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

Challenging the youth policy imperative: engaging young people through the arts

J. de Roeper and H.J. Savelsberg

Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 12, 2009, p. 209-225

In Australia, interventions for disadvantaged young people focus on meeting basic needs for food, healthcare, shelter and education and on preventing or managing risky behaviours. They are not considered developmentally ready to participate in cultural programmes which are targeted on high-functioning, 'on track' youth. The paper explores and challenges the ramifications of this policy orthodoxy and argues that innovative youth-focused arts programmes have the potential to engage and empower young people from all social backgrounds.

Do early childhood interventions prevent child maltreatment?

A.J. Reynolds, L.C. Mathieson and J.W. Topitzes

Child Maltreatment, vol.14, 2009, p.182-206

This review synthesises research on the effects of maltreatment prevention programmes on outcomes for children aged 0-5. It finds limited evidence that early childhood intervention is effective. Of the 12 intervention models evaluated, only four were shown to have significantly reduced to rates of maltreatment for participants compared to control groups. Although five studies reported reductions in either substantiated or parent reported maltreatment, only for three programmes was there consistent evidence of long-term effects. Given the well-documented links between programme participation and improved parenting practices, these findings suggest that even if prevention programmes strengthen parenting skills, reductions in actual maltreatment are much less certain.

Making ICS fit for purpose

P. Collins, M. Felstead and K. Stenlake

Community Care, May 7th 2009, p. 20-21

The Integrated Children's System (ICS) was intended to enable a single consistent approach to case-based information gathering, case planning, case aggregation and case reviews. However, professionals complain that it is cumbersome and detracts from, rather than enhances, frontline social work. This article explains how Dorset Council is trying to make the ICS work by redesigning some of the online forms and providing staff with search and retrieval software to enable them to find information in the database.

(For staff training in effective use of the ICS, see Community Care, May 7th 2009, p. 22)

Parenting education and support policies in selected OECD countries

B. Shulruf, C. O'Loughlin and H. Tolley

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 526-532

Following a brief overview of the types of financial support and family support packages available to families across a number of OECD countries, this review explores in detail the service-oriented policies relevant to parent education and support in eight countries. It highlights the government-sponsored parenting programmes delivered in each country and identifies salient similarities and differences in the way various governments provide support to parents. It then considers evidence of the effectiveness of various parenting education and support approaches in an attempt to highlight linkages between different policy frameworks and child educational outcomes.

A share of new growth for children? Policies for the very young in non-EU Europe and the CIS

K. Stewart and M.C. Huerta

Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 19, 2009, p. 160-173

The countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union had a history of low poverty and extensive state support for young children under the communist regime. However economic collapse following the fall of communism saw the erosion of financial support and services for families. However, since the late 1990s, countries across the region have been experiencing a return to economic growth. This article explores whether governments are using this opportunity to reinvest in children. Drawing on administrative and household survey data, it examines three aspects of government support for young children, maternity leave, child allowances, and preschool provision, in Bulgaria, Albania, Moldova, and Tajikistan. It concludes that all three services remain vastly inadequate. In some countries child allowances are well targeted on poorer households, but are too small to have an impact. Preschool overwhelmingly benefits urban families and the better off, while paid maternity leave is increasingly rare.

Youth policy and participation: an analysis of pedagogical ideals in municipal youth policy in the Netherlands

G. Timmerman

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 572-576

As in the UK and other European countries, responsibility for general youth policy in the Netherlands has been increasingly transferred to municipalities. The local authorities, guided by central government advice, have given policy prominence to involving young people in decision-making. Youth participation in policy development and decision-making was linked to the idea of fostering greater commitment to democracy. This evaluation of youth policy in 25 municipalities shows the gap between these ideals and reality. Most local authorities pay only lip service to the idea of engaging young people in the democratic process.

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