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goodenoughcaring.com is an arena for the discussion of  issues of interest to parents, foster parents, residential child care workers, counsellors, youth support workers, social workers, teachers, mentors, social pedagogues,  educateurs  and to young people who are, and adults who have been, in care. If you are interested in, or involved in the care,upbringing and education of  children and young people or in the nurturing of children and young people who are unable to live with their own families  goodenoughcaring.com  is a site for you. The website welcomes  thoughtful views – personal, practical or theoretical -  about the care of children and young people.  If you want to comment about  child care or about goodenoughcaring.com  then  e mail:  goodenoughcaring@icloud.com

The goodenoughcaring.com site is archived at the British Library.

The goodenoughcaring journal is an online publication which invites anyone wishing to publish papers and articles about  parenting, nurture, child care work and related fields or those wishing to write about their child care experiences to submit as e mail attachments  papers or articles for publication to the editors at goodenoughcaring@icloud.com.

The members of the editorial group are Cynthia Cross, Evelyn Daniel, Siobain Degregorio, Jeremy Millar, Jane Kenny, Ariola Vishnja, Mark Smith, John Stein and Charles Sharpe. The current issue was published online on 18th, June, 2014 and  the next issue will be published on December 15th,  2014. The Journal index can be found at http://www.goodenoughcaring.com/the-journal/

Goodbye, Mr Gove

It is a relief of sorts that Michael Gove has become the former Secretary for Education. Mr. Gove may have talents in a number of  fields but surely most with a thoughtful approach to how children might be reared and educated would not see his talents as lying in the field of children’s growth and learning. The post of government Chief Whip seems more suited to him.  Mr Gove has presided over many cuts to children’s services and driven through such reactionary changes to the education system as the free schools and the academy programmes. It is evident these last two have tended to be anything but free and are there only to support the needs of special interest groups, to provide fat profits for private companies and to serve those who have a vested interest in maintaining privilege and wealth for the powerful few.
Freedom has not been served by Mr. Gove’s  support for “conned by rote” learning, a method free of imagination and creativity which serves  to dull the mind and rear more zombies for an economic system which pays them just enough to keep quiet about the gravitation of undue wealth towards less than 10% of the world population while an increasing number live in abject poverty in an environment which is all too often “free” of education.
Perhaps, in relation to education in England, as we say “Goodbye,Mr. Gove,” we should not forget, that though he may have been one of the most divisive and destructive of education ministers, the seeds of what he allowed to grow were planted by the previous Labour government. It is to be hoped that with Mr.Gove’s departure  those in all political parties with a responsibility for the education and nurture of our children will now heed more considered, better informed counsel and that soon all our children services will truly meet the needs of each child, encourage imagination and creativity rather than serve the threats of a selfish discredited economic system.

CELCIS 2014 conference: “We are Family”

The Centre for Excellence for looked after children in Scotland has written to us to say that Early Bird booking for the CELCIS 2014: We are family is available until 30the June, and there is still have time to book at the discounted rate, with a saving of over 10%.
The conference aims to explore the question ‘how can we ensure looked after children and care leavers feel part of a nurturing family?’. It will consider the reality of what ‘family’ means to looked after children and care leavers; including birth families, adoptive families, foster / kinship / residential families and wider corporate families.
It will also explore what it means to be a corporate parent in Scotland from 2015 and will examine the practical implications of the Getting It Right for Every Child agenda, the new Children and Young People (Scotland) Act and the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act.
Keynote speakers are Dr Tony Bates, Founding Director of the National Centre for Youth Mental Health in Ireland and Frank Cottrell Boyce, screenwriter and novelist. Parallel sessions include contributions from Aberdeen City Council, St Roch’s Secondary School in Glasgow, and Foster Care Associates. Scotland.
The conference takes places on Wednesday, 8th October, 2014 at the Perth Concert Hall.
Cost: Early bird rate for three or more delegates £100, early bird single delegate £120.

For further information visit the CELCIS website.

Another View on the Intentions of Scotland’s 16 and 17 years old voters


More High School Wins For Yes

Yes Scotland continued to notch up more high school debate wins, with a trio of successes, including victories in Scotland’s biggest cities.

A debate at St Mungo’s Academy in Glasgow  saw the Yes side win 59% of the vote, with No on 23% and 18% undecided.

Michael Gray, an activist from the city emphasised Scotland’s firm financial foundations at the Bridgeton school, including how we’re the 14th wealthiest country, ahead of the UK, France and Japan.

