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Social Policy for Children and Families 1
Heading: Social Policy for Children and Families
Your name:
Course name:
Professors’ name:
Date
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Social Policy for Children and Families 2
Introduction
This paper seeks to explore the UK social policy for children since 1997 whose development
aimed at eradicating children poverty by 2020. The UK’s New Labour Party government
developed the policy with a goal of eliminating any form of child poverty in the country by 2020.
Social policy concerns the study of human welfare, social relationships essential for welfare and
systems that allow for welfare promotion. Social policy also involves social policies, which
governments have regarding things like social health, security, housing, education, and
individual social services. In developed countries of the globe like UK, the spending rate on
social policy is enormous and commonly accounts for a main slice of state revenue. Besides,
social policy is both inter- and multi-disciplinary, and focuses on the human interdependency
nature; on people’s concern on others; on the welfare-state part in promoting people wellbeing;
and on ethical questions regarding principles of justice and care. What is more, it aims at
maximizing people’s opportunity to enjoy good life (Dean 2012). The paper also explores on the
complex matter of child poverty in the UK that affects various areas of their lives including
income, housing, education, and health. This essay also intends to examine the extent of child
abuse in UK, as well as evaluating and analyzing the social policy by use of certain analytical
tools.
New Labour’s political philosophy (Third Way approach)
According to Frost (2008), the New Labour took power in May 1997 with an aim of introducing
a new political strategy and philosophy based on the Third Way ideas. This approach claimed to
surpass the Tharcherite free-market form of the neoliberal country and the old-approach
socialism of Old Labour kind of post-war era and Soviet authority economy, with focus on a
worldwide, collectivist wellbeing state. There was a wide acceptance of the internationalized
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Social Policy for Children and Families 3
market economy, and an assumption that the country could barely manipulate it. Instead of
intervening the economy demand side, as Old Labour Keynesian mechanism, New Labour
emphasized on the improvement of the supply side. Third Way’s argument on economic
globalization concerned the fact that the national prosperity and competitiveness were critically
reliant on the knowledge and skills of the labor force, which should be adaptable, flexible, and
educated. Rather than job security, the new goal was employability, which could support both
social cohesion and economic performance (Frost 2008).
In an attempt to combat social exclusion, the New Labour social policy focused on the initiative
of social investment, as well as the future benefits. The New Labour also acknowledged the
importance of addressing certain present problems and needs. Where it focused on current needs,
the policy emphasized on the on the marginalized population sections, as well as those that posed
a risk to social cohesion, either presently, or in the future (Frost 2008; Leggett 2000).
Among the initial acts of the New Labour government in UK, in 1997, was the establishment of
the Social Exclusion Unit with a tactical connection with governmental departments, and situated
in the Cabinet Office; hence, placing it at the centre of the government. Therefore, it created a
variety of reports on deprived neighborhoods, school exclusion, drug use, unemployment,
teenage pregnancy, and ex-offenders’ integration in society. A number of assumptions informed
the New Labour mechanism to exclusion from the onset (Morrin, Johnson, Heron, & Roberts,
2011).
To start with, there was an assumption that social exclusion is due to arising main changes
caused by enhanced globalization, and as a sequence of connected problems. This implies that
social exclusion emerged because of areas and people suffering from many problems including
poor skills, unemployment, high crime, poor housing, family breakdown, and bad health. The
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Social Policy for Children and Families 4
New Labour’s Third Way functions in relation to the achievement of the goals stated in Tony
Blair’s lecture on the eradication of child poverty in the UK (Frost 2008).
Identifying the social problem
Child poverty in UK
According to Save the Children (2007), although UK is among the wealthiest nations in the
globe, it is has approximately 4 million children that live in poverty. Children poverty has many
implications in the society. To start with, child poverty implies that not all poor families are
under benefits, as well as more than half of poor families have parents working full time. This
also means that benefits do not provide adequate income to meet all basic needs, as poor families
usually have merely £20 for food per week.
Child poverty also implies that families struggle to get basic needs in poverty including
childcare, school uniforms, leisure activities, furniture, and beds for their children. Child poverty
also implies that debt is unavoidable, since it is impossible to pay for family basic needs. As per
the statistics, it is explicit that UK has almost 4 million children that live in poverty. About 1.4
million children in the country are in abject poverty; hence, a family of four children survives on
£7,000 per year. Besides, apart from human cost to children and families, there is an estimation
that poverty costs the country’s economy £25 billion every year. Moreover, UK is among the
worst European countries for child poverty. According to the most recent association table of
child welfare, UK is number 24 over 29 countries studied (Save the Children 2007).
More statistics indicate that three quarters of the poor families in the country cannot replace their
old furniture. Additionally, statistics demonstrate that nearly none can afford a vacation away
from their homes even once annually. More so, studies show that majority of them cannot make
normal savings of at least £10 every month; and that almost a quarter of them cannot afford to
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Social Policy for Children and Families 5
take their children on school tours. It also shows that a quarter of them cannot afford to take their
children to nursery group, playgroup, or toddler group at least once per week (Save the Children
2007).
More studies demonstrate that one out of three children lives in poverty in the country, and that
there is a total 4 million children, although there are increasing child poverty levels in the UK.
