Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Children’s access to healthy food: The Food Foundation has released a report analysing Public Health England’s (PHE) Eatwell guide, finding that 3.7 million children in the UK live in households for whom a healthy diet is increasingly unaffordable. Families earning less than £15,860 would need to spend 42% of after-housing income on food to meet the costs of the Government’s nutrition guidelines. The report calls for a national measurement of food insecurity in the UK.

Parental responsibility: guidance: The Department for Education has published guidance to help schools and local authorities in England understand and deal with issues relating to parental responsibility as recognised by education law, in particular in situations where parental responsibility can be confusing or unclear.

Young carers: Coram has published an evaluation of the Young carers in schools Programme, a free England-wide initiative delivered by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society aimed at improving the identification and support of young carers in schools.  The published report, A better relationship with learning: an evaluation of the young carers in schools programme, involved an online survey of 103 schools involved in the programme, 14 interviews with schools and other stakeholders, and two focus groups with young carers. Findings include: the introduction of the programme resulted in the identification of an increased number of young carers; 85% of schools reported that young carers were demonstrating increased wellbeing; 83% reported increased happiness and 83% reported increased confidence.

Mental health policy in England: The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on mental health policy in England. The briefing includes reference to services for children and young people.

Children and young people’s mental health networks: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced the creation of eight mental health networks to bring researchers, charities and other organisations together to address mental health research questions including: health inequalities for people with severe mental ill health; social isolation; youth and student mental health; and domestic and sexual violence.

In the service of youth – making waves in youth work: This year’s Institute for Youth Work conference is taking place in Brighton on the 10th November, it will be an opportunity to both celebrate Youth Work Week and the conference theme: coastal youth work.  The conference is being co-hosted by the University of Brighton, and consequently one of the aims of the conference is to create a short paper on the unique nature of coastal youth work.

Suicide data from the UK and what does this mean for suicide prevention?  The latest data shows that there were 5,821 suicides registered in 2017 in the UK, and the number and rate has decreased for the third year in the row. The decrease has mainly occurred in men, and the picture is different for women with the number of suicides remaining stable. However, men still account for three quarters of all suicides. Also, rates are not uniformly decreasing for all groups of men; rates in some age groups are increasing, for example men aged 45-49.

Commission on Religious Education

The Commission on Religious Education has published its final report.

The Final Report of the Commission on Religious Education, Religion and Worldviews: the way forward.  A national plan for RE, has been published. It sets out a National Plan for RE comprising of 11 recommendations, and calls on the Government to consider and adopt it.

The National Plan is built around a National Entitlement which sets out what all pupils up to the end of Year 11, in all publicly funded schools, should be entitled to be taught.  The National Entitlement reflects a new and inclusive vision for the subject, fully embracing the diversity and richness of religious and non-religious worldviews.  It will ensure a strong academic basis for the subject in all schools.  The National Plan provides for flexibility of approach in the translation of the National Entitlement into programmes of study in schools, ensuring that Headteachers are able to choose the approach that is most appropriate for their pupils.

There is a long and detailed Press Release which gives all the background information.  There is both the Full Report and an Executive Summary.

Responding to the publication of the Commission on Religious Education’s Final Report, The Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, Nigel Genders, said:

“This report calls for a new vision for Religious Education (RE) which is vital if we are to equip children for life in the modern world where religion and belief play such important roles. It is also timely given the falling numbers of students taking RE at GCSE and A level following the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc).

“The report articulates well the need to recruit and train RE teachers who are resourced and supported effectively. It also makes significant recommendations for structural change in the way RE is determined. Today, most people’s experience of religion and belief is national and global, so we support the move away from a local determination of the subject. We believe this will help pupils make sense of religion and belief as it is lived today and this proposed change is educationally valid and would bring RE into line with all other curriculum subjects.

“We fully support the policy of developing a Statement of Entitlement to RE and are pleased to see the Commission endorsing an approach which we already use in Church of England schools. However, the Commission’s proposed Statement of Entitlement requires further work if it is to ensure that children and young people develop religious and theological literacy as part of their knowledge and understanding. We look forward to playing our part in working with the education community to achieve this and building an irresistible consensus of agreement about the subject.

Other media reports include:

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

One in eight young people without degrees work in graduate jobs: The ONS publishes research showing that in 2017, 12% of non-graduates (327,303) aged 22 to 29 were working in a graduate job – defined as a role where the tasks typically require knowledge and skills gained through higher education. This compares with 54% of graduates (1,273,336) in the same age group who had a graduate job.

Call for young people to join NSPCC online safety group: The NSPCC is looking for young people aged 13-18 to join their online safety advisory group, to ensure young people’s views and experiences inform NSPCC campaigns, policy work and projects to help keep children safe online. Taking part will include face to face and online discussions about issues from gaming to online grooming. If you work in a school and are interested in your pupils getting involved, please email ParticipationUnit@NSPCC.org.uk. The deadline for young people to apply is Friday 21st September.

