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

The effect of Alaska's home visitation program for high-risk families on trends in abuse and neglect

B.D. Gessner

Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 32, 2008, p. 317-333

At six sites serving 21 communities, Alaska implemented Healthy Families Alaska, a home visitation programme for at risk families using paraprofessionals, with the aim of reducing incidence of child abuse and neglect. This study compared changes over time in Child Protective Services outcomes by Healthy Families Alaska enrolment status. Little evidence was found that the programme had a measurable impact on child maltreatment outcomes.

The effects of abortion costs on adoption in the USA

M.H. Medoff

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 35, 2008, p. 188-201

This paper empirically estimates the effects the costs of an abortion have on the supply of infants given up for adoption in the USA. The results are counterintuitive and show that increases in the price of an abortion in fact reduce the number of infants available for adoption in a state. They are consistent with the hypothesis that the principal impact of higher direct abortion costs is to affect the fertility behaviour of women by altering their frequency of sexual activity and/or contraceptive practices. It is concluded that policymakers could increase the number of healthy infants available for adoption by liberalising abortion law.

Examining African American fathers' involvement in permanency planning: an effort to reduce racial disproportionality in the child welfare system

T.M. Coakley

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 30, 2008, p. 407-417

African American children are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system. This article examines the extent to which African American fathers' involvement in permanency planning influences children's placement outcomes using a secondary data analysis of 88 child welfare case records. Findings show that children were reunited with birth families more often and had shorter stays in care when their fathers were involved. It suggests that fathers' involvement in permanency planning has the potential to reduce the disproportionate numbers of African-American children in foster care. Fathers' involvement can be increased by revising child welfare agency policies and practices to promote working with fathers in a culturally competent, strengths based manner.

Exit from care - developing a perspective

J. StorÝ

Journal of Comparative Social Welfare, vol. 24, 2008, p. 13-21

This article analyses the relationship between young people leaving public care and the social workers who support them. It argues that welfare workers should focus on developing the young person's abilities to cope, solve their own problems, and build an independent adult life.

Lost 400 children may have been trafficked into sex or drugs trade

R. Booth

The Guardian, Apr. 23 2008, p. 4

More than 400 children originally from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe have disappeared from foster homes and safe houses in the UK between July 2004 and July 2007. The children, many of whom are suspected of being trafficked into the country for the sex and drug trade, have gone missing from the care of local authorities, often at the hands of their traffickers it is believed. To date only twelve children have been traced and returned to care.

Market-based disparities in foster care outcomes

W. Meezan and B. McBeath

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 30, 2008, p. 388-406

It has been assumed that the introduction of managed care and performance-based contracting into US child welfare systems will result in cost savings, and improved performance through a reduction in the number of foster care placements, improved time to achievement of permanency, fewer placements while in care, and lower rates of return to public care. This paper reports the results of a longitudinal study that examined the effects of a performance-based, managed care contracting mechanism on foster care outcomes. Multivariate analysis identified market-based disparities in some outcomes experienced by foster children: controlling for child, family and caseworker characteristics, children served by agencies on managed care, performance-based contracts were less likely to be returned to their birth parents and more likely to enter kinship care than those served by agencies on fee-for-service contracts. Analyses also suggested that there were few other variables consistently associated with foster care outcomes. These results call into question the evidence base supporting the diffusion of managed care and performance-based contracting in the child welfare sector.

The relationship between institutional care and the international adoption of children in Europe

S. Chou and K. Browne

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 32, no.1, 2008, p.40-48

This study explores the link between institutional care for young children and international adoption, using a survey of 33 European countries. Results indicate an association between international adoption and a high number of children in institutional care. The evidence suggests that, rather than reducing the number of children in institutions, international adoption may contribute to the continuation of this harmful practice.

Who cares? Changing patterns of childcare in Central and Eastern Europe

D. Szelewa and M.P. Polakowski

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 18, 2008, p. 115-131

This article presents a systematic description of differences in childcare policy in the transition states of Central and Eastern Europe which have joined the EU. It focuses on two aspects of family policy: publicly provided childcare services and parental leave entitlements. Analysis identifies four clusters of childcare policy: explicit familialism (Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia); implicit familialism (Poland); comprehensive support (Hungary and Lithuania); and female mobilisation (Estonia and Latvia)

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