Tag Archives: children

UK Children’s Commissioners

4xCC collageEach of the four UK Children’s Commissioners are active on social media, making it easy to follow what they are thinking and doing.

Many countries have a Children’s Ombudsman responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). An Ombudsman may also be referred to as a Child Advocate, or, as in the UK, as a Children’s Commissioner. The UK has four Commissioners, one each for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I find it valuable to follow them on social media as they provide a well-informed perspective on current issues affecting children. Here are the four individual UK Commissioners.

Anne Longfield OBE became the Children’s Commissioner for England in March 2015. Prior to this, Anne was chief executive of 4Children – a national charity which works to support children, young people and families. Anne can be followed through these channels:
Website: www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk
Facebook: officeofthechildrenscommissioner
Twitter: @annelongfield (individual) & @ChildrensComm (official). The official account is busier and has many more followers.

Tam Baillie has been Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People since May 2009. Tam had previously been Director of Policy for Barnardo’s from 2003 to 2009, following 25 years experience as a practitioner and as a manager of services for children and young people and their families. Tam can be followed through these channels:
Website: www.sccyp.org.uk
Facebook: RightsSCCYP
Twitter: @CYPCS
Online newsletter: www.cypcs.org.uk/news/newsletter
Many of Tam’s speeches and presentations are freely available as PDFs from www.cypcs.org.uk/about/speeches

Dr. Sally Holland became the Children’s Commissioner for Wales in April 2015. Sally was previously an academic at Cardiff University specialising in family and child welfare, and was Director of the Cascade children’s social research centre at the University. Sally can be followed through these channels:
Website: www.childcomwales.org.uk
Twitter: @childcomwales (English language) and @complantcymru (Welsh language)
Blog: www.childcomwales.org.uk/en/sallys-blog/

Koulla Yiasouma became the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People in February 2015. Koulla had previously been director of Include Youth, a post she held for 16 years, working tirelessly to improve the experiences of and outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people throughout Northern Ireland. Koulla can be followed through these channels:
Website: http://www.niccy.org/
Facebook: nichildrenscommissioner
Twitter: @nichildcom (official) and @ShriekingGreek  (individual & informal)
Blog: www.niccy.org/about-us/the-commissioner/commissioners-blog/

jVVtJFqxThe four UK Children’s Commissioners mostly act through their individual offices, but earlier this year the four UK Children’s Commissioners published a joint report which scrutinises the UK and devolved government’s record on children’s rights over the last seven years. It identifies areas of common concern drawn across the four nations; they include the state of mental health services, child sexual abuse, children in the justice system, the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and repealing the Human Rights Act. You can find the report at each of the Commissioners websites, e.g ‘Report of the UK Children’s Commissioners – UN Committee on the Rights of the Child


3 new free textbooks from BCcampus

Open-Textbooks-StickerThese excellent online textbooks may be freely downloaded by students, teachers and members of the public.

British Columbia’s Open Textbook Project began in 2012 and so far contains over 70 openly licensed textbooks, each available to read online, download in PDF, ePub and mobi (Kindle) formats for free, or as low-price printed books, and educators may use, re-use, modify, and adapt the books to fit course requirements. Here I’m looking at three examples of interest to the children’s workforce.

1. Introduction to Psychology
This is a 695-page textbook aimed at first-year university students. It has 16 chapters and is in full colour – but note that this results in the PDF being a 39MB download. It is designed to help students organise their thinking about psychology at a conceptual level, and each section also includes learning objectives, key takeaways, exercises and critical thinking activities, making it highly interactive. Many in the children’s workforce will immediately want to read Chapter 7: Growing and Developing, which includes prenatal development, infancy and childhood.
Download Introduction to Psychology here: opentextbc.ca/introductiontopsychology/80x15

2. Introduction to Sociology
This is a 717-page textbook again aimed at first-year university students. It has 21 chapters and is in full colour – but the PDF file size is larger still, being a 71MB download.
This textbook adheres to the scope and sequence of a typical introductory sociology course, organized so that topics are introduced conceptually, with relevant, everyday experiences. I began by reading Chapter 5: Socialization and Chapter 14: Marriage and Family, and found both chapters attractive and stimulating.
Download Introduction to Sociology here: opentextbc.ca/introductiontosociology/cc by

3. Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities & Mental Illness
This is a 111-page black & white textbook with 7 chapters, so the PDF is a much smaller download, being just 1.2MB. Unlike the two titles above, this one has a more vocational nature, and although children and childhood issues are covered throughout, the target audience of the book appears to be carers of adults. Each chapter presents up-to-date evidence-informed practice knowledge, and for those interested mainly in ‘what to do’, text box summaries are provided for reading and listening. Throughout the book there are links to corresponding mp3 audio clips, which makes reading the book an engaging experience.
Download Supporting Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities & Mental Illness here: opentextbc.ca/caregivers/cc by

If you want to discover more about the BCcampus Open Textbook Project, you can do so at: open.bccampus.ca, where you can also search their whole collection via open.bccampus.ca/find-open-textbooks/.

Tufts Child & Family WebGuide

tuftscfwgThe WebGuide is a directory of quality websites covering all ages from early child development through to adolescence.

Tufts University have assembled approved links to websites and videos on topics of interest to parents. It is also used by students and professionals in the fields of child development, education, and psychology. All the sites and videos listed on the WebGuide have been systematically evaluated by graduate students. In order to ensure reliability, the evaluation system includes criteria such as the inclusion of citations in peer-reviewed journals.

This really is a very reliable resource for students and workers’ continuing professional development (CPD). It is easy to navigate, with drop-down menus across the top of the site. For example, ‘Health’ includes ADHD, Autism and Aspergers.

The WebGuide has been systematically evaluating links since 2001, so it has now amassed a substantial collection. Tufts’ evaluation criteria are rigorous, but I think that if it were to have begun today it might have indicated whether each resource was open-access or not.

Viewing the WebGuide from Europe, I can’t help wishing we had a comparable directory for resources outside the USA.

Access the WebGuide at: http://www.cfw.tufts.edu