Remember : June 2007

The Webmag has been going for seven and a half years now, and we must have published well 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.

 January 2004

Keith White wrote about censorship, Terry Hoon looked at the way that the skills children need to survive have changed and Dave Wiles reported on a fascinating review of youth work with children in gangs.

Nonetheless we have to make mention primarily of the York Group conference on the length of time children and young people spend in residential care. Professor Ewan Anderson gave an overview, followed by four papers on work with children in different settings. The draft UN Guidelines say that residential care should be as brief as possible; the contributions in the York Group papers suggest that meeting children’s needs entails placements of varying lengths.

February 2004

The article we’re picking to remember this month is by Chris Hanvey, looking at the dangers of mobile phones. There is also a riposte argument from the new technology industry. New technology brings great advances, but dangers as well.

Among the other pieces that month, Bluebrick Children’s Home was finally closed, Karen Vitler reported on the harmonisation of professional qualifications in Europe, Matthew Payne raised workforce issues, and Keith White wrote about Mill Grove actually does.

But was it a misguided spell-check that led to the toys of a little girl there being referred to as Piglet and Eyesore? The original which left the Editor’s desk referred to Eyeore, who, I am sure, would have felt his worst fears confirmed that this new technology really is dangerous stuff.

 March 2004

March was a good issue for looking back and looking forwards.

Keith White produced a thorough review of the role of children in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, urging a rethink – and since then there has been real movement in the development of child theology.

Caring for Children were arguing for the creation of a special institute to focus on residential child care in England – and we now have the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care.

The Christian Child Care Forum was calling for an inquiry into the state of childhood in Britain – and the Children’s Society has set one up.

Charles Pragnell looked back to Cleveland and called for root and branch reform of the child protection system in Britain – and Charles is still waiting.

Nonetheless a historical perspective shows just how much has been achieved. So if you feel you’re getting nowhere, and things aren’t getting any better, it’s worth going back to the old issues of the Webmag to see what has been done, and remember what it used to be like not too long ago.

P.S. When we spell-checked this article, it wanted us to put in the word Eyesore. Some things don’t get any better.

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