Every child matters

Every child matters

Presented to Parliament by

the Chief Secretary to the Treasury

by Command of Her Majesty

September 2003

Cm 5860 £22.00

© Crown Copyright 2003

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Foreword by the Prime Minister 1

Introduction by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury 3

Executive Summary 5

The Challenge 13

Strong Foundations 25

Supporting Parents and Carers 39

Early Intervention and Effective Protection 51

Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally 67

Workforce Reform 83

Appendices:

Consultation Process and Summary of Questions 98

Timetable for Action on Information Sharing101

1

contents

2

3

4

5

6

 

Every child matters – Foreword 1

For most parents,

our children are

everything to us: our

hopes, our ambitions,

our future. Our

children are

cherished and loved.

But sadly, some children are not so fortunate.

Some children’s lives are different. Dreadfully

different. Instead of the joy, warmth and

security of normal family life, these children’s

lives are filled with risk, fear, and danger: and

from what most of us would regard as the

worst possible source – from the people

closest to them.

Victoria Climbié was one of those children.

At the hands of those entrusted with her

care she suffered appallingly and eventually

died. Her case was a shocking example from

a list of children terribly mistreated and

abused. The names of the children involved,

echoing down the years, are a standing

shame to us all.

Every inquiry has brought forward proposals

for change and improvement to the child

protection system. There have been reforms.

Things have got better for many. But the fact

that a child like Victoria Climbié can still

suffer almost unimaginable cruelty to the

point of eventually losing her young life

shows that things are still very far from right.

More can and must be done.

Responding to the inquiry headed by

Lord Laming into Victoria’s death, we are

proposing here a range of measures to

reform and improve children’s care – crucially,

for the first time ever requiring local

authorities to bring together in one place

under one person services for children, and at

the same time suggesting real changes in the

way those we ask to do this work carry out

their tasks on our and our children’s behalf.

For children for whom action by the

authorities has reduced the risk they face, we

want to go further: we want to maximise the

opportunities open to them – to improve

their life chances, to change the odds in their

Foreword by the

Prime Minister

favour. So in addition, this Green Paper puts

forward ideas on a number of related issues,

including parenting, fostering, young

people’s activities and youth justice. All these

proposals are important to children’s health

and security.

Sadly, nothing can ever absolutely guarantee

that no child will ever be at risk again from

abuse and violence from within their own

family. But we all desperately want to see

people, practices and policies in place to

make sure that the risk is as small as is

humanly possible. I believe that the

proposals we are putting forward here

constitute a significant step towards

that goal.

2 Every child matters – Foreword

Every child matters –Introduction 3

I was delighted to be asked by the Prime

Minister to lead the development of this

Green Paper. Over the past year, I have met

and worked with a range of practitioners,

academics, policymakers and children and

young people. Their influence has shaped

the paper – their ideas and advice have been

invaluable.

Every Child Matters is published alongside a

detailed response to Lord Laming’s Report

into the death of Victoria Climbié, and a

report produced by the Social Exclusion Unit

on raising the educational attainment of

children in care. I am extremely grateful to

Lord Laming and his team for all their work

on the inquiry that led to his report.

This Green Paper seeks views from everyone

but it is addressed in particular to those vital

groups of staff and professionals who are

committed to meeting children’s needs. The

Government recognises their dedication, the

progress they have made and the lead they

have given, even while asking new questions

and setting new challenges.

Since 1997, we have tried to put children

first. We have increased the focus on

prevention through the child poverty

strategy, Sure Start, and our work to raise

school standards. But there is still more to do.

The circumstances surrounding the tragic

death of Victoria Climbié bring home only

too powerfully that there is no room for

complacency.

We have to do more both to protect children

and ensure each child fulfils their potential.

Security and opportunity must go hand in

hand. Child protection must be a

fundamental element across all public,

private and voluntary organisations. Equally,

we must be ambitious for all children,

whoever they are and wherever they live.

Introduction by the

Chief Secretary to

the Treasury

Creating a society where children are safe

and have access to opportunities requires

radical reform. This Green Paper builds on

existing plans to strengthen preventative

services by focusing on four key themes.

First, we need to increase our focus on

supporting families and carers – the most

critical influence on children’s lives. Second,

we need to ensure necessary intervention

before children reach crisis point and protect

children from falling through the net. Third,

we need to address the underlying problems

identified in the Victoria Climbié Inquiry

Report – weak accountability, and poor

integration. Fourth, we need to ensure that

the people working with children are valued,

rewarded and trained.

This is the beginning of a long journey,

which will present challenges for all of us,

but from which we must not flinch. We will

be called upon to make common cause

across professional boundaries and with

reformed structures and services to create

the means by which the needs, interests and

welfare of children can be better protected

and advanced. Underpinning this must be

not just the resources but an attitude that

reflects the value that our society places on

children and childhood.

Children are precious. The world they must

learn to inhabit is one in which they will face

hazards and obstacles alongside real and

growing opportunities. They are entitled not

just to the sentiment of adults but a strategy

that safeguards them as children and realises

their potential to the very best of our ability.

4 Every child matters – Introduction

Every child matters – Executive Summary 5

Past failings

1 The death of Victoria Climbié exposed

shameful failings in our ability to protect

the most vulnerable children. On twelve

occasions, over ten months, chances to save

Victoria’s life were not taken. Social services,

the police and the NHS failed, as Lord

Laming’s report into Victoria’s death made

clear, to do the basic things well to

protect her.

2 From past inquiries into the deaths of

Maria Colwell and Jasmine Beckford to

recent cases such as Lauren Wright and

Ainlee Walker, there are striking similarities

which show some of the problems are of

long standing. The common threads which

led in each case to a failure to intervene early

enough were poor co-ordination; a failure to

share information; the absence of anyone

with a strong sense of accountability; and

frontline workers trying to cope with staff

vacancies, poor management and a lack of

effective training.

3 The most tragic manifestation of these

problems is when we fail to protect children

at risk of harm or neglect. But the problem of

children falling through the cracks between

different services goes much further. Too

often children experience difficulties at

home or at school, but receive too little

help too late, once problems have reached

crisis point.

4 As Lord Laming’s recommendations made

clear, child protection cannot be separated

from policies to improve children’s lives as a

whole. We need to focus both on the

universal services which every child uses, and

on more targeted services for those with

additional needs. The policies set out in the

Green Paper are designed both to protect

children and maximise their potential. It sets

out a framework for services that cover

children and young people from birth to

19 living in England.i It aims to reduce the

numbers of children who experience

educational failure, engage in offending or

anti-social behaviour, suffer from ill health,

or become teenage parents.

Executive Summary

5 We need to ensure we properly protect

children at risk within a framework of

universal services which support every child

to develop their full potential and which aim

to prevent negative outcomes. That is why

this Green Paper addresses the needs of

children at risk in the context of the services

we provide for all children.

Where we are now

6 Over the past few years, we have seen that

progress is possible:

_ in education, last year we saw our best

ever results in all key stages

_ there are 500,000 fewer children living

in households with relative low income

than in 1997

_ since 1997 the reconviction rate for young

offenders has reduced by 22 percent

_ the Government’s teenage pregnancy

strategy has produced a ten percent

reduction in conception rates among

under 18 year olds since 1998

_ many of the measures put in place now,

including Sure Start and measures to

tackle low income through welfare to

work and tax credits, will only see their

full dividends in years to come.

7 But there is still more to do. Truancy

remains a persistent problem. There are still

too many 16 to 18 year olds not in education

or training, and the educational achievement

of children in care remains far too low.

On many fronts, including low income, the

gap in achievement between different

socio-economic classes, and the number

of children who are the victims of crime,

we need to do more to catch up with

other countries.

8 Overall, this country is still one where life

chances are unequal. This damages not only

those children born into disadvantage, but

our society as a whole. We all stand to share

the benefits of an economy and society with

less educational failure, higher skills, less

crime, and better health. We all share a duty

to do everything we can to ensure every

child has the chance to fulfil their potential.

Where we want to get to

9 Our aim is to ensure that every child has

the chance to fulfil their potential by

reducing levels of educational failure, ill

health, substance misuse, teenage

pregnancy, abuse and neglect, crime and

anti-social behaviour among children and

young people.

10 When we consulted children, young

people and families, they wanted the

Government to set out a positive vision of

the outcomes we want to achieve. The five

outcomes which mattered most to children

and young people were:

_ being healthy: enjoying good physical

and mental health and living a healthy

lifestyle

_ staying safe: being protected from harm

and neglect

_ enjoying and achieving: getting the

most out of life and developing the skills

for adulthood

6 Every child matters – Executive Summary

_ making a positive contribution: being

involved with the community and society

and not engaging in anti-social or

offending behaviour

_ economic well-being: not being

prevented by economic disadvantage

from achieving their full potential in life.

11 The Government has built the

foundations for improving these outcomes

through Sure Start, raising school standards,

and progress made towards eradicating child

poverty. Chapter Two sets out our plans to

build on these successes through:

_ creating Sure Start Children’s Centres

in each of the 20 percent most deprived

neighbourhoods. These combine nursery

education, family support, employment

advice, childcare and health services on

one site

_ promoting full service extended

schools which are open beyond school

hours to provide breakfast clubs and

after-school clubs and childcare, and

have health and social care support

services on site

_ increasing the focus on activities for

children out of school through the

creation of a Young People’s Fund

with an initial budget of £200 million

_ increasing investment in child and

adolescent mental health services

(CAMHS) to deliver a ten percent

increase in CAMHS capacity each year

for the next three years. All areas

are expected to put in place a

comprehensive CAMHS by 2006

_ improving speech and language

therapy. The forthcoming National

Service Framework for Children will set

out proposals to improve services,

including training para-professionals,

supported by specialist staff

_ tackling homelessness. By March 2004,

no homeless family with children should

be placed in bed and breakfast

accommodation, unless in a short term

emergency

_ reforms to the youth justice system.

The Government intends to revise the

Child Safety Order to make it more

effective and build on the success of the

Intensive Supervision and Surveillance

Programme by using it more widely as an

alternative to custody. We will also create

a new range of community sentences and

make greater use of a wider range of

residential placements such as intensive

fostering for young offenders, including

for 10 and 11 year old persistent offenders.

Green Paper proposals

12 We are building on the progress already

made by focusing action on four main areas:

_ supporting parents and carers

_ early intervention and effective

protection

_ accountability and integration – locally,

regionally and nationally

_ workforce reform

Every child matters – Executive Summary 7

Supporting parents and carers

13 The Government intends to put

supporting parents and carers at the heart of

its approach to improving children’s lives

where support is needed or wanted. To build

additional capacity in this area, the

Government has announced the creation of

a Parenting Fund of £25 million over the next

three years. We are consulting on a long

term vision to improve parenting and family

support through:

_ universal services such as schools,

health and social services and childcare

providing information and advice and

engaging parents to support their child’s

development

_ targeted and specialist support to

parents of children requiring additional

support

_ compulsory action through Parenting

Orders as a last resort where parents are

condoning a child’s truancy, anti-social

behaviour or offending.

14 All children deserve the chance to grow

up in a loving, secure family. Through the

adoption modernisation programme, local

authorities are already delivering significant

increases in adoption of looked after

children. The Adoption and Children Act

2002 will further strengthen this programme

of reform. This Green Paper consults on

measures to tackle the recruitment and

retention challenges in foster care, and to

ensure that foster carers have the skills and

support they need to care for vulnerable

children. The Government is seeking

suggestions for radical and imaginative ways

of encouraging people to become foster

carers and ensuring they are valued and

recognised.

Early intervention and effective

protection

15 Some children will always require extra

help because of the disadvantages they

face. The key is to ensure children receive

services at the first onset of problems, and

to prevent any children slipping through

the net. We will do this by:

_ improving information sharing

between agencies to ensure all local

authorities have a list of children in their

area, the services each child has had

contact with, and the contact details of

the relevant professionals who work with

them. The Government will remove the

legislative barriers to better information

sharing, and the technical barriers to

electronic information sharing through

developing a single unique identity

number, and common data standards on

the recording of information

_ developing a common assessment

framework. We will expect every local

authority to identify a lead official with

responsibility for ensuring information is

collected and shared across services for

children, covering special educational

needs, Connexions, Youth Offending

Teams, health, and social services. The

aim is for basic information to follow the

child to reduce duplication

8 Every child matters – Executive Summary

_ introducing a lead professional.

Children known to more than one

specialist agency should have a single

named professional to take the lead on

their case and be responsible for

ensuring a coherent package of services

to meet the individual child’s needs

_ developing on the spot service

delivery. Professionals will be

encouraged to work in multi-disciplinary

teams based in and around schools and

Children’s Centres. They will provide a

rapid response to the concerns of

frontline teachers, childcare workers and

others in universal services.

Accountability and integration – locally,

regionally and nationally

16 We want to put children at the heart of

our policies, and to organise services around

their needs. Radical reform is needed to

break down organisational boundaries. The

Government’s aim is that there should be

one person in charge locally and nationally

with the responsibility for improving

children’s lives. Key services for children

should be integrated within a single

organisational focus at both levels.

To achieve this the Government will:

_ legislate to create the post of Director

of Children’s Services, accountable for

local authority education and children’s

social services

_ legislate to create a lead council

member for children

_ in the long term, integrate key services

for children and young people under the

Director of Children’s Services as part of

Children’s Trusts. These bring together

local authority education and children’s

social services, some children’s health

services, Connexions and can include

other services such as Youth Offending

Teams. Children’s Trusts will normally be

part of the local authority and will report

to local elected members

_ require local authorities to work closely

with public, private and voluntary

organisations to improve outcomes for

children. Local authorities will be given

flexibility over how this partnership

working is undertaken

_ in relation to child protection, require

the creation of Local Safeguarding

Children Boards as the statutory

successors to Area Child Protection

Committees.

17 To support local integration, the

Government has created a new Minister for

Children, Young People and Families in

the Department for Education and Skills to

co-ordinate policies across Government.

The Government has brought responsibility

for children’s social services, family policy,

teenage pregnancy, family law, and the

Children and Family Court Advisory and

Support Service (CAFCASS) in DfES.

Every child matters – Executive Summary 9

18 The Government will encourage joining

up locally by:

_ ensuring children are a priority across

services. Local bodies such as the police

and health organisations will, subject to

consultation, have a new duty to

safeguard children, promote their wellbeing

and work together through these

partnership arrangements. We intend to

give local authorities a duty to promote

the educational achievement of children

in care

_ setting out clear practice standards

expected of each agency in relation to

children

_ rationalising performance targets, plans,

funding streams, financial accountability

and indicators

_ creating an integrated inspection

framework for children’s services. Ofsted

will take the lead in bringing together

joint inspection teams. This will ensure

services are judged on how well they

work together

_ creating an improvement and

intervention function to drive up

performance by sharing effective

practice, and intervening where services

are failing.

19 Real service improvement is only

attainable through involving children and

young people and listening to their views.

This Green Paper sets out proposals for a

new Children’s Commissioner to act as an

independent champion for children,

particularly those suffering disadvantage.

The Commissioner will report annually to

Parliament through the Secretary of State.

