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

The crucial role played by social outrage in efforts to reform child protective services

R. Jagannathan and M.J. Camasso

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, 2011, p. 894-900

This paper questions the widely, if tacitly, held perspective that exceptional and highly publicised instances of child abuse and neglect offer little guidance or understanding in relation to improving the efficacy of child protection services. Using insights from Max Weber, Carl Jung and Henry Mintzberg, the authors argue that not only do such archetypical cases and the attendant moral outrage serve as catalysts for legislative and judicial actions, but they also motivate structural and procedural changes in child protective service operations. They propose extending to child protective services a risk model commonly considered in the fields of food safety, environmental science and chemical engineering, where risk is conceptualised as a function of both moral outrage and technical hazard.

How parents decide to participate and save in their children's asset-building accounts: implications for practice, policy and theory

J. Wheeler-Brooks

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, 2011, p.955-962

Asset-based social welfare programmes focus on helping poor families to accumulate wealth in the shape of home ownership, savings and small businesses. The SEED initiative (Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship and Down Payment) was a national demonstration of children's savings accounts conducted in partnership with 12 community programmes across the USA. Programmes enrolled children and parents in SEED and provided financial education, a variety of savings incentives and encouragement to save. However, local SEED programmes experienced unexpected difficulties enrolling parents. Once enrolled, parents were also slow to open accounts and save in them. Focus groups were held with parents of SEED children to explore how they decided to participate, to open accounts and to save into them.

The shift towards family reunification in Romanian child welfare policy: an analysis of changing forms of governmental intervention in Romania

J. Leon

Children and Society, vol.25, 2011, p. 228-238

In Romania, orphanages have traditionally functioned as public institutions that provided a decent home for children whose parents could not take care of them. However, government policy has now shifted and emphasises family reunification and the restoration of parent-child relationships. This shift cannot be read simply as a withdrawal of the state from the task of childcare. Rather, it should be seen as a change in the tactics that the government uses to mange private family relationships. The article is based on ethnographic research that examined the reflections of Romanian child welfare professionals on their changing roles.

Thinking Goudge: fatal child abuse and the problem of uncertainty

G. Cradock

Current Sociology, vol. 59, 2011, p. 362-378

Despite increased awareness of child abuse in the 20th century, children have continued to die at the hands of abusers. As a result, public inquiries into child fatalities occurred regularly worldwide over the past four decades. Prior to 2000, such inquiries mainly focused on the failures of social work, but since the turn of the century other vocations such as medicine and policing have also come under scrutiny. Ontario's Goudge inquiry centred on paediatric forensic pathology, but instead of focusing concern on murdered children, it considered the moral hazard of wrongful convictions of innocent adults stemming from an overzealous approach to child abuse.

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