Newsletter:September 2012

The last monthly issue of Children Webmag came out on 1 June 2012. Since then we have published twenty-three contributions at intervals – very varied in content and style. More have been promised for the coming months and, if you have something to share, please send it in – research, new ideas, something to grumble about, a success story, a poem – they’ll all be welcome.On the international front, we have:

– a solid piece of work undertaken by Miguel de Bono about residential child care in Malta;
– publicity for a CCHN conference in Liverpool on 15 October on child migration – the shipping of children to other countries – and what we can learn from it;
– advance notice of the EUSARF conference in Glasgow from 4 September.

Keith White has provided two more excellent In Residence columns – one being on longhouse communities in Sarawak (another international item!) and the other (sent from the Orkneys) on recognising obligations to others.

With a nod to the Olympics we offer Lids for Kids in which Bradley Wiggins calls for compulsory helmets for child cyclists.

On the education front, Herman Stewart argues Why Every Child Needs A Mentor,
and Valerie Jackson writes about what makes teaching worthwhile

We have published three advice columns:

What to Do if your Child is Burnt by Joanne Atkins;
Top Tips for Travelling with Children by Dr Lin Day;
– and Dr Lin Day has also provided advice to parents taking children on foreign holidays.

We have three items about residential child care:

– an open letter to Tim Loughton, suggesting a whole system analysis and reform to use children’s homes positively, by Jonathan Stanley;
– a nice success story from Appletree; and
– the contents of Issue 11 of the goodenoughcaring by Charles Sharpe.

We have eight book reviews, six being the work of Valerie Jackson:

Losing Control by Henrietta Bond about what it’s like being in care;
– Make Believe Play and Story-Based Drama in Early Childhood, a handbook full of ideas for early years workers by Carol Woodard and Carri Milch;
– Stepfamily Adoption – what it is and what it means, a guide for children and young people by Jo Francis;
A Safe Place for Rufus, helping children to begin to trust, by Jill Seeney;
Adopting a Brother or Sister, offering answers to the sorts of questions children ask, by Hedi Argent; and
Communicating with Children, when a parent is at the end of life, by Rachel Fearnley.

David Lane reviews The Copper Tree by Hilary Robinson, helping children come to terms with dying and death.

Susan Pyke reviews Music Therapy in Schools, about the way music therapy has developed and what it can do, edited by Jo Tomlinson, Philippa Derrington and Amelia Oldfield. This coincided with Tuning out dyslexia, describing how three brothers overcome problems through music.


The Message from Music Therapy

Both the article and the book review which speak of the power of music to help children make the point that the services of music therapists are being heavily cut. It’s not a statutory requirement to provide music therapy, so, however laudable it is, it is just the sort of service which local authorities take the knife to in hard times. Furthermore, charitable foundations and trusts do not want to be seen as stand-in financiers when local government pulls out. The result is a seriously diminished service.

We are told that there are more cuts to come. The story of music therapy services will be replicated till nothing is provided which is not statutorily required, and even then the quality of services may well diminish. Which means that quality of life will diminish too, especially for the children whose lives are enhanced by the specialist services of this sort. Worth contacting your MP?

Moral Obligations

Keith White’s In Residence column this month raises an interesting question – and one that is very topical. How do we remind ourselves of our moral obligations to others, and retain sensitivity to the individuality of those we serve?

This is a question for many professions. It seems that top bankers have come to live in their own small world of deals and numbers and have lost their awareness that they are not the masters of the universe but just another service industry helping to make the wider community function. If each top banker also had a range of personal customers whose lives they affect, looking them in the eye might temper their decisions.

It is interesting that politicians (even those whose previous party leader said there was no such thing as the community) are now emphasising people’s moral obligations to each other.

At a lower level I have spoken to two people whose success in running small professional businesses has led them to the dilemma – whether to expand and manage others, risking losing the personal touch, or whether to stay small and relate directly to their clients.

Or again, while top surgeons may continue to undertake operations when their workload also includes lecturing, running hospital departments and so on, why do directors of children’s services and other senior managers in local government have no personal caseloads to keep in touch with the nature of the work?


As we were writing this column the news reached us that Haydn Davies Jones had died. Known as HDJ to his students, Haydn ran the advanced residential child care course at Newcastle University from 1961 to 1989, after five years as Commander of Wellesley Nautical School. In his teaching role he had a major influence on residential child care services, along with Chris Beedell, who ran the Bristol University course. We shall publish a fuller appreciation of Haydn’s life and contribution in due course.

1 thought on “Newsletter:September 2012”

  1. Hello David,
    Hope you are well since I saw you in Glasgow in March. Just read your lovely piece on Hayden Davies Jones. Even though I never knew him I feel I do now after such a wonderful tribute. I’ts so good to read of a life well lived.
    I have promised Charles Sharpe a review of recent memoir for goodenoughcaring called TheBoy at the Gate (Transworld It’s written by Danny Ellis who spent a number of years in Artane Industrial School in Dublin in the 1960s. Artane comes in for particular attention in the Ryan Report. Danny’s CD, 800 Voices, has received critical acclaim because he has manged through his music to come to terms with his life in an institution. It is sad, funny, angry and poignant but not bitter. I just thought I’d mention the memoir to you and you might get space to give it a mention in the next webmag edition.
    Would you be interested if I did something for you on a more recent report (Independent Review of Deaths of Children in Care)here in Ireland covering years 2000-2010. Pretty devatating particularly in view of the fact that it relates not to 40/50 years ago but to the recent past.
    Very best wishes,
    Noel (Howard).


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