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

Challenges and strengths among Chafee Education and Training Voucher eligible youth: the rural service providers' perspective

M. Wells and S. Zunz

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2008, p. 235-242

The Chafee Educational and Training Voucher Program (Chafee ETV) was introduced in the USA in 2001. It provides eligible young people leaving foster care with up to $5,000 per year towards higher education expenses. This paper explores service providers' perspectives on youth-related factors that influence take up of Chafee ETVs in three rural states in the North East of the United States. Data were gathered using a postal survey and 17 in-depth interviews with child welfare and educational service providers. Results show the need to improve service delivery for young care leavers in the following areas: connecting with young people who are initially reluctant to stay linked to the child welfare system; addressing possible gaps in social and emotional support; and providing concrete services such as housing, transport and healthcare.

Fostering capacity: the role of faith-based congregations in the child welfare system in the United States

M. Howell-Moroney

International Journal of Public Administration, vol.32, 2009, p. 24-41

The US federal government has in place a set of policies aimed at providing more opportunities for local faith organisations to deliver social services. This article explores potential advantages and pitfalls arising from government collaboration with faith organisations in the child welfare system. Six persons involved in an initiative to recruit foster carers from a local congregation in Birmingham, Alabama were interviewed in depth. Major advantages accrue from the congregation's strong religious motivation to care for children and from the supportive social network it offers. Potential pitfalls include unwelcome attempts to evangelise the foster children.

From community to public safety governance in policing and child protection

J.E. Deukmedjian and G. Cradock

Canadian Review of Sociology, vol.45, 2008, p. 367-388

In the 1990s, the police and child protection agencies in the UK and Canada focused on serving the community. Policing and child protection were disparate governmental functions and were not required to integrate. However, current official discourses about interoperability between policing and child protection suggest that we are in the midst of a subtle shift away from community and toward public safety governance. Discourses emphasising local expertise in policing and child protection have been muted through criticisms about lack of interagency collaboration. Both Canada and the UK have new national interagency databases for the management of persons at risk of harm or posing a risk to society.

A global review of new social risks and responses for children and their families

S.G. Gabel and S.B. Kamerman

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 3, 2009, p. 1-21

This article identifies and describes the trends in social protection policies and programmes affecting children and their families in both industrialised and developing countries by region. The authors conclude that the instruments and goals of child welfare and family policies have changed over time. Benefits and services aimed at reconciling work and family life have become more important in industrialised countries, while confronting severe income poverty has remained a priority in the developing world, alongside programmes to protect children against HIV/AIDS and increase their human capital. In both industrialised and developing countries, there is an increased use of targeting.

How can social enterprise really tackle social exclusion? A comparative study of children's welfare in the United Kingdom and Cambodia

I. Lyne

Education, Knowledge and Economy, vol. 2, 2008, p. 175-190

This article takes childhood development and family welfare as a specific aspect of social exclusion and seeks to explore whether social enterprise is a viable mechanism for delivering solutions. Insights are drawn from the two countries in relation to the capabilities that social enterprises need to develop in order to make a significant impact on social exclusion and poverty reduction in 'hard to reach' communities. Two case studies are presented (one in the UK and one in Cambodia) in order to compare the effects of the different social and political contexts from which they have emerged and also to contrast the strategies and capabilities which they have developed in order to achieve their aims.

Killer facts, politics and other influences: what evidence triggered early childhood intervention policies in Australia?

S. Bowen and others

Evidence and Policy, vol. 5, 2009, p. 5-32

State governments in Australia have been investing in early child development as a means to improve health and social outcomes for children, families and society. Government policy seeks to draw on the 'best possible evidence' when funding initiatives and nurse home visiting as an early childhood intervention has been gaining momentum due in part to the research evidence on its effectiveness. This study aims to elucidate influences on the decision to adopt early childhood intervention policies in two states in Australia. It finds that research evidence alone is not enough to shape policy. However, research that delivers 'killer facts', in particular about children, is powerful in alliance with other clusters of information derived from policy reviews, economic impact analyses, and expert opinion.

Prevention of child abuse and neglect and improvements in child development

M.N. Christoffersen and D. DePanfilis

Child Abuse Review, vol. 18, 2009, p. 24-40

The Danish Social Assistance Act encourages local authorities to offer families services to support children at risk of maltreatment. This study was part of a wider evaluation of the implementation of the law, and explores the question of whether the socio-psychological development of children known to social services is improved when abuse and neglect are reduced. A sample of 1138 children was drawn at random from new cases referred to social services starting in 1998. Four years later, caseworkers were asked to complete a standardised questionnaire to evaluate progress and about 80% complied. Results showed positive changes in the children's socio-psychological development where parental behaviour had improved.

The relationship between state efforts and child support performance

C.-C. Huang and R.L. Edwards

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 243-248

The Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998 was designed to improve the national child support enforcement system in the USA. CSPIA sets a national level of incentive spending each year, and each state's share of this is based on its performance on five measures: paternity establishment, establishment of child support orders, collection of current support orders, collection of arrears, and cost effectiveness of the enforcement system. This paper uses annual state panel data from 1999 to 2004 to examine changes in state child support performance since CSPIA implementation in 1998. Overall, states have improved significantly on all performance measures specified under CSPIA except for cost-effectiveness.

What could explain the dramatic rise in out-of-home placement in Finland in the early 2000s?

H. Hiilamo

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 177-184

Despite favourable economic conditions and a high-performing education system, the number of children taken into public care increased rapidly in the 1990s and early 2000s. This article explores possible reasons for this paradox. The analysis shows that increased risk of out-of-home placement is associated with family poverty due to long-term unemployment and alcohol abuse. Support for vulnerable families has been reduced due to cuts in social services and income transfers, leading to more vulnerable children being taken into care.

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