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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2012): Child welfare - overseas

Learner pregnancy: perceptions of its prevalence and the Child Support Grant being the possible cause in South African secondary schools

M.N. Naong

Journal of Youth Studies, vol.14, 2011, p. 901-920

Pupil pregnancy has recently become an issue in South African secondary schools, and is more prevalent in Black state schools than in White schools. There is a general perception that the Child Support Grant provided by the state acts as an incentive for young girls to fall pregnant. The research reported here tested this perception through a literature review and a survey of 302 secondary school head teachers and 225 Grade 12 pupils. Results suggest that there not an increase in teenage pregnancy in South Africa and that there is no direct link between pupil pregnancy and the Child Support Grant.

Multiple response system: evaluation of policy change in North Carolina's child welfare system

C.N. Lawrence, K.D. Rosenbalm and K.A. Dodge

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, 2011, p. 2355-2365

Over the past 20 years, child protection services in the US have struggled to cope with rising numbers of child abuse reports, higher and more complex caseloads and limited resources to meet the needs of families. Differential response allows child welfare services to respond to reports categorised as low or moderate risk using a non-investigative assessment that typically does not require substantiation of abuse or neglect. This approach focuses on assessing the family's strengths and needs and providing support. This mixed methods evaluation explored various aspects of North Carolina's differential response system, known as the Multiple Response System (MRS), including: child safety, timeliness of response and case decision, frontloading of services, case distribution, implementation of Child and Family Teams, collaboration with community-based service providers, and shared parenting. Using child protection services administrative data, researchers found that, compared to matched control counties, MRS: had a positive impact on child safety; temporarily disrupted timeliness of response in pilot counties but had no effect on time to case decision; and increased the number of upfront services provided to families during assessment.

Reframing child protection: a response to a constant crisis of confidence in child protection

J. Mansell and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, 2011, p. 2076-2086

Child protection systems appear to be in a permanent state of crisis. They are criticised both for failing to protect some vulnerable children and for being too intrusive and over-zealous. In response most calls for reform involve either increasing the level of family surveillance and intervention or decreasing powers and mitigating overly excessive responses. This article proposes a model based on Signal Detection Theory to help social workers decide whether or not to undertake a statutory investigation in response to a referral.

Taking stock of ten years of research on the relationship between assets and children's educational outcomes: implications for policy, theory and intervention

W. Elliott, M. Destin and T. Friedline

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, 2011, p. 2312-2328

A well-recognised barrier to college access and completion in the US is high costs. The federal government has addressed the issue by making loans available to disadvantaged children and their families, but this has led to increasing numbers of young people leaving college burdened by debt. An alternative approach now being examined is use of asset accumulation schemes such as Child Development Accounts to pay for college attendance. This paper provides a review of 34 studies on the relationship between assets and children's educational attainment. It also proposes that Child Development Accounts should be designed so that, in addition to promoting savings, they include aspects that help make children's college-bound identity salient and congruent with their group identity, and that help children develop strategies for overcoming difficulties.

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