The Welsh Government began consultation on its proposed 10-year strategic plan for the development of the early years and childcare workforce. The consultation would close on 15 December 2014.
Source: Draft 10-Year Plan for the Early Years, Childcare and Play Workforce in Wales, WG22439, Welsh Government
The Welsh Government began consultation on the future development of childcare sufficiency assessments (CSAs) in Wales, in particular, how the CSA process and content of the assessments might be improved and made fit for purpose to meet the needs of all stakeholders with a vested interest in childcare. The consultation would close on 30 October 2014.
Source: Review of the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Duty on Local Authorities, WG22735, Welsh Government
A report evaluated schemes that piloted the extension of the right to make an appeal or claim to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales to children and young people. It concluded that the systems and processes were in place and generally well regarded, but a lack of use of the new right during the evaluation period meant that the systems had not yet been fully tested, and there were some outstanding areas of uncertainty.
Source: Duncan Holtom, with Sarah Lloyd-Jones and Jack Watkins, Evaluation of a Pilot of Young People's Rights to Appeal and Claim to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales – Final report, Research Paper 65/2014, Welsh Government
An audit report in Wales said that the Welsh Government was well placed to help to reduce the numbers of 16-18 year olds who were not in education, employment, or training (NEET), but was less well placed to reduce the number of 19-24 year olds who were NEET and to determine value for money. It said that councils were also clearly committed to reducing the proportion of young people NEET, especially those aged 16-18, but their planning was variable and councils had made less progress in understanding the costs of services and in evaluating the effectiveness of their interventions. The report made recommendations.
Source: Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training, Wales Audit Office
The children's rights watchdog in Wales published a report that examined the implementation of the Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children (Wales) Regulations 2012, and the impact that the new regulations (as interpreted through local services statements) were now having in terms of provision for children and young people with disabilities and their carers. It said that appropriate short breaks provision could deliver significant long-term benefits, but there was a variety of provision across authorities that tried to meet a diverse range of need, and provision needed to be strengthened.
Source: Full Lives: A study of short breaks provision for children and young people with disabilities and their carers in Wales, Children's Commissioner for Wales
A report examined the rate of, and reasons for, adoption disruption after an adoption order had been granted for children and young people in Wales. It said that over an 11 year follow-up period, the Welsh national adoption disruption rate was 2.6 per cent, which indicated that about 3 in 100 adoptions would disrupt over an 11 year period. This figure was very similar to the statistics in England. The report made recommendations for better recording of a variety of related data.
Source: Dinithi Wijedasa and Julie Selwyn, Beyond the Adoption Order: An investigation of adoption disruption in Wales, Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies (University of Bristol)
A report examined practice in relation to early language development (ELD) interventions within Flying Start, a support programme targeted at families with children aged between 0-3, and living in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Wales. The report said that the delivery of universal ELD provision was not sufficient to reach all families, and particularly those in high need groups. The report examined practitioners' awareness, understanding, and training in relation to ELD, models and structures of delivery, screening and assessment tools, and engagement with families. It made a range of recommendations.
Source: Hefin Thomas, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Evans, and Viv Edwards, A Review of Practice in the Implementation of the Early Language Development Support Element Within Flying Start, Research Paper 62/2014, Welsh Government
A report evaluated the second year of the Families First programme in Wales, which aimed to improve the design and delivery of local authorities' services for families and, in particular, to improve families' experiences through offering needs-driven, whole family support, and co-ordinating services. It said that stakeholders' and families' views were positive about the impact on both local service organization and families' experiences of services, with stakeholders perceiving that the programme had led to improvement across key aspects of service delivery, and families reporting a difference in the nature and co-ordination of support. Successful results included improved behaviour, well-being, and relationships within the family. The report said that commissioning processes had taken longer to establish than originally anticipated, and work processes were still being refined, which the authors said reflected the degree of change in the way authorities worked and the requirement for cultural change. The report summarized areas of effective practice and those where further change was required. The evaluation was ongoing.
Source: Ipsos MORI and Ecorys, Evaluation of Families First: Year 2 report, Research Paper 64/2014, Welsh Government
A report examined the work of Family Information Services in Wales. It said that there were extremely high levels of satisfaction with the services, but some were underperforming or not conforming to the statutory standards. The report said that one-quarter (25 per cent) had cut their outreach services and one-third (33 per cent) had increased them, leaving geographically inconsistent support. The report called for: local authorities to fulfil their statutory duties to provide services, and for the Welsh Government to hold them to account; better online information and greater use of social media to reach families; more formalized collaboration with other services, such as health visitors; and for resources from similarly targeted services (such as Flying Start, Families First, Communities First, and Family Support Services) to be co-ordinated in supporting Family Information Services.
Source: Duncan Lugton, Jill Rutter, and Katherine Stocker, The Work of Family Information Services in Wales in 2014, Family and Childcare Trust
A report provided the findings from a review of deaths of children and young people through suicide in Wales. It outlined possible opportunities and actions for suicide prevention, including: access to means of suicide; improving partnership working; focusing on evidence based interventions; public awareness and stigma; and undertaking future thematic reviews. The panel made 20 recommendations, including: for measures to restrict access to alcohol; for an all-Wales child protection register, accessible by relevant services including emergency departments; further work on implementation of the national guidelines on the management of self harm; and for the development of statutory mechanisms for information sharing for the Child Death Review Programme.
Source: Ann John, Beverley Heatman, Ciaran Humphreys, and Lorna Price, Thematic Review of Deaths of Children and Young People Through Probable Suicide, 2006-2012, Public Health Wales NHS Trust
The Welsh government published its four year youth work strategy, following a consultation in 2013. It outlined a need for stronger connections between youth work provision and formal education, and for closer working between statutory and voluntary youth work organizations to achieve a more consistent service. It called for a stronger evidence base on the impact of youth work and outlined how this might be improved. It also discussed funding measures, including the new Youth Work Strategy Support Grant.
Source: The National Youth Work Strategy for Wales 2014-2018: Supporting young people to reach their potential and live fulfilled lives, Welsh Government
A report evaluated Reach the Heights, a £29 million initiative which aimed to prepare young people for employment by raising aspirations and increasing their participation in learning. The programme consisted of two projects – First Footholds (which aimed to improve the educational outcomes of young people at risk of underachieving) and Routes to the Summit (which aimed to support young people to make a successful transition into employment). The report concluded that the projects had led to improved personal and social skills among young people, but there were many missed opportunities to provide lessons from the activities in the projects, which meant that outcomes were unclear and which made it difficult to make positive statements about what appeared to be working, or how the activities should be delivered more effectively to achieve desired outcomes. The report recommended a range of measures to improve future work in this area.
Source: ICF GHK, Final Evaluation of Reach the Heights, Research Paper 01/14, Welsh Government