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

Child nutrition policies and recommendations

C. Juby and E.E. Meyer

Journal of Social Work, vol.11, 2011, p. 375-386

Child malnutrition in industrialised countries is often disguised as obesity. One in four American children is estimated to suffer from hunger daily, and yet the prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing. Making nutritious food accessible to poor families is vital for the future health of their children. While federal policies in the United States have in the past made it more difficult for those on low incomes to purchase healthy foods, the current trend in legislation is to attempt to reduce barriers, allowing impoverished families greater access to high nutrient, low calorie foods. Social workers supporting poor families need to inform their clients about available programmes and services.

Redesigning the hollow state: a study of Florida child welfare service reform through the lens of principal-agent theory

M. Lamothe

International Journal of Public Administration, vol. 34, 2011, p. 497-515

The term 'hollowing out' is often used to characterise a delegation of responsibility for public service delivery to networks of governmental and non-governmental entities. Principal-agent theory has become the dominant framework for analysis of the nature of delegation and interaction among these actors. However, investigations of how system design affects the behaviour of agents have been rare. The purpose of this study is to investigate explicitly the effects of different contract configurations on agent behaviour. Florida's recent statewide privatisation and reconfiguration of its child welfare service delivery system are analysed for this purpose. The analyses suggest that the Florida reform includes several system components that are designed to curb the agent shirking that plagued the old system. The most significant change involves a transition of the contracting scheme from a fragmented quasi-market (dyadic contracting) to an integrated service network based on a managed care model. This change makes it possible for the government to hold lead vendors to account for outcomes of jointly produced services within their jurisdiction.

Searching for a middle ground in children's rights in Ghana

A. Twum-Danso Imoh

Journal of Human Rights, vol. 10, 2011, p. 376-392

The universality vs relativity debate has dominated children's rights discourse since its earliest days. The debate has intensified since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly in 1989. However this abstract debate does not help to protect children on the ground. This article aims to explore ways in which we can move beyond this debate and engage with local communities to explore their views on childhood, the socialisation of children and children's rights. Data were collected during ten months of fieldwork in Ghana between 2005 and 2006. Analysis of this empirical evidence identifies areas of commonality between local community perceptions of children's rights and international standards, but also highlights differences that persist. Policymakers at national and international levels need to explore how the cultural framework of a particular society can be used to engage communities in dialogue, both to identify commonality and to address differences that persist between local values and international standards.

Transition to adulthood

Child: Care, Health and Development, vol. 37, 2011, p. 757-895

The articles in this special issue add to our knowledge of care, health and development for young people with chronic health conditions, leading to greater understanding of the facilitators that promote transition planning and improve clinical practice. Evidence is needed to show ways to bridge the divide between child systems and adult services to inform policies and legislation. This can be provided through advances in medical and psychosocial care guided by sociological and developmental theories and models, and through research focusing on life-course, person-environment interactions and processes at work to provide young people with chronic conditions with experiences and opportunities needed for positive development. Above all, good clinical practice needs to be coupled with effective self-advocacy as well as advocacy.

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