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

Developing performance-based contracts between agencies and service providers: results from a Getting To Outcomes support system with social services agencies

G. Hannah and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 1430-1436 Performance-based contracting has become an increasingly common technique in the US for holding human services programmes accountable for the outcomes they promise. This study examines an intervention designed to enhance the ability of children's services to implement performance based contracting using the Getting To Outcomes accountability framework. This approach to contracting focused specifically on outcomes, provided a comprehensive framework for contracts, and offered multi-component support to agencies.

How does foster care work?: international evidence on outcomes

E. Fernandez and R. P. Barth (editors)

London: J. Kingsley, 2010

Drawing on research and perspectives from leading international figures in children's services across the developed world, the book provides an evidence base for programme planning, policy and practice. This volume establishes a platform for comparison of international systems, trends and outcomes in foster care today. Each contributor provides a commentary on one other chapter to highlight the global significance of issues affecting children and young people in care. Each chapter offers new ideas about how foster care could be financed, delivered or studied in order to become more effective.

Improving turnover in public child welfare: outcomes from an organizational intervention

J. Strolin-Goltzman

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 1388-1395

High workforce turnover in child welfare causes multiple social and economic problems for organisations and for families and children using the system. Design Teams (DT) are groups of employees who work together to solve organisational issues leading to high workforce turnover. This paper describes the impact of a Design Team intervention on intention to leave. Twelve child welfare agencies either participated in the intervention or formed a comparison group. The findings suggest that intervening at the organisational level with Design Teams can positively affect perceptions of burnout and role clarity, job satisfaction, and agency commitments and decrease intention to leave.

Meeting children's basic needs

L.A. Gennetian, T. Leventhal and S. Newman (guest editors)

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 1133-1210

This special issue is intended to critically assess how well the low-income children's needs for basic necessities are being met in the USA, with a focus on challenges facing policymakers. The articles cover the major US federal policies designed to meet children's basic needs including income, healthcare, food, housing, early education and care, and primary and secondary schooling. It is concluded that, while America lacks a comprehensive national vision for the promotion of healthy families , its current fragmented social policy agenda meets the most basic needs of impoverished children and has helped foster innovation.

Power and empowerment: fostering effective collaboration in meeting the needs of orphans and vulnerable children

A. Wallis, V. Dukay and C. Mellins

Global Public Health, vol. 5, 2010, p. 509-522

In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS has resulted in a rapidly growing population of orphans and vulnerable children. These have strained the traditional safety net provided by extended families to its breaking point. Increasingly, community-based initiatives are emerging to fill the gap. This article looks at one such initiative in rural Tanzania, through which a centre to house orphans was built through the collaboration of an in-country and a foreign NGO. An external evaluation of the work suggested that the centre was effective in improving the orphans' quality of life. Despite this success, a conflict between the in-country and the foreign NGO resulted in the eventual closure of the centre.

Punishment and child harm

M.A. Lynch and K. Ross (guest editors)

Child Abuse Review, vol.19, 2010, p. 225-299

Punishment is an aspect of child harm that has received both international and national attention in recent years. A number of recent studies have confirmed the widespread use of potentially harmful physical and psychological punishments in homes, schools and institutions. The articles in this special issue focus on corporal punishment and demonstrate that legal bans are ineffective unless public attitudes are changed. A paper from Israel on Bedouin children explores some of the cultural values and structural constraints that force communities and families to use damaging practices including violent discipline. The authors call for cultural competence in responding. It is concluded that staff working in child protection need to be prepared to safeguard children from violent physical and psychological punishments.

Social investment policies in Chile and Latin America: towards equal opportunities for women and children?

S. Staab

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 607-626

This article begins by surveying the various policy instruments that have been used to invest in children across Latin America, before focusing on Chile where early childhood education and care have gained prominence since the return of democracy in 1990. With the Chile Grows with You programme, the government committed itself to providing quality crèche or kindergarten places for children from low-income families. This article considers to what extent the programme improves the life chances of low-income women and children in a highly unequal society.

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