Alison Johnstone MSP and Kenny MacAskill MSP led Yes Scotland to overturn a pre-poll shortfall of 17 points into a 56% victory.

Ms Johnstone told her audience that an independent Scotland could create a written constitution, enshrining many of the country’s values and fundamental policies.

Alison Johnstone, Lothian’s Green MSP said: ‘I was delighted to speak at Gracemount High. The pupils had clearly done their preparation so it was a lively and engaged debate, just as it should be.

“The speakers for No kept repeating that we don’t have to change the UK’s constitution to see progress, but I argued that one of the big opportunities from independence for young people was to enshrine values like free education in a modern, written constitution. More and more young people are realising that they can be part of a generation that votes Yes to take control of Scotland’s future.”

This morning, Gavin Lundy, a member of Generation Yes, defeated local MSP Margaret McDougall at Garnock Academy in North Ayrshire.

Gavin increased the Yes vote by 24% to see the pro-independence side win the post-debate poll by 54% for Yes and 46% for No.

Sarah-Jane Walls, Yes Scotland’s Operations Manager said: “David Cameron blundered by saying that Yes hasn’t won a single school debate, which simply isn’t true. These comprehensive victories add to the steady flow of young moving over to Yes.

“Many of Scotland’s young people are realising that we can continue with free higher education and secure the powers needed to grow the economy and create more jobs with a Yes vote.”


Source http://www.yesscotland.net/news/more-high-school-debate-wins-yes

Limbus Critical Psychotherapy Conference


Challenging The Cognitive Behavioural Therapies : The Overselling of CBT’s Evidence Bases



November  1st and 2nd, 2014



Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon, England


Jonathan Shedler – Where is the Evidence Based Therapy?

Hannah Sitter Randen – The Story of CBT  in Sweden: Its Rise and Fall

Del Loewenthal – NICE work if you can get it: Evidence and Research as Cultural, Politically Influenced Practices

Oliver James – Happiness, CBT and Apple Pie

Farhad Dalal – Statistical Spin, Linguistic Obfuscation: the Art of Overselling

Sarah Wollaston (MP  for Totnes) – Chair of Panel Discussion


Register now for £115; full fee after June 30th, £130

at  www.limbus.org.uk/cbt


Issue 15 of the goodenoughcaring Journal is served

The 15th issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal is now on the table. Given the interest in the general affairs of Scotland this year, we are serving up a Scottish flavoured goodenoughcaring Journal. Though showing distinct signs of have taken in on its travels, Arbroath Smokies, Cullen Skink, Stovies, Dundee Cake, Deep-fried Mars Bars,  and Irn Bru. Issue 15 of the goodenoughcaring Journal contains dishes garnered from the other region of interest in this issue: residential child care.

You will find in this feast , articles dealing with childhood in Scotland, others considering matters specific to residential child care, and still others about residential care and Scotland . We hope this menu has something which you will savour.

The authors providing the fare are Kevin Ball, John BurnsideCynthia Cross,  David Divine, Ni Holmes, Noel Howard, Alan Macquarrie, Jeremy Millar, A.S.Neill, Charles Sharpe, Mark Smith, Laura Steckley, John Stein, R.L.Stevenson, Calum Strathie, and Adrian Ward.

We hope that after taking in the Journal you will feel encouraged to write an article for our next issue in December.

Click here for the Journal and for access to all the articles from previous issues.

Social Care : Learning from Practice  -  new book from Ireland

The Dublin publishers Gill & Macmillan announce the publication of Social Care : Learning from Practice edited by Noel Howard and Denise Lyons. Noel Howard has been a generous contributor of articles to the goodenoughcaring Journal. The book is written by social care workers and draws on insightful stories of practice key issues that impact the social care of children and young people today. It offers a wealth of practical knowledge from the experiences of social care workers who have worked with different groups in diverse settings. If you wish to learn more about this book or if you are interested in purchasing it please go to Social Care : Learning from Practice


Noel Howard is a retired social care worker and manager. He is the founder member and secretary of Social Care Ireland and is Chair of Care Leavers Ireland. He has written on social care work and edits publications for the Irish Association of Social Care Workers.

Denise Lyons is a lecturer in the Department of Humanities, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, and has worked as a social care worker in residential care for several years. She is also an art therapist and the editor of Creative Studies for the Caring Professions (Gill & Macmillan). Denise is currently the President of Social Care Ireland.