There is a growth in the number of poor children from 1 out of 10 in 1997 to 1out of three in
1998, and here, children superseded pensioners as the most risky group to live in poverty.
In 1999, the UK government made a momentous pledge to stop child poverty by 2012, and set
many interim goals that include halving child poverty by 2010 (Garnham 2007). Since then,
there is a substantial progress in the UK government’s efforts to end poverty. At first, it lifted
more than 700,000 children from poverty via a wide range of measures that include tax credit
and welfare to work policies. Sadly, the redistributive measures taken in the formative years until
2003 were not persisted and many of the already rescued children fell to 500,000 since 1999. In
the UK budget 2008, the government reemphasized on spending on child poverty; nevertheless,
there was a common thought that this would be inadequate for the government to attain 2010
goal (Garnham 2007).
Nonetheless, Save the Children (2007) reports that child poverty is more than mere statistics, as
it has many effects on all aspects of children’s lives. For instance, this could lead to lack of
physical basics like balanced diet, and clothing, and inability to take part wholly in activities.
These, in turn, have a broad range of effects on children’s health, life chances, education, and
perpetuate the poverty cycle; hence taking children from childhood to adulthood poverty.
Effects of poverty on children’s lives
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Social Policy for Children and Families 6
First, Hirsch (2009) reports that poverty affects family income in that the UK poorest families
have to pay highly for basic needs like electricity, gas, and telephone as they are unable to
reimburse through direct debit. The additional expenses of getting credit and buying services and
goods may amount to a poverty quality of £1,000 every year. Second, poverty affects children’s
education, as it predicts academic results in the country stronger than in others within the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). By three years, poor
children may lag behind for up to nine years as compared to their wealthy peers. By 14 years,
there is a wide gap of poor children and wealthy children academic performance. Additionally,
costs bar poor students from social, cultural, and educational activities in schools. The estimation
of the free education cost is at an average £1,300 for every child per year, and 55% of poor
families struggle to satisfy these needs.
In addition, Hirsch (2009) says that poverty has a serious effect on housing. This implies that the
children living in poverty are nearly twice as probable to stay in poor housing. Staying in poor
housing means that children are nearly twice as possible to suffer from bad health, are twice as
possible to continually experience bullying. In fact, one out of four of them go to the Accident
and Emergency (A&E) every year. There are lasting impacts that can be equally as destructive
for the poor children in deprived neighborhoods, with professional aspirations and prospects
affected by the restrictions of their local region.
More so, poverty has detrimental effects on children’s health, as it shortens lives. In Glasgow’s
Calton region, the average life span is 54 years in comparison with Lenzie’s life expectancy of
82 years. In London, a child developing in Islington or Newham may expect to live 10 years less
as compared to those in Chelsea and Kensington do. Poor children have a lower birth weight
with an average of 200 grams as compared to those born in social divisions IV and V. There is a
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Social Policy for Children and Families 7
close connection between low birth weight and infant death, as well as chronic diseases in future
life. Children living in poverty are thrice possible to suffer mental disorders, five times probable
to die in accidents, and fifteen times probable to die in fire while at home (Hirsch 2009).
The affected
In terms of the affected ones, studies indicate that 62% of the victims of abject poverty in the UK
involve those unemployed people who depend on child tax credits and benefits that are
inadequate to cover for primary costs. Nevertheless, poverty does not only affect the unemployed
people, but also a considerable proportion of the working poor families. This implies that there
are people engaged in insecure and low-paying jobs in the country. Additionally, poor families
live in poor housing, and live in areas without open or green spaces around them. This means
that children feel insecure in their domestic neighborhood, and this limits their need to play
(Save the Children 2007).
Moreover, poverty also affects the lone parents, as they find it hard to get well-being jobs to
sustain their families. Poverty also negatively influences education of the children, as they
perform poorly in their academics, fail to attend university, or secure well-paying jobs. Notably,
the threat of poverty differs between ethnic groups, but all people in ethnic groups in the UK
suffer from poverty. Studies show that there are several white families living in continual
poverty, where there are limited possibilities of breaking out of it (Save the Children 2007).
Effect of recession on child poverty
There is a possibility of failing to notice the recession effects on child poverty levels from
various angles. Rising unemployment levels will unavoidably imply more families will become
poor; there is an increased poverty level of 1.3% in London since 2008. Additionally, children in
unemployed families are as much more probable to live in abject poverty. Nevertheless, the
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Social Policy for Children and Families 8
approach of measuring poverty will imply the fall in some families’ relative income will cause a
drop in the median income; hence, making some families’ income rise above poverty line in spite
of lack of actual promotion of living standards. Other effects imply that whereas there is no
increased real child poverty level, there will be a different increase in children’s hardships with
disturbing outcomes. Hirsch (2009) states that allowing the high poverty levels to persist in the
country could lead to severe and permanent child poverty experience in recession. Alongside the
availability of moral obligation to eradicate child poverty in UK, there is a financial one. There is
an approximated £25 billion child poverty costs to the UK government.
How to end child poverty
To end poverty, Hirsch (2009) asserts that the UK government promised to preserve the 2020
goal of eliminating child poverty in the constitution, which will require a succinct framework for
devolved and national governments to address both the causes and outcomes of child poverty.
