viable or be allowed to charge top up fees. We must be the only business that is not allowed to put their own profit margin on ourselves, and are penalised if we try to argue about trying to make a profit. We have to put up with parents that don’t pay and still be nice to them to try and get our money.
    The government wants more men in the workforce how are we meant to pay enough for a man to take it up as a profession when we have a low paid workforce as it is.
    Thank goodness the government wants more health visitors. Maybe they could make it compulsory for all pregnant parents to take parenting classes before!! they have the babies.
    The vetting and barring scheme if it kept up properly and people are kept a proper track of will save time and money.
    The pre-school and nursery workforce is one of the most dedicated group of people that have to work for small amounts of money and continuously are never recognised by schools. If they only realised by putting more money in the Early years section we could stop some of the problems in the teenage section. It is so sad when you see a 4yr old and know that they are going to end up either in prison or out of work because their is not enough money at the right age to sort out the problems.

  37. [...] programme for partnership government over the next five years. Amongst other policy aspirations, The Coalition: our programme for government, outlines plans for Families and [...]

  38. Vicki says:

    How will ensure that teachers will be paid fairly and not who the heads happen to like!!

  39. karianne wardrop says:

    i am a single mum wanting work if the tax credit are took away then then i wouldnt be able to affort going out to work because the child care cost is exspensive and wouldnt be worth while to be able to afford this i would have to work more thn 40 hour which would mean i would never see my child so that mean my child doesnt see dad and if i worked these hours he wouldnt see me either i want to work and have the time for my child. its important u have time with your kid because if you dont they end up getting into trouble to get that little bit attention and its not good wee need stop trouble not creat it .

    and yes the csa has to be sort right there are some father get total leaved with pennies to live on and there are others that dont there some women out there getting money of 1 father for 2 children and geting £600 month then for other £600 as well she her self earns £900 month and her taxes got bought house and 2 cars and the childs fathers had to move in with parent that not wright both parent need to live without haing to live with parents .

  40. School Nurse says:

    Its great you mention the need for more Health Visitors – but they only work with the under 5 year olds – what happens when these children start school? You need a properly resources School Nursing Service to continue the good work HV’s do – especially working with teenagers – they have specific needs and many need extra support through these often dificult years.
    Many School Nursing Services are been cut back – so our preventative/early intervention role is at risk. We spend most of our time being reactive and in crisis management, and the needs of the school age population are at risk of not being met.
    Schools and Social Care who we work closely with, have similar stresses and lack of resources.

  41. KH says:

    I think PD’s comments to Pamela are really harsh and unnecessay. She and her partner both work, so why should they not have another child. I totally agree with Pamela. I work full time and am the main earner and my husband is currenlty working part time and studying for a degree ( which he funds himself) so that he can provide a better future for our children . I will return to work in September full time ( after being on maternity) and my nursery fees will be in excess of £1200 and I find this unaffordable. I have paid tax since I have worked from the age of 18 and am 34 now so why shouldn’t we expect a little help from the govenment to help pay for the astronomical fees?

    After all as Pamela said, it will be the children of today that pays for the older generation years to come!!!

  42. Alison Tapsfield says:

    Can’t help thinking that a very cost effective way to manage many of the coilition’s plans would be to provide an effective school nursing service to carry on the good work that health visitors have implemented. If we are serious about reducing inequalities in society, we need to put much more investment into our young people because they are the adults/parents of the future, and it is the time when they are most likely to start engaging in risk taking behaviours. There needs to be far more universal proactive effective and regular health education/promotion, which at the moment is not happening. School nurses have caseloads that unfortunately cannot offer this luxury as they are dealing reactively with crisises such as child protection, CAF’s etc. – and should be dealing with issues ‘before the horse bolts’. We need to look at International models (the Scandinavian rather than U.S.) and see the amount of investment that is placed on public health / preventative care and their long term outcomes. We should be mindful not to throw out all the expensive investment that has changed things for the better such as Every Child Matters/collaborative working.

  43. William Flaxton says:

    I am delighted that the government is reviewing the CRB and ISA processes.

    These regulations were introduced by the last government in response to ‘pedo paranoia’ whipped up by the irresponsible press. And, these measures have also lead to the creation of what The Manifesto Club has called ‘The Child Protection Industry’.

    This is the increasingly burgeoning army of highly paid child protection ‘experts’ or ’safeguarding’ teams who – in order to justify their costly existences – have to dream up increasingly novel ways to accuse innocent adults of ‘abuse’.

    Yes, we must have checks on those working closely and regularly with children and vulnerable groups and they must be rigourous AND continuous. But what we don’t need for example is the practice operated by the Scouts, who routinely put the parents of every child who joins a Scout Troop through an enhanced CRB Disclosure.

    I can demonstrate this to be the case, by pointing to the CRB’s own figures for the Scout Association, which show them having 50,000 checks a year costing £3m of taxpayers money. Yet, despite this, the Scouts claim 30,000 kids on waiting lists because they don’t have enough leaders!

    The current scheme also sets up a very scary situation for potential volunteers – simply because it is so far reaching.

