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

The costs of a public health infrastructure for delivering parenting and family support

E.M. Foster and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 30, 2008, p. 493-501

The Triple P system enhances parental competence, prevents dysfunctional parenting practices, and promotes better teamwork between partners, thereby reducing emotional and behavioural problems in children. The programme includes five levels of increasing intensity, beginning with a media and communication strategy targeting all parents, and ending with an intensive parent re-training programme for the highest risk families. Using data from nine South Carolina counties, this study examined the costs to service agencies of training providers to deliver the programme. Using data on the number of children and families served, the paper also estimates the total costs of training providers sufficient to treat all children and families in a hypothetical community. Results suggest that the costs of building a public health infrastructure for improving parenting throughout a community are modest and work out at less than $12 per child.

French health lessons

N. Rowntree

Children and Young People Now, May 7th-13th 2008, p. 20-21

Concern about rising levels of obesity among children in France led to the launch of the Epode initiative. This scheme is now being applied in 160 towns across France and involves local agencies working together to help families and children change their eating habits and take more exercise. Local initiatives can include introduction of 'walking buses' to get children to school, organisation of physical activities in local schools and leisure centres, education about healthy eating in primary schools, and provision of cheap vegetables in local supermarkets. The local programmes rely to a large extent on sponsorship funding to keep the costs to the public purse down.

Implementing interagency collaborations: exploring variation in collaborative ventures in human service organisations

J.E. Sowa

Administration and Society, vol. 40, 2008, p. 298-323

In many areas of human services in the US, policy-makers have sought to promote better service coordination through interagency collaboration and other forms of interorganisational relationships. Scholars studying collaborative relationships have made significant progress in developing the knowledge base surrounding these service delivery mechanisms. However, this article shows that scholars need to further investigate particular collaborative relationships to understand variations that can arise during implementation. An examination of 20 interagency collaborations in early education and childcare revealed three different models that have differential impacts on the organisations involved in service delivery and on the communities to which the services are provided. The findings highlight the need to think not only about how the collaborations operate but also why they are being implemented. When addressing the why question, appropriate collaborative forms can be selected.

Legal ethics and high child welfare worker turnover: an unexplored connection

F.E. Vandervort, R.P. Gonzalez and K.C. Faller

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 30, 2008, p. 546-563

This article builds on data gathered from a series of 11 focus groups with child welfare workers conducted in a large, industrialised mid-Western US state to describe ethical conflicts between lawyers and social workers. These conflicts seem to underlie the stressful interactions that child welfare workers experience with lawyers and the legal system. This article seeks to demonstrate that much of the interprofessional tension child welfare workers experience results from their lack of understanding of lawyers' professional ethics and their roles when representing a client.

Making schools and young people responsible: a critical analysis of Ireland's obesity strategy

M. Share and M. Strain

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 16, 2008, p. 234-243

Concern about rising levels of obesity led the Irish government to appoint a multi-disciplinary taskforce to develop a strategy to tackle the problem. This paper critically examines the Taskforce report and its recommendations, specifically in the education sector. Drawing on Foucault's concept of governmentality, it questions the report's reliance on measures to promote the exercise of individual choice and its strategy of responsibilisation of schools and young people, without considering the structural barriers which prevent disadvantaged groups from making healthy eating choices.

The problem of African orphans and street children affected by HIV/AIDS: making choices between community-based and institutional care practices

S. B. Chama

International Social Work, vol. 51, 2008, p. 410-415

Vast numbers of AIDS orphans in Africa end up on living unprotected and unsupervised on the streets. Policy options for assisting these children comprise placing them in residential care or using one of a number of community-based models. Community-based models of care include care by the extended family, care by a nominated guardian or responsible adult, and care by child-headed households with community support. Community-based care models are generally preferred but more research on how they work out in practice is needed.

A Study of the Massachusetts child care voucher system: impact on children, families, providers and resource and referral agencies

V. Washington and M. Reed

Families in Society, vol.89, 2008, p. 202-207

The State of Massachusetts assists families leaving welfare for employment to access child care by issuing them with vouchers which cover part of the costs. Other low-income families are assisted as and when resources allow. Using multiple methodologies, this research examined vouchers' impact on parents, child care providers, and resource and referral agencies which administer the system. All participants recognised the value of the subsidy. However, reimbursement rates for providers were universally regarded as too low, forcing them to either subsidise the system or refuse to accept vouchers. Providers and families had a strong bond and were often either overwhelmed by, or suspicious of, voucher administration. Children experienced discontinuity of care. Voucher administration was under-resourced and struggled to balance conflicting responsibilities for service provision and policing the system.

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