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

Child-sensitive social protection: a new approach to programming for children affected by HIV and AIDS

R. Yates, U.K. Chandan and P.L.A. Ken

Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, vol. 5, 2010, p. 208-216

Drawing upon the evidence base, this paper focuses on two critical shifts in global consensus on how to improve the response to children affected by HIV and AIDS that are particularly relevant for policy. Firstly, there is increasing agreement that the global response to children should be AIDS sensitive, rather than AIDS exclusive. Although there are some AIDS-specific vulnerabilities children face, it is recognised that many of their needs are the same as those of other vulnerable children. Secondly, it has become evident that short-term responses to mitigating impacts on children's lives are ineffective. Rather, given that the impacts of the epidemic, especially the effects of chronic poverty, will be felt for generations, government-led national responses that enhance systems of care, support and protection for children are required. Indeed, the global consensus has consolidated around the urgent need to strengthen and scale up child-sensitive social protection for all vulnerable children, including those affected by AIDS.

Children, gender and families in Mediterranean welfare states

M. Ajzenstadt and J. Gal (editors)

London: Springer, 2010

There is intense interest in the social well-being and the legal and economic status of families, women and children in the welfare state, and this volume deals with the issues from a unique 'welfare regime' perspective. Casting aside the generally held assumption that national welfare regimes have common characteristics, this book makes the case that the Mediterranean states share a unique set of commonalities. In doing so, it offers a close comparative analysis of policies towards children, families and gender in these nations-Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey and Israel. Beginning with an overview of these countries' welfare states and a discussion of the issues of children, families and gender in general terms, the volume then provides a detailed country-by-country comparison of these issues.

Do early academic achievement and behaviour problems predict long-term effects among Head Start children?

K. Lee

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 1690-1703

The goal of the US Head Start programme launched in 1965 is to improve outcomes for children from low-income families so that they start school on the same level as their more advantaged peers. There is general agreement that Head Start improves the cognitive, socio-emotional, health and nutritional outcomes for preschool children, but debate as to how long the beneficial effects of the programme persist. This study used a longitudinal dataset to measure Head Start children's outcomes at ages 5-6 and 11-12 and also explored whether maternal education moderated these associations. As expected, children who had positive outcomes at age 5-6 tended to do better at 11-12. These results support Head Start's importance as a programme which enhances children's early lives and produces long term benefits.

Exploring the failure to protect the rights of the Roma child in Romania

M.J.R. Butler and L. Gheorghiu

Public Administration and Development, vol.30, 2010, p. 235-46

The European Union is proactive in promoting human rights, especially the rights of the child, in member states. Since Romania joined the EU in 2007, its government and the European Commission have made to social inclusion of the minority Roma population a top policy priority. This article begins by exploring why national policies have failed to bring about improvement on the ground through a case study of Galati, a town in South Eastern Romania. It is then suggested that ideas from business and management, particularly the notion of organisational receptivity to change, could increase the pace of institutional reform to address the needs of Roma children and their families.

A history of the present: uncovering discourses in (South African) child welfare

J. Schmid

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 40, 2010, p. 2102-2118

There is a temptation for researchers to assume that South African child welfare practice falls neatly into an apartheid or a post-apartheid epoch. However, a Foucauldian history of the present demonstrates that a Child Protection discourse, at the forefront during apartheid, continues to dominate local child welfare thinking. The dominance of this discourse allows service users and service providers to be constructed in a way that maintains the use of an intrusive, individualistic approach to child welfare that effectively overlooks the impact of structural factors on the lives of vulnerable children and their families. Revealing the Child Protection discourse as significant potentially allows South African policy makers and practitioners to appreciate that the child welfare system is not being effectively transformed towards the Developmental Social Welfare model currently in vogue.

The profile of income-poor children

A. Bastos, C. Machado and J. Passos

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 37, 2010, p. 933-950

This paper paints a picture of child poverty in Portugal using European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions microdata for 2004-2008. Results show that the position of children deteriorated during this period, and that social policy was ineffective in reducing child poverty. Children in large families and lone-parent households were particularly at risk of poverty.

Public expenditure, locality characteristics and child outcomes

A. Ben-Arieh

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 1778-1786

This study examined if and how locality characteristics relate to the levels of public expenditure on welfare and education in Israel and whether these two are related to several child outcome measures. Data were collected for 172 localities in Israel that were home to approximately 34% of the country's child population. Results show clearly that better-off localities have better child outcomes and that the level of expenditure on education and welfare differs across localities, with the variance being partly explained by local characteristics. However the third hypothesis, that localities that spend more on education and welfare achieve better child outcomes, was not supported.

The role of inter-agency collaboration in facilitating receipt of behavioural health services for youth involved with child welfare and juvenile justice

E. Chuang and R. Wells

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 1814-1822

Unmet need for behavioural healthcare is a serious problem for crossover youth, who are involved with both the child welfare and the juvenile justice system in the USA. Although a large percentage of crossover youth are seriously emotionally disturbed, relatively few receive necessary behavioural health services. Part of the problem is that these young people are involved with multiple agencies, and ensuring service receipt requires co-ordination among the agencies supporting them. This study examined associations between three different dimensions of inter-agency collaboration and the likelihood of the young people receiving behavioural health services. Specific dimensions of collaboration examined were: a) jurisdiction, or establishment of agency responsibility for dually involved youth; b) shared information systems; and c) overall connectivity, or the total number of ways in which agencies worked together. Results showed that having a single agency responsible for the care of a young person and administrative information sharing improved the odds of receipt of behavioural health services.

Toward evidence-informed policy and practice in child welfare

J.H. Littell and A. Shlonsky

Research on Social Work Practice, vol.20, 2010, p. 723-725

Increasingly, decision makers worldwide have demanded evidence about the effects of child welfare interventions so that they can make well informed choices. Systematic reviews can provide such evidence and are therefore essential for decision-making in child welfare. Decision-makers must, however, use this evidence judiciously and in concert with other concerns.

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