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

Care for sale: the influence of New Public Management in child protection in Sweden

S. Höjer and T. Forkby

British Journal of Social Work, vol.41, 2011, p. 93-110

This study shows that although New Public Management practices involving managerialism and marketisation have been introduced in Swedish social services in recent years, their role in child protection practice is so far limited. Even though systems such as general procurement agreements between purchasers and providers of care and individual care plans that formulate goals and instructions for contractors delivering them have been developed and are operational, social work practice would appear to diverge substantially from them. General agreements can be sidestepped and their influence on quality seems marginal. In addition, child protection investigations tend not to follow the prescribed rational model.

On their own and in their own words: Bolivian adolescent girls' empowerment through non-governmental human rights education

C. Gervais

Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 14, 2011, p. 197-217

There has been increased recognition of the value of empowering and protecting young people through dignity-enhancing human rights training. Increased attention has also been paid to young people's perceptions of human rights and justice in post-dictatorial contexts in Latin America. In recognition of the benefits of educating young people about their rights, this article presents an experiential account of how a group of Bolivian indigenous adolescent girls realised, articulated, experienced and advocated human rights within non-governmentally based workshops. It emphasises how a supportive and interactive introduction to the conventions, declarations and constitutions intended to safeguard human rights can open up possibilities for liberation among adolescent girls confronted with gender-based discrimination and violence and ongoing political and economic instability.

'So that's how I found out I was a young carer and that I actually had been a carer most of my life': identifying and supporting hidden young carers

C. Smith, M. Blaxland and B. Cass

Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 14, 2011, p. 145-160

Whereas adults are expected to provide care to other adults and children, young people are expected to be care recipients rather than caregivers. As a result many young carers remain 'hidden' and beyond the reach of services designed to help them. This paper draws on qualitative research with young carers and service providers in Australia to explore the issue of self-identification amongst young carers. It concludes that government and non-government young carer support services face considerable challenges in reaching young people who provide care but do not recognise themselves as carers. There is a need for professional education to raise awareness of young carers in schools, health services and youth services.

Social exclusion and youth work: from the surface to the depths of an educational practice

T. van de Walle, F. Coussée and M. Bouverne-De Bie

Journal of Youth Studies, vol.14, 2011, p. 219-231

Inclusion of vulnerable young people in youth work is considered to be instrumental in integrating them into other spheres of social life, such as education, politics and future employment. However, research shows that youth work is ineffective in facilitating the social inclusion of the most marginalised and disaffected young people. Researchers advise introducing more structure into youth work with the most marginalised in order to realise the anticipated benefits. The authors argue that this reasoning fails to acknowledge the complexity of social reality. They demonstrate through a case study how youth work in Flanders actually reinforced the social exclusion it was intended to solve through reliance on middle-class norms and disregarding the histories, needs and opportunities of the vulnerable young people it intended to assist.

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