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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2000): Child Welfare - Overseas

CHILDCARE POLICY IN THE EUROPEAN STATES: LIMITS TO CONVERGENCE

V. Randall

Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 7, 2000, p. 346-368

An analysis of cross-national data in EU countries suggests that convergence in childcare policy is occurring more in some respects, eg levels of public provision for 3- to 6-year-olds, decentralisation, increased emphasis on flexibility and choice and an enhanced role for the private sector, than others. Factors limiting convergence include: variable impact of feminism cross-nationally; variable demand for childcare as indicated by wide variations in rates of mothers' employment and lone parenthood; different responses by member states to global and domestic economic pressures depending on the nature of their welfare regime; and lack of teeth in EU childcare policy.

NEEDS AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE WORKING POOR: EARLY HEAD START PROGRAM APPLICANTS

S. M. Wall et al

Families, vol. 81, 2000, p. 412-421

Field study of a suburban Early Head Start programme explores the characteristics, needs, and goals of applicants in order to develop a profile of the families and identify differences among them. Most applicants were working poor, two parent families which had goals of becoming economically self-sufficient through more education, better jobs and more income. Three distinct socio-cultural subgroups were identified within the sample: immigrant families, US military families and civilian families including young single mothers. Research indicated the need for building co-ordinated and culturally sensitive community service systems and for developing and implementing individualised family service agreements.

PARENT MUTUAL AID ORGANIZATIONS IN CHILD WELFARE DEMONSTRATION PROJECT: A REPORT OF OUTCOMES

G. Cameron and S. Birnie-Lefeovitch

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 22, 2000, p. 421-440

Paper reports the outcome of a mutual aid intervention designed to help child welfare agencies to take advantage of informal ways of helping their clientele. Outcomes predicted from participation in a PMAO included less out-of-home child placements, greater independence from professional support, and improved parent and family functioning in a relatively low cost fashion. Compared to a random sample of families receiving regular child protection services, the PMAO sample fared better on indicators of positive change in self-esteem, perceived ability to cope with the challenges of daily living, attitudes towards parenting and perceived social support. Far fewer PMAO families experienced out-of-home placements of children and PMAO members relied less on support from child protection workers.

YOUTH ON THE MARGINS IN NORTHERN IRELAND, ENGLAND, AND UKRAINE

J. Fleming and E. Kennan

European Journal of Social Work, vol. 3, 2000, p. 165-177

The paper considers some of the issues and debates around the concept of marginalization. Then, referring to Northern Ireland, England, and Ukraine it provides some perspectives on the situation of young people, with examples of the mechanics of marginalization and blocks to the inclusion of young people in their societies. The article also describes the Social Action approach and gives examples of how the authors have attempted to put the philosophy and approach into practice in three different countries and in the settings of research, practice, and training.

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