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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2008): Child welfare - overseas

Boys adrift: the five factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men

L. Sax

New York: Basic Books, 2007

Parents, teachers and mental health professionals are worried about boys. From kindergarten to college, they are less resilient and less ambitious than they were even twenty years ago. The book uncovers new scientific reasons for the troubling decline of boys and young men, and offers provocative - and hopeful - solutions to help them succeed in school and in life. it argues that a combination of social and biological factors is creating an environment that is literally toxic to boys, ranging from environmental estrogens and video games to the over-prescription of ADHD drugs. The closing chapter considers specific strategies that parents and teachers might usefully deploy and presents practical solutions - from new ways of controlling boys' use of video games, to innovative (and workable) education reforms.

Mandatory reporting legislation in the United States, Canada and Australia: a cross-jurisdictional review of key features, differences and issues

B. Matthews and M.C. Kenny

Child Maltreatment, vol. 13, 2008, p. 50-63

Mandatory child abuse reporting laws require designated persons to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. These laws have developed in particular detail in the United States, Canada and Australia as a central part of the government's strategy to detect cases of abuse and neglect at an early stage. This article provides a systematic review of mandatory reporting legislation in these three countries, disclosing significant differences between them.

Market-based disparities in foster care service provision

B. McBeath and W. Meezan

Research on Social Work Practice, vol. 18, 2008, p. 27-41

In recent years US policymakers have introduced market models such as performance-based contracting, privatisation and managed care into child welfare systems in order to improve their efficiency and cut costs. Evidence from other service sectors suggests that these changes may be associated with undesirable changes in service delivery. It is therefore important to determine whether and how foster care service providers respond to different market environments. This study of service provision to foster children and their families investigated whether service patterns were different in performance-based managed care versus fee-for-service contracting environments. Results showed that children and families served by agencies with performance-based managed care contracts received fewer of five types of services than those served by agencies reimbursed through fee-for-service contracts. Results suggest that performance-based managed care contracting is related to reduced service provision.

Protecting children from sexual abuse in Europe: safer recruitment of workers in a border-free Europe

K. Fitch and others

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 2007

In the context of the free movement of workers, this report examines the issue of information exchange for the purpose of pre-employment vetting across the European Union. It presents options for improving cooperation in the EU to protect children from abuse by sex offenders from other member states who have been placed in positions of trust.

The role of service delivery non-governmental organisations in policy reform

J. Harwin and T. Barron

Child Abuse Review, vol. 16, 2007, p. 367-382

This article considers the role of small national voluntary groups and international non-governmental organisations in supporting the development of child welfare and protection policies in southeastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and central Asia. The article begins by outlining child protection problems in the region and the service delivery and policy reform responses of national and international non-governmental organisations. It then presents the findings of a study commissioned by the Irish government which examined the potential for the service delivery projects it funds to play a heightened policy role. It concludes with reflections on how to achieve better clarity of expectation of what small scale projects run by non-governmental organisations can achieve.

Training and experience: keys to enhancing the utility for foster parents of the Assessment and Action Record from Looking After Children

S. Pantin and R. Flynn

Adoption and Fostering, vol.31, no.4, 2007, p. 62-69

The Looking After Children (LAC) approach is now widely used internationally in child welfare to raise the standard of corporate parenting and improve outcomes for young people in out-of-home care. The Assessment and Action (AAR) record from LAC is used to monitor young people's developmental progress on a year to year basis. Foster carers are central to the successful implementation of LAC and it is important that they perceive the AAR to be useful in carrying out their duties. Survey information provided by 93 foster carers in Ontario suggested that those who had received what they saw as higher quality training rated the AAR as being more useful in their work.

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