Social Care : Learning from Practice will be reviewed in the December 2014 issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal.

Down from the mountain and into the glen comes Issue 15 of the goodenoughcaring Journal

The road from Braedownie, Glen Clova


Issue  15 of the goodenoughcaring Journal will come down  from the mountains and into the glens on Sunday, June15th, 2014.  Given the international interest in affairs Scottish this year one of the themes in this issue is Scotland and childhood and a spectrum of articles emanating from Scotland written for us by David DivineNi Holmes, Jeremy Millar, Mark Smith, Laura Steckley, Calum Strathie, and Charles Sharpe may to an  extent speak in different ways of the experience and meaning of childhood, child care and education in Scotland in the past and present but in the main they  have an eye to the future of the upbringing of children both in Scotland and further afield. Supporting these are two rarely seen pieces by A.S. Neill and Robert Louis Stevenson and  an extract from The Legends of Scottish Saints edited and translated from the Aberdeen Breviary by Alan Macquarrie.

In other articles, Noel Howard  critically examines the new Child and Family Agency in Ireland while following the wide interest shown in his first article, Kevin Ball has written us a sequel which considers the principles which guide the Independent Regulation 33 Visitor to children’s homes.  Cynthia Cross writes about the enigma of staff relationships in residential child care, John Stein considers relationship with parents in residential child care, Charles Sharpe reviews Adrian Ward’s new book on leadership in residential child care and Adrian Ward tells us how it came to be written.

Leadership in Residential Child Care  a relationship-based approach : a new book from Adrian Ward




The Smokehouse Press of Norwich are publishing Adrian Ward’s new book Leadership in Residential Child Care  a relationship-based approach. (ISBN 9780957633537)

The book will be the subject of a full review in the June 15th issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal and an article by Adrian Ward telling the story of how the book came to be written will also be published.

In 2007 Adrian Ward was commissioned by the National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care to write a paper on  Leadership in Residential Child Care. This paper was available for some years from the National Children’s Bureau website and was one of its most popular downloads, but until now has only been available in that form. Adrian Ward has now written a revised and greatly expanded version of this influential monograph, and it is published as a hardback volume for the first time.

Covering a wide range of themes from leadership style to unconscious dynamics of leadership, this is a personally argued account of the critical role of the manager or head of home, focusing also on the leader’s  needs for support and consultation. The author illuminates his writing with examples of real life incidents in residential child care.

Although focused very much on the child care setting, the book also has a resonance for those in leadership roles in other professional settings.

Writing about the book Professor Jim Anglin of the School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria BC, Canada, says, “Finally we have a book on leadership that is fully congruent with the principles and practice of therapeutic residential child care. It contains an immense amount of insight, wisdom and real life examples in a deceptively concise fashion. It is an instant classic. For managers, directors and supervisors it will be like having an expert personal consultant at your side at all times – this is a GREAT CONTRIBUTION TO OUR FIELD”.

The author and the publishers have insisted on creating  a beautifully bound hard back volume. It can only be purchased through the publishers Smokehouse Press at http://smokehousepress.co.uk at the price of £18 plus p & p.



Matters of opinion : Scots teenagers and their voting intentions in the coming referendum on Scottish independence.

On May 20th, 2014 a Daily Telegraph sponsored blog was posted online by the Daily Telegraph columnist, Jenny Djul about the voting intentions of Scottish teenagers in September’s referendum on Scottish independence . This would not have concerned us except that the blog was reproduced as a feed on the news page of a widely read, highly respected and influential network site which is concerned with the care and welfare of children and young people. The problem with news feeds like these is that they can be random and there is no guarantee that there will be a subsequent more balanced feed on any given topic from another source.

The teenage vote carries more influence in the upcoming referendum because the Scottish Government decided to lower the minimum age at which an individual might vote from 18 years to 16 years of age.

At goodenoughcaring there is not an official or indeed a collective view about what the voting intentions of teenager in the referendum should be. We welcome people’s different views on this. Our general approach is that any view related to the care and education of children and young people is valid as long as it is thoughtful and is not abusive or unfairly prejudiced toward children and young people, the adults who look after them, and the communities from which they come.

We are interested in a balanced discussion about this issue and we have posted a copy of the blog here together with some responses to it. We would welcome further comments.

If Scottish teens are backing the Union, in whose name are the Nats fighting.

