Advocates, babies and asylum seekers

7 June 2016

MORE THAN half of children in care don’t know they are entitled to an advocate to provide them with an independent voice and support, according to a new report from the Children’s Commissioner.  While 90% of local authorities provide advocacy, the budget varied widely between £668 and just £2 a head, the report said. More than a quarter provided no access to non-instructed advocacy for those children who have no communication means to request an advocate.

SERVICES DESIGNED to identify and look after the mental health needs of babies are virtually non-existent, claims a new campaign by the NSPCC. In its case for change the Society says that improving infant mental health is one of the most cost-effective ways of boosting the mental and physical health of the nation as a whole. Foster carers need specialist support so that they can meet the needs of every child they care for. Crucially this includes a good theoretical understanding of attachment theory and the ability to translate this into practice, it says.

BBC News reports that some councils are unwilling to accept unaccompanied child refugees who are expected to be resettled around the UK from July. They say that the cost of accommodating the refugee children being placed under the government’s official transfer scheme is not going to be fully met by the government, leading to a significant funding gap.

The University of Manchester reported that  145 people under the age of 25 committed suicide between January 2014 and April 2015. Of these five were children in care while a further three had previously been in care.

Author and care leaver Jenny Molloy wrote a response to the social worker at the centre of Channel 4 Dispatches programme. The programme failed to expose any real abuse and gave children in care yet another reason to distrust adults, she claimed.

Meanwhile a four day conference on childhood trauma kicked off in Melbourne Australia on Monday prompting a flurry on Twitter under the hashtag #childtrauma2016 focussing in particular on the impact of trauma on brain development.  Jane Evans and Lisa Cherry were among those reporting.

And finally Pete Wallis unleashes a new graphic novel What are you staring at?  exploring how restorative justice can work in schools, and uses the opportunity to explain why detentions just don’t work.


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