    The ISA scheme allows for example, checks to include things like web searches. Now suppose someone say ten years ago posted something on the internet that today would conflict with the views of the organisation they were seeking to join. They could have changed their minds – just like the Home Secretary has on gay adoptions. But suppose the checks find this posting and it is decided to reject that person’s application.

    Under the current rules the fact that they have been rejected for work with children or vulnerable groups would then trigger an ISA investigation into that person. Even assuming they did not get a ‘bar’ they would still get what is effectively speaking, a ‘criminal’ record, because the ISA would be duty bound to keep that file forever.

    So then we come to a situation where that rejected volunteer’s employers suddenly find themselves having to fulfill a contract for a local authority or charity that requires all the staff on it to be ISA registered. Suddenly this person could find themselves out of a job – and all because they once (unsuccessfully) offered to help run their son’s Cub pack once a week.

    I must again stress that those who are in REGULAR contact with children and vulnerable groups must always be subject to the most rigourous and continuous checks. However, what we have at the moment is a situation whereby no one in their right mind – and certainly not me – would bother to volunteer.

  44. Sue Thomas says:

    ‘We will crack down on irresponsible advertising and marketing, especially to children. We will also take steps to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.’

    I was delighted to see this statement within the document and wholeheartedly support the move to take steps to prevent children, and even babies, from being targets for irresponsible advertisers. I was recently astounded to hear about the training some marketing companies give their staff in children’s development to ensure that they target children effectively.

    Children and young people make a real difference in our services, in our cities and towns and in our communities. They need to have real and informed choices about how they can influence what happens to them and with them. But most of all, it is my experience that many children are over-targetted and just want time to play, have fun, get muddy, take risks, learn life skills through experience, and be the developing human beings that they are.

    Let children be children, not targeted as mini-adults. Please ensure that we build resilience, develop appropriate services that communicate with each other and the families they serve. And that the workforce are encouraged believe in the good and positive about young people and children, and are not oververpowered by the negative perceptions that have invaded our thinking over previous years.

  45. Janet Jewitt says:

    I am concerned with respect to the whole play agenda and its lack of importance within the current manifesto.. The previous government through their pledges and strategy helped to raise the importance of play and the profile of play as an integral element in children’s lives. There doesn’t appear to be any mention of the new Governments commitment to this agenda which is after all a child’s right, embedded in the Early years Foundation stage, is a cross cutting theme which can support the whole family, health and the safer, stronger communities agenda. The previous comment talked about ‘let children be children’ if play isn’t high enough within the Governments agenda then this will be sidelined and forgotten.

  46. M. McLeod says:

    Create a statutory duty upon local authorities to notify the DWP when children are accommodated. Don’t put the duty on the social worker involved, but someone within the placement section/finance section of the council. This would clarify and simplify the system and make sure that any benefits paid to parents in respect of their children are adjusted immediately at the point of their children bein removed from their care: at the moment, parents are just advised to notify the DWP of the change of their circumstances, and are unlikely to do so, thus meaning they are receiving unwarranted state benefits when sometimes it has been down to their neglect etc that their children have been taken into care. (Please note this is not a criticism of families in difficulties, simply a way to make the system fairer, and avoid the government paying out money unecessarily to a household who no longer have the expense of the child in their home).

  47. M. McLeod says:

    Where it is known by social services that a parent/parents have addiction issues and there are concerns that their children are not being looked after (fed, clothed) properly, you should create some kind of system where at least a proportion of their benefits are paid in kind, i.e. vouchers to reduce the likelihood that all the benefits given to the family with the aim of supporting the children are not used to fuel addictions, meaning that social work then has to spend money buying clothing etc for the children to plug the gap. This is not a condemnation of people with addiction probems, just an idea of how to make sure government money goes on the things it is paid out for, and that they are not paying out twice, through social work department funds.

  48. Ruth says:

    I am pleased that the Government will tackle marketing aimed at children, particularly that which aims to sexualise them. Please can you have a look at Disney materials, they are widely sold yet send out subtle messages about sexualisation and gender stereotypes which might not be immediately obvious until one stops and reflects a little. For instance,at Christmas my 3 year old was given a Disney ‘Little mermaid’ book in which the mermaid’s main aim was to ‘get the prince to kiss her’. The kiss we are talking about was NOT portrayed as a peck on the cheek.

  49. Ben says:

    There doesn’t seem to be much there relating to Children’s Social Care.

    Publishing details of Serious Case Reviews will only have an indirect approach on social care practice, as all it does is place a greater onus on social care teams to learn from any potential mistakes.

    “Investigate a new approach to helping families with multiple problems” sounds rather weasly, as it doesn’t give any indication of who will investigate, who they will gather evidence from, what their remit will be, what the timescale for the investigation will be, and whether the government will take any notice of the recommendations.

    There’s nothing on how they will encourage the various agencies involved in child care and welfare to communicate with each other (which was the whole reason for setting up the now defunct ContactPoint database), nothing on what (if anything) they plan to do about ICS and case recording, nothing on any schemes to improve the balance between providing support for families to stay together versus placing the child into care…

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