Several studies carried out into what is necessary to reach this goal. To stop child poverty, more
than 2 million more children require to be elevated beyond the poverty line; there is an
achievement of the 4 times the number since 1999. Explicitly, this achievement was not through
one approach; rather, success relies on a blend of policies targeted on the reduction of
unemployment, improved benefits, and boosting in-work earnings. Failure to adopt this
combines strategy and depending on the plans enforced by the government will imply they risk
failing to meet the 2020 goal about 2.5 million children.
Among the campaigns established to fight child poverty in UK is the End Child Poverty
campaign, which has been existent since 2002. The campaigns major aims include informing the
public about causes and impacts of child poverty; forging commitment across and between the
private, public, and voluntary sectors to stop child poverty in the country by 2020; and
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Social Policy for Children and Families 9
promoting the case for eliminating child poverty in UK by 2020 with the current and the future
government. Currently, there are more than 150 firms of the coalition, and all of them believe
that child poverty is unacceptable in the UK. Some of the members include children charities,
other charities, faith groups, social justice groups, and trade unions among others (Hirsch 2009).
Children Act 1989
The major implementation of the Act took place in October 14, 1991, and it introduced complete
changes to constitution in Wales and England influencing the children’s welfare. The Act helps
in the reinforcement of independence of families by defining parental obligation. It also offers
aid from local authorities, particularly to families with needy children. The Act also legislates to
safeguard children who can be suffering or are probable to suffer considerable harm. There have
been publications of the Act’s progress Annual report by the Children Act Advisory Committee
until 1997 prior to the abolition of the committee. The government publishes the Act’s reports
after every five years, and that statistics on its utilization are available. Some of the Act’s aims
include bringing together public and private law in a single framework. The Act aims at
achieving a favorable balance between safeguarding children and allowing parents to problem
state involvement. Moreover, the Act sets to encourage greater partnership between parents and
statutory authorities. Additionally, the Children Act 1989 intends to enhance the application of
the voluntary arrangements. What is more, the Act sets to restructure the courts’ framework to
enable family proceedings’ management (The Children Act 1989).
In the Act, there are four value perspectives that can further explain the protection of children
from poverty and abuse. The first value involves Laissez-faire, a position with a belief in a
minimum state’s societal benefits, and a belief in the value to everyone, including children, of
uninterrupted family life. This concept supports the present power relations in families, between
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Social Policy for Children and Families 10
women and men, as well as between children and parents. It also emphasizes that a family is a
unit and that the community should respect its limits. Although the state does not interfere, its
responsibility is to offer public services including health, education, and welfare (The Children
Act 1989).
Secondly, the Act consists of a value regarding state paternalism that has a sense of identifying
with the suffering children, as it sees the child as necessarily vulnerable, dependent, and with
needs distinct from that of adults. It also emphasizes parental duties instead of rights, and places
faith in the state to protect children’s wellbeing. Another state’s duty is to intervene wherever
there is insufficient care, or suspicion, and the ability to offer the best for the children.
The third value in the Act involves parents’ rights, and this angle favors expansive state
involvement but not of the forceful kind. It advocates for the support to birth families, and that
children must not be in put under substitute care, unless as a last option. The perspective also
asserts the support of parents in their parental duty, and assumes that adults are aware of what is
appropriate for their children. Lastly, there is the children’s rights value perspective that focuses
on the child’s own standpoint, wishes, feelings, choices, and freedoms, instead of adult
attribution on what is appropriate for their children. It also advocates for listening of the
children’s voices. According to Hendrick (2005), the perspective is influential in some instances,
but generally, its impact on policy is insignificant.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)
This initiative, started in 2006 to end poverty in UK, worked jointly with a variety of top experts
and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) in order to meet the 2010 goal. This would necessitate
an increase in tax credits that costs nearly £4.3 billion per year, alongside the effective
enforcement of arranged policies to boost the number of employed parents (Hirsch 2009).
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Social Policy for Children and Families 11
Without additional resources, the research projected a small decrease in the child poverty level
by 2010, and a slight decrease by 2020, in every instance obtaining a fraction of the required.
Since 2006, three vital changes motivate the reassessment of these predictions. To begin with,
after 6 years of reduction, the child poverty level started rising, and demonstrating a small
increase in the studies published between 2007 and 2008. Second, the government partially put
more resources in place, with about £2 billion in additional benefits and tax credits aimed at
child poverty between 2007 and 2008. Third, the recession in mid 2008 would alter earnings and
employment patterns, and influence economic predictions (Hirsch 2009).
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
According to Children’s Rights Alliance (2012), UNCRC is a global human rights agreement
that gives all children and young people of ages 17 years and below, complete rights. The UK
signed the treaty in April 1990, ratified it in December 1991, and its implementation occurred in
January 1992. UNCRC is the main ratified global human rights agreement, and includes
political, civil, economic, cultural, and social rights. The treaty also outlines child needs
including a safe, fulfilled, and happy childhood regardless of their religion, sex, social origin,
and to whom and where the children were born. The Convention advocates for the children’s
right to assistance and special protection measures, and access to public services like healthcare
and education. It also advocates for their development in settings of love, understanding, and
happiness. The treaty also campaigns for the information and participation of children in the
achievement of rights in an active and accessible way. The UK social policy works in
compliance with the convention in order to meet children rights, and end poverty by 2020 (Gill
2008).