Keeping children safe in education: The Department for Education (DfE) statutory guidance for schools and colleges in England on Keeping children safe in education comes into force on 3 September 2018. The guidance includes: changes to information for all staff; the management of safeguarding; and a new section covering child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment. Annex H of the guidance provides a table of all changes.

Child Poverty: The House of Commons library has published a briefing paper setting out information on the levels and rates of poverty, including child poverty, in the UK. Figures show that in 2016/17 4.1 million children – 30% of all children – were in relative low income households after housing costs, up 100,000 from the previous year. Projections indicate that the proportion of children in relative low income households is expected to increase to 37% in 2021/22 based on incomes after housing costs.

Child Migrants: The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper giving an overview of the policy and practice of immigration detention in the UK. The briefing includes information on: unaccompanied children, at risk adults, pregnant women and families with children.

Children’s play and physical activity: The Children’s Commissioner for England has published a report looking at the importance to children of play and physical activity. Recommendations for government include: putting out-of-school activity at the heart of the plan to reduce obesity; and focussing on play and activity in policy responses to challenges faced by children, including mental health issues and excessive use of technology.

Good childhood report: The Children’s Society has published its seventh in-depth report on children and young people’s wellbeing in the UK. The report uses data from the Millennium Cohort Survey on the lives of more than 11,000 children born in the UK in 2000-01. In 2015, when the children were 14, they were asked whether they had hurt themselves on purpose in any way in the past year. Responses show that: 22% of girls and 9.2% of boys had self-harmed.

Transgender foster carers and adopters: An article in Community Care outlines tips to help social workers supporting transgender foster carers and adopters. Good practice tips include: using inclusive gender neutral language wherever possible in written materials; and not making assumptions or having fixed views about what is ‘normal’ for transgender people.

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

  • SEND complaints: guide for young people: The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance for young people aged 16-25 in England who are unhappy with their special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision or support at school or college, and need help and guidance on how to resolve disagreements.
  • UK Youth Parliament surveyThe UK Youth Parliament has launched a Make your mark survey of the views of young people aged 11-18. Young people are invited to take part in the ballot to decide what members of the UK Youth Parliament should debate and vote on to be their campaign in 2019. The survey closes on 10 October 2018.
  • Vulnerable young people: The Home Office has published a summary of the 11 local authority-led projects in England receiving grant funding from the Trusted Relationships Fund to help youth workers, police, nurses and other professionals working with vulnerable young people aged 10-17 who are at risk of child sexual abuse, criminal exploitation or peer and relationship abuse.
  • Revised Police & Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice (PACE): Changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice, codes C (detention), H (detention – terrorism), E (audio recording of suspect interviews) and F (visual recording of suspect interviews), came in to force on 31 July 2018 including changes that are of particular significance to children and young people.
  • New unit to tackle exploitation of vulnerable young people: The Department for Education (DfE) has announced plans for a new national response unit to help local authorities in England support vulnerable children at risk of exploitation by criminal gangs. The new unit, which will operate from 2019 up until 2022, will address child sexual exploitation together with other crimes, such as gang and drug activity, which exploit vulnerable children and can lead to children going missing.
  • First ever study of serious case reviews of sudden unexpected infant deaths: The research was conducted by academics at the University of Warwick who aimed to develop a detailed understanding of the circumstances of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) cases subject to serious case review.  Key findings include: domestic violence, mental health problems and substance misuse highlighted as factors; most cases occurred when intoxicated parents shared sleeping surfaces with child; and many happen following a sudden change in family circumstances.

Children and young people’s mental health: focus group research

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in England has published findings from focus group research carried out to understand the views of children and young people, parents and carers, and professionals on the proposals in ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper’.

The student insight report, carried out by Young Minds, looks at the views of 55 young people aged 11-18 across England. Findings show that they were broadly in favour of the core three proposals but felt that there needed to be an additional focus within the new approach around causes of ill mental health amongst young people.

Youth Access looked at the views of 11-15 year olds and 16-25 year olds. Findings include: participants were generally positive about the proposals; they had concerns that the needs of many groups of young people would not be met in its current form including those not willing or able to access support in a school setting; many felt that the green paper did not go far enough in acknowledging some of the root causes of young people’s mental health issues.

The National Children’s Bureau reported on the views of over 80 professionals and parents. Findings include: the green paper proposals were broadly welcomed but that further consideration should be given to ensuring children in the early years develop well emotionally and are prepared for the transition into school; and better continuity of care for young people with mental health conditions transitioning to adult services.

Child trafficking in the UK

Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT) has published a snapshot report providing an overview of the state of modern slavery affecting children in the UK.

The report includes latest statistics and recent policy developments and makes 10 recommendations to the UK Government including: reforming the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for children to ensure that decisions about whether or not a child has been trafficked are made by trained multi-agency child protection professionals rather than by central government; improving data collection on child trafficking; and providing a comprehensive, rights-based independent legal guardianship (advocacy) service for all separated and trafficked children and young people up to a minimum of 21 years old.

Click here to download the report.

