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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2009): Child welfare - overseas

Child welfare and information and communication technology: today's challenge

S. Tregeagle and M. Darcy

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 38, 2008, p. 1481-1498

Information and communication technology (ICT) usage in contemporary child welfare practice reflects dominant managerial interests rather than those of the profession and service users. This paper explores aspects of ICT that might further the interests of service users and questions social workers' limited advocacy for greater access to and use of ICT for this purpose, while managerial interests proliferate. It focuses on the potential of ICT to improve communication between professionals and service users.

Child welfare needs in Mongolia: a collaborative exploration among three universities

R. Hayashi and others

International Social Work, vol.52, 2009, p. 84-95

The child welfare system in Mongolia is based on the Soviet-era institutional model. The model regards children in poverty as potential delinquents rather than as being in need of protection. Policies take children out of situations where they are at risk and put them in institutions, without recognising the problems inherent in such care. The authors call on the Mongolian government to develop appropriate family support and preservation services, to enable these children to remain at home.

A comparative study of policy approach for child protection in Goa and Singapore

M. Desai

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 32-39

This article is based on a large exploratory comparative study of the child protection situation and measures carried out in a progressive state in India, Goa, and Singapore. The two were found to be comparable as they are similar with respect to the Asian cultural context and have comparable historical, demographic and economic profiles. Comparisons are made of the overall measures for promoting children's rights, the role of the nodal ministry, legislation for child protection and provision for alternative childcare. Recommendations are drawn up for additional child protection measures in both places.

The growing divide: the marginalisation of young Roma children in Bulgaria

S.Gatenio Gabel

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.18, 2009, p. 65-75

Using Bulgaria as a case study, this article shows how evolving social policies marginalise Roma families and their children. The Roma have long been ostracised in Bulgaria and in other societies and, since the fall of Communism in 1989, are increasingly vulnerable to income poverty and social exclusion. The transition to a market economy has disadvantaged Roma children because of the low earning capacity of their parents, their families' lack of property ownership and poor access to credit and welfare benefits, rising discrimination and general reduction in public support due to fiscal constraints. This article demonstrates the early onset and rapid acceleration of inequities between Roma and Bulgarian families with children, despite attempts to modify the differences through newly enacted social and family policies.

Institutions and the politics of childcare services

C. Jensen

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 19, 2009, p. 7-18

There has been a sudden surge in public provision of childcare services for preschool children since the late 1990s. This article analyses the causes of this change using concepts from the new institutionalist welfare state literature. It is pointed out that the main institutional driver of change is the curriculum tradition of a country rather than the strength of vested interests or ceiling effects. Nations adhering to the readiness-for-school curriculum tradition have expanded provision significantly more than those belonging to the social-pedagogical-curriculum tradition. The reason is argued to be that the former conceptually matches the political preference for generation of human capital much better than the latter.

The over-representation of indigenous children in the Australian child welfare system

C. Tilbury

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 18, 2009, p.57-64

Similar to other wealthy countries with indigenous populations, children of Aboriginal and Torres Islander descent in Australia are over-represented in the child welfare system. This article uses child protection, out-of-home care, and juvenile justice administrative data to examine the levels of disproportionality at key decision points in the child welfare system. The data show that child welfare interventions are more intrusive for indigenous children, and that levels of disproportionality have not improved over time. The author calls for alternative policies and programmes focusing on improving children's quality of life and family living conditions, community development and genuine collaboration with indigenous agencies.

Receipt of professional care coordination among families raising children with special health care needs: a multilevel analysis of state policy needs

S.L. Parish and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 63-70

A diverse array of policies of US states determine services and supports available to families raising children with special health care needs. These include disability-specific programmes and programmes that target the needs of poor families generally, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). There is also great variation in the funding allocated by states to support these services. Data from the 2002 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs were analysed to explore the state-level policies and individual characteristics associated with receipt of professional care coordination services by families raising children with special health care needs. States could improve access to services by expanding State Children's Health Insurance Programs, and implementing targeted measures to help uninsured children, children whose parents do not speak English, those living below 300% of the federal poverty line and families raising children with the most severe impairments.

Residential education: an emerging resource for improving educational outcomes for youth in foster care?

B. Lee and R.P. Barth

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 155-160

There is growing interest in the US in placing young people in public care in boarding schools. This paper seeks to provide an overview of residential education in the USA and to consider its potential for improving educational opportunities for disadvantaged young people. Findings from the first national survey of residential education show that most programmes have on-site schools and lengths of stay that encourage stability for at least an academic year. The children live mainly in cottages or small houses staffed by live-in house parents who acted as mentors. This offers a more family like environment than the shift care approach used in residential homes. Parents are encouraged to remain involved with their children through various activities and regular home visits. Finally, a sizeable proportion of young people educated at boarding schools go on to college, a level of educational attainment that most children in foster care do not achieve.

Street children in Russia: steps to prevention

T.N. Balachova, B.L. Bonner and S. Levy

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 18, 2009, p. 27-44

This article examines changes in the status of, and services for, homeless children living on the streets of Russia from the Soviet era to the present day. It examines causal factors which lead to children leaving home, including physical and sexual abuse and parental alcohol misuse. Since the early 1990s a network of shelters and social rehabilitation centres have been provided to support street children. This article proposes a new model for dealing with the problem in which existing institutions and professionals are supported in facilitating an integrated system of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. This includes improving child protection services and interventions to prevent children from leaving home, early identification of children who are becoming involved in street life, and a continuum of care for those who cannot return home.

Young people's perspectives on the rights of the child: implications for theory, research and practice

M.D. Ruck and S.S. Horn (editors)

Journal of Social Issues, vol.64, 2008, p. 685-920

Given that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child focuses on the child's own experiences and perspective, this special issue presents empirical research and relevant theory addressing the ways in which children and young people conceptualise their need for, and entitlement to, protection and participation in contexts such as the family, school, community and wider society. It also addresses the implications of this research for policy and practice centred around the rights of children and young people in these varying social contexts.

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