By Jenny Hjul

Alex Salmond must be regretting his push for a change in the voting rules to get young people on board for his independence referendum. The SNP’s cynical ploy to extend the suffrage to 16- and 17-year-olds, based on a mistaken belief that youngsters would vote Yes, has backfired spectacularly as enfranchised teenagers across Scotland endorse the Union.

David Cameron said on the Today programme that in the school debates he’d been to, the No campaign had triumphed, and his experience is borne out in the latest polls. Almost two-thirds of voters under 18 are worried about the economic future of a separate Scotland.

The Carrington Dean survey of teens aged 15-17 found that 41 per cent believe their parents would be worse off, compared to 21 per cent who think that they’d be better off. The survey also found that 64 per cent worry about the economic outlook post-independence, while only 17 per cent said they weren’t concerned.

School referendums since March this year show the SNP has an impossible task ahead with young voters: 84 per cent No, 16 per cent Yes in Craigmount High in Edinburgh; 70 per cent No, 30 per cent Yes at Hazelhead Academy in Aberdeen; 72 per cent No, 28 per cent Yes in Forres Academy in Moray; and 75 per cent No, 25 per cent Yes in Orkney High Schools, according to Better Together. In Lockerbie, 70 per cent voted in favour of remaining in the UK.

In Aberdeenshire, where the SNP won every seat in the last Scottish parliamentary elections, a mock referendum of more than 11,000 schoolchildren eligible to vote on 18 September found that almost 9,000 wanted to stay in the UK.

The Nationalists say that many young people have open minds on the issue and could be persuaded to change their opinions before September. But they should be careful not to sound too patronising. The fact that so many youngsters have rejected the separatists’ spin is not a reflection of a politicised generation but a sign that parochial nationalism has not captured the imagination of today’s youth.

A Better Together rep said after a debate in his school: “A lot of my friends went in undecided but after listening to both sides, they understood that being part of the UK means we have so many more opportunities than we would if we went it alone. “I think nationalism is a thing of the past. When we live in such an interconnected world and can speak face to face with our friends across the world at the touch of a button, why would we want to shut ourselves off from our neighbours just down the road?”,/p>

Another youngster, writing in a national newspaper, said: “Ultimately, I can’t help but ask what the purpose of independence is? Why fix something that isn’t broken?”

University students are also predominantly in favour of the status quo. A student referendum at the University of Strathclyde was won by the Unionists with 55 per cent of the vote, against 45 per cent for the Nationalists.

And when more than 1,500 students from Glasgow Caledonian University were asked how they would vote, 63 per cent said No and 37 per cent said Yes. In February last year, more than 2,500 students at Glasgow University took part in a similar event and 62 per cent voted to stay in the UK, compared to 38 per cent against.

Young people today are the products of a social media revolution and their cultural context is global. They do not see their future in terms of shrinking horizons; they are children of the universe and their outlook is boundless.

It might be convenient for the Nationalists to dismiss young voters if they don’t toe the secessionist line, and say they represent a tiny part of the electorate. But their resounding No saps energy from the separatists, and gives their elders pause for thought.

If tomorrow’s student radicals – as well as its leaders, legislators, policy makers and law enforcers – are committed to the United Kingdom, then the Nationalists have to ask themselves: in whose name are they fighting?

Jenny Hjul, 
20 May, 2014.


Stuart Russon writes,

I fully support lowering the voting age.  I can only go by my own experience and I reckon 13 or 14 would have been about the age I feel I could be trusted to vote properly and not just put an Andy Gray panini sticker (I was then and am now an Aston Villa supporter) over the ballot sheet.
I think I probably would’ve been more to the right at that age though. I still had the same instinctive desire for fairness that I do now but I had yet to learn how unfair and unbalanced society could be. I wasn’t particularly well informed about the news and it is only recently (last 10 years or so) that I’ve realised how much of the news that was reported to me was biased. Miners were thugs, football fans were thugs, socialism/communism was to be feared etc. etc. I could go on for yonks.
So I suppose if I do have a view on this aside from ‘yes, lower the voting age’ it would be to be cautious and aware of the propaganda machines that would be set-off to chase the young vote as perhaps younger people are more susceptible to direct marketing. I’ve no reason to make this sweeping statement except that I think I probably was more easily swayed and paid less attention to the detail when I was young which often means missing out on the truth I think.