Workforce reform

20 The people who work with children are

central to keeping them safe and helping

them get the most out of life. We owe a debt

of gratitude for the difficult and challenging

work that they perform. We want to value the

specific skills that people from different

professional backgrounds bring, and we also

want to break down the professional barriers

that inhibit joint working, and tackle

recruitment and retention problems. Our goal

must be to make working with children an

attractive, high status career, and to develop a

more skilled and flexible workforce. Over time,

and subject to consultation and resources, the

Government would like to develop a package

of measures to deliver this:

_ a workforce reform strategy to improve

the skills and effectiveness of the

children’s workforce developed in

partnership with local employers and

staff. This will review rewards, incentives

and relativities across children’s practice

with the aim of moving towards a

framework that fairly rewards skills and

responsibilities, and ensures effective

incentives for good practitioners to stay

on the front line

_ a high profile recruitment campaign for

entry into the children’s workforce

10 Every child matters – Executive Summary

_ a comprehensive workload survey to

address bureaucracy, and identify ways of

freeing up time for face to face work with

children and families

_ more flexible and attractive training routes

into social work, including expanding

work-based training routes for graduates

_ common occupational standards across

children’s practice linked to modular

qualifications which allow workers to

move between jobs more easily

_ a common core of training for those who

work solely with children and families

and those who have wider roles (such

as GPs and the police) to help secure

a consistent response to children’s

and families’ needs and a better

understanding of professional roles

_ a review undertaken by the Chief Nursing

Officer of the contribution that health

visitors and other nurses and midwives

can make for children at risk

_ a leadership development programme

to foster high calibre leadership.

21 The development and delivery of

workforce proposals will be taken forward

through two new bodies. A Children’s

Workforce Unit, based in the Department

for Education and Skills, will develop a pay

and workforce strategy for those who work

with children. The Children’s Workforce Unit

will work with the relevant employers, staff

and Government Departments to establish

a Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Children

and Young People’s Services to deliver key

parts of the strategy.

Next steps

22 The Government welcomes your views

on the framework set out in this consultation

document. We intend to develop a strong

partnership with our stakeholders –

practitioners, academics, policymakers and

children and young people. We would like

your views on the overall vision for children’s

and families’ services, the implementation

priorities within it, and the practicalities that

need to be tackled to deliver it. Subject to

the outcome of this consultation, the

Government intends to introduce legislation

as soon as Parliamentary time allows.ii

Every child matters – Executive Summary 11

i The Green Paper covers all children in England. The policies and proposals it contains apply to England only except

where they relate to non-devolved responsibilities, such as Home Office Services, where they apply equally to Wales.

Both the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Executive have expressed keen interest in and closely followed

the development of the Green Paper and they will each consider which parts of the approach being adopted in

England they will seek to adapt respectively.

ii A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) to accompany the proposals contained in this Green Paper has been prepared

and is available on the DfES website at: www.dfes.gov.uk/everychildmatters

In addition to commenting on the Green Paper proposals, you may wish to comment on the contents of the RIA, which

will be revised during the course of the consultation to take account of up-to-date information.

 

Every child matters – The Challenge 13

This Government has invested heavily in

policies designed to give all children the

chance to succeed. There have already

been significant improvements in

educational achievement, and reductions

in teenage pregnancy, re-offending and

children living in low income households.

Today’s children and young people

experience wider opportunities and

benefit from rising prosperity, better

health and education than those in

previous generations.

However, there is still more to do. Whilst

most children and young people are

doing well, a significant minority

experience problems that may lead to

poor outcomes both during childhood

and later in life. Truancy remains a

persistent problem. There are too many

16 to 18 year olds not in education or

training, and the educational

achievement of children in care remains

far too low. The tragic death of Victoria

Climbié shows that some children fall

through the net and are not adequately

protected. We need to ensure we

properly protect children at risk of

neglect and harm within a framework of

universal services which aims to prevent

negative outcomes and support every

child to develop their full potential.

This Chapter sets out:

_ our goals for children and young

people

_ how well we are doing in relation

to them

_ what factors shape children’s

life chances

_ what policy challenges need

be addressed.

Our goals for children and young people

1.1 This Green Paper sets out policies

to reduce the number of children who

experience educational failure, suffer ill

health, become pregnant as teenagers, are

the victims of abuse and neglect, or become

involved in offending and anti-social

behaviour.

1.2 When we consulted children, young

people and families they wanted the

1

The Challenge

Government to set out these aims in terms

of a positive vision of what, as a society, we

want to achieve for our children. They

wanted an approach that was less about

intervening at points of crisis or failure, and

more about helping every child to achieve

his or her potential. They wanted an

approach that involved children, families,

communities and public services working to

a shared set of goals, rather than narrow or

contradictory objectives.

1.3 There was broad agreement that five

key outcomes really matter for children and

young people’s well-being:

_ being healthy: enjoying good physical

and mental health and living a healthy

lifestyle

_ staying safe: being protected from harm

and neglect and growing up able to look

after themselves

_ enjoying and achieving: getting the

most out of life and developing broad

skills for adulthood

_ making a positive contribution: to the

community and to society and not

engaging in anti-social or offending

behaviour

_ economic well-being: overcoming

socio-economic disadvantages to achieve

their full potential in life.

1.4 Everyone in our society has a

responsibility for securing these outcomes.

Families, communities, Government, public

services, voluntary organisations, business,

the media and others have a crucial part to

play in valuing children, protecting them,

promoting their interests and listening to

their views.

1.5 Achieving these outcomes has benefits

for children, families, and society as a whole.

Children gain through improved health, wellbeing

and prosperity now and in the future.

Future generations benefit as we know that

children of parents who experienced

poverty, were in public care, or teenage

parents are more likely to experience poor

outcomes than their peers.

1.6 Society as a whole benefits through

reduced spending on problems that can be

avoided and through maximising the

contribution to society of all citizens. For

instance, a child with a conduct disorder at

age 10 will cost the public purse around

£70,000 by age 28 – up to ten times more

than a child with no behavioural problems.i

The overall cost of providing foster and

residential care placements for 60,000

children is £2.2 billion per year.

How well are we doing?

1.7 Over the last generation, children’s lives

have undergone profound change. Children

have more opportunities than ever before,

and benefit from rising prosperity,

opportunities to study longer and better

health. However, they also face more

uncertainties and risks: children face earlier

exposure to sexual activity, drugs and

alcohol. Family patterns are changing. There

are more lone parents, more divorces and

more women in paid employment all of

which has made family life more complex.

14 Every child matters – The Challenge

These changes have come at a time when

we better understand the importance of

early influences on the development of

values and behaviour.

Figure 1

1.8 In recent years, there has been

unprecedented investment and priority

given to services for children to promote

equal chances and to improve prevention

and encourage early intervention. Key policy

changes include:

_ significant real terms rises in Child Benefit

and more generous support through

new tax credits. Child tax credits alone

will provide £13 billion of support for

families with children

_ record investment in early years

education for all children and childcare

for children through Sure Start

_ introduction of literacy and numeracy

strategies in primary schools and extra

support for schools in deprived areas

through Excellence in Cities

_ introduction of Quality Protects and the

Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

_ the Children’s Fund which supports local

projects for 5 to 13 year olds and the

Local Network Fund which invests in

local community and voluntary groups

working for and with children and young

people aged 0-19

_ the creation of Connexions to provide

advice, guidance and personal

development opportunities for young

people aged 13-19

_ the teenage pregnancy strategy and the

wider Sexual Health and HIV Strategy

_ the creation of Youth Offending Teams

and the Youth Justice Board

_ the updated Drugs Strategy published

in December 2002, which will provide

increased support for young people,

especially those that are vulnerable

_ an end to bed and breakfast

accommodation for homeless families

with children: new homelessness

legislation treats 16 and 17 year olds not

supported by social services as being

vulnerable and in ‘priority need’ for

accommodation.

* These children may not be on the child protection

register, nor looked after, nor in need, nor vulnerable.

** These children are included in the children in need

figure, and not all children on the child protection

register are children looked after.

All children

(11 million)

Vulnerable children

(3–4 million)

Children in need

(300–400,000)

Children looked after**

(59,700)

On child protection

register**

(25,700)

Death

from abuse

or neglect

(50–100 per

year)*

Every child matters – The Challenge 15

16 Every child matters – The Challenge

Being healthy

Regular smoking by 11-15 year olds in England has decreased since 1996 from 13 to 10

percent. But levels of obesity are rising. Between 1996 and 2001 the proportion of obese

children aged 6-15 years in England rose by 4 percent.

Teenage conception rates were 10 percent lower in 2001 than they were in 1998. But the

UK still has the highest rate of teenage births within Western Europe.

In 2002 the World Health Organisation reported that the UK had the lowest rate of suicide

amongst 26 countries. However, suicide still accounts for a fifth of deaths amongst our

young people.

Staying safe

There were 59,700 children in care in England in March 2002, an increase of 22 percent

since March 1994. However, numbers on child protection registers in England have been

falling. At 31 March 2002 there were 25,700. Ten years previously, the number was 38,600.

Between 1981 and 2001 the proportion of juvenile males in England and Wales cautioned

or convicted of an offence fell from 70 per 1,000 juvenile males in the population to

51 per 1,000. However, the equivalent rate for females rose from 13 to 14 per 1,000.

A study of offending and victimisation amongst 11 to 16 year olds in mainstream schools

found that almost half (46 percent) reported being the victim of some kind of offence in

the last 12 months.

Up to one in ten women experience domestic violence each year; in 90 percent of

incidents, children are in the same or next room, and one in three child protection cases

shows a history of domestic violence against the mother.

Enjoying and achieving

Since 1997 the proportion of 11 year olds achieving the expected level in English and

maths for their age has increased by 12 percentage points, from 63 percent to 75 percent

in English and from 61 percent to 73 percent in maths.

In 2002 over 51 percent of 15 year olds gained at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C, an

increase of over 6 percentage points since 1997. But achievement is not consistent across

different ethnic groups: students from Chinese and Indian backgrounds achieve

significantly above average GCSE results; black pupils and those from Pakistani and

Bangladeshi backgrounds achieve poorer GCSE results.

Unauthorised absence has remained constant since 1995/96 at 0.7 percent of half days

missed.

1.9 There are strong signs that these policies

are delivering progress. However, as the box

above shows, while the vast majority of

children thrive there is still a very wide range

of experiences. The death of Victoria Climbié

showed that children can still suffer the most

appalling neglect and abuse, and that

services can fail them, sometimes with

tragic consequences.

What shapes outcomes?

1.10 We have a good idea what factors

shape children’s life chances. Research tells

us that the risk of experiencing negative

outcomes is concentrated in children with

certain characteristics and experiences.

Although research has not built up a detailed

picture of the causal links, certain factors are

associated with poor outcomes including:ii

_ low income and parental unemployment

_ homelessness

_ poor parenting

_ poor schooling

_ post-natal depression among mothers

_ low birth weight

_ substance misuse

_ individual characteristics such as

intelligence

_ community factors, such as living in a

disadvantaged neighbourhood.

Every child matters – The Challenge 17

One in eleven young people aged 16-18 years were not in education, employment or

training at the end of 2001 and one in four young people spend some time outside

education, training and work between 16 and 18.

Making a positive contribution

A recent study of secondary pupils aged 11 to 18 found that all but 14 percent had

participated in some form of community activity in the past year – 50 percent had taken

part in fundraising or collecting money for charity.

Estimates from the 2001 General Election suggest turnout was lowest among 18-24 year

olds, with just two in five voting.

Economic well-being

Between 1992 and 1995 the proportion of children living in working age workless

households was broadly constant at 19 percent. By 2003, the proportion had fallen to

15.2 percent in 2003.

The proportion of children living in households with relative low incomes fell between

1996-97 and 2001-02 from 34 percent to 30 percent after housing costs. The proportion

of children living in households with absolute low incomes showed a large fall from

34 percent to 20 percent after housing costs.

1.11 Outcomes also vary by race and

gender. Underachievement and school

exclusion are particularly concentrated in

certain ethnic groups. Boys have higher rates

of offending and exclusion, while self-harm

and eating disorders are more prevalent

among girls.

1.12 The more risk factors a child experiences,

such as being excluded from school and family

breakdown, the more likely it is that they will

experience further negative outcomes.iii

Research suggests that parenting appears to

be the most important factor associated with

educational attainment at age 10, which in turn

is strongly associated with achievement later in

life. Parental involvement in education seems

to be a more important influence than poverty,

school environment and the influence of peers.

1.13 A range of protective factors can help

children overcome disadvantage including:iv

_ strong relationships with parents, family

members and other significant adults

_ parental interest and involvement in

education with clear and high

expectations

_ positive role models

_ individual characteristics such as an

outgoing nature, self-motivation,

intelligence

_ active involvement in family, school and

community life

_ recognition, praise and feeling valued.

1.14 Children are particularly affected by

their experience during the early years

before they reach school age. As Figure 2

below shows, even at 22 months, there

is a big gap between the development of

children from different socio-economic

groups. Other research shows that the

academic results of boys are particularly

18 Every child matters – The Challenge

Attainment:

average %

ranking

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

Age 22 months: average development ranking by mother’s

socio-economic status and qualification level

High socio-economic

status +

A levels/Degree

Middle socioeconomic

status +

qualifications

Low socio-economic

status + no

qualifications

Figure 2: The socio-economic position of parents affects children from a very early age

Source: Feinstein, 1999.vi

affected if their mother has suffered from

post-natal depression. Teenagers who were

severely underweight at birth achieve lower

GCSE grades than their peers.v

1.15 When children enter primary school,

children from poorer backgrounds start to

fall behind children from higher income

families. As Figure 3 shows, children from a

poor background with a high developmental

score at 22 months have fallen behind by the

age of 10, compared to children from higher

socio-economic groups but with a low

developmental score at 22 months.

Every child matters – The Challenge 19

Oppositional &

defiant

Blamed by

parents

Disliked by

siblings

Gets into fights

Rejected by peers

Low self esteem

Hard to control

Poor school

achievements

Blames others

Stealing and

truanting

Deviant peer

group

Anti-social attitude

Career offender

Unemployed

Drug misuse

0

5

10

15

5 years 8 years 11 years 14 years 17 years

Escape

1/5

1/5

1/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

4/5

% of all

children

No past anti-social behaviour

1/5

10% 10% 10% 10%

Figure 4: Continuity of anti-social behaviour from age 5 to 17

Figure 3

Source: Scott 2002

Research conducted by Stephen Scott for Home Office, 2002 (unpublished).

Average position in the distribution

100

90

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

Age in months

22 28 34 40 46 52 58 64 70 76 82 88 94 100 106 112 118

High Socio-Economic Status (SES);

high early rank

High SES;

low early rank

Low SES;

high early rank

Low SES;

low early rank

Source: Feinstein, Economica (2003)

1.16 Although experience during the early

years is important, life chances continue

to be forged throughout children’s lives.

Problems can build up cumulatively over

time reinforcing disadvantage, as Figure 4

shows.

1.17 A critical transition is from primary to

secondary school and the onset of puberty.

As Figure 5 shows, the gap in educational

achievement between higher and lower

socio-economic groups opens up starkly

in the first years of secondary school from

11 to 14.