Child abuse/mistreatment
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Social Policy for Children and Families 12
According to NSPCC (2000), child mistreatment entails all types of physical emotional sexual
abuse, ill-treatment, negligent or neglect treatment, commercial or other forms of exploitation;
hence, leading to potential or actual harm to the children’s survival, health, dignity, or
development within the context of a relationship of trust, responsibility, or power. In 2000, the
NSPCC published the first study on the dominance of child abuse in the UK. Based on the
example of Victoria Climbié’s case concerning child abuse, the UK government changed its laws
to offer adequate child protection. For instance, this case caused the reforms in UK’s child
protection including the ECM agenda, the formation of the Children Act 2004, creation of
Children commissioner’s position; and the formation of the ContactPoint. Furthermore, the case
demonstrates that the UK social policy works towards the protection of children through ending
child abuse and poverty in the society (NSPCC 2000).
Strengths and weaknesses of the social policy
Social policy has its share of strengths and weaknesses in its attempt to end child poverty and
abuse in UK by 2020. To begin with, since its establishment, there is considerable reduction of
child poverty and abuse in the UK society. Through the policy, many families now live above the
poverty line due to employment opportunities provided to the parents of these families. The level
at which poor families now receive public services like education, housing, and health is greatly
improving in the country. Moreover, there is a link between the social policy and the government
funds to stop child abuse and poverty in UK. Besides, the policy largely complies with the
UNCRC in the protection of children rights, as they have related aims and principles on child
protection. Nonetheless, there are few targets achieved by the social policy. For instance, despite
its existence, many children still face poverty and mistreatment in the UK (Hendrick 2005).
Effect of social policy on children and parents
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Social Policy for Children and Families 13
As Every Child Matters (2007) indicates, social policy has been influential in the lives of many
children and families in the UK. Some of the benefits include children’s access to protection
from abuse; parents’ access to employment with better pay; improved housing; enhanced
healthcare, as well as quality education. People living in poverty now live above the poverty line
due to the introduction of social policy.
In terms of the Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda, there is a positive impact on education,
teachers, and children performance. There are numerous changes due to the agenda, which
include reforms to the school development or improvement strategy; enhanced school meals due
to awareness of healthy living; review of recruitment and staffing in schools; and review of
present school practice and curriculum regarding the ECM. Besides, there is a strong cooperation
between schools and other services, training providers, and children services partnerships due to
the formation of the ECM agenda in the UK (Every Child Matters 2007).
Conclusion
The social policy’s introduction in the UK was highly beneficial in that it would aim at the
elimination of poverty and child abuse in the society by 2020. Its establishment was due to the
social problem of dominant child poverty and mistreatment in the UK. In response, the New
Labour government introduced the social policy, in compliance with the UNCRC, to fight the
problem in the society. Child poverty affected income, education, health, and housing of the
children and their parents. In order to overcome this problem, the government involved other
organizations and authorities in the country. Notably, the policy has been quite influential in the
reduction of child poverty levels and abuse in the UK society. Nevertheless, there is a need to put
more effort by the government and other stakeholders in order to achieve meet the set 2020
target effectively.
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References
Children’s Rights Alliance 2012, The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, retrieved in
June 22, 2012 from http://www.childrensrights.ie/childrens-rights-ireland/un-convention-rights-
child
Dean, H 2012, Social policy, Polity, Cambridge. Pp. 1-143.
Every Child Matters, ECM 2007, How is the Every Child Matters agenda affecting schools?
Annual survey of trends in education 2007. Pp. 1-5.
http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/publications/ASO01/ASO01part5.pdf
Frost 2008, New Labour, Social Exclusion and Children. Pp. 222-33.
http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/25684_5262_Frost_02.pdf
Garnham, A 2007, Keep the Promise: End Child Poverty A collection of essays from leading
authors within the end child poverty coalition. Pp. 4-5.
http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/files/Keep_the_Promise_Essays_Final.pdf
Gill, T 2008, Space-oriented children’s policy: creating child-friendly communities to improve
children’s well-being, Children & Society, 22, pp.136-142.
Hendrick, H 2005, Children and social policies, in Hendrick, H, ed, Child welfare and social
policy, Policy Press, Bristol. Pp. 31-49.
Hirsch, D 2009, Ending child poverty in a changing economy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Pp.
1-6. http://www.channel4.com/news/media/2009/02/day17/17_poverty_report.pdf
Leggett, W 2000, New Labour’s Third Way: From ‘New Times’ to ‘No Choice’. Pp. 19-30.
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/cspt/documents/issue3-2.pdf
Morrin, M, Johnson, S, Heron, L & Roberts, E 2011, Final Report to Economic and Social
Research Council Conceptual Impact of ESRC Research: Case Study of UK Child Poverty
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Policy. Pp. 1-51. http://www.esrc.ac.uk/_images/Conceptual_impact_study_report_tcm8-
18146.pdf
NSPCC 2000, Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. Pp. 1-205.
http://www.nspcc.org.uk/inform/research/findings/child_abuse_neglect_research_PDF_wdf8418
1.pdf
Save the Children 2007, How the Other Half Live’ Information Sheet. Pp. 1-5.
