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Children minister praised

Social work chiefs have welcomed the appointment of a children's minister but are disappointed there are fewer commitments to areas of social work involvement with children and families than in relation to community care.

Les McEwan, the association's president, said: "The manifesto of the new Government is unfortunately silent on how a responsible society should respond to the needs of families and individuals so affected by stress, loss, illness or trauma that work or education are not open to them as routes out of poverty and alienation."

It was also disappointing that there was no commitment to restoring benefits for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds "and no recognition of the enormous costs to society of this denial of benefits to the most needy and vulnerable of these young people".

The association welcomed the "lone parents into work" commitment for those who wanted to work and were not prevented by family stresses.

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