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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2011): Child welfare - overseas

Acting in the best interests of the child: a case study on the consequences of competing child protection legislation in Western Australia

W. Budiselik, F. Crawford and J. Squelch

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, vol.32, 2010, p. 369-379

In 2005, the Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WWC) came into force in Western Australia. The primary aim of the Act is to protect children from abuse by mandating a criminal record checking process for people working with them. This article considers some of the complexities of administering the Act highlighted by the Citizen case. In this case the fact that grandparents were caring for their grandson Barry under a state protection order was classified as 'child related work'. Therefore, the grandparents had to have WWC cards, which Mr Citizen was not able to get as he had a serious criminal conviction. This meant that Barry had to be removed from their care and separated from his sister Heather who was not under the care of a protection order. This case highlights the difficulties of achieving the best interests of children in a context where the legal maze to be negotiated by parents and protection officials becomes increasingly complex and contradictory.

Caring for AIDS-orphaned children: an exploratory study of challenges faced by carers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

C. Kuo and D. Operario

Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, vol. 5, 2010, p. 344-352

Few studies exist of carers of AIDS-orphaned children, although they support 15m youngsters. This article reports on findings from a qualitative exploratory study of challenges faced by carers of AIDS-orphaned children in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Respondent narratives suggest that AIDS-related parental deaths have not caused a crisis in child placement because historically primary childcarers have been nonparental figures. However, the sheer volume of parental deaths has contributed to household economic shocks, increasing poverty and unemployment. Findings also highlighted how current administration of state-supported grants exacerbated economic challenges. Respondents also drew attention to the different needs, motivations, abilities and challenges faced by varying types of kin carers.

In the name of the child: the gendered politics of childhood obesity

T. Zivkovic and others

Journal of Sociology, vol. 46, 2010, p. 375-392

This paper examines the re-orientation of policy and services towards children as targets for obesity interventions. Through the lens of the concept of child politics, the authors investigate how children are constructed and positioned and the gendered assumptions and implications for women in this context. Following a discussion of the ideology of child politics, the authors examine a case of medical neglect and abuse from a recent Australian medical journal, in which it is asked whether parents should be held legally culpable for allowing their children to become obese. This specific case, and similar cases in the UK and the US, illustrates how children are represented as innocent victims of poor parenting. This opens the way for authoritarian and legal regulation of private lives through a repressive state apparatus.

Needs and support for Ugandan child-headed households: results from a qualitative study

W.E. Kipp and others

Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, vol. 5, 2010, p. 297-309

Numbers of children who have lost their parents to AIDS in Uganda are increasing. More are living in child-headed households as the tradition of strong extended family support breaks down. This study describes the challenges faced by orphans living in child-headed households in Kabarole district and explores support received and required. The study reveals the complexity of providing support for children in this situation and emphasises the importance of addressing their emotional as well as their physical needs. Questions are raised about the appropriateness of the support currently provided by non-governmental organisations, and reasons for hostility towards AIDS orphans from the community are explored.

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