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

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations Child Welfare: why if Canada wins, equality and justice lose

C. Blackstock

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, 2011, p. 187-194

On February 26th 2007, First Nations organisations in Canada took the historic step of holding Canada accountable before the Canadian Human Rights Commission for its current treatment of over 160,000 First Nations children resident on reserve. The complaint alleges that the Government of Canada discriminates against these children by providing them with less state child welfare funding, and therefore benefit, than other children in Canada. This opinion article presents the facts leading up to the filing of the complaint, the grass roots advocacy and legal process after the complaint was filed, and the implications for First Nations children, individuals from minority groups, and the moral fabric of the country if the Canadian government wins the case.

Childcare needs and childcare policies: a multidimensional issue

C. Saraceno

Current Sociology, vol. 59, 2011, p.78-96

Debates about the proper care setting for very young children are increasingly entering the public/political arena. National and supranational bodies, such as the European Union, set specific targets that simultaneously relate to women's labour force participation rates and childcare coverage by collective services, thus joining the numerous existing norm-setting groups in the field: churches, child psychologists, paediatricians and experts of all kinds. This article contributes to the debate by offering an overview of the different childcare packages offered by the 27 EU countries, indicating how they represent quite different understandings of proper care and proper parental behaviour.

Controversy and its implications for the practice of contemporary social work in intercountry adoption: a Korean-Australian case study

P. Fronek and C. Tilse

Australian Social Work, vol. 63, 2010, p. 445-459

Korean-Australian intercountry adoption has been practiced for 30 years. The programme is considered to be well-run with a track record of reliability and good practices. However, beliefs that prevent Korean mothers from parenting their children, such as the cultural unacceptability of unmarried motherhood, have generally not been questioned. Consequently, poverty and alternative solutions that address the needs of birth families with two parents or widowed, divorced or unmarried mothers and their children have not been considered. There is scant research that takes a broad perspective; rather the focus has been on the experiences of adoptive parents and adopted children. Research is needed to explore how and why children become available for adoption in Korea and to develop alternative solutions that address the issues at source. The Korean government needs to meet the challenge of addressing the social and welfare factors that make the children available for adoption in the first place.

'Like waking up in a Franz Kafka novel': service users' experiences of the child protection system when domestic violence and acrimonious separations are involved

H. Buckley, S. Whelan and N. Carr

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, 2011, p. 126-133

The challenges that arise in respect of child abuse reports made in the context of domestic violence and/or acrimonious parental separation have been the subject of recent academic discussion. This paper adds a service user perspective to the debate by reporting data from 27 cases in the Republic of Ireland. It demonstrates the level of powerlessness and frustration felt by families who found it difficult to have their needs heard or met. It also illustrates the very detrimental emotional impact on children and parents who frequently encountered indifference as well as insensitive responses from child protection staff. It is concluded that mainstream statutory child protection services do not have the capacity to deal with these complex cases and the adoption of alternative approaches is advocated.

The material side of foster care: economic and material resources among foster carers and foster youth in Swedish child welfare

S. Wiklund and M. Snallnas

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 34, no.4, 2010, p. 27-38

Outcome studies in foster care have focused on children's development and long-term adjustment. The economic aspects of placements and their effect on children's welfare have been little explored. This study compares the economic circumstances of Swedish foster carers with adults in the wider population and contrasts the situation of a sample of older children in foster homes, teenagers in the community and a group in residential care. As few differences were found, except for the relative disadvantage of those in residential settings, it is concluded that there is no reason why foster care should deprive children economically.

Reducing racial disparities and disproportionalities in the child welfare system: policy perspectives about how to serve the best interests of African American youth

Y. Anyon

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, 2011, p. 242-253 There is general agreement that African American young people are overrepresented in the child welfare system, but no consensus on how to tackle the problem. In particular, the use of transracial adoption as a strategy has been hotly contested, but remains the primary intervention supported by federal policy. This article will demonstrate that much of the difference in opinion reflects tensions between four long-standing policy perspectives in child welfare: expedient permanency, cultural continuity, family preservation and social disadvantage. Proponents of each point of view frame the problem of overrepresentation uniquely, favour particular types of interventions, and highlight different research to support their claims.

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