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/How_the_Other_Half_Live_brief_2.p
df
The Children Act 1989. An overview of the Children Act 1989. Pp. 1-9.
http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/files/samplechapter/102_0.pdf

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Social Policy for Children and Families 1 Heading: Social Policy for Children and Families Your name: Course name: Professors’ name: Date Social Policy for Children and Families 2 Introduction This paper seeks to explore the UK social policy for children since 1997 whose development aimed at eradicating children poverty by 2020. The UK’s New Labour Party government developed the policy with a goal of eliminating any form of child poverty in the country by 2020. Social policy concerns the study of human welfare, social relationships essential for welfare and systems that allow for welfare promotion. Social policy also involves social policies, which governments have regarding things like social health, security, housing, education, and individual social services. In developed countries of the globe like UK, the spending rate on social policy is enormous and commonly accounts for a main slice of state revenue. Besides, social policy is both inter- and multi-disciplinary, and focuses on the human interdependency nature; on people’s concern on others; on the welfare-state part in promoting people wellbeing; and on ethical questions regarding principles of justice and care. What is more, it aims at maximizing people’s opportunity to enjoy good life (Dean 2012). The paper also explores on the complex matter of child poverty in the UK that affects various areas of their lives including income, housing, education, and health. This essay also intends to examine the extent of child abuse in UK, as well as evaluating and analyzing the social policy by use of certain analytical tools. New Labour’s political philosophy (Third Way approach) According to Frost (2008), the New Labour took power in May 1997 with an aim of introducing a new political strategy and philosophy based on the Third Way ideas. This approach claimed to surpass the Tharcherite free-market form of the neoliberal country and the old-approach socialism of Old Labour kind of post-war era and Soviet authority economy, with focus on a worldwide, collectivist wellbeing state. There was a wide acceptance of the internationalized Social Policy for Children and Families 3 market economy, and an assumption that the country could barely manipulate it. Instead of intervening the economy demand side, as Old Labour Keynesian mechanism, New Labour emphasized on the improvement of the supply side. Third Way’s argument on economic globalization concerned the fact that the national prosperity and competitiveness were critically reliant on the knowledge and skills of the labor force, which should be adaptable, flexible, and educated. Rather than job security, the new goal was employability, which could support both social cohesion and economic performance (Frost 2008). In an attempt to combat social exclusion, the New Labour social policy focused on the initiative of social investment, as well as the future benefits. The New Labour also acknowledged the importance of addressing certain present problems and needs. Where it focused on current needs, the policy emphasized on the on the marginalized population sections, as well as those that posed a risk to social cohesion, either presently, or in the future (Frost 2008; Leggett 2000). Among the initial acts of the New Labour government in UK, in 1997, was the establishment of the Social Exclusion Unit with a tactical connection with governmental departments, and situated in the Cabinet Office; hence, placing it at the centre of the government. Therefore, it created a variety of reports on deprived neighborhoods, school exclusion, drug use, unemployment, teenage pregnancy, and ex-offenders’ integration in society. A number of assumptions informed the New Labour mechanism to exclusion from the onset (Morrin, Johnson, Heron, & Roberts, 2011). To start with, there was an assumption that social exclusion is due to arising main changes caused by enhanced globalization, and as a sequence of connected problems. This implies that social exclusion emerged because of areas and people suffering from many problems including poor skills, unemployment, high crime, poor housing, family breakdown, and bad health. The Social Policy for Children and Families 4 New Labour’s Third Way functions in relation to the achievement of the goals stated in Tony Blair’s lecture on the eradication of child poverty in the UK (Frost 2008). Identifying the social problem Child poverty in UK According to Save the Children (2007), although UK is among the wealthiest nations in the globe, it is has approximately 4 million children that live in poverty. Children poverty has many implications in the society. To start with, child poverty implies that not all poor families are under benefits, as well as more than half of poor families have parents working full time. This also means that benefits do not provide adequate income to meet all basic needs, as poor families usually have merely £20 for food per week. Child poverty also implies that families struggle to get basic needs in poverty including childcare, school uniforms, leisure activities, furniture, and beds for their children. Child poverty also implies that debt is unavoidable, since it is impossible to pay for family basic needs. As per the statistics, it is explicit that UK has almost 4 million children that live in poverty. About 1.4 million children in the country are in abject poverty; hence, a family of four children survives on £7,000 per year. Besides, apart from human cost to children and families, there is an estimation that poverty costs the country’s economy £25 billion every year. Moreover, UK is among the worst European countries for child poverty. According to the most recent association table of child welfare, UK is number 24 over 29 countries studied (Save the Children 2007). More statistics indicate that three quarters of the poor families in the country cannot replace their old furniture. Additionally, statistics demonstrate that nearly none can afford a vacation away from their homes even once annually. More so, studies show that majority of them cannot make normal savings of at least £10 every month; and that almost a quarter of them cannot afford to Social Policy for Children and Families 5 take their children on school tours. It also shows that a quarter of them cannot afford to take their children to nursery group, playgroup, or toddler group at least once per week (Save the Children 2007). More studies demonstrate that one out of three children lives in poverty in the country, and that there