Friday, 19 September 2008

Volatile, wasteful, reactive: Action for Children's view of policy

Full Article:

End short-termism, demands Action for Children
A leading children's charity today called for an end to the "volatile, wasteful and reactive" policymaking towards children and young people which it said had dominated the past 21 years.
Ahead of the new parliamentary year, Action for Children, formerly NCH, said many policies have been driven by political point-scoring and media headlines rather than hard evidence.
Since 1987, there have been more than 400 initiatives, strategies and acts of parliament affecting children and young people in theUK, an expert report published by the charity today revealed. But governments have not allowed proper time to implement the "avalanche" of policies - more than three-quarters of which have been introduced under Labour in the past 10 years, it said.
Frequent changes
As a result, children and social workers are failing to benefit from services that are subjected to frequent changes in policy, funding and structure, the study showed. Many children's projects have "barely enough time to be set up and begin to deliver services before staff have to plan for reconfiguration or even closure due to lack of long-term funding".
Policies have too often been triggered by high-profile tragedies, such as the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie in 2000, drawing resources to children at the "hard end" while leaving others in need. Disabled children have been "completely forgotten or tagged on as an afterthought" in many initiatives - until the Aiming Higher for Disabled Children programme, launched last year to expand short breaks and other services.

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