Policy challenges

1.18 The implications of this analysis are

that there needs to be:

_ better prevention. We need to tackle

the key drivers of poor outcomes,

including poverty, poor childcare and

early years education, poor schooling and

lack of access to health services. By

mainstreaming preventative approaches,

such as those developed through Sure

Start, we ought to reduce the numbers

of children requiring more intensive

support. Support need to be provided

throughout the lifecycle, with increasing

attention focused on two critical periods:

the early years, and the beginning of

secondary school as children experience

puberty. Services need to focus

particularly on addressing inequalities

across gender and ethnicity

_ a stronger focus on parenting and

families. We need to pay more attention

to the critical relationships between

children and their families and provide

them with better support. We should

recognise the vital role played by fathers

as well as mothers. When children cannot

remain with their birth parents, we need

20 Every child matters – The Challenge

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

2002 KS1 (age 7) 2002 KS2 (age 11) 2002 KS3 (age 14)

Pupils not on Free School Meals Pupils on Free School Meals

% of pupils reaching the expected levels

Figure 5: The transition from primary to secondary school

Notes: The expected level is the average of reading, writing and maths at KS1 and English, maths and science at KS2 and KS3

Source: 2002 Provisonal results from the National Pupil Database

to ensure they can develop stable, loving

relationships with carers

_ earlier intervention. We need a greater

focus on ensuring children at risk are

identified earlier. We need to be able to

share information to identify children

who require additional support, and

provide a tailored service that safeguards

them from abuse and neglect, and

enables them to fulfil their potential.

1.19 To deliver these reforms, we need to

address two underlying challenges,

highlighted by the Victoria Climbié Inquiry

Report, and other studies:

_ weak accountability and poor

integration. Our existing system for

supporting children and young people

who are beginning to experience

difficulties is often poorly co-ordinated

and accountability is unclear. This means

that information is not shared between

agencies so that warning signs are not

recognised and acted upon. Some

children are assessed many times by

different agencies and despite this may

get no services. Children may experience

a range of professionals involved in their

lives but little continuity and consistency

of support. Organisations may disagree

over who should pay for meeting a

Every child matters – The Challenge 21

Services for

children at

high risk

For example:

Child protection

Adoption and fostering

Services for families with

complex problems

For example:

Children and Families’ Social Services

Targeted Parenting Support

Services for children and families with

identified needs

For example:

SEN and disability

Speech and language therapy

Services for all children in targeted areas

For example:

Sure Start

Children’s Centres

Services for all children and families

For example:

Health – GPs, midwives, health visitors

Education – early years and schools

Connexions – 13–19

Specialist

Targeted

Universal

Figure 6: Targeted services within a universal context

child’s needs because their problems cut

across organisational boundaries.

Fragmentation locally is often driven by

conflicting messages and competing

priorities from central Government.

_ workforce reform. We need to do more

to ensure working with children is seen

as an attractive career, and improve skills

and inter-professional relationships. Many

of those who work with children and

young people in vital frontline roles feel

undervalued, and in some cases under

siege. Problems are most acute in social

work, where there is an 11 percent

vacancy rate nationally (as high as

40–50 percent in some London

boroughs). Some professionals working

with children have no routine training in

child development, child protection or

domestic violence issues and frontline

staff often lack awareness of specialist

issues like mental health, special

educational needs and substance misuse.

1.20 The following Chapters examine in

more detail how the five challenges set out

above will be addressed.

22 Every child matters – The Challenge

i Scott, Stephen et al Financial costs of social exclusion: follow up study of antisocial children into adulthood, British Medical

Journal, July 2001; 323:191.

ii Department for Education and Skills, Participation in education, training and employment by 16-18 year olds in

England 2000 and 2001 Statistical First Release 16/2002.

iii Bynner, J Childhood Risks and Protective Factors in Social Exclusion, Children and Society, 2001, vol.15, pp.285-301.

iv Joseph Rowntree Foundation, A National Survey of Problem Behaviour and Associated Risk and Protective Factors

Among Young People (April 2002).

v Feinstein, Birth Cohort Study (1999).

vi Feinstein, Birth Cohort Study (1999).

Every child matters – The Challenge 23

 

Every child matters – Strong Foundations 25

Over the last six years, the Government

has put in place strong foundations to

improve services for children and young

people. This Chapter sets out our

commitment to build on these

achievements to meet the needs of all

children and young people through:

_ tackling child poverty

_ ensuring children have a Sure Start

_ raising primary and secondary school

standards and participation in post

16 learning

_ increasing access to primary health

care and specialist health services

_ reducing offending and anti-social

behaviour

_ building strong and vibrant

communities

_ ensuring children are safe.

Child poverty

2.1 The Government is committed to

halving child poverty by 2010, and

eradicating it by 2020. The best way to tackle

child poverty is to widen opportunities for

parents to work, and raise the incomes

of working families. To achieve this, the

Government is:

_ helping parents enter work through the

New Deal

_ removing the barriers to work through

widening access to childcare

_ ensuring work pays through the national

minimum wage and the introduction of

tax credits for working families.

2.2 In addition, the Government has

increased financial support for all families

with children in recognition of the costs and

responsibilities that come with parenthood.

2.3 Those who need greatest support

receive the most help, including families on

lower incomes, those with children under

one, and parents of disabled children. The

new Child Tax Credit plays a key part in the

Government’s strategy to tackle child

poverty, providing a single system of

income-related support for families with

children.

Strong Foundations

2

Ensuring children have a Sure Start

2.4 The period from conception through

to the start of school is critical to later life

chances. The Government aims to extend

the principles developed in Sure Start local

programmes across other services. These

principles focus on: working with parents

and children; starting very early and being

flexible at the point of delivery; providing

services for everyone and ensuring services

are community driven, professionally

co-ordinated across agencies and outcome

focused. The Government is building on the

introduction of Sure Start and the National

Childcare Strategy through further

investment over the next three years.

Improved access to ante and post-natal care

2.5 The most vulnerable women are more

likely to delay seeking care when pregnant

and to fail to attend clinics regularly. Through

the Government’s National Service

Framework for Childreni and other policies,

the Government is:

_ creating more accessible primary care, for

instance, through walk-in centres and the

expansion of Sure Start

_ looking at standards for improving access

to maternity services and improving the

identification of and services for postnatal

depression

_ exploring how health visitor services can

be more closely integrated with other

community services for families and

provide support to families in greatest

need

_ piloting routine ante-natal questioning

for domestic violence.

Sure Start Children’s Centres, early years and

childcare

2.6 The Government is establishing a

network of Sure Start Children’s Centres in

disadvantaged areas, offering integrated

early education and full day care, health

services, and family and parenting support.

These will reach pre-school children in the

20 percent poorest wards by March 2006.

Children’s Centres will play a key role in

supporting groups who are at risk as well

as delivering mainstream childcare and

education services.

2.7 Children’s Centres will signpost families

to other services and facilities, for example

local play spaces, childcare for older children

and children’s information services.

Children’s Centres will play a key role in

communities alongside schools and general

practitioners as a focus for parents and

children to access services.

2.8 The Government is also increasing the

amount of childcare and out of school care

in all areas, including at least 1,150,000 new

childcare places by 2006, start up support

for childcare providers, and funding for

sustaining childcare provision in

disadvantaged areas. In addition to this,

we will be shortly extending free part time

education, currently available for all four

year olds, to all three year olds.

26 Every child matters – Strong Foundations

Better early years support for disabled

children

2.9 Early identification of learning difficulties

or disabilities can be vital to a child’s learning

and life chances. In some areas, major

breakthroughs have recently been made. In

particular, the screening of newborn babies

means that deafness and hearing problems

can now be diagnosed months or years

earlier than in the past.

2.10 The Government has been working

with the voluntary sector, the National

Health Service, local authorities and others

to set in place an Early Support Pilot

Programme to support families of very

young disabled children. We are evaluating

lessons from this programme with a view to

extending aspects of the Early Support Pilot

Programme across the country.ii

Raising primary and secondary school

standards and participation in post 16

learning

2.11 Excellent education is vital to the lives

of vulnerable children. The Government has

recently set out plans for the reform of the

primary and secondary education system to

ensure high standards for all pupilsiii. This

section looks at measures to improve school

attendance and behaviour, improve

outcomes for children with special

educational needs, ensure more children stay

on in education or training after 16, and

integrate services through extended schools

and clusters of schools.

Improving school attendance and behaviour

2.12 Through the national behaviour and

attendance strategy, the Government is

implementing a number of measures:

_ providing key workers for every child at

risk through projects in schools in 61

authorities

_ creating multi-agency Behaviour and

Education Support Teams working with

a cluster of schools to help those pupils

with the most serious problems

_ from September 2003, providing training

and support to all secondary schools in

England in behaviour and attendance as

part of the Key Stage 3 Strategy, and

piloting similar work in primary schools

in 25 local education authorities (LEAs)

_ providing intensive support to 56 LEAs

with high levels of truancy

_ increasing the numbers of learning

mentors and learning support units

_ ensuring nationally co-ordinated truancy

sweeps take place regularly

_ implementing the Fast Track to

Prosecution initiative

_ through the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill,

providing all local education authorities

and schools with additional tools, such as

penalty notices and parenting contracts,

with which to tackle truancy.

2.13 For children who are permanently

excluded from schools, the Government will

maintain the full time provision that is now

in place for all excluded pupils. We must

Every child matters – Strong Foundations 27

ensure that alternative provision is effective,

appropriate and of good quality. We will also

ensure that by 2005 there are systems in

place in every local authority to identify and

maintain contact with children who might

miss education; and that by 2006, all children

identified as missing education or at risk of

doing so receive a full time education

appropriate to their needs.

Raising the attainment of minority

ethnic pupils

2.14 There is evidence to show that the

performance of pupils from certain minority

ethnic backgrounds lags considerably

behind that of their peers. Through a national

strategy for raising the attainment of minority

ethnic pupils, the Government will:

_ develop the leadership capacity in

schools to deliver a whole school

approach to raising achievement

_ provide teachers with knowledge and

skills and support them to close

achievement gaps

_ develop strategies for supporting

bilingual learners

_ develop strategies for addressing the low

achievement levels of African-Caribbean

pupils and reducing levels of exclusion

_ use resources more effectively to support

the achievement of minority ethnic

pupils.

Special educational needs

2.15 The Government has made

improvements to the law to give young

people with special educational needs (SEN)

and disabilities a stronger right to a place in

mainstream school and to extend the

protection of the Disability Discrimination

Act to education.

2.16 Our focus now is on improving

educational outcomes for all children. While

the statutory framework provides important

assurances, the processes involved can be

time-consuming, bureaucratic and

frustrating for parents and children alike, and

there remain wide variations in levels of

service provision across the country.

2.17 We are tackling these problems

through the development of an SEN Action

Programme. The Action Programme will

focus on practical measures to promote early

identification and intervention for children

with SEN, raise expectations and

achievement and build the capacity of

schools and early years settings, working

with health and social care, to provide good

teaching and support for all children. Our

aim is to ensure that parents have the

confidence that their children’s needs will be

met quickly and effectively throughout their

education without feeling that the only way

to achieve this is through a statement.

Education and training in the teenage years

2.18 The Government is committed to

ensuring more young people stay on in

education and training until they are 19 and

28 Every child matters – Strong Foundations

make a successful transition to adulthood.

To achieve this we are:

_ creating a more flexible curriculum from

14-19 to respond to individual needs and

aspirations, with improved vocational

options and better individual planning

from the end of Key Stage 3

_ developing the Connexions service,

which provides information and support

for 13-19 year olds. It helps young people

stay engaged in education, training and

employment. For those who need it, it

provides intensive support from a

personal adviser. With the young person,

that adviser can develop an individual

package of learning and remove barriers

to achievement, addressing such issues

as housing needs and financial support

_ implementing nationally the Education

Maintenance Allowance to provide all

16-19 year olds from low income

backgrounds in full time education

with up to £30 a week

_ ensuring that every child will be granted

a Child Trust Fund with an initial

endowment at birth of £250, rising to

£500 for children in the poorest third

of families

_ reviewing financial support for 16-19 year

olds to examine the incentives for young

people to stay in education and training

financial support for young people and

their carers, including those living

independently and those in very lowpaid

employment; and how the system

of financial support might be rationalised.

2.19 For young people leaving care, we

have made a significant start through the

Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. This puts

stronger duties on local authorities to

support care leavers until they are 21. The

trend for young people to leave care at 16

has been reversed. For disabled young

people, and those with learning difficulties,

we will take steps to improve the transition

to adulthood through the National Service

Framework for Children, the SEN Action

Programme, and the work of Connexions.

Integrating services through extended

schools and clusters of schools

2.20 The Government wants to integrate

education, health and social care services

around the needs of children. To achieve

this, we want all schools to become

extended schools – acting as the hub for

services for children, families and other

members of the community. Extended

schools offer the community and their pupils

a range of services (such as childcare, adult

learning, health and community facilities) that

go beyond their core educational function.

2.21 The Government is also creating a

network of full service extended schools,

with at least one in every LEA in England by

2006. Each full service school will offer a core

of childcare, study support, family and

lifelong learning, health and social care,

parenting support, sports and arts facilities,

and access to Information Technology. By

2006, all LEAs will also be funded to employ

school based managers or LEA co-ordinators

to develop more services for children and

to be provided in school buildings.

Every child matters – Strong Foundations 29

Increasing access to primary health care

and specialist health services

2.22 The new national standards developed

through the National Service Framework for

Children (NSF) will help to ensure better

access and smoother progression in the

provision of services for children, from initial

contact with the NHS, via a GP surgery or

NHS hospital, through to social services

support.

2.23 Over the past year, expert working

groups have been set up to focus on: the

health of all children; maternity services; child

and adolescent mental health services;

disabled children; children in special

circumstances; hospital and acute services;

and medicines. These themes will be taken

forward as the NSF is finalised, along with

the development of a range of toolkits to

support implementation.

Primary health care

2.24 GPs and the primary health care team

are the cornerstone of family health care for

the vast majority of children. There are over

10,000 surgeries, many within ‘pram-pushing

distance’ of deprived communities. The

Government has a range of policies to

improve access to primary care, to increase

the range of services available outside

hospital settings and to reduce health

inequalities. Key developments include:

_ the new General Medical Services

contract will improve the quality of

services for children. We want to ensure

that clinicians in primary care have extra

training to develop their expertise to

deliver more specialised care with

children without requiring a hospital visit.

Most of those receiving extra training are

currently GPs, but many nurses and

others will also develop special skills

_ the links between primary care services

and their local communities will need to

be preserved and enhanced in future

years. The development of connections

between Children’s Centres, Children’s

Trusts (see Chapter Five) and General

Practice will be critical to ensuring

continuity of care, information sharing

and effective support for children at risk.

Specialist health services

2.25 There are a range of specialist health

services that are critical to supporting

children, particularly those with acute needs,

or who require therapeutic services.

Speech and Language Therapy

2.26 Action has been taken to increase the

number of speech and language training

places by 31 percent between 1998/9 and

2002/3.

2.27 However, there are still capacity

constraints leading to long waits for some

young children to access services. Work on

the forthcoming NSF is looking at how to

tackle this, including through support from

specialist services and training paraprofessionals

and assistants. In addition, local

commissioners of services need to use the

increased investment in services for children

to develop effective ways of building

capacity in specialist interventions.