is a total 4 million children, although there are increasing child poverty levels in the UK. There is a growth in the number of poor children from 1 out of 10 in 1997 to 1out of three in 1998, and here, children superseded pensioners as the most risky group to live in poverty. In 1999, the UK government made a momentous pledge to stop child poverty by 2012, and set many interim goals that include halving child poverty by 2010 (Garnham 2007). Since then, there is a substantial progress in the UK government’s efforts to end poverty. At first, it lifted more than 700,000 children from poverty via a wide range of measures that include tax credit and welfare to work policies. Sadly, the redistributive measures taken in the formative years until 2003 were not persisted and many of the already rescued children fell to 500,000 since 1999. In the UK budget 2008, the government reemphasized on spending on child poverty; nevertheless, there was a common thought that this would be inadequate for the government to attain 2010 goal (Garnham 2007). Nonetheless, Save the Children (2007) reports that child poverty is more than mere statistics, as it has many effects on all aspects of children’s lives. For instance, this could lead to lack of physical basics like balanced diet, and clothing, and inability to take part wholly in activities. These, in turn, have a broad range of effects on children’s health, life chances, education, and perpetuate the poverty cycle; hence taking children from childhood to adulthood poverty. Effects of poverty on children’s lives Social Policy for Children and Families 6 First, Hirsch (2009) reports that poverty affects family income in that the UK poorest families have to pay highly for basic needs like electricity, gas, and telephone as they are unable to reimburse through direct debit. The additional expenses of getting credit and buying services and goods may amount to a poverty quality of £1,000 every year. Second, poverty affects children’s education, as it predicts academic results in the country stronger than in others within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). By three years, poor children may lag behind for up to nine years as compared to their wealthy peers. By 14 years, there is a wide gap of poor children and wealthy children academic performance. Additionally, costs bar poor students from social, cultural, and educational activities in schools. The estimation of the free education cost is at an average £1,300 for every child per year, and 55% of poor families struggle to satisfy these needs. In addition, Hirsch (2009) says that poverty has a serious effect on housing. This implies that the children living in poverty are nearly twice as probable to stay in poor housing. Staying in poor housing means that children are nearly twice as possible to suffer from bad health, are twice as possible to continually experience bullying. In fact, one out of four of them go to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) every year. There are lasting impacts that can be equally as destructive for the poor children in deprived neighborhoods, with professional aspirations and prospects affected by the restrictions of their local region. More so, poverty has detrimental effects on children’s health, as it shortens lives. In Glasgow’s Calton region, the average life span is 54 years in comparison with Lenzie’s life expectancy of 82 years. In London, a child developing in Islington or Newham may expect to live 10 years less as compared to those in Chelsea and Kensington do. Poor children have a lower birth weight with an average of 200 grams as compared to those born in social divisions IV and V. There is a Social Policy for Children and Families 7 close connection between low birth weight and infant death, as well as chronic diseases in future life. Children living in poverty are thrice possible to suffer mental disorders, five times probable to die in accidents, and fifteen times probable to die in fire while at home (Hirsch 2009). The affected In terms of the affected ones, studies indicate that 62% of the victims of abject poverty in the UK involve those unemployed people who depend on child tax credits and benefits that are inadequate to cover for primary costs. Nevertheless, poverty does not only affect the unemployed people, but also a considerable proportion of the working poor families. This implies that there are people engaged in insecure and low-paying jobs in the country. Additionally, poor families live in poor housing, and live in areas without open or green spaces around them. This means that children feel insecure in their domestic neighborhood, and this limits their need to play (Save the Children 2007). Moreover, poverty also affects the lone parents, as they find it hard to get well-being jobs to sustain their families. Poverty also negatively influences education of the children, as they perform poorly in their academics, fail to attend university, or secure well-paying jobs. Notably, the threat of poverty differs between ethnic groups, but all people in ethnic groups in the UK suffer from poverty. Studies show that there are several white families living in continual poverty, where there are limited possibilities of breaking out of it (Save the Children 2007). Effect of recession on child poverty There is a possibility of failing to notice the recession effects on child poverty levels from various angles. Rising unemployment levels will unavoidably imply more families will become poor; there is an increased poverty level of 1.3% in London since 2008. Additionally, children in unemployed families are as much more probable to live in abject poverty. Nevertheless, the Social Policy for Children and Families 8 approach of measuring poverty will imply the fall in some families’ relative income will cause a drop in the median income; hence, making some families’ income rise above poverty line in spite of lack of actual promotion of living standards. Other effects imply that whereas there is no increased real child poverty level, there will be a different increase in children’s hardships with disturbing outcomes. Hirsch (2009) states that allowing the high poverty levels to persist in the country could lead to severe and permanent child poverty experience in recession. Alongside the availability of moral obligation to eradicate child poverty in UK, there is a financial one. There is an approximated £25 billion child poverty costs to the UK government. How to end child poverty To end poverty, Hirsch (2009) asserts that the UK government promised to preserve the 2020 goal of eliminating child poverty in the constitution, which will require a succinct framework for devolved and national governments to address both the causes and outcomes of child poverty. Several studies