Click here to skip to content

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

Child care subsidy, child care costs, and employment of low-income single mothers

H. Ahn

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 34, 2012, p. 379-387

Few studies have examined the relationship between the 1996 US welfare reform and child care costs resulting from new requirements for benefits claimants to engage in work related activities. Analysis of data from the 1993, 1996 and 2001 panels of the Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP) showed that more low-income single mothers paid for child care after welfare reform, and the amount of child care costs on average also increased significantly. Employed low-income single mothers had a higher probability of using paid child care. The marginal effects on child care costs for employed low-income mothers also revealed that they spent about five times more on child care after welfare reform. Finally, families with only a mother and children in the household had a higher probability of using paid child care than mothers living in a home with other adults.

Children of substance abusing parents: dynamics and treatment

S. Straussner and C. Fewell (editors)

New York: Springer, 2011

Millions of children in the United States live with a parent who abuses or is dependent on alcohol or other substances. The book presents treatment options and programmatic interventions for children of substance abusing parents and fills an important gap in the current literature. The contributors include a wide range of experts who provide up-to-date evidence-based clinical and programmatic strategies for working with children of alcohol and other substance-abusing parents of any age and in almost any practice setting.

Cross-system barriers to educational success for children in foster care: the front line perspective

K. Noonan and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 34, 2012, p. 403-408

Children in foster care in the USA are at risk of a multitude of poor educational outcomes. The 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act mandates activities for states to address barriers to educational success for children in foster care. Under the Act, states must develop a plan to ensure educational stability for children in care. In this study, foster care caseworkers, teachers, school counsellors, and foster parents participated in focus group discussions which examined their current understanding of educational processes for children in care, including opportunities for improving outcomes and barriers that constrain their efforts in this regard. Knowledge and implementation of policies related to the educational needs of children in foster care varied widely among participants. Across all groups, ineffective and limited cross-system communication, role uncertainty among stakeholders, and prevalence of behavioural problems among the children were identified as barriers to achieving educational success. Innovative approaches to collaboration between education and child welfare systems are needed to produce positive outcomes.

Improving adolescent health through school-based health centers in post-Katrina New Orleans

P. Hutchinson and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 34, 2012, p. 360-368

Hurricane Katrina destroyed the physical and mental healthcare infrastructure, social programmes and recreational facilities that had helped to address the social and health needs of young people in New Orleans. One approach to addressing the physical and mental healthcare needs of adolescents has been the establishment of school-based health centres (SBHCs) in state schools. This study examined whether or not school-based health centres are positively associated with indicators of adolescent well-being and use of health services and negatively associated with engagement in risky behaviours. It used a quasi-experimental design, comparing three schools which had SBHCs with three which did not. Adolescents with access to SBHCs reported higher rates of use of essential health services, particularly mental health services, and were less likely to engage in risky behaviours such as drug use, violence, smoking and unhealthy eating.

Intercountry adoption after the Haiti earthquake: rescue or robbery?

P. Selman

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 35, no.4, 2011, p. 41-49

The international political climate is increasingly unsympathetic to the intercountry adoption of child victims of natural disasters, such as the South Asian tsumani of 2004. In this context, the article examines the varied responses of nation states in North America and Europe to the plight of children 'orphaned' by the Haiti earthquake and how this affected the number of children adopted from that country.

Intercountry adoption, children's rights and the politics of rescue

M. Davies

Adoption and Fostering, vol. 35, no.4, 2011, p. 50-62

This article presents a critique of the concept of the 'best interests of the child' as the basis of laws covering intercountry adoption. It explores the ethical and legal dilemmas involved in actually determining what the 'best interests of the child' are. Despite being enshrined in recent human rights law, these interests are not easy to define, particularly in relation to questions of culture, race identity and belonging. Furthermore, no matter how child centred legal processes purport to be, they are often at odds with the primary motives of adopters who, bolstered by the advantages of wealth and power, can show great determination in their search for children to use in creating their own families. There are further tensions to be found in structural inequalities between sending and receiving states, which, driven by political and economic expediency, may result in both or either party slackening or neglecting to enforce regulations.

Law and child development in the UK and the US

E. Buss and M. Maclean

Journal of Children's Services, vol. 6, 2011, p. 236-247

Child welfare law in the US and the UK is influenced by sometimes conflicting notions of family autonomy, welfarism, and children's rights. Although the two legal systems have much in common in their approach to safeguarding children in custody disputes and in cases of abuse and neglect, there are also notable differences between them in terminology and in concept. Whereas the USA places a greater emphasis on the rights, particularly autonomy rights, of both parents and children, the UK justifies its laws affecting children largely in terms of parental responsibility and child need. This paper argues that each of these legal regimes has something to learn from the other and a reader interested in the relationship between child welfare and law will profit from considering the distinctions, as well as the commonalities, between the two regimes.

Parents seeking help in child rearing: who are they and how do their children behave?

C. Reedtz and others

Journal of Children's Services, vol.6, 2011, p. 264-274

In their efforts to treat behavioural problems in young children, care providers, clinicians and researchers in Scandinavia have experienced difficulties in reaching those under six, in spite of universal public health services. This study suggests that more children with behavioural problems could be identified and referred to treatment through universal health promotion and parent training programmes offered in the community.

A review of how states are addressing placement stability

J.M. Blakey and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 34, 2012, p. 369-378

US states are coming under pressure to reduce the number of placement moves experienced by children in foster care. However, little is known about the types of services, programmes and policies that states and counties are using to increase placement stability. This article presents findings from child welfare administrators, supervisors, managers and staff from 33 states, who were interviewed about their efforts to reduce the incidence of foster care placement breakdown. Thematic analysis of the interviews showed that states are using the following nine approaches: improving services to foster children, placement matching, recruitment of foster parents, services and support to foster parents, training, consultation and collaboration, collaborative team approaches, involvement of biological parents, and prevention. Although 91% of states are using five to nine of these approaches, few were systematically evaluating the effects of the programmes.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web