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About this book

Launching Palgrave's new Interagency Working in Health and Social Care series, this book provides one of the first reflective assessments of the Every Child Matters legacy of New Labour. Woven through with the voice of the child, it examines the new landscape of children's services, in bothprinciple and practice.

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Introduction

Abstract
There have been many books written on and about Every Child Matters (ECM) on a number of themes — political foci, critical practice, effective communication, early years’ perspectives — and a number of texts exploring aspects of multi-agency working. To the best of my knowledge, none have explored integrated children’s services specifically through the lens of the child. A principal aim in writing this text is to value and give voice to the perspectives of children and to illustrate the impact that ECM is having on their daily lives. This cannot be done in isolation, there has to be a framework in which to situate the lived experiences of children. Hence this volume necessarily depicts historical, theoretical and practice-based background canvases on which children have painted their own stories in a co-constructed platform of communication. Some children’s voices are direct and first voice, others are accessed through advocates or child-focused research.
Mary Kellett

The Every Child Matters Journey

Frontmatter

2. The Historical Context

Abstract
The first decade of the twenty-first century has seen extraordinary changes in policy and practice relating to children’s services, encapsulated in the Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda. In order to be able to evaluate how integrated children’s services are functioning and evolving, it is important to have an understanding of the historical context that has brought this about. There have been two main drivers which brought us to ECM and to the current reforms we are witnessing in children’s services. The first is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the seismic shift in perspectives on children’s status in society that it brought about. The second is a number of high-profile child deaths, notably Maria Colwell in 1973, Jasmine Beckford in 1984 and Victoria Climbié in 2000, which shook the nation and exposed catastrophic failings in the way children’s services were operating. Similarly, high-profile homicides by individuals with mental health conditions drew attention to the need to review mental health policy (see Appleby et al., 2001). The government was galvanized to instigate sweeping reforms that collectively formed Every Child Matters: Change for Children (DfES, 2004). ECM is an ambitious agenda which seeks to ensure that every child, irrespective of background or circumstances, is enabled and supported to live a happy and fulfilled childhood, personified in the five intended outcomes: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve through learning; make a positive contribution to society; and achieve economic wellbeing.
Mary Kellett

3. The Theoretical Framework

Abstract
The intention of this chapter is not to provide a treatise on theories of childhood, there are many texts that do this much better (see Suggested further reading), but to summarize the main theories that have contributed to scholarship about children and childhood, so that the influences these have had on policy and practice can be mapped to the journey that has brought us to Every Child Matters (ECM). Policies are shaped by the dominant theories of an era. The integration of children’s services can be better understood and contextualized if we have a grasp of the complexity and contradictions of the underpinning theoretical frameworks. ECM, in aiming for a holistic, equitable, joined-up approach to children’s services, is tasked with making sense of, and harmonizing, the various contradictions that successive policies have spawned. This chapter explores the interweaving of those theories and policies and their influence on ECM. I begin by reflecting on the meaning of childhood and how theory has moulded the evolving status of children in society.
Mary Kellett

Multi-agency Working in Children’s Services

Frontmatter

4. Social Care

Abstract
Social care inevitably overlaps with many other chapters in this book because its service provision is at the core of children’s lives and there is no intention to duplicate or encroach into areas covered elsewhere. To this end, I address the policy context of social care, examine issues pertaining to systems and service integration, multi-agency working and the piloting of new ‘Social Work Practice’ models. Given the vast remit of social care, it is not possible to cover all children’s lived experiences of Every Child Matters (ECM) in one chapter. I have chosen, therefore, to focus on one group of children — looked-after children — first, because they are at the intense end of the user spectrum and, second, because they are frequently marginalized in terms of voice. Readers are directed to sources where they can find additional material in the Suggested further reading at the end of the chapter.
Mary Kellett

5. Education

Abstract
Education was one of three giant providers of children’s services (the other two being health and social services), each having considerable autonomy and their own funding. This all changed with ECM and the statutory commitment to integrated children’s services. In this chapter I explore what changes integrated approaches have made to education and the impact these have had on children’s school experiences. Is ECM assisting every child? What are the benefits and the shortcomings? Are any groups of children still falling through the net? Children’s perspectives are crucial to such an exploration and feature throughout the chapter.
Mary Kellett