carried out into what is necessary to reach this goal. To stop child poverty, more than 2 million more children require to be elevated beyond the poverty line; there is an achievement of the 4 times the number since 1999. Explicitly, this achievement was not through one approach; rather, success relies on a blend of policies targeted on the reduction of unemployment, improved benefits, and boosting in-work earnings. Failure to adopt this combines strategy and depending on the plans enforced by the government will imply they risk failing to meet the 2020 goal about 2.5 million children. Among the campaigns established to fight child poverty in UK is the End Child Poverty campaign, which has been existent since 2002. The campaigns major aims include informing the public about causes and impacts of child poverty; forging commitment across and between the private, public, and voluntary sectors to stop child poverty in the country by 2020; and Social Policy for Children and Families 9 promoting the case for eliminating child poverty in UK by 2020 with the current and the future government. Currently, there are more than 150 firms of the coalition, and all of them believe that child poverty is unacceptable in the UK. Some of the members include children charities, other charities, faith groups, social justice groups, and trade unions among others (Hirsch 2009). Children Act 1989 The major implementation of the Act took place in October 14, 1991, and it introduced complete changes to constitution in Wales and England influencing the children’s welfare. The Act helps in the reinforcement of independence of families by defining parental obligation. It also offers aid from local authorities, particularly to families with needy children. The Act also legislates to safeguard children who can be suffering or are probable to suffer considerable harm. There have been publications of the Act’s progress Annual report by the Children Act Advisory Committee until 1997 prior to the abolition of the committee. The government publishes the Act’s reports after every five years, and that statistics on its utilization are available. Some of the Act’s aims include bringing together public and private law in a single framework. The Act aims at achieving a favorable balance between safeguarding children and allowing parents to problem state involvement. Moreover, the Act sets to encourage greater partnership between parents and statutory authorities. Additionally, the Children Act 1989 intends to enhance the application of the voluntary arrangements. What is more, the Act sets to restructure the courts’ framework to enable family proceedings’ management (The Children Act 1989). In the Act, there are four value perspectives that can further explain the protection of children from poverty and abuse. The first value involves Laissez-faire, a position with a belief in a minimum state’s societal benefits, and a belief in the value to everyone, including children, of uninterrupted family life. This concept supports the present power relations in families, between Social Policy for Children and Families 10 women and men, as well as between children and parents. It also emphasizes that a family is a unit and that the community should respect its limits. Although the state does not interfere, its responsibility is to offer public services including health, education, and welfare (The Children Act 1989). Secondly, the Act consists of a value regarding state paternalism that has a sense of identifying with the suffering children, as it sees the child as necessarily vulnerable, dependent, and with needs distinct from that of adults. It also emphasizes parental duties instead of rights, and places faith in the state to protect children’s wellbeing. Another state’s duty is to intervene wherever there is insufficient care, or suspicion, and the ability to offer the best for the children. The third value in the Act involves parents’ rights, and this angle favors expansive state involvement but not of the forceful kind. It advocates for the support to birth families, and that children must not be in put under substitute care, unless as a last option. The perspective also asserts the support of parents in their parental duty, and assumes that adults are aware of what is appropriate for their children. Lastly, there is the children’s rights value perspective that focuses on the child’s own standpoint, wishes, feelings, choices, and freedoms, instead of adult attribution on what is appropriate for their children. It also advocates for listening of the children’s voices. According to Hendrick (2005), the perspective is influential in some instances, but generally, its impact on policy is insignificant. Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) This initiative, started in 2006 to end poverty in UK, worked jointly with a variety of top experts and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) in order to meet the 2010 goal. This would necessitate an increase in tax credits that costs nearly £4.3 billion per year, alongside the effective enforcement of arranged policies to boost the number of employed parents (Hirsch 2009). Social Policy for Children and Families 11 Without additional resources, the research projected a small decrease in the child poverty level by 2010, and a slight decrease by 2020, in every instance obtaining a fraction of the required. Since 2006, three vital changes motivate the reassessment of these predictions. To begin with, after 6 years of reduction, the child poverty level started rising, and demonstrating a small increase in the studies published between 2007 and 2008. Second, the government partially put more resources in place, with about £2 billion in additional benefits and tax credits aimed at child poverty between 2007 and 2008. Third, the recession in mid 2008 would alter earnings and employment patterns, and influence economic predictions (Hirsch 2009). United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) According to Children’s Rights Alliance (2012), UNCRC is a global human rights agreement that gives all children and young people of ages 17 years and below, complete rights. The UK signed the treaty in April 1990, ratified it in December 1991, and its implementation occurred in January 1992. UNCRC is the main ratified global human rights agreement, and includes political, civil, economic, cultural, and social rights. The treaty also outlines child needs including a safe, fulfilled, and happy childhood regardless of their religion, sex, social origin, and to whom and where the children were born. The Convention advocates for the children’s right to assistance and special protection measures, and access to public services like healthcare and education. It also advocates for their development in settings