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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2007): Child welfare - overseas

A Canadian experience with an intervention programme for vulnerable families: lessons for German social work and policy

J.L. Terrion and A. Hogrebe

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 10, 2007, p. 401-416

The Families and Schools Together (F&ST) intervention was developed in the United States in 1988 and is now offered in a number of countries, including Canada and Germany. This paper reports on its role in strengthening vulnerable families by helping them build social capital. Thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with a sample of Canadian programme participants showed that they perceived an increase in their social capital in all three of its dimensions (bonding, bridging and linking). This paper highlights the importance of social capital in building more resilient families and of strengthening relations between parents and schools, and contributes to the sharing of experience and views on matters concerning families in Germany.

Impact of a statewide home visiting program on parenting and on child health and development

D. Caldera and others

Child Abuse and Neglect, vol.31, 2007, p.829-852

This article focuses on the evaluation of the impact of a voluntary, paraprofessional home visiting programme in Alaska on the promotion of child health and development as mediated by its effect on parenting attitudes, knowledge and behaviours. The programme promoted child development and reduced problem behaviours at 2 years, but had no effect on child health. Its impact could be strengthened by improving home visitor effectiveness in promoting effective parenting. Future research is needed to determine if short-term benefits are sustained.

Impact of a statewide home visiting program to prevent child abuse

A. Duggan and others

Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 31, 2007, p. 801-827

Based on promising early research results, there has been great interest in the US in home visiting programmes as tools for the prevention of child abuse. This study assessed the effectiveness of a voluntary, paraprofessional home visiting programme in Alaska in preventing child maltreatment and multiple psychosocial risks for maltreatment. The evaluation showed that this programme did not prevent child maltreatment or reduce the parental risks that had made families eligible for service. The programme might have been more effective if risks identified at the assessment stage had been actively raised with the parents, if strengths as well as risks had been assessed, and if a resilience rather than s strengths-based approach had been used.

On the margin? Residential child care in Scotland and Finland

J. Francis, A. Kendrick and T. Poso

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 10, 2007, p. 337-352

Scotland and Finland share a number of general similarities: both lie on the outermost margins of Europe; have populations of roughly the same size; and have chosen to emphasise child-centred principles in their child welfare policy. Their child welfare systems consequently share a number of general characteristics, but in the provision of residential child care there are also notable differences. In Finland overall numbers of children in residential care are much greater than in Scotland. Finland uses residential care for more young children than Scotland, but is much more averse to locking up children and young people in secure accommodation.

A randomized controlled trial of consensus-based child abuse case management

L. Goldbeck, A. Laib-Koehnemund and J.M. Fegert

Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 31, 2007, p. 919-933

In Germany there are no specialised child protection services available in every community. According to German child welfare law, the general community-based social welfare agencies are responsible for providing child protection; however, different professions and institutions may be involved in investigation and intervention. Cases of child abuse or neglect may be processed within the child welfare system, the legal system or the healthcare system. Coordination between systems is necessary, but networking between different institutions and professionals has been described as dysfunctional. In this context, this article provides an evaluation of the effects of external expert-assisted child abuse case management in the German child welfare and healthcare systems as perceived by the case workers themselves.

Welfare reform and child care: evidence from 10 experimental welfare to work programs

P.K. Robins

Evaluation Review, vol.31, 2007, p.440-468

In recognition of the importance of subsidised child care in facilitating employment, the US Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act created the Child Care and Development Fund, which combined four federal child care programmes for low-income families into a single block grant for states. In designing child care subsidy mechanisms, states need to be sensitive to the needs and preferences of families subject to welfare reform policies. This study examined the effect of welfare reform on the child care choices of families participating in 10 experimental programmes between 1989 and 2002. For the programmes analysed, child care use increases by about the same amount as the increase in employment. Most of the increased child care comprises informal care by a relative, particularly care by a sibling or grandparent.

Young children's rights and public policy: practices and possibilities for citizenship in the early years

G. MacNaughton, P. Hughes and K. Smith

Children and Society, vol. 21, 2007, p. 458-469

Recent developments in diverse disciplines have produced a new model of young children as social actors who shape their identities, create and communicate valid views about the social world and have a right to participate in it. This new model of the young child as a social actor supports the belief that young children have a right to participate in public debate and policy-making. This article presents two case studies from Australia which show what consulting young children can offer policymakers, the wider community and children themselves.

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