The Webmag has been going for seven years now, and we must have published over a thousand articles. Who refers to the musty piles of back numbers of hard copy magazines?
The Webmag articles are all there at the touch of the Back Issues button. Modern technology makes them available. But unless you are using a search engine, you might not think of rooting through our past issues, and if you are a new reader, you certainly won’t remember the pieces when they came out.
There are some really good articles published years ago but still worth looking at, and this column pinpoints a few of them.
This was a special themed issue, with a number of pieces focused on the question of the size of residential establishments, the historical reasons for differences and the influence of size on the quality of care. In particular, we have picked out a comprehensive search of the literature by Selma Dansokho under the title The Influence of Size on Residential Provision for Children, which appeared first in the Hershey Journal.
The contents for this issue were extremely varied. The Editorial focused on the importance of motivation – the fire in the belly. Keith White went very radical in suggesting the disbandment of services and giving the money to the poor. There was a special issue arguing against corporal punishment for children. There were items on Asperger’s syndrome, child protection and a number of other issues. And there was a tribute to Derick Stafford, a man who represented the best in children’s services, spending his career in residential child care and influencing many lives, but who did not hit the headlines.
But we have picked an important item on permanency by Marion Thorpe called Planning for Permanency, describing some projects and listing factors which are indicators of success.
In this month’s issue, Keith White had another go at the persistently poor image of residential child care, under the title The Idea of Residential Child Care. Now we are four and a half years further on, it is possible that some of Keith’s concern will be addressed in the Government’s response to the consultations over Care Matters, but the prejudices he was addressing are deep-rooted and may well persist.
This issue carried a special issue on Africa. There were items from Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, West Africa and South Africa, under the overall heading A Continent of Problems, Opportunities and Hope. That title is still relevant; the childcare task in Africa is massive, in view of the political upsets and the effects of AIDS/HIV, but the energy being put into finding new ways of bringing up children is heartening and indicates the resilience of humankind.
There were also a number of pieces which focused on people’s attitudes. Terry Hoon argued for compassion towards Jamie Bolger’s killers. Charles Sharpe argued that the problem with children was actually adults’ attitudes. And there was a piece about camping.
There’s such a lot in the back issues; have a root around.