Anti-bullying strategies for young people

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published advice and guidance for schools and education authorities on how to address bullying in schools with a focus on using data to improve anti-bullying strategies. The guide covers four main areas:

  • creating an anti-bullying culture in schools;
  • finding ways for students and staff to report bullying incidents;
  • finding ways to record and review the data on bullying;
  • communicating the anti-bullying messages.

Each area contains a set of questions for education professionals to ask themselves when carrying out steps one to four, above.  The questions aim to help you review the current practices in your school, and identify areas for improvement.

Read the guide for further information.

Teacher say children face mental health epidemic

Teenage mental health charity stem4 have released findings from a survey of teachers looking at children and young people’s mental health issues in schools.

Findings from an online survey of 300 teachers working in primary and secondary schools , and further education colleges in the UK show that:

  • 78% of teachers said that at least one of their pupils has experienced a mental health issue over the past year;
  • 14% said that at least one of their pupils has experienced suicidal thoughts and behaviours over the past year;
  • 66% reported a pupil has suffered anxiety, and
  • 45% have witnessed a student with depression
  • 30% engaged with a pupil who had an eating disorder
  • 28% supported a pupil with self-harm
  • 10% reported a pupil who had an addiction.

Yet the teachers told the survey that just under half (46%) of students are unable to access the mental health services they need to make a recovery, with only one in five (19%) saying all these students were getting the treatment they needed. One in five (22%) say pupils needing specialist treatment typically had to wait more than five months for an appointment, and more than a third (36%) had feared at some point that a pupil would come to harm while waiting for treatment.

Nearly one in ten (9%) described their school’s mental health provision as ‘non-existent’, with 30% saying it was inadequate or very inadequate. Four in ten (40%) of the state school teachers surveyed say the need for mental health services has increased over the past year. Over half (52%) of all respondents believed family difficulties were contributing to their students’ problems while other common causes were exam stress and the emotional impact of bullying, both cited by 41%.

For more information read their full news release.

Growing up in a military family

The report, ‘Kin and Country: Growing up as an Armed Forces Child’ by the Children’s Commissioner for England, explores how primary and secondary school children with parents in the Armed Forces feel about moving school or country, how their lives at home and school change with deployment and whether or not they feel they receive the support they need.

The Children’s Commissioner’s Office spoke to 40 children, aged 8-15 years old, up and down the country whose parents are currently serving in the Army, Navy or RAF, as well as speaking to teachers, parents and members of the Armed Forces to build a clear picture of where there are gaps in provision for children, and why these gaps exist.

The report shows that most children in Armed Forces families are growing up living happy lives, despite the unique challenges they face. It is clear though that the lifestyle can be tough, and that multiple school moves often leave children feeling unsettled and anxious. For children with additional needs or teenagers in the middle of exam courses, moving around adds another layer of complication.

Alongside the impact of mobility, service children describe a range of complex emotional responses to the deployment of their parents, sharing the impact that parental absence has at home, with changing family dynamics and increased responsibility for siblings and household tasks. For children who had both parents deployed at the same time, these issues are exacerbated by the need to move to stay with another family member for a significant period of time.

However, despite the challenges highlighted in this report, many of the children in the study had developed very effective coping strategies. The vast majority of service children the research team spoke to during this project were happy, resilient and incredibly proud to have a parent serving in the Armed Forces.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, commenting on the report, said:

“The vast majority of service children we spoke to during this project were happy, resilient and incredibly proud to have a parent serving in the Armed Forces. Belonging to a military family was central to their identity and sense of self, and it is clear that we should celebrate the contribution and the sacrifices made by military families.

“However, more can be done to improve the services that help these children as they cope with the pressures brought about by frequent moves and parental deployment. I want to see a child-focused approach to supporting military families that takes into account the complex challenges that are inevitably part of growing up in an Armed Forces family.”

Read the report, Kin and Country: growing up as an armed forces child.

Do distressed or troubled children need therapy?

Earlier this week I read a fascinating article, We Need to Talk About Children’s Mental Health – and the Elephants in the Room, by Elizabeth Gregory who is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working with children and families.

In the article she argues that:

the dominant narrative in today’s society is that ‘distressed’ or ‘troubled’ children need ‘therapy’ to fix their problems. This article examines what this belief may be rooted in; and how potentially damaging it is for children; and for society as a whole. It will refer to a number of ‘elephants in the room’, by way of drawing attention to issues we really need to start talking about if we are to stem the tide and begin to address the mental health of future generations.

Gregory goes on to explain a number of ‘elephants in the room’ and in conclusion argues that instead of therapy, professionals who work with children and families need to return to some of the basics:

Helping parents to talk to their children, read to their children, play with their children, show warmth to their children, listen to their children, believe in their children, give hope to their children – all in a context of doing the same for the parents themselves who didn’t receive it in their own childhoods, is far more powerful than any therapy. This doesn’t happen quickly – again it is about being alongside families in their communities and facilitating them to do things differently by providing the most basic of resources, support, consistency and encouragement.

Go check out the full article.