Cynthia Cross observes,

Over the years I have pondered what I think about 16 year olds having the vote and on balance I think “Why not?”
I can’t think that their reasons for voting a particular way would be any worse than that of the average adult (who ever they are)  As John Stein says,” they will have to live with the outcome longer.”
I remember in 1951, when I was 16,  standing as Labour candidate in mock elections at school and think that issues were taken very seriously, and most people read the party manifestos.
Better education in critical thinking and problem solving would be helpful. Instead of mugging up facts to remember for exams and then forget, exams could be taken in reference libraries with access to the internet, so children could be given questions to solve, that involved finding information, verifying it is authentic, and showing that they know how to use it. Have we got the teachers to teach this, or the examiners to mark it?
About Scottish Independence, any sort of nationalism is worrying.  I cross out nationality on any forms I fill in and write born in England – it has caused problems on occasions.
Having said that I understand that Scottish, child care, justice education and  welfare law is better than that of England and of course I applaud the Scots wanting to get rid of nuclear weapons.

Jack Colhoun remarks,

From all the radio and television programmes I have heard and seen about this it seems to me these new 16 and 17 years old voters in Scotland think about their politics with more consideration than their elders.

John Stein writes,

What the right age for enfranchisement is, requires me to really think. Here in the USA I had not known 17-year-olds were allowed to vote, until I went to Wikipedia, which says that currently, 19 states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 in time to vote in the general election. My thoughts are that the voting age should be based on whatever age the majority of the people of that age have the maturity to make an informed decision, and the responsibility to inform themselves. 16 seems reasonable. Many at that age are still in school, and therefore likely to be exposed to issues in class. More, in class there should be a mix of people with different views, so that healthy discussions could take place, beginning in class and continuing after class. The rest of us tend not to have that opportunity, with people, at least in this country, tending to associate with those with similar views, and refraining from expressing their views on political matters when associating with others whose views they do not know. I remember first becoming interest in politics as a high school student. John F. Kennedy was campaigning in our home town (Reading, PA), and we were to leave school to attend. My best friend was most interested in politics and watched the nominating conventions on tv religiously, so he convinced me to go with him and got me interested. He was quite liberal. (He has since become so conservative that he refuses discuss politics with me). My final point, on the issue of independence, the younger voters will have to live with the outcome longer than the older voters, and should be allowed to vote.

Jeremy Millar comments

I completely agree with Mark’s analysis of the Telegraph piece. As if David Cameron would ever visit a school in an area affected by his party’s ‘welfare reforms’. The YES campaign are vibrant and putting forward a positive message. People of all ages and social class are debating the issues. I believe that on the day people will take the leap of faith despite the fear factor being peddled persistently through the London controlled media.

Mark Smith observes

This certainly is biased – but perhaps no more or less than we might expect from the Telegraph – it epitomises a metropolitan arrogance that we’re too wee, too poor, too stupid to govern ourselves. It’s interesting even to look at the examples cited. At a very quick glance they’re very middle class schools (but even here I’d question the results). There are other examples out there. Have a look at the futureukandscotland website for more academic analysis watch and listen to the Queen Margaret University debate here.

My reading of the situation is somewhat ironic in that under 18s have actually experienced competent government under the SNP and do not have the sense of grievance that previous generations have experienced.

Having said that, for what it’s worth my own kids tell me that there’s a definite move towards a Yes vote amongst their pals.

New survey evidence – Under 18-year olds’ views on Scottish Independence

With 100 days left before the vote on whether Scotland should become an independent country on Monday, 9 June, AQMeN hosts an event to present findings from a new survey on the youngest voters in this referendum.

The referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future in September 2014 will see 16- and 17-year old voters coming to the polls for the first time at the national level in Scotland. Following on from the AQMeN survey project last year, the team from Edinburgh University’s School of Social and Political Science will present updated findings based on a completely new survey conducted in April and May 2014. The survey addressed voters who will be able to participate in the referendum this September but who are currently under the age of 18 and therefore excluded from other representative surveys on this topic. While some polling institutes include 16- and 17-year olds in their samples, there are too few members of this age group in those polls to allow for any specific in-depth engagement with this age group.

The only comprehensive, representative survey of this age to date has been conducted as part of this project illustrating how the newly enfranchised young people suggested they would vote in 2014 and allowing us to examine what drove their decision making. Using the new data we will now be able to see whether one year later the campaigns have been able to engage with young people in an effective way and thus changing their views and perceptions.

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh

Date: Monday, 9 June 2014

Time: 09.30 – 12.30

There will be coffee and tea during the registration from 09.30 until 10.00. The presentation will begin subsequently and will be followed by an open discussion with the audience and the research team providing ample space for questions and engagement.