Asylum-seekers are now big news, but back in 2002, the problem of coping with unattached minors was not yet at its current level. In the July article Working with Refugee Children, Pirjo Vesala’s view of the services offered by Salaam, a private home in Kensington and Chelsea, is revealing in many ways.
Certainly there are the questions about the problems of the refugee children and the ways in which they were met, but coming from a country with excellent standards of residential childcare training, Pirjo (although polite) was clearly pretty appalled at what staff had to put up with and about some of their practices as well. No doubt the staff commitment helped, but one can sense from the article how badly English services have suffered from under-investment and how good residential care can be.
Incidentally, the Professional Experience Programme run by FICE is still going, and if any reader is interested, there are articles in the back numbers of the Webmag describing the system, as well as other pieces by PEP students.
As a backdrop to this issue was the terrible news of the deaths of Holly wells and Jessica Chapman.
One theme for this issue was practice dilemmas. Dave Wiles raised the question of condoning drug use, while in Fun, Fury and Fear, Gus Greene painted a vivid picture of a riot in a children’s home in his Bluebrick column. The end of such scenes can be injuries and a smashed up home, but the practice question is what staff could have done to intervene and prevent it all escalating.
This really was an issue of contrasts. The Editorial focused on the tragedy which had been news just as the previous issue had come out. Other articles were much lighter. Keith White, for example, used a holiday boating theme to show how a girl overcame her fears and enlarged her life.
The article we are picking, though, was the last of Kathleen Lane’s Footloose in FICE series, in which she described her visits to meet childcare workers or see services (and do some touring) in other countries. This entertaining series had run since the early days of the Webmag, and if you want to know what she thought of the different countries, you can find her opinions through the back numbers.
The Webmag has been going for nearly 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.