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.
We had two or three pieces in this issue arguing for the establishment of a Children’s Commissioner in England. In A Cause Worth Lobbying For Kathleen Lane reported on a meeting in Westminster where Trond Waage, the Norwegian Commissioner since 1996, spoke of being the first country to establish the post, and the late (and much missed) Peter Clarke spoke of his experience in Wales.
We now have a Children’s Commissioner in England, Sir Al Aynsley Green, so why read about a campaign that is over? Well, sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of achievements, especially when the work ahead is so daunting. In this month’s Editorial, we speak of the mountain to climb in addressing the issues in the UNICEF report, but now the media have an additional champion to quote – the Children’s Commissioner for England – and there is no doubt that he will use the report’s ammunition to good effect.
There was a good variety of articles in this issue; the one we’ve picked was a piece of research by Dr Sheila Shinman, who worked with a group of mothers through Home-Start. The title was Tackling Social Exclusion in Families with Young Children.
This may seem rather stuffy, but the key finding was interesting. While the Government was viewing social exclusion in economic terms and was pouring money into Sure Start, the young mothers were primarily complaining about social isolation. We are sure that the money is needed, but it’s also important to listen to the people who need help too, if their needs are to be met.
Another month with a good variety of articles – Keith White talking about the way that really significant questions may arise in the daily round in residential care, for example, the international use of English in child care circles, headlice, food advice, Moscow and Copenhagen, and an appreciation of the life of one of our founder colleagues on the Webmag, the late Tim Woodward, still missed.
The one we’ve picked is Gus Greene’s piece about involving children in the appointment of residential child care workers. Getting Good Staff is graphic as usual in Gus’s pieces, and with the ring of truth and experience.