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

The current status and impact of US national policy on the help-seeking behavior of adolescents

A. Del Prado Lippman

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 822-828

Contemporary adolescents in the United States face a myriad of problems leading to high levels of mental disorders and emotional problems. The lack of federal policy addressing these issues constitutes a national problem. This article examines three public laws and two proposed federal policies that impact on adolescents' unmet mental health needs. It also explores the effects of current laws, and considers how public policy can be strengthened to narrow the service gap that exists for this population.

Gender and child welfare in society

B. Featherstone and others (editors)

Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

The book offers an overview of sociological, psychological and developmental perspectives on family relationships, child welfare and the practice realities of professional interventions with families. It interrogates the current child welfare agenda from a gendered perspective, drawing on developments in thinking about gender relations. Chapters describe a range of service settings, including family support, child health, education, child protection, domestic violence, children who are 'looked after', and youth justice. The book also explores the new challenges facing women and men as parents in the context of family and societal change and diversity. It raises the issue of how gender intersects with ethnicity, religion, class, disability, age and sexuality in families, and what theoretical and practice developments are most promising in promoting both child well-being and gender equity. With contributions from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand, the book takes an international, multidisciplinary, and multi-professional approach to the subject, offering a broad range of views on topics highly relevant to both practitioners and policy makers. Although social work is the dominant discipline, the book also contains contributions from academics in nursing, education, social policy, and family therapy.

Intercountry adoption in Europe 1998-2008: patterns, trends and issues

P. Selman

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 34, no.1, 2010, p. 4-17

This paper examines the recent history of intercountry adoption in Europe in the context of the enlarged EU, which contains both sending and receiving countries. It provides a detailed analysis of the movement of children for adoption between European countries and examines the impact of intercountry adoption on their well-being. It also looks at debates on intercountry adoption in the European Parliament, focusing on the pros and cons of adoption of children from Romania and Bulgaria.

Long term effects of Head Start on academic and school outcomes of children in persistent poverty: girls vs boys

M. Joo

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 807-814

Head Start is a preventive programme that was designed to mitigate the negative impacts of poverty on children's outcomes through the provision of comprehensive developmental services for poor children aged 3-5 and social services for their families. Using various years of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and their two Child Development Supplements of 1997 and 2002, this study focused on the long term effects of participation in Head Start on the academic achievement and school outcomes of children who grew up in chronic poverty, after controlling for their home environments and neighbourhood qualities. Findings suggest that Head Start participation was associated with higher scores on the Woodcock Johnson-Revised Test and decreased involvement with school suspension, expulsion, and grade repetition for girls throughout their school years. However, parents' education and home environments are more consistent determinants of children's long term outcomes than Early Childhood Care and Education programmes, including Head Start.

Maternal child care preferences for infants, toddlers and preschoolers: the disconnect between policy and preference in the USA

K.K. Rose and J. Elicker

Community, Work and Family, vol. 13, 2010, p. 205-229

Public policy in the USA aims to assist individuals and families to achieve economic self-sufficiency through paid work. Measures to improve access to childcare are intended to remove a barrier to maternal participation in the labour market. However, a survey of 345 employed mothers in a suburb of a large metropolitan area in the Southern USA showed that, in an ideal world, a majority of mothers would choose parental care for infants (87.6%) and toddlers (59%). Care by the father emerged as the common second choice if the mother was unavailable.

When family becomes the job: fostering practice in Denmark

C.C. Kjeldsen and M.B. Kjeldsen

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 34, no.1, 2010, p. 52-64

This article seeks to provide an insight into seven issues currently affecting foster care in Denmark and to examine some of the associated policy and practice implications. The seven issues addressed are: the historical development of foster care; the selection, approval and support of foster carers; the professionalization of foster care; placement disruption; the paradox of emotional attachment; and pending legislation. The analysis suggests that Denmark's emphasis on preventative services and low use of adoption delay removal of children at risk of harm from their birth families, with the result that children coming into care are older than in other countries. The Danish fostering system displays numerous tensions similar to those reported in the UK and the US. Some of these problems can be attributed to the requirement for foster carers not to get too emotionally involved with the children, and the division of responsibility between social workers and foster parents. As a result children miss out on the services they need and placements are disrupted unnecessarily.

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