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

Building orphan competent communities: experiences from a community-based capital cash transfer initiative in Kenya

M. Skovdal and others

Health Policy and Planning, vol.26, 2011, p. 233-241

In Kenya, an estimated 2.3 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. As one way of supporting these vulnerable children, nationwide cash transfer initiatives are being tried throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, which largely bypass communities and target vulnerable households directly. This paper suggests that such initiatives should be supplemented by social action funds that allow communities and community groups to draw on and strengthen existing local orphan care and support strategies. To make its case, the paper presents the experiences of people participating in a government run social action fund initiative in rural Kenya and explores the processes that either hinder or support the building or orphan supportive communities.

Children's participation in foster care hearings

V. Weisz and others

Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 35, 2011, p. 267-272

Many US courts have recently begun encouraging children's participation in hearings concerning foster care placement due to abuse or neglect. Empirical research regarding the risks and benefits of children's participation in the legal system is sparse. This study sought to address this gap by comparing the reactions of children who attended court hearings with the responses of those who did not. No evidence of harm to children who attended child protection hearings was found, either at the time of the hearing or a week later. A number of benefits were identified for children who participated, including higher levels of trust in the judge, more positive assessments of the fairness of the judge's decision and more understanding of their case.

Multi-sector policy action to create activity-friendly environments for children: a multiple-case study

M.-J. Aarts

Health Policy, vol. 101, 2011, p. 11-19

Lack of physical activity is a serious problem in many affluent countries and has several unfavourable health consequences such as an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart problems. Environmental characteristics such as recreational facilities, traffic situation, safety and social cohesion are thought to be related to children's physical activity in the shape of outdoor play, sports participation and travel to school. Creating physical and social environments that stimulate children to be physically active is therefore seen as a promising strategy. Creating such environments at the local government level requires input from policy actors outside of public health, such as spatial and transport planning. This study provides insight into current multi-sector policy actions aimed at creating activity-friendly environments for children, examines the role of multi-sector policy collaboration therein, and explores the facilitators and challenges for such an approach in four Dutch municipalities. Results show that multi-sector policy action aimed at creating activity-friendly environments for children is in its infancy, but could be stimulated in the Netherlands by raising awareness and defining problem ownership, enhancing multi-sector collaboration and paying attention to facilitators and challenges.

Perceived barriers to program participation experienced by disadvantaged families

M.D. Leurer

International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, vol.49, no.2, 2011, p. 53-59

There is ample evidence that children raised in disadvantaged families are more likely to have impaired health and social outcomes, but that these can be mitigated by interventions such as home visiting, parenting education, financial assistance and early childhood education. Unfortunately many programmes targeted on this population experience recruitment and retention difficulties. This research aimed to gain an understanding of the reasons behind low recruitment and retention levels by exploring the perceptions of service providers in the city of Regina, Saskatchewan. To further examine these descriptions, parents living in disadvantaged circumstances were asked to give their feedback on the service provider perceptions based on their own lived experience. Participants commonly identified 11 barriers which could be categorised as psychosocial and/or structural in nature.

Social pedagogy and working with children and young people: where care and education meet

C. Cameron and P. Moss (editors)

London: J. Kingsley, 2011

Social pedagogy is an innovative discipline that supports children's upbringing and overall development by focusing on the child as a whole person. It has been described as where education and care meet or as 'education in its broadest sense'. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the theory, principles and practice of social pedagogy and the profession of social pedagogue. With chapters from leading international contributors, it outlines the roots of social pedagogy and its development in Europe, and its role in relation to individuals, groups, communities and societies. Also covered is how it applies in practice to working with children and young people in a variety of settings, including children in care and in need of family support, and its potential future applications.

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