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

Analysis of intercountry adoption policy and regulations: the case of Korea

S. Kim and C.J. Smith

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.31, 2009, p. 911-918

The original goal if intercountry adoption in Korea was to solve the social problem of abandoned and orphaned multiracial children born during the Korean War. However, intercountry adoption policy now appears to service the organisational maintenance needs of private adoption agencies, and the Korean government's desire to resolve the issue of unwanted babies who are of mixed race and/or born out of wedlock. The Korean government does not provide support for single parent families, and discrimination against women who bear children out of wedlock makes it difficult for them to keep their babies.

From Angelina (to Madonna) to Zoe's Ark: what are the 'A-Z' lessons for intercountry adoptions in Africa?

B.D. Mezmur

International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, vol. 23, 2009, p. 145-173

Intercountry adoption seems to have evolved from its humanitarian roots into a viable option for childless Western couples who wish to create a family. Since World War II, Western societies have changed, leading to a shortage of adoptable children at home. Couples have been encouraged to look to less developed countries for children to adopt. This article considers three highly publicised African cases related to intercountry adoption and argues that there are vulnerabilities and gaps in the current intercountry adoption systems in Africa that make adoption irregularities and scandals, such as the ones in the three cases under consideration, to a degree predictable.

The impact of market forces on child care provision: insights from the 2005 Child Care Act in the Netherlands

J. Noailly and S. Visser

Social Policy Journal, vol. 38, 2009, p. 477-498

The Netherlands is one of the few countries without public childcare provision. Only private for-profit and not-for-profit organisations operate and compete in this market. Up to 2005, local municipalities used to purchase childcare places from providers and allocate them to parents on social considerations. Under the new regime brought in by the 2005 Child Care Act, parents directly purchase places from providers, receiving government compensation through the tax system. Using data on the geographical location of child care facilities, this article compares the factors affecting provision of childcare in the Netherlands before and after the reform. The results suggest that since the reform the provision of childcare has shifted towards wealthy urban areas, characterised by high demand and high purchasing power. The shift has largely benefited for-profit providers particularly active in these markets.

Indicators of children's well-being: theory and practice in a multi-cultural perspective

A. Ben-Arieh and I. Frones (editors)

[Dordrecht]: Springer, 2009

The original articles included in this book represent both a set of analyses of families, peers, schooling, communities and the broader social and economic environment of childhood, and an illustration of how the use of indicators enhances understanding of children's risks and well-being. Covering a broad range of topics, from the theorizing of children's well-being to the development of measures at local and national level, the book also outlines pivotal methodological and conceptual issues. The articles written by an international group of researchers provide insights into the dynamics of children's well-being, using indicators as a means to confront new phenomena as well as to bridge data and theory.

Influencing policy for youth transitioning from care: defining problems, crafting solutions, and assessing politics

M.E. Collins and C. Clay

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 743-751

Public policy does not solely distribute goods and services based on demonstrated need, although need may be one factor among others. The needs of young care leavers in the US must compete for resources with the needs of countless other vulnerable populations. Based in the theoretical literature of agenda setting, this article uses qualitative data from interviews with 34 key stakeholders to assess perspectives on influencing US state policy on young care leavers, particularly as it relates to framing problems and policy solutions within political context.

Minding the gap: adolescent mothers navigate child welfare

L. J. Silver

Social Service Review, vol. 82, 2008, p. 615-637

Lipsky suggests that organisational conditions make it impossible for 'street-level bureaucrats' to practice in ways that meet public agencies' official missions. This article is aligned with the approach developed by Lipsky in considering how official objectives diverge from providers' own practices. Specifically, it looks at how practice is shaped by broad governance and by local residential, educational and child care conditions in a Supervised Independent Living programme for dependent and delinquent adolescent mothers in a large US city. The study found that there is social distance between leaders, on the one hand, and workers and clients on the other. These conditions foster what are termed familiar zones, or programme spaces that are not highly regulated. Participants use these zones to foster informal social networks, to hide rule-breaking behaviours, and to maintain the impression of compliance with official policies that are unrealistic and impractical.

Responding to child sexual abuse in the United States and Kenya: child protection and children's rights

J. Mildred and C.A. Plummer

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 601-608

In the United States, concerns about child sexual abuse have been framed as child protection and criminal justice issues that require adults to act on behalf of children. Emphasis has been on sexual abuse by caregivers and abduction by predatory strangers. In Kenya, the sexual abuse of children has been framed as a child welfare and children's rights issue. Emphasis has been on the vulnerability of children detached from families and communities and their involvement in the commercial sex trade.

Trap for women or freedom to choose? The struggle over cash for child care schemes in Finland and Sweden

H. Hiilamo and O. Kangas

Social Policy Journal, vol. 38, 2009, p. 457-475

This analysis is based on the theory that ideas can become effective forces in history but to do so must be promoted by powerful and influential social groups. This hypothesis is explored through an analysis of the debate over home versus institutional care for children in Sweden and Finland. In Finland politicians in favour of home care for children portrayed its positive characteristics and contrasted it with bureaucratic and emotionless institutional care. In Sweden politicians in favour of institutional care promoted it as offering children the best opportunities for development and as enhancing social equality. In contrast, cash for care was presented as propping up an old-fashioned family model.

Twenty years of foster care in Spain: profiles, patterns and outcomes

J.F. del Valle and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 31, 2009, p. 847-853

The type of foster care developed in each country, and especially the relationship between kinship and non-kinship care, is the product of highly complex historical and cultural factors that give rise to wide differences. This article aims to contribute to an understanding of the practice of foster care in Spain, where research has been very scarce. It covers both kinship and non-kinship care, and draws up a profile of the characteristics of fostered children, their birth families and foster caregivers. The child welfare system in Spain has resulted in most children in public care being looked after either by kin or in residential homes in spite of reforms during the 1980s and 1990s designed to encourage fostering.

Young people's transitions from care to adulthood: international research and practice

M. Stein and E. Munro (editors)

London: J. Kingsley, 2008

The transition to adulthood is a difficult step for any young person, but young people leaving care have a high risk of social exclusion, both in terms of material disadvantage and marginalisation. In this book leading academics gather together the latest international research relating to the transition to adulthood of young people leaving care, outlining and comparing the range of legal and policy frameworks, welfare regimes and innovative practice across 16 countries. The book also highlights the variations that exist between different groups leaving care.

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