21 June 2016
PARENTING “CAN no longer be a no-go area for public policy”, according to a new government-published report into socio-economic influences on children’s life chances. While parental involvement in many areas such as bed-time stories, developmental playtime and support with school work had increased, the report revealed wide differences between children from socio-economic groups in certain areas. Major differences include time spent by Dads reading to children and developmental play characterised as ‘Gruffalo time’ – a theme picked up by foster carer Martin Barrow in the Huffington Post.
The government needs to measure and report annually on the well-being of children in care and care leavers and track the success of interventions for children in care over the long term, according to the alliance for children in care and care leavers which brings together 24 organisations. The care system continues to fail many children and there should be a statement in law that its principal aim is to help children recover from past trauma and promote resilience and well-being, says the alliance in its new vision document.
The Children’s Society is using consultation on the Children and Social Work Bill to urge all local authorities to follow the example of Cheshire East and North Somerset councils and exempt care leavers from council tax payments until they are 25.
A small but growing number of schools are using pupil premium to offset budget cuts, reports the BBC. Pupil premium is funding given to schools to help them raise the educational achievement of disadvantaged children and includes additional funding worth £1900 annually for a child in care.
Over a quarter of 11 to 12 year olds had seen online pornography according to a significant new study published jointly by the NSPCC, the Children’s Commissioner and Middlesex University. The authors found that more boys than girls had seen on-line porn and that over half of boys viewed what they had seen as realistic. However it said that the report showed that half of secondary school children had not looked at pornography on-line and suggested that, “Pornography is not something that all secondary school children seek.”
With a record 65 million people recorded as displaced this year Andy Elvin in the Guardian reminds us that turning 18 is not a time for celebration for many asylum seeking children in the UK who do not have the staying put rights of UK children in care. Instead they must prepare to leave foster care and seek leave to remain or face the possibility of deportation back to their country of origin.
Meanwhile Joe Tucci, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation summed up the five day child trauma conference in Melbourne earlier this month in the words of Dr Stephen Porges: “The removal of threat is not the same thing as the experience of safety.” Lisa Cherry blogs on the polyvagal theory developed by Dr Porges.