What next for children's services? Can policy at a local or national level have any significant impact on the outcomes for children and their families?

Nada K Kakabadse, Nicci Marzec, Richard Rose

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Abstract

In England at both strategic and operational levels, policy-makers in the public sector have undertaken considerable work on implementing the findings of the Every Child Matters report and subsequently through the Children's Act 2004. Legislation has resulted in many local authorities seeking to implement more holistic approaches to the delivery of children's services. At a strategic level this is demonstrated by the creation of integrated directorate structures providing for a range of services, from education to children's social care. Such services were generally under the management of the Director of Children's Services, holding statutory responsibilities for the delivery of services formally divided into the three sectors of education, health and social services. At a national level, more fundamental policy developments have sought to establish a framework through which policy-makers can address the underlying causes of deprivation, vulnerability and inequality. The Child Poverty Act, 2010, which gained Royal Assent in 2010, provides for a clear intention to reduce the number of children in poverty, acknowledging that ‘the best way to eradicate child poverty is to address the causes of poverty, rather than only treat the symptoms’. However, whilst the policy objectives of both pieces of legislation hold positive aspirations for children and young people, a change of policy direction through a change of government in May 2010 seems to be in direct contrast to the intended focus of these aims. This paper explores the impact of new government policy on the future direction of children's services both at the national and local levels. At the national level, we question the ability of the government to deliver the aspirations of the Child Poverty Act, 2010, given the broad range of influences and factors that can determine the circumstances in which a child may experience poverty. We argue that poverty is not simply an issue of the pressure of financial deprivation, but that economic recession and cuts in government spending will further increase the number of children living in poverty.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescence and Youth
Volume19
Issue number1
Early online date6 Sep 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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Keywords

  • Children's Act
  • Every Child Matters
  • child poverty
  • social justice
  • young people

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