Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2003): Child Welfare - Overseas

THE ADOPTION AND SAFE FAMILIES ACT: HOW CONGRESS OVERLOOKS AVAILABLE DATA AND IGNORES SYSTEMIC OBSTACLES IN ITS PURSUIT OF POLITICAL GOALS

T.J. Stein

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.25, 2003, p.669-682

The Adoption and Safe Families Act's stated purpose is to enhance child safety and increase placement stability. However, when passing the Act, Congress ignored information concerning the operation of child welfare agencies and juvenile courts, and information describing systemic barriers to the attainment of its policy goals. It is therefore unlikely that the objectives set forth in the Act will be realised except by ignoring the needs of severely troubled parents.

THE FUTILITY OF PRAGMATIC REFORM: THE CASEY FOUNDATION IN NEW YORK CITY

W.M. Epstein

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.25, 2003, p.683-701

A number of longstanding class action suits summoned the courts to remedy the deficiencies of New York City's child welfare system. The courts invited the Casey Foundation to produce a reform plan. The subsequent recommendations represent best practice in current American child welfare work: neighbourhood placement, family reunification, family preservation, administrative accountability, intensive social casework, etc. However, the reforms will probably fail, especially in the light of the absence of any credible evidence that such interventions have ever succeeded. Indeed, by advocating a modest, incremental approach, the recommendations may even thwart effective reform.

HIGH RISK INFANTS IN THE CHILDREN'S COURT PROCESS IN AUSTRALIA

L. Campbell, A. Jackson et al

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Vol. 25(2), 2003, p.121-135

Infant protection cases are some of the most difficult that courts have to deal with. This article examines high-risk infant cases in the Victorian Children's Court, noting problems that occur. The vulnerability of the infant makes the proceedings more emotive and there is also a problem in predicting "likely harm" - especially where the child in question is the first-born. In such cases child protection and specialist infant protection workers expressed dissatisfaction with the level of timely, informed and consistent legal representation for welfare workers, often felt that their legal counsel worked against them and suggested lawyers and magistrates considered that they took an "anti-parent" stance. They also wanted better ways of presenting arguments concerning infant vulnerability and a stronger basis for predicting the impact of interventions. Improvements to the system will require more attention to be given to inter-disciplinary information systems, conflict management strategies and opportunities for conducting more open and shared discourse between child protection workers, lawyers and magistrates.

WELFARE WORK REQUIREMENTS AND CHILD WELL-BEING: EVIDENCE FROM THE EFFECTS ON BREAST-FEEDING

S.J. Haider, A. Jachnowitz and R.F. Schoeni

Demography, Vol. 40, 2003, p.479-497

A central theme of welfare reform is that recipients are required to engage in work activities. In many US states, these work requirements apply to mothers of young babies, which may decrease the prevalence of breast-feeding. Results suggest that in the absence of welfare reform, the national breast feeding rate six months after birth would have been 5.5% higher in 2000.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web