30 Every child matters – Strong Foundations

Mental health services

2.28 Over the next three years the NHS and

social care will work together to increase

capacity by ten percent each year for the

next three years and to broaden their

services, so that all areas are delivering a

comprehensive Child and Adolescent Mental

Health Service (CAMHS) by 2006.

2.29 A comprehensive service should cover

a diverse range of services appropriate to

the age and circumstances of children and

young people, and to their different levels

of need. For example:

_ people working in universal services

should be able to identify children who

may need help, and offer advice and

support to those with mild problems

_ trained mental health workers need to

be able to support workers in other

agencies. Specialist multi-disciplinary

teams should be able to provide

assessment and treatment, and short

and long term interventions and care

_ services may need to be located in a

range of settings, as near as possible to

home in environments which are

perceived as less stigmatising than

traditional clinic settings, such as schools,

homes and family centres.

2.30 To achieve this, it will be essential to

develop high quality commissioning of

mental health services that takes into

account the needs of groups for whom there

is currently poor or no provision, including

children with learning disabilities, autistic

spectrum disorders, minority ethnic groups,

children and young people who need

in-patient care, children with behavioural

problems, and those in the criminal justice

system. To develop better knowledge of

users’ needs, it will be important to use

creative approaches to consult users of

CAMHS about their views.

2.31 The full NSF, published next year, will

build on the NSF emerging findings to set

national standards for the delivery of services

to meet the needs of children and young

people with mental health problems.

Sexual health

2.32 The Government’s National Strategy for

Sexual Health and HIV published in 2001 set

out a ten year programme of investment and

reform to modernise sexual health services

and reduce unintended pregnancy rates and

sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and to

improve services for people with HIV.iv

2.33 Our new mass media safer sex

campaign should improve awareness of STIs

and how to avoid them. We have also started

rolling out the chlamydia screening

programme. We are investing £10 million in

genito-urinary medicine services this year,

which will deliver shorter waiting times for

urgent appointments and improved access

to services.

Substance misuse

2.34 The Government’s objective is to

reduce the use of Class A drugs and the

frequent use of any illicit drug amongst all

young people under the age of 25 and

especially by the most vulnerable young

people.v

Every child matters – Strong Foundations 31

2.35 Education has an important role to play

in delivering this target. We are providing

funding to local education authorities to

expand and improve the quality of drugs

education in schools and we have launched

a major awareness raising campaign –

FRANK – to increase young people’s

understanding of the risks and dangers

associated with Class A drugs.

2.36 We know that some children are more

at risk of substance misuse than others,

including those that are looked after,

homeless, truants and young offenders. We

are therefore providing funding to Primary

Care Trusts, local authorities, Connexions

Partnerships and Youth Offending Teams

to target these vulnerable groups.

2.37 However, we recognise that there is

still more work to be done. We are keen to

improve services in two particular areas:

_ children’s services commissioners should

ensure that the full range of substance

misuse work from education through to

prevention and treatment is embedded

in mainstream services

_ all professionals working with children

and young people should be able to

identify, assess and undertake

appropriate action for addressing

substance misuse issues. In order to

enable them to do this effectively,

training on substance misuse should

form part of initial and ongoing

professional development.

Building strong and vibrant communities

2.38 The communities in which children

and their families live have a fundamental

impact on their lives. Children who grow up

in communities scarred by crime and

violence, and lacking safe activities, are

severely disadvantaged.

2.39 A consistent theme of consultations

with children and young people is the

importance of having communities where

there is ‘somewhere safe to go and

something to do’. This not only provides

recreational activity for children and young

people, but helps build the fabric of

communities and increases young people’s

skills, confidence and self-esteem.

2.40 The Government intends to widen

access to a range of structured and

unstructured, supervised and unsupervised,

activities. We are supporting this goal

through:

_ investment in youth services. The

Government has made £513 million

available this year to local authority youth

services – an average increase of 5.9

percent. In return for this, local authorities

are expected to meet the national

standards for youth work and provide

a pledge to young people about the

services that can expect in their area.vi

_ Positive Activities for Young People

(PAYP) programme. This new

programme is aimed at those young

people most at risk of anti-social

behaviour, offending or truanting.

The new national programme covers

32 Every child matters – Strong Foundations

all school holiday periods. £25 million is

being provided for the first year with a

view to extending the programme for a

further two years

_ Young People’s Fund. An initial budget

of £200 million has been allocated to the

Fund from the Lottery with the view to

establishing it as an ongoing source of

funding. The views of local young people

will be sought when deciding what

money should be used for in their area

_ PE and school sport. The national

strategy for PE, school sport and club

links is aimed at enhancing the take-up of

sporting opportunities by 5-16 year olds.

The Government has a commitment to

increase the percentage of school

children who spend a minimum of two

hours each week on high quality PE and

school sport within and beyond the

curriculum to 75 percent by 2006.vii

Between 2003 and 2006, the Government

is investing £459 million to transform PE

and school sport, on top of £686 million

to improve school sport facilities across

England.

2.41 In order to maximise the effectiveness

of these resources, Government will look to

local authorities to ensure there is an

effective system for identifying and

prioritising needs more effectively and

signposting opportunities to children, young

people and families.

Anti-social and offending behaviour

2.42 When children and young people

engage in anti-social behaviour or commit

offences, we need to ensure that they to face

up to their actions and redress the harm they

have caused. We also need to ensure that

the system tackles the underlying causes of

such behaviour.

2.43 The Government would like to build on

the success of recent youth justice reforms

by making the system clearer and simpler,

and making more use of effective

interventions known to work. Details of

the youth justice proposals are published

alongside this Green Paper. Key measures

include:

_ ensuring that there are more effective

powers to intervene positively to address

the behaviour of children under 10 who

commit what would be offences if they

were over the age of criminal

responsibility. This includes revising the

Child Safety Order, and revising the

breach provisions so that proceedings

for a Care Order would no longer be

available as a breach penalty

_ making the Intensive Supervision and

Surveillance Programme the main

intervention for those who would

otherwise have to go into custody

_ rationalising the number of community

sentences to create a new simplified

‘menu’ community sentence.

Simplification would make the youth

justice process easier to understand for

those sentencing, for lawyers and for

defendants. It would allow magistrates

the flexibility to select a package of

interventions individually tailored to the

Every child matters – Strong Foundations 33

needs of each young person. The menu

will include provision for drugs treatment,

anger management, parenting

programmes and restorative justice

_ building on policy set out in the recent

Home Office White Paper Respect and

Responsibility: taking a stand against antisocial

behaviour, we propose making

greater use of a wider range of

imaginative residential placements for

young offenders, such as intensive

fostering, including for 10 and 11 year old

persistent offenders

_ we also plan to make use of junior

attendance centres by developing them

into broader junior activity centres. This

will give magistrates a flexible facility to

support community sentences,

particularly at weekends.

Ensuring children are safe

Tackling bullying

2.44 The Government is developing a range

of services to tackle bullying in school

through:

_ ensuring every school has an antibullying

policy that has involved children

in its development and implementationviii

_ continuing work on Safer Schools

Partnerships which place police in

schools, who work with children and

young people at risk of becoming victims

and offenders and support school staff in

dealing with incidents of crime and antisocial

behaviour

_ ensuring that personal, health and social

education (PHSE), citizenship education

and the National Healthy Schools

Standard help children develop good

relationships, learn about conflict

resolution and encourage them to take

responsibility for their own actions and

to support their fellow pupils.

Supporting victims

2.45 In addition, the Government is taking

a range of measures to protect children and

young people who suffer as victims:

_ support for young victims and witnesses

going through the criminal justice

system, including the early assessment of

their needs and the provision of support

and information, as well as improvements

in the provision of special measures, such

as separate entrances to court buildings

and facilities for providing evidence via

video link

_ building on existing models of best

practice when dealing with children

who become involved in prostitution,

encouraging inter-agency working.

This will involve a focus on treating

these young people as victims, rather

than offenders

_ making it easier to bring those who

exploit them to justice by creating a new

offence of commercial sexual exploitation

of a child. This will protect children up to

the age of 18 and will cover buying the

sexual services of a child, coercing a child

into sexual exploitation, facilitating the

commercial sexual exploitation of a child

34 Every child matters – Strong Foundations

and controlling the activities of a child

involved in prostitution or pornography.

Children and young people suffering from

homelessness

2.46 Meeting the support needs of

homeless families with children presents

particular challenges since such families can

rapidly become disconnected from services.

2.47 The Homelessness Act 2002 requires

local authorities to conduct a review of

homelessness in their area and put in place a

strategy by July 2003 to tackle and prevent

homelessness. In addition the Homelessness

(Priority Need) Order extended the groups

for which local authorities must give priority

need for accommodation to include young

people leaving care, 16 and 17 year olds not

supported by social services, and other

vulnerable people.

2.48 To build on this, the Government has

set a target that by March 2004 no homeless

family with children should be placed in bed

and breakfast accommodation, unless in a

short term emergency and is consulting on

eliminating the use of bed and breakfast

accommodation for families with children

from April 2004.

2.49 The Government is currently

consulting on standards for temporary

accommodation and proposals to produce

clear guidance on the arrangements that

should be put in place to ensure that all

households, including families with children,

placed in temporary accommodation by

housing authorities under the legislation

receive support to ensure that their health,

education and social services needs are met.

Supporting children entering the country

2.50 Some of the children in greatest need

are unaccompanied asylum seekers. They

may have left their homes and communities

in violent and traumatic circumstances and

be in poor health. Unaccompanied asylumseeking

children now represent

approximately 6 percent of all children in

care, mainly concentrated in London and the

South East.

2.51 The Government will seek to invest

more in training for immigration officers to

improve their identification of children at risk

and help them respond appropriately. We

will also build on existing initiatives which

enable greater joint working between the

Immigration Service, social services and the

police, such as co-locating child protection

police officers at ports.

2.52 Children would often benefit from well

managed care in a part of the country better

able to support them. A pilot safe case

transfer scheme is underway, which ensures

that unaccompanied asylum-seeking

children reach partner local authorities

outside the South East with a package of

support and reception prepared for them.

2.53 The resources provided for the support

of unaccompanied children have increased

over the last few years. In particular, the

Refugee Council’s Children’s Panel plays an

important role in helping children through

the asylum determination process and in

accessing the services that they need for

Every child matters – Strong Foundations 35

inclusion. However, they are only able to

provide support to a minority of children.

We would welcome views on how to

provide more comprehensive and consistent

support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking

children, building on the work of the

Children’s Panel.

2.54 The Government recognises that we

need to increase our capacity to support

children who have been trafficked to the

UK against their will. There is a need for close

co-operation between all the key agencies,

in particular police, immigration and social

services, in order to protect children from

their traffickers and develop intelligence

to disrupt the trafficking networks. Joint

working protocols have been developed

at certain key entry points, and it is important

that work of this kind is further extended.

The publication of a trafficking toolkit, a best

practice guide, has helped to raise awareness

of these issues and provide practical support

for agencies that may come into contact

with potential victims.ix The new offences in

the Sex Offences Bill will provide for tough

14 year prison terms for child trafficking and

sexual exploitation.

36 Every child matters – Strong Foundations

i The Government is developing a National Service Framework for children’s health and social services. The NSF is a tenyear

programme intended to stimulate long-term and sustained improvement in care.

ii More details on the early support pilots can be found at (www.esp.org.uk). The Government has published guidance

relating to this, ‘Together From the Start’ (www.doh.gov.uk/nsf/children/togetherindex.htm).

iii More details on primary and secondary education reforms are set out in Excellence and Enjoyment and A New

Specialist System: Transforming Secondary Education.

iv For more details on how the Government is building on this, please see the National Service Framework for Children

and the Government’s recent document Tackling Health Inequalities.

v For more details, see the updated Drugs Strategy 2002.

vi For more details, see Transforming Youth Work: Resourcing Excellent Youth Services, Department for Education and Skills,

2002

vii Eight underpinning programmes will achieve this by establishing a national infrastructure for PE and school sport,

raising the aspirations and performance of those with talent, improving the quality of teaching and learning,

encouraging involvement in sports leadership and volunteering, enhancing links between schools and sports clubs

and ensuring that more primary-age children can swim.

viiiTo help schools create policies that work the Government has produced guidance, a video and online support

(www.dfes.gov.uk/bullying/).

ix The toolkit is available online at www.crimereduction.gov.uk/toolkits

Every child matters – Strong Foundations 37

Consultation Questions

Views are invited on the proposals set out in this Chapter. In particular:

_ How can we improve support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children,

building on the work of the Children’s Panel?

_ How can we ensure that serious welfare concerns are appropriately dealt with

alongside criminal proceedings?

_ How can we encourage clusters of schools to work together around extended

schools?

 

Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers 39

The Government intends to put

supporting parents and carers at the

heart of its approach to improving

children’s lives. The Green Paper consults

on a long term vision to improve

parenting and family support through:

_ universal services such as schools,

health services and childcare

providing information and advice and

engaging parents in supporting their

child’s development, where such

support is needed or wanted

_ targeted and specialist support to

parents of children requiring

additional support

_ compulsory action through Parenting

Orders as a last resort where parents

are condoning a child’s anti-social

behaviour such as truancy or

offending.

All children deserve the chance to grow

up in a loving secure family. Through the

adoption modernisation programme,

local authorities are already delivering

significant increases in adoption of

looked after children. The Adoption and

Children Act 2002 will further strengthen

this programme of reform. The Green

Paper consults on measures to tackle the

recruitment and retention challenges in

foster care, and to ensure that foster

carers have the skills and support they

need to care for vulnerable children.

Why parenting matters

3.1 The bond between the child and their

parents is the most critical influence on a

child’s life. Parenting has a strong impact on

a child’s educational development,

behaviour, and mental health.

3.2 In the past, public policy has paid

insufficient attention to supporting parents

and helping families find solutions for

themselves. By bringing policy on parenting

and family support into the Department for

Education and Skills, alongside policy on

children, the Government has put it at the

heart of children’s services.

Supporting Parents

and Carers

3

Universal parenting services

3.3 Based on existing practice, the

Government would like to develop more and

better universal services, open to all families

as and when they need them. This could

include:

_ a national helpline or ’virtual advice

bureau for parents’ which would offer

immediate advice and help and would

signpost parents towards local help and

support. This could build on the

experience of the voluntary and

community organisations in delivering

such services

40 Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers

INSPIRE is a Birmingham LEA initiative which involves parents in schools and in

children’s learning in order to: build the confidence of parents and schools to work

more effectively together; increase parental involvement in literacy and numeracy

at home; and raise the literacy and numeracy standards achieved by children.

Parents, extended family members or even neighbours are invited by the child to sit

side by side with them and the teacher for practical activities such as producing a

game, song, stories, puppets or books.

More than 300 primary schools in Birmingham are involved and evidence shows

over 40,000 parents involved each year, including some groups who have been

hard to engage, such as men and some minority ethnic families.

After the first year, 73 percent of schools reported increased educational activity

in the home, and 88 percent reported increased parental understanding of the

child’s learning in the classroom.