of love, understanding, and happiness. The treaty also campaigns for the information and participation of children in the achievement of rights in an active and accessible way. The UK social policy works in compliance with the convention in order to meet children rights, and end poverty by 2020 (Gill 2008). Child abuse/mistreatment Social Policy for Children and Families 12 According to NSPCC (2000), child mistreatment entails all types of physical emotional sexual abuse, ill-treatment, negligent or neglect treatment, commercial or other forms of exploitation; hence, leading to potential or actual harm to the children’s survival, health, dignity, or development within the context of a relationship of trust, responsibility, or power. In 2000, the NSPCC published the first study on the dominance of child abuse in the UK. Based on the example of Victoria Climbié’s case concerning child abuse, the UK government changed its laws to offer adequate child protection. For instance, this case caused the reforms in UK’s child protection including the ECM agenda, the formation of the Children Act 2004, creation of Children commissioner’s position; and the formation of the ContactPoint. Furthermore, the case demonstrates that the UK social policy works towards the protection of children through ending child abuse and poverty in the society (NSPCC 2000). Strengths and weaknesses of the social policy Social policy has its share of strengths and weaknesses in its attempt to end child poverty and abuse in UK by 2020. To begin with, since its establishment, there is considerable reduction of child poverty and abuse in the UK society. Through the policy, many families now live above the poverty line due to employment opportunities provided to the parents of these families. The level at which poor families now receive public services like education, housing, and health is greatly improving in the country. Moreover, there is a link between the social policy and the government funds to stop child abuse and poverty in UK. Besides, the policy largely complies with the UNCRC in the protection of children rights, as they have related aims and principles on child protection. Nonetheless, there are few targets achieved by the social policy. For instance, despite its existence, many children still face poverty and mistreatment in the UK (Hendrick 2005). Effect of social policy on children and parents Social Policy for Children and Families 13 As Every Child Matters (2007) indicates, social policy has been influential in the lives of many children and families in the UK. Some of the benefits include children’s access to protection from abuse; parents’ access to employment with better pay; improved housing; enhanced healthcare, as well as quality education. People living in poverty now live above the poverty line due to the introduction of social policy. In terms of the Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda, there is a positive impact on education, teachers, and children performance. There are numerous changes due to the agenda, which include reforms to the school development or improvement strategy; enhanced school meals due to awareness of healthy living; review of recruitment and staffing in schools; and review of present school practice and curriculum regarding the ECM. Besides, there is a strong cooperation between schools and other services, training providers, and children services partnerships due to the formation of the ECM agenda in the UK (Every Child Matters 2007). Conclusion The social policy’s introduction in the UK was highly beneficial in that it would aim at the elimination of poverty and child abuse in the society by 2020. Its establishment was due to the social problem of dominant child poverty and mistreatment in the UK. In response, the New Labour government introduced the social policy, in compliance with the UNCRC, to fight the problem in the society. Child poverty affected income, education, health, and housing of the children and their parents. In order to overcome this problem, the government involved other organizations and authorities in the country. Notably, the policy has been quite influential in the reduction of child poverty levels and abuse in the UK society. Nevertheless, there is a need to put more effort by the government and other stakeholders in order to achieve meet the set 2020 target effectively. Social Policy for Children and Families 14 References Children’s Rights Alliance 2012, The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, retrieved in June 22, 2012 from http://www.childrensrights.ie/childrens-rights-ireland/un-convention-rightschild Dean, H 2012, Social policy, Polity, Cambridge. Pp. 1-143. Every Child Matters, ECM 2007, How is the Every Child Matters agenda affecting schools? Annual survey of trends in education 2007. Pp. 1-5. http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/publications/ASO01/ASO01part5.pdf Frost 2008, New Labour, Social Exclusion and Children. Pp. 222-33. http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/25684_5262_Frost_02.pdf Garnham, A 2007, Keep the Promise: End Child Poverty A collection of essays from leading authors within the end child poverty coalition. Pp. 4-5. http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/files/Keep_the_Promise_Essays_Final.pdf Gill, T 2008, Space-oriented children’s policy: creating child-friendly communities to improve children’s well-being, Children & Society, 22, pp.136-142. Hendrick, H 2005, Children and social policies, in Hendrick, H, ed, Child welfare and social policy, Policy Press, Bristol. Pp. 31-49. Hirsch, D 2009, Ending child poverty in a changing economy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Pp. 1-6. http://www.channel4.com/news/media/2009/02/day17/17_poverty_report.pdf Leggett, W 2000, New Labour’s Third Way: From ‘New Times’ to ‘No Choice’. Pp. 19-30. http://www.sussex.ac.uk/cspt/documents/issue3-2.pdf Morrin, M, Johnson, S, Heron, L & Roberts, E 2011, Final Report to Economic and Social Research Council Conceptual Impact of ESRC Research: Case Study of UK Child Poverty Social Policy for Children and Families 15 Policy. Pp. 1-51. http://www.esrc.ac.uk/_images/Conceptual_impact_study_report_tcm818146.pdf NSPCC 2000, Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. Pp. 1-205. http://www.nspcc.org.uk/inform/research/findings/child_abuse_neglect_research_PDF_wdf8418 1.pdf Save the Children 2007, How the Other Half Live’ Information Sheet. Pp. 1-5. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/How_the_Other_Half_Live_brief_2.p df The Children Act 1989. An overview of the Children Act 1989. Pp. 1-9. http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/files/samplechapter/102_0.pdf Name: Description: ...
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