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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2010): Child welfare - overseas

Approaches to assessment and intervention across four types of child and family welfare services

Y. Darlington, K. Healy and J.A. Feeney

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 356-364

This study is based on the analysis of a case vignette presented to practitioners within four types of child and family welfare services in Queensland: statutory child protection, domestic violence, family support and intensive family support. It was designed to examine practitioners' perceptions of risk factors and intervention responses. Practitioners from all service types identified the situation in the vignette as a high risk case, and nominated similar environmental, parent-related and child-related issues. Furthermore, their proposed response comprised a constellation of actions incorporating assessment of harm to children, engaging family support services, attending to the needs of parents and building a relationship with parents. Building on these findings of a certain commonality in the responses, the authors consider implications for the development of sector-wide approaches to risk assessment and for training of child protection professionals across a range of agency types.

Child-centred social work practice: three unique meanings in the context of Looking after Children and Assessment Framework in Australia, Canada and Sweden

B. Rasmusson and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.32, 2010, p. 452-459

This paper explores different approaches to child-centred social work, as conveyed in the training materials and guidelines of Looking after Children and Assessment Framework in Australia, Canada and Sweden. The analysis of materials produced by license-holding organisations in the three countries suggests that Australia balances children's needs and rights, while Sweden is more rights-oriented and Canada more needs-oriented.

Classed parental practices in a modern welfare state: caring for the under threes in Norway

K. Stefansen and G.R. Farstad

Critical Social Policy, vol. 30, 2010, p. 120-141

This paper explores how family policy measures, the cornerstones of social democratic welfare states, are understood and combined by parents from different social classes in Norway. It aims to show how the core elements in the package of services offered to Norwegian parents, i.e. a generous parental leave scheme, a 'cash-for-care' benefit for one- to-three-year-olds, and state sponsored daycare facilities, become building blocks in classed care strategies. Most middle-class parents combined the different welfare state measures into a 'tidy trajectory' of care, while most working class families created a 'sheltered space' for care.

Combating child poverty? A multi-level assessment of family policy institutions in 21 old and new welfare states

O. Backman and T. Ferrarini

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 275-296

This study aimed to analyse the macro-to-micro relationship between different family policy institutions and child poverty in a comparative perspective. Using a multilevel regression approach, the results indicate that greater generosity of all types of family policy transfers at the macro level can be linked to lower poverty risks among households with young children at the micro level. Interesting differences can be found, depending on the type of family support analysed. Dual earner support appears to operate by enabling both parents to work and raise market income. Support to more traditional families, on the other hand, has a more direct effect on household income and poverty risks; that is, in this case it is the transfer per se that matters. The analysis also supports the hypothesis that dual-earner type transfers also alleviate poverty most effectively among single mother households.

An examination of theory and promising practice for achieving permanency for teens before they age out of foster care

R.J. Avery

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.32, 2010, p. 399-408

Research is presented that examines the efficacy and adequacy of independent living services in preparing young people for leaving foster care and that calls into question the appropriateness of the independence goal for any youth in care. The article then explores an emerging approach which aims to support young carer leavers' transition to adulthood by focusing on permanently attaching them to kin and fictive kin. It then reports on the success of a federally-funded demonstration programme that served young care leavers in residential homes in New York City. It examines elements of the project model that were highly successful in achieving permanent connections to family and fictive kin for a significant proportion of the young people referred to the programme.

From passive welfare to community governance: youth NGOs in Australia and Scotland

K. O'Toole and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 430-436

Through a community governance framework, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) delivering state welfare services become responsible for working in partnership with other community members to bring about different types of benefit to both their clients and the wider local community. Governance in this respect is not only the vertical or corporate role of boards or advisory committees but also governance in a horizontal mode where local community participation is encouraged. Welfare NGOs that adopt a community governance framework also provide a policy conduit for the local community. This study explores the nature of community governance in local NGOs through case studies of Brophy Family and Youth Services in Warrnambool in Victoria, Australia and Aberdeen Foyer in Scotland.

An institutional comparison of child protection systems in Australia and Norway focused on workforce retention

K. Healy and S. Oltedal

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 255-274

By any standard, child protection work is stressful and demanding. Throughout much of the post-industrial world, child protection agencies face significant problems in recruiting and retaining frontline staff. This article aims to contribute to the evidence base for improving workforce retention in child protection services through an institutional comparison of systems in Queensland and Norway. It analyses the role of institutional conditions in shaping the nature and scope of child protection work, characteristics and responsibilities of case workers, and their financial remuneration. It then discusses how these institutional effects help to explain differences in staff turnover among child protection workers in Queensland and Norway.

Social work and child welfare politics: through Nordic lenses

H. Forsberg and T. Kroger (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2010

Children and families are at the heart of social work all over the world, but, until now Nordic perspectives have been rare in the body of English-language child welfare literature. Is there something that makes child welfare ideas and practices that are in use in the Nordic countries characteristically 'Nordic'? If so, what kinds of challenges do the current globalization trends pose for Nordic child welfare practices, especially for social work with children and families? Covering a broad range of child welfare issues, this edited collection provides examples of Nordic approaches to child welfare, looking at differences between Nordic states as well as the similarities. It considers the particular features of the Nordic welfare model - including universal social care services that are available to all citizens and family policies that promote equality and individuality - as a resource for social work with children and families. Drawing on contemporary research and debates from different Nordic countries, the book examines how social work and child welfare politics are produced and challenged as both global and local ideas and practices.

Understanding the needs of staff in Head Start programs: the characteristics, perceptions and experiences of home visitors

B.J. Harden, N. Denmark and D. Saul

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 371-379

This study contributes to the limited knowledge base about home visitors in early childhood programmes, focusing on home visitors in Early Head Start, the US federal government intervention scheme for very young children from low-income families. It examined the characteristics and experiences of seven home visiting staff in an urban Head Start programme. Findings from this study are relevant to the development and training of home visiting staff in early childhood programmes.

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