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

'Children out of place': representations of foster care in the Australian news media

D.W. Riggs and others

Journal of Children and Media, vol. 3, 2009, p. 234-247

Current understandings of foster care in Australia are shaped by awareness of its troubled history and by the way in which foster care is represented in the media. This paper provides an analysis of a sample of representations of foster care in the in the Australian news media, with a specific focus on the depiction of:

  1. foster children as damaged goods
  2. foster care systems and social workers as inherently damaging to children
  3. foster carers as primarily either inadequate parents, or good parents only in comparison with 'bad social workers'.

A European approach

T. Thomas and D. Thompson

ChildRight, issue 258, 2009, p. 28-30

Summarises new European Commission proposals for a Council Framework Decision on combating sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography. Framework Decisions are broad statements of European Union aims and principles within a given policy area that the 27 Member States are recommended to follow.

Legal responses to child protection, poverty and homelessness

T. Walsh and H. Douglas

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol.31, 2009, p. 133-146

Removal of children from the care of their parents is one of the most fundamental forms of intrusion by the state into the lives of families. As a result of the policies and practices of child protection departments, children may be removed from their parents simply because the parents are unable to afford accommodation and other necessities of life. This research, based on the situation in Queensland, suggests that in many cases where parents are provided with material support the need for more coercive state intervention is reduced. Instead, many poor parents are labelled as 'bad' parents and subjected to unhelpful or even punitive treatment as a result.

Residential care of children: comparative perspectives

M. Courtney and D. Iwaniec (editors)

Oxford: OUP, 2009

For centuries, societies have relied upon residential care settings to provide homes for children, and for much of that period a debate has raged over whether such settings are appropriate places for children to be raised. In recent years this debate has taken on an international dimension as human rights policies have called into question the legitimacy of residential care of children. This book fills major gaps in knowledge about residential care and is intended to inform debates within and between nations about the appropriate use of such institutions. Eleven country-specific chapters, written by child welfare experts from around the world, provide an understanding of the historical development of residential care, the current state of affairs, and predictions for the future. Chapters describe how residential care is defined in each country, how it has evolved over time, factors that have contributed to the observed pattern of development of residential care, and potential concerns for the future. An integrative chapter presents a critical cross-national perspective, identifying common themes and analyzing underlying factors.

Spotlighting the relationship between social welfare services and cash transfers within social protection for children

S. Giese, A. Greenberg and L. Sherr (guest editors)

Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, vol. 4, 2009, Supplement 1

The papers featured in this supplementary issue were commissioned by Unicef to determine the state of evidence with regard to four areas of interplay between social welfare services and cash transfers to poor families. The papers consider:

  • The ways in which contact opportunities associated with transfers might help to identify vulnerable households and link them with social welfare services
  • The impact of embedding social welfare services within schools in areas where cash transfers are conditional on school attendance
  • The extent to which cash transfer schemes have considered and documented child protection outcomes
  • The role of social welfare services in facilitating access to cash transfers in contexts where they are not reaching the poorest
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