School-Home Support is a voluntary organisation working in over 100 schools

providing school based, school-home support workers to help parents support

their children in education. In one project, two workers are employed to support in

particular Turkish and Kurdish parents across two primary schools on the border

of Islington and Hackney. They encourage parents to participate in English as a Second

Language (ESOL) classes and to take on voluntary roles within the community.

The Spokes Project is an intensive course in primary schools aimed at reducing antisocial

behaviour and improving reading skills. The first term addresses the parentchild

relationship and how to handle difficult behaviour. The second term comprises

a ten week reading programme, and the two elements are then combined in a six

week course in the third term. Children’s social behaviour is shown to have improved

as a result and their reading level increased by seven months.

_ parents’ information meetings at key

transition points in their children’s lives

(such as the move from primary to

secondary school). Led by trained peers

or professionals these would provide

information about child development,

learning and behaviour as well as direct

parents towards specific help

_ family learning programmes bringing

family members together to work and

learn on a planned activity. These

programmes focus on engaging parents

in their children’s development and offer

opportunities to increase involvement in

learning, to break down barriers between

school and parents, and act as a link to

targeted help and support

_ support programmes for fathers as

well as mothers so that all children, but

especially those who are living apart from

their fathers, develop positive

relationships with both parents

_ ensuring better communication

between parents and schools to help

support children to learn. We need to

look at opportunities for families, and

especially fathers, to become more

closely involved in school life through

parents’ associations, as school

governors, and as a result of home-school

contracts

_ childcare, early years education, social

care and schools working more closely

with parents to strengthen their

understanding of how to help their

child’s development

_ joint training on development and

behaviour issues for children’s

professionals so they can provide initial

support for parents and signpost those

with particular needs to targeted services

Specialist parenting support

3.4 In addition to services open to all

parents, there needs to be a range of tailored

help and support available for specific

groups. The Government would welcome

views on how local authorities working

closely with the voluntary, community and

private sectors can develop a menu of such

services including:

_ home visiting programmes consisting

of frequent visits to parents in the preand

post-natal period, supporting

breastfeeding and the detection and

management of post-natal depression,

which have shown significant long term

effects on child abuse and neglect, and

on injury prevention

_ parent education programmes,

targeted particularly at the parents of 5-8

year olds, where existing programmes

have been shown to have the largest

impact on children’s behaviouri. These

can involve at least six weekly sessions,

where parents are trained in behavioural

techniques

_ family group conferencing to support

families to get together and develop a

plan with an independent facilitator,

which may be triggered by child

protection or youth offending concerns

Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers 41

_ family mediation services

_ stress and relationship counselling.

3.5 Home Start currently operates 235

schemes, providing home visiting services

to one in fifty families in each area. The

Government intends to bring forward

proposals to roll out nationally this level of

targeted home visiting support provided

through Home Start. We will work with local

authorities and existing providers to identify

and overcome obstacles to making home

visiting services available more widely. In the

longer term we will consider the balance

between Home Start and the home visiting

support provided through Sure Start local

programmes and by organisations such as

Community Mothers.

3.6 In addition, it is important to provide

support to parents or carers who are facing

particular difficulties because of their, or their

children’s, circumstances and experiences.

Parent and carers of disabled children

3.7 As part of the National Service

Framework for Children (NSF), the

Government is considering how best to

support the particular needs of families with

disabled children, who require flexible

services responsive to their particular

circumstances and needs. Through the

introduction of direct payments, which

enable local authorities to give families

the funds to buy the help they need, the

Government is giving parents more choice

over how they receive services.

3.8 Parents of disabled children have not

made wide use of direct payments up to

now. Some parents have said that they do

not feel confident taking the responsibility of

using direct payments to employ staff. Some

local authorities are still reluctant to offer

direct payments. The Government wants

to see greater use of direct payments and

would welcome views on what further

action could be taken to extend the use

42 Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers

Home Start is a home visiting programme in which trained parent volunteers,

supported by paid staff, work with parents who have at least one child under five.

Volunteers offer friendship, support and practical help to families in their own

home, with a range of supporting activities including group work, outings, social

events and toy libraries.

Research into Home Start and other home visiting schemes confirms that they

produce benefits for parents and children. Home Start raises self-confidence,

improves social networks, reduces difficult behaviour on the part of the child,

and improves physical and mental health.

of direct payments by families with

disabled children.

Young carers

3.9 Another group of families who would

benefit from targeted, sensitive help are

those of young carers. There are around

150,000 young carers, a significant number

of whom provide many hours of care every

week. They may be obliged to take on quite

inappropriate levels of responsibility at the

expense of their childhood and their

education. Often the young carers will be

helped most effectively by support to their

parents, to enable them to fulfil their own

parenting role. The NSF will look at the needs

of children in special circumstances,

including young carers. As part of its teenage

pregnancy strategy, the Government is also

particularly keen to support teenage parents

back into full time education, training and

work, through providing free childcare.

Children with parents in prison

3.10 Seven percent of children during their

time at school experience the imprisonment

of a father, while every year, approximately

150,000 children have a parent who enters

custody. Prisoners’ families, including their

children, often experience increased

financial, emotional and health problems

during a sentence. 30 percent of prisoners’

children suffer significant mental health

problems, compared with 10 percent of the

general child population. During their

sentence, 45 percent of offenders lose

contact with their families, and many

separate from their partners. In the longer

term, there is a proven pattern of increased

inter-generational offending associated with

parental convictions.

3.11 There is nobody currently within

prisons or among community services with

responsibility for supporting families in

maintaining links and overcoming their

problems. Research with children has shown

that they usually want to maintain links with

their imprisoned parents, but they lack help

and encounter many obstacles, especially in

visiting prisons. A renewed focus has led to

some improvements in recent years, and a

number of schemes, mainly run by the

voluntary sector, have emerged. However,

support for the children and families of

offenders still depends largely on local will

and initiative. The Government would

welcome views on what more could be

done to improve services for this group.

Compulsory action with parents and

families

3.12 Some parents will be harder to engage

and their problems may be more entrenched.

When persistent truanting or anti-social

behaviour is condoned by parents,

compulsory action may be needed to ensure

parents meet their responsibilities. Recent

research shows that parenting programmes

can reduce reconviction rates among young

offenders by 50 percent, and that nine out of

ten parents would subsequently recommend

the programme to other parents. The Anti-

Social Behaviour White Paper sets out a series

of measures aimed at supporting parents,

building on the success of Parenting Orders.

Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers 43

3.13 The Government recognises that there

are significant constraints to increasing

family support. Over time it will be important

to ensure the increases in mainstream

spending through social services, primary

care, youth justice and education are

harnessed to improve support for parents.

In addition, the Government has introduced

a £25 million Parenting Fund to build better

support for parents and families through

the voluntary and community sector. To

reinforce this, as part of the next Spending

Review, we shall encourage local and

national funding bodies to offer longer term

funding, simplify applications processes and

streamline administrative burdens.

Improving Fostering and Adoption services

3.14 The vast majority of children will

receive safe and effective care from their

parents. Other children are less fortunate

and the state may need to intervene in

family life. The Government’s first objective

for children’s social services is to ensure that

all children are securely attached to carers

capable of providing safe and effective care

for the duration of their childhood.ii

3.15 Every child needs to feel secure within

a loving family. In practice this means strong

attachments to adults who are committed to

them long term, who support their

development and who guide their transition

through childhood to adulthood.

3.16 Most children who are looked after

eventually return home, and almost one in

three return home within eight weeks. For

children who are unable to return home

quickly, timely and purposeful decisions

must be made about where they will live in

the future. We call this planning for

permanence.

44 Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers

The Webster-Stratton parent training programme is a 13 to 16 week course

targeted at children with conduct behaviour disorders. The costs per hour of

contact with family are half those of the costs of standard clinical treatment.

The programme has resulted in a large reduction in children’s anti-social behaviour

including hitting, running away, and fighting with siblings and has significantly

reduced hyperactivity. 51 out of 67 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

now offer parent training programmes.

The Marlborough Family Service Education Unit runs a programme to tackle

barriers to learning by focusing on repeating cycles of disruptive behaviour.

Each child has measurable behavioural targets on areas such as anger and stress

management, which are rated every day by parents, class teachers and

pupils themselves.

3.17 We have to get the balance right

between attempts at rehabilitation with the

birth family and finding a permanent new

home for the child in a timescale suited to

them. The planning and review structure

outlined in the box already provides the

framework for securing this.

3.18 Permanence planning is not a matter

of simply identifying the intended

destination for a child. Services may be

provided and placements used as part of an

agreed plan to achieve permanence, without

themselves representing permanence for

the particular child.

3.19 The Government’s goal is to ensure

children benefit from high quality care

planning by:

_ encouraging early planning for

permanence by local authorities and

ensuring that all relevant placement

options are considered. Concurrent

planning may have a role here (see box

below)

_ ensuring that the different permanence

options are equally credible, including

long term fostering

_ examining how access to support

services affects a child’s placement and

permanence options

_ extending the common assessment

framework to cover the assessment of

carers. Matching children with carers who

can meet their assessed needs is a crucial

part of delivering permanence plans.

Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers 45

Care Planning and Reviews

An effective care plan will include a plan for permanence for the child, while setting

objectives for work with the child, birth family and carers in relation to the child’s

developmental needs. Care planning and reviewing is not static but rather a

process of continuous monitoring and reassessment. Review meetings provide a

forum in which to review Care Plans and to agree and record decisions in

consultation with all those who have a key interest in the child’s life, in particular

the child.

Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) have been introduced to quality assure this

process. They will chair all review meetings of looked after children, ensure the

child is involved in the review and will challenge poor practice, and any drift in

implementing the Care Plan. As a last resort the IRO will have power to refer a case

to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) which

will be able to take the case to court if a child’s human rights appear to be in

breach.

Supporting foster carers

3.20 Nearly 40,000 children are in foster care

– that is almost two thirds of the total

number of children in careiv. Foster carers

play a unique and critical role in our

communities, providing homes and care for

particularly vulnerable children. This can

range from providing a short break to a

placement for a child with particular needs,

to a family home for a child for many years.

For children with more complex needs,

therapeutic or intensive fostering may be

an appropriate option.

3.21 Larger numbers of children, with

increasingly complex needs, are coming into

care and society is demanding more than

ever before from foster carers. It is in this

context that the Government needs to

recruit and retain more foster carers.

3.22 To do this, we are seeking to provide

foster carers with the training and support

which they require to meet the needs of the

children in their care. The National Minimum

Standards for Fostering Services state clearly

that fostering services must have a clear

strategy for supporting carers, train foster

carers so that they are able to provide high

quality care, and provide foster carers with

an allowance and agreed expenses which

cover the full cost of caring for each child

placed with them. Services are being

inspected against these standards for the

first time this year, and it is already clear that

many services do not currently meet these

standards.

3.23 The best agencies take a proactive

approach to recruitment based on a clear

strategy, earmarked resources and a targeted

campaign, backed up through the provision

46 Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers

Concurrent Planning

In concurrent planning the child is placed with approved foster carers who, as well

as providing temporary care for the child, act as support to the birth parents in

helping them meet the objectives of any rehabilitation plan. The carers are also

approved as adopters so that if the rehabilitation plan is not successful the child

does not need to move and can remain in the same placement while the adoption

plan is developed and implemented.

Three projects in England that are currently using the concurrent planning model –

the Goodman Project in Manchester, the Coram Family in London and Brighton &

Hove – were the subject of an independent evaluation which found that the

children involved had fewer moves and moved faster to a permanence option.

Nearly all the placements were of single children aged under 12 months old. The

authors of the evaluation concluded that “it is possible to say with confidence that

concurrent planning worked well for the children in the study” iii.

of a large range of support services for foster

carers. They will usually provide structured

training linked to skills and a framework for

continuing development. In some cases

improved skills will be linked to higher fee

payments. We want to see all fostering

services achieve the results of the best and

over time consider how payments for skills

can contribute to retention and to the

development of quality foster care

placements.

3.24 In 2003-04 a £19.75 million Choice

Protects grant has been allocated to local

authorities to expand and strengthen their

fostering services. Work is underway to

establish a team of Choice Protects change

agents to help local authorities improve the

way they commission and provide services

for looked after children. Additionally Choice

Protects has commissioned a programme of

work to help local authorities support foster

carers and develop fostering services. These

include good practice guidelines, research,

and piloting innovative services such as

treatment foster care for the most difficult to

place children.

3.25 Through the Choice Protects

programme the Government aims to

improve the recruitment and retention of

foster carers. The Government wants to build

on this work programme further and is

seeking views on radical and imaginative

ways of encouraging people to become

foster carers and ensuring that they are

valued and recognised. This might involve:

_ a national recruitment campaign

_ encouraging more people to consider

fostering, including groups such as single

people, older people, unmarried couples

and lone parents who may not realise

they are eligible. Local partners, for

example Jobcentre Plus, could play a part

in making available information about

fostering

_ paid leave for foster carers and raising the

statutory adoption pay to 90 percent of

pay for the first six weeks of leave in line

with statutory maternity pay, to help

foster carers and adopters, where

appropriate, to balance caring with their

work. The Government is committed to

commencing a review of the duty to

consider requests for flexible working in

2006, and could consider these options at

the same time:

_ a national award scheme to

acknowledge the work of outstanding

foster carers

_ a national helpline for foster carers,

available 24 hours a day

_ support for foster carers subject to

allegations similar to that currently

provided for teachers

_ enhanced training opportunities and

rewards for developing skills to care

for children with particular difficulties

_ recognition and rewards for foster

carers who support and mentor new

foster carers

_ improved short break provision giving

foster carers a break.

Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers 47

Residential Care

3.26 Currently approximately 7,750 children

are placed in children homes, residential

schools or other types of setting away from

their families. Many of these children have

challenging and complex needs. Young

people placed in residential care are likely to

be vulnerable teenagers.

3.27 A residential care placement by itself

is unlikely to give a young person a secure

sense of attachment but it may help secure

a permanent placement. It can also be

suitable for young people who are unable

to live with their families but reject being

fostered. All homes must meet National

Minimum Standards and are inspected

regularly.

3.28 Through the Choice Protects

programme, guidance is being developed

for publication in 2004. It will help local

authorities to assess the needs of their

population, improve commissioning and

ensure better placements for children and

young people who cannot live at home.

Adoption

3.29 The Government is currently

implementing an extensive programme

designed to modernise the adoption system.

The aim of the programme is to increase

the number of vulnerable children who

benefit from a permanent family through

adoption by:

_ ensuring the child’s needs are the

paramount consideration in adoption

_ recruiting more adopters and supporting

them better

_ improving local authorities’ performance

on adoption

_ improving the efficiency and clarity of

court processes.

3.30 Already this work has contributed to a

significant increase in the number of looked

after children who are adopted. In the year

ending 31 March 2002, 3,400 looked after

children were adopted, up 25 percent in just

two years. To complete this important work,

the Government will be:

_ implementing the new approach to

adoption set out in the Adoption and

Children Act 2002

_ monitoring and evaluating the

implementation of the Adoption and

Children Act 2002 and its wider

adoption project.