6. Child Healthcare and Wellbeing

Abstract
‘Be healthy’ is the first of the five Every Child Matters (ECM) intended outcomes. These two small words belie the size of the challenge. The provision of healthcare for children in contemporary society is a mixed tale of success and failure. In some areas of child health there has been laudable progress. Better awareness of dangers in the home and tighter vehicle safety laws have reduced the number of children being injured or dying from accidents in the home and on the roads. There have been dramatic improvements in the survival rates from childhood cancers and the infant mortality rate has dropped to its lowest ever, at 4.9 deaths in 1,000 (DH, 2008). At the same time, we are witnessing a rapid rise in childhood obesity and alcohol-related problems — 30% of 11-year-olds have been drunk at least twice (UNICEF, 2007) — and allergies are on the increase. Perhaps the gravest concern of all is the significant escalation of mental health problems (Layard and Dunn, 2009). The root cause of many of these health issues can be traced to poverty, disadvantage and inequality: Our poorest children are more likely to be born too early and too small, less likely to be breastfed or immunised, more likely to suffer accidents in the home and on the street, more likely to have asthma, to be overweight and to suffer from chronic illness — all of which puts them on a lifelong trajectory of compromised health and wellbeing, which will spill over across generations. (Pickett, 2009: 11)
Mary Kellett

7. Disadvantage, Diversity and Marginalization

Abstract
A particular challenge for Every Child Matters (ECM) is reaching those children at the margins of society and affording them the same opportunities to achieve the five intended outcomes as all other children. Such children are doubly disadvantaged, first, because their minority status renders them less visible so they are more likely to fall through the social care net and, second, because their needs are more specialized, rendering resources scarcer and more expensive. The specialist expertise required in supporting, for example, refugee/asylum-seeking children makes multi-agency working more challenging because professionals operate on the fringe of mainstream multidisciplinary teams. Marginalized groups of children often have complex needs, which, in pre-ECM times, required multiple referrals to numerous service departments. If provision is to be genuinely socially inclusive, this suggests a greater imperative to engage with multi-agency working in the post-ECM era, whatever the challenges. In order to address both breadth and depth, I have chosen to present a broad view of disadvantage via the overarching theme of child poverty and then focus on diversity by spotlighting two specific examples of marginalized groups, refugee and asylum-seeking children and children with learning disabilities. Readers can find recommended sources for other groups of marginalized children in the Suggested further reading.
Mary Kellett

8. The Family

Abstract
The family is at the heart of Every Child Matters (ECM) and necessarily overlaps with content in other chapters (especially Chapters 4, 5, 7 and 10). To avoid duplication, this chapter is confined to societal frameworks of the family and the two main arenas where state and family interconnect: parenting jurisdiction, and provision of family services. An in-depth examination of Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) provides a practice example of how ECM and integrated children’s services are seen through the family lens.
Mary Kellett

9. The Third Sector

Abstract
The third sector is a collective term that relates to voluntary and community organizations, charities, social enterprises, mutuals and cooperatives. In the domain of children’s services, there are a vast number of these of varying sizes from small local groups staffed entirely by volunteers to large global charities. Their independent status enables them to be flexible, responsive and use local community knowledge effectively. A definitive characteristic is that they are not for profit and are driven by values. In their comprehensive review of the third sector, Blake et al. (2007) defined these shared values as:
  • ■ Empowering people
  • ■ Pursuing equality
  • ■ Making voices heard
  • ■ Transforming lives
  • ■ Being responsible
  • ■ Finding fulfillment
  • ■ Doing a good job
  • ■ Generating public wealth.
Mary Kellett

