Tech, teens and missing education

6 December 2016

Sometimes real life gets in the way of our weekly round-up and last week we overlooked Louise Tickle’s article for the Guardian Are we taking too many children into care?. Among other issues the article features the local authorities of Leeds and Essex which have seen a drop in the number of children taken into care because of a “conscious policy” of working to keep families together.

So back to this week where a new report from the Oxford University and the Family and Childcare Trust grapples with the subject of how to make early years education work for children in care. While a press release to mark the launch of the report focusses on the lower take-up of free early education places among children in care (71% versus 85% for those not in care) the report itself recognises that the issue is more nuanced. The quality of provision was all important and needed to reflect the needs of the child and their chronological rather than biological age it pointed out. However early years settings were also an opportunity to identify and access help for speech and language difficulties it added. And the authors warned that special attention should be focussed on those children who were placed out of their local authority area as often administrative barriers slowed down the process of getting access to the right early years provision.

Crossing the Pond briefly the Chronicle of Social Change reports on how New York is embracing technology to transform the city’s foster care provision launched through a two-day hackathon at online retainer Ebay this month. Spearheaded by Gladys Carrión, the city’s head of children’s services the event is looking at how technology can improve communication among and between carers and children in care as well as supporting recruitment of foster carers and speeding up social care responses. “I really want the tech community to get to know the child welfare community,” Carrión says. Back in the UK Joe Roberson, director and founder of social care comminication app Mind of My Own, explores what is getting in the way of getting UK social workers to use technology more creatively in the Guardian.

The Children’s Society suggested that one in seven Year 10 pupils were being neglected by their parents in some way according to their survey completed by 2000 teens on parental support, life satisfaction and risk taking. The Rees Centre used the release of the report as an opportunity to remind us of their series of presentations on how views on parenting teenagers applies in foster care.

Some 30,000 children go missing from education and of these nearly 4,000 are never found, according to a troubling report by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme using data obtained from a series of Freedom of Information requests to local authorities covering the 2014-2015 school year. The highest number of missing children were in Bradford where the local authority was unable to trace 321 children.

And finally writer and foster carer Martin Barrow gives advice for families about to embark on fostering via the West Sussex county council fostering blog.

Photo by Redd Angelo

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