48 Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers

Every child matters – Supporting Parents and Carers 49

Consultation Questions

Views are invited on the proposals set out in this Chapter. In particular:

_ How can good quality decision-making by social services in relation to achieving

permanence for the children for whom they are responsible best be achieved?

_ Building on Choice Protects, what more can we do to recruit and retain more

foster carers who are able to meet the needs of looked after children?

_ How can local authorities, working with the voluntary, community and private

sectors, develop a range of specialist parenting support services?

_ Working with local authorities and other existing providers, what steps should

the Government take to make home visiting services more widely available?

_ What further action could be taken to extend the use of direct payments by

families with disabled children?

_ What more could be done to improve services for children and families of

offenders?

i DesForges C (2003) The impact of parental involvement, parental support and family education on pupil achievement

and adjustment. (In draft for DfES.)

ii This is the first of the Government’s Objectives for Children’s Social Services (Modernising Social Services, Department

of Health, 1998)

iii The Role of Concurrent Planning: Making permanent placements for young children, Monck et al, BAAF, 2003

iv At 3 March 2002, 59,700 children were looked after, of whom 39,200 (66 percent) were in foster care.

 

Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection 51

4

Victoria Climbié came into contact with

several agencies, none of which acted on

the warning signs. No one built up the

full picture of her interactions with

different services. Children with problems

such as special educational needs, or

behavioural disorders, or suffering from

neglect, can also find that services often

come too late. This Green Paper sets out

the long term vision for how we intend

to intervene earlier. It focuses on:

_ improving information sharing

between agencies, ensuring all local

authorities have a list of children in

their area, a list of the services they

have had contact with, and the

contact details of relevant

professionals

_ establishing a common assessment

framework. The Government will

move towards a common assessment

framework across services for all

children. The aim is for core

information to follow the child

between services to reduce

duplication

_ identifying lead professionals to

take the lead on each case where

children are known to more than

one specialist agency

_ integrating professionals through

multi-disciplinary teams responsible

for identifying children at risk, and

working with the child and family to

ensure services are tailored to their

needs

_ co-locating services in and around

schools, Sure Start Children’s Centres,

and primary care settings

_ ensuring effective child protection

procedures are in place across all

organisations.

Early Intervention and

Effective Protection

Improving information collection and

sharing

4.1 The Victoria Climbié inquiry highlighted

the failure to collect basic information and

share it between agencies or across local

authority boundaries. For instance, nobody

checked whether Victoria was in school.

Despite her case coming to the attention

of various agencies on twelve occasions,

professionals made decisions based on little

information about Victoria’s previous contact

with a series of services. Judgements were

made based on separate snapshots rather

than a picture built up over time.

4.2 In many parts of the country, local

authorities are developing innovative

solutions to information sharing. In some

areas, these are based on the use of

technology to enable professionals to

register early concerns about a child’s needs,

as in Telford and Wrekin’s AWARE project,

and through the Connexions Customer

Information System.

4.3 The long term aim is to build on these

developments to integrate information

across services and ensure professionals

share concerns at an early stage. To achieve

this, we want to see a local information hub

52 Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection

Telford and Wrekin’s AWARE system brings together data from existing databases

from schools, other education services, the youth offending service, social care,

primary care trust and family protection unit and extracts and improves the quality

of non-sensitive data. Information on the child’s name, address, gender, date of

birth, and siblings and which agencies and practitioners the child is involved with

is readily and securely available to practitioners. But to protect confidentiality

unnecessary case details are not given out. The NHS number is used as a

personal identifier.

Using the latest technologies AWARE provides practitioners from all agencies with

a number of facilities to assist them in preventative work, and more integrated

provision of services:

_ level of concerns can be placed by practitioners against a child, which generate

‘traffic light’ markers allowing the level of concern to be shared across agencies,

patterns to be identified , and so on

_ practitioners are provided with a secure messaging facility between agencies

_ a ‘who’s who’ of all practitioners makes contacting them easier

_ a document library enables all practitioners to access common documents and

procedures

developed in every authority consisting of a

list of all the children living in their area and

basic details including:

_ name, address and date of birth

_ school attended or if excluded or refused

access

_ GP

_ a flag stating whether the child is known

to agencies such as education welfare,

social services, police and Youth

Offending Teams (YOTs), and if so, the

contact details of the professional dealing

with the case

_ where a child is known to more than one

specialist agency, the lead professional

who takes overall responsibility for

the case.

The information hub

4.4 An agency coming into contact with

a child would be able to check this list of

information before deciding how best

to proceed. The long term vision is that

information is stored and accessed

electronically by a range of agencies.

Such information systems will be based

on national data standards to enable the

exchange of information between local

authorities and partner agencies, and

capable of interaction with other data sets.

4.5 In order to capture fully the concerns of

a range of professionals over time, there is a

strong case for giving practitioners the ability

to flag on the system early warnings when

they have a concern about a child which in

itself may not be a trigger or meet the usual

thresholds for intervention. The decision to

place such a flag of concern on a child’s

record, which could be picked up by another

agency making a similar judgement, lies with

the practitioners.

4.6 It would be a matter of professional

judgement whether the combination of two

or more flags of minor concern warranted

some form of action. A framework for

exercising this judgement should be

developed and agreed by local agencies.

There is a balance to strike between sharing

enough information to help safeguard

children effectively and preserving

Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection 53

Children missing education in Blackpool

In Blackpool, the local education authority (LEA) has developed a system of

electronic data transfer between the LEA and all of its schools, which enables it to

locate, identify and track pupils. It operates two registers managed by a named

officer, which enable the LEA to locate children missing education: an ‘Out of

School’ register, which holds details of all pupils resident in Blackpool and known to

the LEA, but not on an education register; and a ‘Missing Children’ register, which

holds details of children who may have arrived in Blackpool from another local

authority area or left Blackpool without a named destination.

individuals’ privacy. The Government wants

to prevent situations where a child does not

receive the help they need because of too

rigid an interpretation of the privacy of the

child and their family. In order to get the

balance right, we are consulting on the

circumstances (in addition to child

protection and youth offending) under

which information about a child could or

must be shared, for preventative purposes,

without the consent of the child or their

carers. We would also welcome views on

whether warning signs should reflect factors

within the family such as imprisonment,

domestic violence, mental health or

substance misuse problems amongst

parents and carers.

4.7 Systems would hold records for every

child or young person resident in a local

authority area. This would be important in

enabling practitioners to ensure that no

54 Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection

Connexions

Children’s

Fund

Services

Sure Start

Voluntary

Sector

Primary

Health

CAMHS

Social

Care

YOT Police

Housing

Education

Welfare

Education

Psychology

Education/

Schools

Information

Hub

Figure 1

children or young people are overlooked.

Information would be updated by

practitioners in response to changes in the

child’s life. Local protocols would be in place,

reflecting national standards to ensure this

happened. Some of the changes would be

made directly to the system. Other updates

would be generated by standard alerts and

events originating from local case

management systems, but in strict

accordance with the national framework to

ensure reliable data transfer. For example, a

child without a current educational record in

the system should generate an alert. National

standards would be in place to ensure

reliable and secure exchange of data

between local authorities, including upper

and lower tier authorities.

Getting there

4.8 To take forward such information

sharing systems, the Government is:

_ providing up to £1 million to 10

‘Identification, Referral and Tracking’ (IRT)

trailblazers involving 15 local authorities

to test out approaches. We are putting in

place a central team to learn lessons and

develop a national framework for local

information sharing systems. We will have

early lessons from the trailblazers by

December 2003, and more detailed

information by late summer 2004. By the

end of 2004, we aim to set out how the

lessons from the trailblazers can be

reflected across the country. As part of

this, the Government will examine the

potential benefits and risks of introducing

ICT-based information sharing systems

and whether it is feasible to overcome

the considerable technical challenges

in this area

_ removing the legal barriers. The

Government intends to legislate at the

first opportunity to enable information

sharing to happen at an earlier stage to

prevent problems escalating. In

anticipation of legislative change, in

August 2003 we issued guidancei on

how to apply current legislation. The law

provides safeguards for individuals but

it does not prevent joint working.

Information can be shared quickly and

efficiently whenever it is necessary and

appropriate to do so. We expect local

authorities and their partners to take the

lead in establishing local information

sharing arrangements. The guidance

seeks to enable all professionals working

with children to develop a common

understanding of the legal framework to

ensure that information is properly

shared so that children can be protected.

It also provides best practice examples

of protocols and agreements that are

already in place in authorities across

the country

_ removing the technical barriers. To

ensure that different electronic systems

are able to exchange information about a

particular child securely and accurately

across local authority boundaries, the

Government plans to announce, by the

end of 2003, how it will define a single

identifying number to support electronic

Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection 55

information transfer. This could build on

the use of existing identifiers such as the

NHS number or the National Insurance

number. In addition, as part of the

national framework, the Government will

set out common data standards on the

recording of information so that data can

be transferred easily between agencies

_ removing the organisational boundaries.

The proposals set out in Chapter Five are

aimed at improving integration across

services, which should make information

sharing easier. The Government expects

local authorities and their partners to

develop and agree clear information

sharing protocols, which are

communicated actively to frontline

workers in all agencies

_ removing professional and cultural

barriers. Technical solutions alone will not

secure the changes that the Government

is seeking to achieve. Reforming

professional cultures is as important

as the development of any technical

systems. For local authorities, the

immediate aim is to facilitate an effective

dialogue between professionals from the

various services and organisations

working with children. Information

sharing should be an important element

in the common training for professionals

who come into contact with children.

As part of the move towards integrated

structures, set out in Chapter Five, it will

be important for local authorities to lead

a process of cultural change which

includes information sharing and

developing a common understanding

of terms across services. Recent guidance,

What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is

Being Abused, made it clear that

professionals must consider the risk of

not sharing information about children

with other professionals, alongside

concerns about respecting a child or

family’s right to privacy.

Immediate action

4.9 The Government is providing £100,000

to each unitary and county council in the

current year to help them develop better

information sharing between professionals.

Authorities will be expected to have

appointed a project manager or other

named individual with specific responsibility

for IRT project development and

implementation.

4.10 By the autumn, authorities are expected

to have carried out an audit of existing local

service provision and practice. This audit

should identify platforms for the further

development of information sharing

arrangements and also highlight gaps and

duplication. Local authorities and their

partners should build on the work already

being undertaken by different agencies, in

particular, the Connexions Customer

Information System being rolled out in March

2004, and the Integrated Children’s System,

due to be implemented by the end of 2005.

4.11 The recent guidance sets out a detailed

timetable for action by local authorities on

information sharing. Further details are set

out in an Appendix to this document. The

56 Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection

project manager will take responsibility for

developing the minimum requirements and,

in the longer term, they could be in charge

of developing a list of children in the area,

ensuring that paper or electronic filing

systems enable practitioners to know which

children are known to multiple services, or

pursuing cases where children enter or leave

their area.

4.12 Technical developments are only part

of the picture. The Government is keen to

ensure information can be shared more

effectively in advance of technical

developments. As part of this, we would

be interested in views on how to ensure

effective transfer of information across

boundaries. For instance, it will be important

to ensure effective procedures so that

housing departments, which may be the first

service to identify a family moving between

or within local authority areas, work

effectively with education, social services

and other agencies to ensure service delivery

is seamless.

Common assessment framework

4.13 Children may receive many

assessments during their childhood. Health

visiting teams make assessments of health

and development in early childhood. All

children receive a baseline assessment in the

first year of primary school and secondary

schools are increasingly introducing

individual learning plans. Children who are

referred to other services also receive

assessments from social services,

Connexions, Youth Offending Teams,

education psychologists and others.

4.14 Reform is needed to tackle two

weaknesses:

_ children with multiple needs may be

subject to multiple assessments by

different people, each collecting similar

information but using different

professional terms and categories. The

core information does not follow the

child. This is not only an inefficient use of

resources, but also alienating for the child

and family who have to tell the same

story to several professionals but may

receive little practical help as a result

_ some frontline services, such as the

police, schools and health, may refer

children to social services without a

preliminary assessment of the child’s

needs. As a result, social services may be

overwhelmed with inappropriate cases,

and children and families may undergo

initial assessments unnecessarily.

Frontline professionals such as pastoral

staff in schools, who may already have

trusting relationships with the child or

parent, may be in a better position to

discuss initial concerns with a child or

parent, and work with them over time,

than a social worker with whom the

family has had no previous contact.

4.15 In several areas, services have

developed effective ways of combatting

these challenges through a common

assessment framework, as in North

Lincolnshire.

Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection 57

4.16 To develop this approach further, the

Government will lead work to develop a

common assessment framework. This will

draw on the current framework for the

assessment of children in need and their

families, which is used by social services;

the Connexions Assessment, Planning,

Implementation and Review System; the

58 Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection

The North Lincolnshire Common Assessment is used by any professional coming

into contact with a child. The aim is for all services to take responsibility for

identifying children’s needs before referring vague concerns or value based

judgements to other services.

The simple assessment has been designed to be completed in around one hour.

Many teachers and other school staff find the assessment a useful tool to identify

the real needs of a child about whom they are concerned. Rather than purely

arranging specialist educational support for a child who is struggling at school, the

assessment identifies all the child’s needs, not just the educational ones, which may

require intervention. The views of the parent/carer and the child are sought where

appropriate.

The advantages of using a common assessment framework across agencies are:

_ referrals are appropriate. During the pilot phase, child concern referrals to social

services dropped by 64 percent – in many cases this was due to other agencies

taking responsibility for addressing the child’s needs themselves. Previously, the

police made 50-60 referrals to social services per month. Now the figure is 8-9.

This means social services provide more services rather than simply dealing with

unnecessary referrals

_ children and families do not have to repeat their information to different

professionals as the assessment process is the same, irrespective of which

agency the child and family go to for help

_ services are provided more promptly and coherently as professionals trust one

another’s assessment of need as it has been made using agreed ‘common’

indicators of need about what is required by a child and their family

_ assessments are triggered when a concern about a child is raised, rather than

when the child reaches a crisis point

_ if any further assessments are required, these then build upon the Common

Assessment, rather than duplicate it.

Youth Justice Board’s Asset tool; the SEN

code of practice; and assessments

conducted by health visitors. It will look at

the extent to which the North Lincolnshire

model of assessments can be rolled out, with

responsibility being more firmly embedded

in universal services. It will also look at how

children can be an active part of the

assessment process, and how assessment

can identify strengths and opportunities as

well as needs and risks. In the light of views

expressed during the consultation period,

the Government will set up a team to draw

up and develop a common assessment

framework by March 2004 with a view to

introduction by September 2004.

4.17 As well as reducing unnecessary

assessment, the process of developing and

using a common assessment framework will

have a critical role to play in the drive to

improve inter-professional relationships.

It will underpin and be reinforced by the

structural and workforce reforms set out

in Chapters Five and Six.

Lead professional

4.18 Children may be in contact with more

than one specialist service at a time. For

instance, a child may be truanting, offending,

and suffering from abuse at home, and may

have special educational needs. As a result,

children can receive services that risk

duplicating or cutting across each other.

4.19 The creation of Connexions was

designed to ensure that, for those aged

13-19, there is a single professional

co-ordinating services for the individual,

providing some continuity over time to

develop trust. Behaviour and Education

Support Teams, learning mentors, and

activities funded by the Children’s Fund also

involve developing a ‘key worker’ to coordinate

support. In social services, a key

worker is allocated to children on the child

protection register and looked after children.

Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection 59

By pooling resources with Connexions, Liverpool leaving care service has nearly

doubled the number of its young people entering employment, training or

education. In 1999 30% of 18 year old care leavers were either in jobs, studying

or training for qualifications. By September 2002 this had risen to nearly 57%.

The CLICS project is a partnership between Liverpool leaving care service and

Connexions with three Connexions Personal Advisers working as part of the

Leaving care team. Working together, the project ensures contact is maintained

with young people and helps to put in place tailored training and learning

opportunities.

4.20 The Government would welcome

views on how to improve case management

more widely than through these sorts of

targeted programmes. As a basic minimum,

we would like to ensure that where a child is

known to more than one specialist service,

there is a designated ‘lead professional’ who

would co-ordinate service provision. The lead

professional would provide the basis for the

development of much more effective

information sharing to support service

delivery.

4.21 For most children, the lead professional

role may be best fulfilled by someone from

the service that has the most contact with

the child day to day (school based staff from

school age, Connexions personal advisers

from age 13-19, and social workers for looked

after children). For a child with complex

needs, a more specialist service might

host the lead professional role. Family

circumstances would dictate whether it is

more appropriate for siblings to have the

same or a different key worker.

4.22 The lead professional could also act

as the ‘gatekeeper’ for information

sharing systems highlighted above. Other

professionals could have partial access but

only the lead professional would be aware

of the detail. It could be the lead professional

who would make a judgement about

whether, taken together, the early warnings

logged by different practitioners merited

intervention.

Multi-disciplinary teams

4.23 Common assessments and information

sharing will be a major step forward but

further integration is also needed. Children

could still be faced with a series of different

professionals who work in different offices to

different managers, rather than one trusted

adult providing continuity of support.

Referrals between agencies could still lead

to misunderstandings and delays.

4.24 These more fundamental challenges

need to be addressed through different ways

of working, which integrate education, social

care and health services around the needs

of children rather than providers. Based on

current best practice such as that developed

in Youth Offending Teams, the goal is to

move towards multi-disciplinary teams that

bring together the relevant professionals

who can work together in places easily

accessible to children and families.

4.25 Professionals and para-professionals

will increasingly work alongside each other

in the same teams. Teams must have a

structure which enables professionals within

them to have both continuous professional

development and the appropriate clinical

and professional governance, with clear lines

of professional accountability. This should

ensure that multi-disciplinary teams are able

to benefit from a wide range of professionals

working together, without losing the

advantages of those professionals’ individual

specialisms.

60 Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection

Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection 61

The Multi Agency Preventative (MAP) Project, Tower Hamlets addresses

emotional and behavioural problems amongst Bangladeshi pupils in secondary

schools, targeting particularly those at risk of becoming aggressive, disaffected,

isolated or depressed, and girls at risk of self-harming. The project is a joint

intervention between health, social services, education and the voluntary sector,

and employs a range of staff including clinical psychologists, youth workers,

community resource officers and social workers. The project offers solution-focused

counselling, school based therapeutic support groups, and optional recreational

activities including residential programmes during school holidays, aimed at raising

the young person’s self-esteem. Various awareness raising initiatives are taken to

involve, educate and inform parents and carers and members of the Bangladeshi

community about meeting the needs of children at risk of emotional and

behavioural problems.

Manchester BEST. Manchester LEA has used funding from the Behaviour

Improvement Programme (BIP) to establish four multi-agency Behaviour and

Education Support Teams (BESTs) to work across clusters of schools consisting

of a target secondary school and its main associated primaries where there are

high numbers of children with emotional and behavioural needs.

One such cluster includes Ducie High School, where the team is located in the

school, providing easy access to a range of specialist services. The team at Ducie

encompasses an education welfare officer, a family intervention worker from social

services, an educational psychologist, a play worker (brought in specifically to

address a problem with behaviour during playtimes), and two behaviour support

workers. Through the BIP in Manchester, CAMHS offers support (and training) to

schools. Protocols are in place so that BIP pupils can access specialist mental health

services when needed. The team operates on a number of levels, supporting not

only the needs of individual pupils and their families, but also the wider school

community through group intervention work, staff training and surgeries, and

emotional literacy programmes. Family work is a strong feature of Manchester

BESTs. Early indications show that the team has already had an impact in terms of

faster successful case closures. There have also been improvements in exclusion,

attendance and crime figures.

4.26 Over time, professionals and nonprofessionals

might increasingly work

together in different types of teams,

involving some or all of:

_ health visitors

_ GPs

_ social workers

_ education welfare officers

_ youth and community workers

_ Connexions personal advisers

_ education psychologists

_ children’s mental health professionals

_ speech and language therapists and

other allied health professionals

_ young people’s substance misuse

workers

_ learning mentors and school

support staff

_ school nurses

_ home visitors, volunteers and mentors

_ statutory and voluntary homelessness

agencies

4.27 The multi-disciplinary teams would use

the common assessment framework

described earlier. They would be responsible

for ensuring children’s needs are met

effectively. This would involve:

_ identifying children at risk, or receiving

referrals and self-referrals

_ contacting and engaging children and

their families and gaining their trust

_ working with the child and family to

develop an individual action plan setting

out the key goals agreed with the child and

the parents, and the resources that would

be harnessed to support these goals

_ either providing services from within

the team or brokering support from

mainstream and specialist services

Co-location around schools, Sure Start

Children’s Centres, and primary care

4.28 There is a strong case for basing multidisciplinary

teams in and around the places

where many children spend much of their

time, such as schools and Sure Start

Children’s Centres, and also primary care

centres. This would promote self-referral

into services and enable children’s social

workers and other professionals to engage in

dialogue with teaching and school support

62 Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection

The benefits of co-location. Mayday University Hospital, Croydon, has two

children’s social services teams on site, providing a comprehensive assessment

social work function for children and their families who are resident in Croydon

and are receiving as inpatients or outpatients services from the hospital, and a

proactive liaison/assessment role with other authorities for children who are

inpatients at the hospital.

staff. Embedding targeted services within

universal settings can ensure more rapid

support without the delay of formal referral,

and enable frontline professionals to seek

help and advice. Developing networks across

universal and specialist professionals can

strengthen inter-professional relationships

and trust.

4.29 Co-location requires considerable local

flexibility as the opportunities and barriers

differ depending on local geography. While

a shift towards more school based services

is sensible, other settings, such as

neighbourhood based services, will still be

important, particularly in re-engaging young

people who have left school at 16 and are

not in education or training.

4.30 The previous Chapter noted how

clusters of schools can work together to:

_ deploy multi-disciplinary teams

collectively, to assess and address needs,

for example providing advice and

support on special educational needs,

and being able to refer on to more

specialist services where necessary

_ help retain within the school system

children who might otherwise be

excluded, or help reintegrate children

and young people who have been

outside the school system

_ provide pastoral support to all children,

with key worker support to those

needing a range of services such as

disabled children

_ provide access to personal development

opportunities, including through

partnership with statutory and voluntary

youth services and Connexions.

4.31 It would be possible to develop from

the current model in which multi-agency

teams support a cluster of schools, as in the

Behaviour Improvement Programme, to one

in which a cluster of schools and education

institutions including pupil referral units,

early years’ settings, Sure Start, further

education colleges and Connexions, might

choose to take responsibility for offering

multi-disciplinary services to all children in

their area. With appropriate administrative

and management support, such

arrangements might better meet the full

range of children’s needs. Focusing on a

particular area or cluster of settings can

ensure services are more rooted in a

community, particularly if, as in Sure Start

local programmes, the governance

arrangements encourage community

involvement.

4.32 The Government would also be

interested in how such multi-disciplinary

teams can make better use of information

to prioritise particular groups of children.

For instance, they could ensure that children

who are truanting or are living in temporary

accommodation and known to social

services have an effective package of

support, or potentially focus on the children

not achieving expected results at key stages.

Effective targeting can be supported not

only by formal data but also informal

Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection 63

relationships with professionals and the local

community.

Effective protection

4.33 The Victoria Climbié Inquiry and the

Joint Chief Inspectors’ reports on

safeguarding children identified a number

of problems with the current system for

safeguarding children. They also showed

how to move towards a better children’s

safeguards system, where child protection

services are not separate from support for

families, but are part of the spectrum of

services provided to help and support

children and families.

4.34 The Government has already begun

to take action. In May 2003, we issued a

booklet called What To Do If You’re Worried A

Child Is Being Abused. This booklet is designed

to help people to protect children more

effectively.

4.35 The Government is publishing

alongside this Green Paper its detailed

response to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry

Report and the Joint Chief Inspectors’ report

on safeguarding services. The Victoria

Climbié Inquiry Report made clear that the

statutory framework covering child

protection is sound but work was needed to

ensure this was effectively delivered. The

next Chapters set out how the barriers to

implementing effective child protection

procedures will be addressed through:

_ clear practice standards across services,

setting out what should be done in

relation to child protection

_ shared responsibility across all agencies

for protecting children through new

statutory duties

_ someone in charge locally with statutory

responsibilities for child protection and

co-ordinating the work of social services,

police, housing, education, and other key

services

_ an inspection system that assesses how

well agencies work together to create an

effective system of protection

_ workforce reform to ensure all people

working with children are trained in

child protection.

4.36 These changes will tackle the long

term weaknesses in the system. However,

the response document sets out the

immediate steps the Government is taking in:

_ revising and shortening the existing

range of Children Act 1989 Regulations

and Guidance

_ auditing safeguarding children activity

of local authorities with social services

responsibilities, NHS bodies and

police forces

_ raising the priority of safeguarding

children amongst all relevant

agencies/organisations.

64 Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection

Every child matters – Early Intervention and Effective Protection 65

Consultation Questions

Views are invited on the information sharing proposals set out in this Chapter.

In particular:

_ What currently gets in the way of effective information sharing, and how can we

remove the barriers?

_ What should be the thresholds and triggers for sharing information about

a child?

_ What are the circumstances (in addition to child protection and youth offending)

under which information about a child could or must be shared without the

consent of the child or their carers?

_ Should information on parents and carers, such as domestic violence,

imprisonment, mental health or drug problems, be shared?

_ How can we ensure that no children slip through the system?

_ What issues might stand in the way of effective information transfer across

local authority boundaries?

_ Should a unique identifying number be used?

_ Views are also invited on the proposals relating to multi-disciplinary teams:

_ What are the barriers to developing them further in a range of settings?

_ How can we ensure multi-disciplinary teams have greater leverage over

mainstream and specialist services?

i IRT: Guidance on Information Sharing can be found online at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/publications/keys.html.

 

Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally 67

The Government’s aim is that there

should be one person in charge locally

and nationally with the responsibility for

improving children’s lives. Key services

for children should be integrated within a

single organisational focus at both levels.

To achieve this the Government will:

_ legislate to create the post of Director

of Children’s Services, accountable

for local authority education and

children’s social services

_ legislate to create a lead council

member for children

_ in the long term, integrate key

services for children and young

people under the Director of

Children’s Services as part of

Children’s Trusts. These bring

together local authority education

and children’s social services, some

children’s health services, Connexions,

and can include other services such as

Youth Offending Teams. Children’s

Trusts will normally be part of the

local authority and will report to local

elected members

_ require local authorities to work

closely with public, private and

voluntary organisations to improve

outcomes for children. Local

authorities will be given flexibility

over how this partnership working is

undertaken

_ in relation to child protection, require

the creation of Local Safeguarding

Children Boards as the statutory

successors to Area Child Protection

Committees.

To support local integration, the

Government has created a new Minister

for Children, Young People and Families

in the Department for Education and

Accountability and

Integration – Locally,

Regionally and Nationally

5

Skills to co-ordinate policies across

Government.

The Government will encourage joining

up locally by:

_ ensuring children are a priority across

services. Local bodies such as the

police and health organisations will,

subject to consultation, have a new

duty to safeguard children, promote

their well-being and work together

through these partnership

arrangements. We also intend to give

local authorities a duty to promote the

educational achievement of children

in care

_ setting out clear practice standards

expected of each agency in relation

to children

_ rationalising performance targets,

plans, funding streams, financial

accountability and indicators

_ creating an integrated inspection

framework for children’s services.

Ofsted will take the lead in bringing

together joint inspection teams. This

will ensure services are judged on how

well they work together

_ creating an improvement and

intervention function to drive up

performance by sharing effective

practice, and intervening where

services are failing.

Real service improvement is only

attainable through involving children and

young people and listening to their

views. This Chapter sets out proposals for

a new Children’s Commissioner to act as

an independent champion.

The case for change

Local fragmentation

5.1 Children’s needs are complex and rarely

fit neatly within one set of organisational

boundaries. For instance, a child with

behavioural problems due to parental

neglect may be considered a child with

special educational needs by the LEA, a ‘child

in need’ by social services, or having a

‘conduct disorder’ by a child and adolescent

mental health team. If the child truants, they

may come into contact with the education

welfare service, and if they offend they will

come into contact with the police and the

Youth Offending Team. The categories

around which services are organised are

overlapping, fluid and, in some cases,

blurred.

5.2 The fragmentation of responsibilities for

children leads to problems such as:

_ information not being shared between

agencies and concerns not being passed

on. As a result children may slip through

the net or receive services only when

problems become severe

_ a child may receive assessments from

different agencies which duplicate

rather than complement each other

_ several professionals may be in contact

with a child over time but no single

person provides continuity or

co-ordinates services

68 Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally

_ several agencies spend some money

on the child rather than one agency

spending an appropriate amount on

a co-ordinated package of support

_ services may disagree about whether the

child falls into their categories and may

try to pass on difficult cases to other

organisations

_ professionals and services may be based

in different locations rather than

co-located. Co-location can make services

more accessible to users, improve

inter-professional relationships and

ways of working

_ services are planned and commissioned

to focus on one particular objective –

such as childcare, truancy, or family

abuse. Planning services in the round can

enable a better response to support the

child and better value for money. Joint

commissioning can enable the creation

of services that deliver multiple dividends

such as Children’s Centres and extended

schools.

5.3 In this country, and internationally, new

institutional arrangements are emerging that

break down existing organisational

boundaries. For instance, some local

authorities, such as Hertfordshire, Wiltshire,

and Brighton & Hove have merged children’s

social services and education to form

children, schools and families departments.

In other countries, institutions that integrate

services around the child are also emerging,

such as Children and Families Services

Authorities in Canada, and the Family and

Community Trust in Missouri.

National fragmentation

5.4 An underlying cause of local

fragmentation is conflicting messages and

incentives at national level. Organisations are

exhorted to work together but the targets,

plans and inspection regimes focus on how

institutions work in isolation.

5.5 This analysis is not new. It accords with

the messages set out in Serving Children Well,

which was published jointly by the Local

Government Association (LGA), Association

of Directors of Social Services (ADSS),

Association of Chief Education Officers

(ACEO), Confed and the NHS Confederation.

It also fits with the analysis in the Victoria

Climbié Inquiry Report. However, while the

problem has long been recognised, the scale

of the problem has historically not been

matched by proportionate solutions.