10. Safeguarding Children

Abstract
It is necessary to impose some limitations on the scope of the chapter content and therefore I only refer to the child safeguarding processes in England. Readers can find resources relating to the other nation states in Suggested further reading. At the outset, we need to appreciate that what constitutes child abuse changes over time and across cultures. In the nineteenth century, small children were sent up chimneys and slow learners were brutally thrashed, activities which would clearly be deemed abusive in modern times. Equally, we might look back in years to come and wonder how physical chastisement of children by parents remained lawful well into the twenty-first century.
Mary Kellett

Contemporary Issues

Frontmatter

11. Children’s Rights

Abstract
A dominant theme throughout this book is the consideration of children’s own perspectives on the efficacy of an integrated approach to children’s services and the extent to which their experiences of Every Child Matters (ECM) affect the quality of their childhoods. The rationale for this is based on a rights-constructed agenda. ECM amounts to little more than a mantra if it is not underpinned by a commitment to every child’s rights. Every child has a right to a childhood free from poverty, neglect and abuse. The fact that many children get anything but such a childhood does not detract from their fundamental entitlement to one, just as the number of adults denied freedom of expression does not invalidate freedom of expression as a human right. The multiple definitions of childhood render conceptions of children’s rights extremely complex. Within academic circles, children’s rights are often discussed separately from human rights. However, this separation is itself a rights issue and there are calls for ‘a re-integration of the isolated segments of the children’s rights agenda within the frameworks of human rights’ (Lenzer, 2002: 207). Others such as O’Byrne (2003) concur, maintaining that in so far as children are human, they are subjects of human rights standards and that age is irrelevant.
Mary Kellett

12. Children’s Participation and Voice

Abstract
Listening to children and encouraging their active participation in matters affecting them is a recent, increasingly prolific and arguably the most important dimension to integrated children’s services. As alluded to in Chapter 2, the criticism by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child of the UK’s ineffectual attempts to deliver on Articles 3 and 13 of the UNCRC (listening to, and consulting with, children) was a prime driver of Every Child Matters (ECM) and the aspiration to make children’s participation transparent and meaningful. Historically, children have been denied decision-making rights on the basis of moral and cognitive incompetence, as epitomized in the paternalist stance of so-called ‘child savers’ (Archard, 2004). This standpoint has been challenged by liberationists, who argue that even young children can make rational decisions (Hyder, 2002; Lansdown, 2004). It is worth noting that in Norway, where it is a legal requirement that children must be given the opportunity to express themselves, the age of participation has been lowered from twelve to seven. Although we are still some way from this position in the UK, the ECM agenda has kick-started a process through which meaningful participation of all children could become a reality.
Mary Kellett

13. Children as Researchers

Abstract
A book about integrated children’s services, especially one with a focus on how children are experiencing Every Child Matters (ECM), would not be complete without a chapter devoted entirely to children’s own research. Child-led research provides a valuable insider perspective on how ECM and integrated services are working for children. A corollary of the sharper focus on children’s rights and an increased participation agenda, where children are more involved in issues that affect their lives, has been the empowerment of children as researchers in their own right. This parallels developments in other user settings such as disability emancipatory research, minority ethnic research and gendered research (Kellett, 2005a). As detailed in Chapter 2, the impetus of the UNCRC (1989) saw a shift from children as objects of research to subjects in research (James et al., 1998) and later to participant researchers (Lansdown, 2004). The realization that children could be agents in their own worlds provided momentum towards a gradual acceptance that children could be more than participants in research, they could be co-researchers (Nieuwenhuys, 2001; Jones, 2004). However, even though this was accompanied by greater consultation with children, criticism was still levelled at the tokenism and adult manipulation of children’s co-participation (Sinclair, 2004). Unequal power relations persisted. Adults still framed the research questions, chose the methods and controlled the analysis.
Mary Kellett

14. Beyond Every Child Matters

Abstract
This final chapter briefly pulls together the main points that have been made in this book and looks beyond Every Child Matters (ECM) to next steps and new directions. There are several recurring themes traceable through the build-up to, and implementation of, ECM, from which we can learn how best to move forward with integrated services for children. I have summarized the main themes which have currency beyond ECM, as communication, holism, early intervention and listening.
Mary Kellett
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