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

At the horizons of the subject: neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism and the rights of the child. Part 2, Parent, caregiver, state

S. Ruddick

Gender, Place and Culture, vol. 14, 2007, p.627-640

The Hobbesian subject is conceived as a fully independent being whose rights are constituted in an antagonistic relationship to the rights of others. This paper explores the challenges which the child as a legal construct and the notion of children's rights present to a liberal concept of the subject. It is contended that a fully articulated discourse of children's rights cannot be based on liberal ideas of the subject but demands a rethinking of subject-hood in its entirety. The paper also seeks to demonstrate that children's rights cannot be considered in isolation. They are deeply entwined with the rights of their caregivers. Indeed the family can be thought of as a site where aspects of the fully Hobbesian subject are held in trust by caregivers who make decisions for the child until he/she is deemed fully competent. As the traditional family has broken down, the role of caregiver has become a vehicle through which 'failed' subjects of liberalism such as gay, Lesbian and trans-gendered parents have claimed rights and recognition and gained legitimacy. This trend has however provoked neo-conservative attempts to reinstate the patriarchal nuclear family through legislation.

Empowering families as an alternative to foster care for street children in Brazil

M. Schwinger

Development in Practice, vol. 17, 2007, p. 800-806

The problem of street children ranks high on the agendas of many development agencies. However, amidst serious public concern about street children, the role of their families receives little attention. Families are regarded as being incapable of taking care of their children, or are ignored. This approach reflects obsolete welfare traditions and violates rights guaranteed under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and national laws. This article presents an alternative approach from Brazil which engages families in a process of empowerment and awareness raising about possible solutions to their problems. The approach is based on the assumption that families, given some help, have the skills and resources to solve their own problems.

Moving toward positive systems of child and family welfare: current issues and future directions

G. Cameron, N. Coady and D. Adams (editors)

Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007

Faced with rapidly changing social and economic conditions, service professionals, policy developers, and researchers have raised significant concerns about the Canadian child welfare system. This book draws inspiration from experiences with three broad, international child welfare paradigms—child protection, family service, and community healing/caring —to look at how specific practices in other countries, as well as alternative experiments in Canada, might foster positive innovations in the Canadian child welfare approach. The book discusses foundational values and purposes, systems design and policy, and organization and management of child welfare services, as well as front-line service delivery, service provider work environments, and the realities of daily living for families. Based on recent research, the book provides directions for policy, administration, and service-delivery reforms.

Victorian family-support services in retrospect: three decades of investment, challenge and achievement

L. Campbell and G. Mitchell

Australian Social Work, vol. 60, 2007, p. 278-294

Family-support services in Australia seek to benefit families by improving their capacity to care for children and/or strengthening family relationships. They are in practice targeted on disadvantaged communities and struggling families who may be involved with child protection services. This paper traces the development of Australian family-support services, chiefly in the State of Victoria, over the past three decades, examining the themes and tensions that have shaped them, and the implications of these for the present and future challenges facing social workers in this field.

We're all in it together: supporting young carers and their families in Australia

T. Moore and M. McArthur

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 15, 2007, p. 561-568

Although recent initiatives in Australia have attempted to respond to the needs of young carers, many continue to be unable to access support. This qualitative study was conducted to identify current needs and barriers to services for young carers and their families in Canberra, Australia. Major barriers to support include reluctance within families to seek assistance for fear of child removal, negative intervention and increased scrutiny; the families' lack of awareness of available services; a lack of flexibility and responsiveness to the holistic needs of families; and a lack of service collaboration.

Welfare leavers and returners: is inadequate child care a condition of poverty?

D.I. Siegel and A. Abbott

Journal of Children and Poverty, vol. 13, 2007, p. 158-176

This study investigated a random sample of people who left welfare and a similar sample who returned to welfare in a mid-Atlantic US state in 2002. Findings show that childcare difficulties are important barriers to employment and are exacerbated by adverse neighbourhood conditions. It is more difficult to find adequate childcare in areas infested with guns and drugs.

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