Vision

5.6 We want to move to a system locally

and nationally where there is:

_ clear overall accountability for services

for children, young people and families

_ integration of key services around the

needs of children, in particular, education,

social care, health, youth justice, and

Connexions.

5.7 To achieve better outcomes for children

and young people, the Government wants to

move to a system where the key services and

budgets for children and young people are

placed within a single organisational focus

Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally 69

locally. As a first step, the Government is

committed to tackling the critical boundary

between children’s social services and

education. The majority of spending on

children’s services by local authorities is

within these two departments. Improving

key outcomes such as the education of

children in care, or life chances for disabled

children, is particularly dependent on

integration across education and social

services.

5.8 The Government intends to legislate at

the next available opportunity to require all

local authorities to appoint a Director of

Children’s Services. The Director would be

accountable for education and social services

and for overseeing services for children

delegated to the local authority by other

services. The current legislation requiring the

appointment of a Chief Education Officer

and a Director of Social Services will be

amended to reflect this. We expect that in

time this will lead to a single Children’s

Department in most authorities, although

we will not require it. Councils will still

be required to ensure accountability

arrangements are in place for social services

functions for adults.

5.9 In legislating to require the appointment

of a Director of Children’s Services, the

Government will ensure that there is

sufficient flexibility for all local authorities to

make this change in a way which fits their

local circumstances, minimises disruption

and maintains service standards.

5.10 Legislation will enable authorities to

make such appointments straight away, and

will require that they all do so in due course.

Authorities will be expected to set up clear

transitional arrangements which secure as

soon as possible an appropriate single point

of accountability for children’s services. This

may involve those who currently have the

role of, for example, Chief Executive or

current Chief Education Officers or Directors

of Social Services. The responsibilities of the

Director of Children’s Services must include

children’s social services and education but

need not be limited to these services: the

Director may also be responsible, for

example, for housing or leisure services.

The key is that there should be one person

in charge of children’s services and clarity

at all times as to who that person is.

We also intend to legislate to introduce a

duty on local authorities to promote the

educational achievement of children in care.

This duty could be exercised through the

Director of Children’s Services.

5.11 In addition to clearer accountability

at official level, the Government will also

legislate to create a lead council member

for children.

5.12 The Government’s long term vision

is to integrate key services within a single

organisational focus. The preferred model for

achieving this integration is Children’s

Trusts. Most areas should have Trusts by 2006.

5.13 Children’s Trusts go beyond children,

families and schools departments by

including children’s health services (through

70 Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally

Section 31 of the Health Act 1999). Trusts

may also include other services such as

Connexions and Youth Offending Teams.

Children’s Trusts will normally sit within the

local authority and report to the Director of

Children’s Services who will report through

the Chief Executive to elected members.

5.14 The key services that should be within

the Trust are:

_ local education authority – potentially

all education functions, including the

education welfare service, youth service,

special educational needs and

educational psychology, childcare and

early years education, and school

improvement

_ children’s social services – including

assessment and services for children in

need such as family support, foster and

residential care, adoption services,

childcare, advocacy services and child

protection, and services for care leavers

_ Community and acute health services –

such as community paediatrics, services

commissioned by Drug Action Teams,

teenage pregnancy co-ordinators, and

locally commissioned and provided Child

and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

They could also include speech and

language therapy, health visiting and

occupational therapy services concerned

with children and families. Primary Care

Trusts will be able to delegate functions

into the Children’s Trust, and will be able

to pool funds with the local authority.

Other services which may be part of the

Trust include:

_ Youth Offending Teams – multidisciplinary

teams working with young

people and their families to prevent

offending

_ Connexions Service – multi-agency

information, advice and guidance service

for 13-19s.

5.15 Children’s Trusts will commission

services and may provide them directly or

contract with public, private or voluntary

sector organisations. Staff providing the

services may be seconded into the Trust

or transferred.

Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally 71

Sheffield Children’s Trust

The Sheffield Children’s Trust will be a whole systems approach – to commission

and provide services to all 0-19 year olds in the city. Partners will share aims,

objectives and key indicators, which focus the Trust on children and their families.

The Trust will include Connexions, leisure and housing in the partnership.

A common assessment process has already been developed and agreed. There

are mechanisms to involve children and families in the development of services.

The Sheffield Children’s Trust will develop extended schools and many services

will be delivered around these schools.

What will be the key features of Children’s

Trusts?

5.16 Children’s Trusts will have the following

core features:

_ clear short and long term objectives

covering the five Green Paper outcome

areas of: enjoying and achieving, staying

safe, being healthy, making a positive

contribution, and economic well-being

_ a Director of Children’s Services in overall

charge of delivering these outcomes and

responsible for services within the Trust

and co-ordination of services outside the

organisation

_ a single planning and commissioning

function supported by pooled budgets.

This would involve developing an overall

picture of children’s needs within an area,

and developing provision through public,

private, voluntary and community

providers to respond to those needs. The

Trust should involve children and families

in putting together the picture of their

needs and in designing the services to

meet those needs. It would also involve

developing arrangements for pooled

budgets through a Section 31

agreement.

5.17 The integration of objectives, planning

and commissioning through Children’s Trusts

is designed to achieve the integration of

frontline service provision as outlined in the

previous Chapter. This is expected to include:

_ co-located services such as Children’s

Centres and extended schools

_ multi-disciplinary teams and a key

worker system

_ a common assessment framework across

services

_ information sharing systems across

services so that warning signs are

aggregated, and children’s outcomes

are measured over time

_ joint training with some identical

modules so that staff have a single

message about key policies and

procedures such as a child protection

and can learn about each other’s roles

and responsibilities

_ effective arrangements for safeguarding

children

_ arrangements for addressing interface

issues with other services, such as services

for parents with mental health problems.

5.18 The move to Children’s Trusts is an

ambitious agenda. The pace of change will

need to vary according to local

circumstances, particularly given that health

services and Connexions Partnerships are

often not coterminous with local authorities,

which could add to the complexity of the

transition. It will be essential to manage

change so that standards of practice and

care are not disrupted.

5.19 As set out above, the Government

expects localities to develop a change

programme for implementing the framework

set out in the Green Paper. As a minimum,

PCTs will be asked to ensure that the

relevant sections of their delivery plans in

72 Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally

relation to children are agreed with the

Director of Children’s Services. Delegation of

commissioning and the transfer of budgets is

the preferred model. Partnership working on

children’s services is an integral part of the

agreement that PCTs reach with Strategic

Health Authorities as part of the performance

management system.

5.20 The Government is also keen to see a

closer integration of the services provided by

education welfare services, Children’s Fund,

Connexions, Youth Service, learning mentors,

and Behaviour and Education Support

Teams. The total resource going into these

services is over £1 billion.

5.21 The Government wants Connexions

to play a full part in Children’s Trusts.

To reinforce this, the Government will,

through Connexions business planning

guidance from 2005:

_ ask Connexions Partnerships to use

Children’s Trusts, where appropriate, as

their local management committees. This

will give Trusts an influence over the use

of resource for the local authority area.

The amount of Connexions resource for

each local authority area should be

clearly identified by the Partnership

_ expect that Connexions business plans

should be signed off by local Children’s

Trusts before Ministers will agree them.

However, because of the way that

Connexions is administered, the

Connexions Partnership Chief Executive

will have the final say in the plan that is

submitted and Ministers would have

discretion to sign off plans without

agreement by Children’s Trusts to avoid

disputes blocking the delivery of

Connexions.

How Children’s Trusts will relate to other

organisations

5.22 Children’s Trusts will integrate the

functions of many key organisations that

come into contact with children, young

people and families. But some public sector

organisations will remain outside the Trust,

such as the police, the Learning and Skills

Council, some health functions, and housing

departments. Trusts will need to develop

close relationships with a network of private,

voluntary and community sector

organisations.

5.23 The Government intends to legislate to

ensure co-operation between local

authorities and other public, private and

voluntary organisations to improve

outcomes for children. We intend to allow

flexibility over how this partnership working

is undertaken. In many areas, this may

involve building on the existing Children

and Young People’s Strategic Partnerships.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards

5.24 One area that requires wider

partnership than Children’s Trusts is the

safeguarding of children. This is currently

managed through Area Child Protection

Committees (ACPCs). The Joint Chief

Inspectors’ report Safeguarding Children

notes that these arrangements are not

working well in some areas. This has been

because of the low priority given to

Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally 73

safeguarding children by some of the bodies

involved. This can manifest itself in lack of

resources for child protection and lack of

senior management commitment. ACPCs

have often had limited influence on strategic

planning and the allocation of resources.

5.25 The Government therefore intends to

legislate to ensure that local authorities have

a duty to set up Local Safeguarding Children

Boards consisting of representatives from the

partner agencies, including housing, health,

police and probation services. Local

Safeguarding Children Boards will co-ordinate

the functions of all partner agencies in

relation to safeguarding children. These

boards will replace current ACPCs and we

expect that they will be chaired by the

Director of Children’s Services.

5.26 The role of the Local Safeguarding

Children Boards might include agreeing the

contribution each agency will make to

achieving the joint aim of safeguarding

children and deciding how any pooled funds

should be allocated. Local Safeguarding

Children Boards may have responsibility for

current ACPC responsibilities as set out in

Working Together to Safeguard Children

(1999). In addition they could commission

independent serious case reviews, and

manage a service to look at unexpected

child deaths to decide which need serious

case reviews, and draw out any public health

lessons.

Regional arrangements

5.27 Government Offices for the Regions

represent Government in the regions. They

represent ten Departments and work to

deliver central policies in a way that is

responsive to local communities.

Government Offices already support

programmes for children and young people,

for example, neighbourhood renewal,

Connexions, Sure Start and Children’s Fund.

Government Offices co-ordinate this work

through Children’s Groups (GOCG), bringing

together the various interests and activities

that support delivery on the ground to

ensure coherence. We will examine how

central Government can use regional

arrangements to support more effectively

the delivery of services for children and

families.

National arrangements

5.28 Key causes of fragmentation locally are

separate targets, planning requirements,

funding streams, and inspection systems

nationally. Where localities attempt to join

up services – for instance across the local

education authority and children’s social

services – central Government still expects

them to account for money separately, and

separate inspectorates assess them, even if

operationally services are integrated, and

outcomes mutually reinforcing.

5.29 The Government is committed to

supporting integration locally and

encouraging all services to give priority to

safeguarding children. A start has been made

in this direction through the move towards

joint inspections, but more needs to be done.

5.30 The Government has announced the

integration of national policy for children and

74 Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally

young people within the Department for

Education and Skills, with a new Minister

for Children, Young People and Families.

These changes bring together policy on

children’s social services, teenage pregnancy,

family and parenting law and support, and

family policy with education. By putting

children’s services together within a single

department and strengthening co-ordination

arrangements across Government, the

Government is putting children at the heart

of policy development and service delivery

and ensuring better integration. The Minister

will work with a board of stakeholders,

including local government and the

voluntary sector, to improve the delivery

and cohesiveness of Government policy

on children and young people.

5.31 This single focus will ensure integrated

policy development and unified national

leadership to develop:

_ a standard setting mechanism within the

Department for Education and Skills,

charged with removing barriers to

effectiveness and reducing the

bureaucratic burden of overlapping

planning requirements, standards and

guidance

_ an integrated inspection framework and

lead inspectorate for children to ensure

services are judged on how well they

work together

_ an intervention and improvement

mechanism to drive up performance

everywhere, and intervene in areas where

national standards are not being met.

Standard setting

5.32 The Government intends to create a

standard setting mechanism that would set

out the outcomes and practice standards

expected of localities. This will build on the

standards for health and social care that will

be set out in the National Service Framework

for Children to be published next year. The

standard setting mechanism should set out

what is expected of different agencies in

terms of contributing to children’s outcomes,

including child protection. This function will

need to work with Departments across

Whitehall to simplify the performance

management system for children’s services.

This will involve:

_ rationalisation of targets to create fewer

targets that are more complementary

across services and are focused on core

outcomes

_ streamlining planning requirements,

building on reforms already undertaken

such as the creation of a single Education

Plan for LEAs by April 2006

_ rationalisation of the number of funding

streams for children’s services through

the next Spending Review process

_ ensuring national guidance on service

standards is clear.

5.33 The Government will continue to work

with others to ensure child protection is a

priority across agencies including the police

and health services. The Government has

brought safeguarding within the framework

of clinical governance through the new

Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally 75

National Service Framework hospital

standard, following the recommendations

of Lord Laming. Child protection is included

in the National Policing Plan. This plan is

currently under review and the new plan

will be published in November 2003.

5.34 The Government has already

introduced a new duty under the Education

Act 2002 on local education authorities,

schools and further education institutions to

underpin and reinforce the priority given to

safeguarding and protecting children. Under

the Act, LEAs and the governing bodies of

schools and FE institutions will be required to

make arrangements to carry out their

functions with a view to safeguarding and

promoting the welfare of children, and to

have regard to guidance issued by the

Secretary of State in drawing up those

arrangements. The new duty will come into

force on 1 April 2004. DfES will issue new

guidance to assist with implementation.

5.35 In addition, we intend, subject to

consultation, to place a duty on all relevant

local bodies (e.g. such as the police and

health organisations) in exercising their

normal functions, to have regard to

safeguarding children, promoting their

well-being and working together through

the local partnership arrangements.

Inspection

5.36 The Government is committed to

ensuring inspection captures how well

services work together to improve children’s

lives within a framework that is consistent

with the recommendations of the recent

Office for Public Services Reform review.

To do this, we intend to create an integrated

inspection framework across children’s

services. Ofsted will take the lead in

developing a framework for integrated

inspections in consultation with Commission

for Social Care Improvement, Commission for

Health Improvement (CHI) and the Audit

Commission. Where appropriate, they will

bring together joint teams to carry out areabased

inspections of education, social

services, Connexions, youth services and

child health services and drawing on the

work of other inspectorates such as Her

Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, and

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation.

5.37 The inspection framework would cover

the quality of provision, training of staff,

outcomes achieved, management capacity,

accountability arrangements and the value

for money of services overall. Services would

be assessed on how well they worked

together to meet overall objectives for

children, as well as on how well they met

their own objectives.

5.38 Inspections would lead to a published

report which would assess and give a rating

for the quality of provision overall, as well as

service by service, and also the quality of

joint working such as information sharing

and multi-disciplinary teams. The report

would be sent to those responsible for all the

services involved in the area, and (in respect

of local authority services) feed into the

Comprehensive Performance Assessment

(CPA). The Government will discuss with the

Audit Commission and others how best to

76 Every child matters – Accountability and Integration – Locally, Regionally and Nationally

ensure that these new arrangements are

reflected in the revisions to the CPA due in

2005. We would welcome views on the best

way to achieve effective integrated

inspection of this sort.

5.39 We would expect the Director of

Children’s Services to take the lead in

drawing together a combined action plan in

response to the inspection, which would be

a useful basis from which to create or extend

a Trust to improve the standards and

co-ordination of services.

5.40 An integrated inspection framework

would be a powerful force to secure genuine

integration of local authority services under

the new Director of Children’s Services, and

to encourage a quicker move to Trusts

bringing together health and other services.

The integrated framework would build upon<