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

AGREEMENT BETWEEN ADOLESCENT SELF-REPORT AND PARENT REPORTS OF HEALTH AND WELL-BEING: RESULTS OF AN EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDY

E. Waters, S. Stewart-Brown and R. Fitzpatrick

Child: Care, Health and Development, Vol. 29, 2003, p. 501-509

The article examines the extent to which parents and their adolescent children agree or disagree on physical, emotional, mental and social domains of health and well being. A class of students was randomly selected in twenty-four schools in Victoria, Australia. Each adolescent, and one of their parents, completed a written questionnaire covering social demographic variables, child and parent illnesses, health concerns, school performance etc. The strength of parent-child associations was also measured. Results reveal that adolescents are much less optimistic about their health than their parents and are more likely to be sensitive to pain and mental health problems. The article concludes that the results have important clinical and public health implications, as should adolescents be unable to report the problem for themselves, it is clear that relaying on the parental report would only partly inform the clinician of the severity of health problems experienced.

CUSTODY AND ACCESS IN CANADA

H. Bretherton

Family Law, Vol. 33, November 2003, p.846-848

The article reviews "Putting Children First", a report by the Canadian Federal-Provincial-Territorial Family Law Committee. It sets out the report's primary objectives and principles before looking at key innovations in greater depth.

INDICATORS OF CHILDREN'S DEVELOPMENT: CONSIDERATIONS WHEN CONSTRUCTING A SET OF NATIONAL CHILD HEALTH INDICATORS FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION

L. Kohler and M. Rigby

Child: Care, Health and Development, Vol. 29, 2003, p. 551-558

A recent project, commissioned by the EU, recommended a set of Child Health Indicators for use in all member States. The paper presents the background and evidence behind the deliberations that led to the decision on what to include in neurological, social and moral aspects of development.

THE OFFICE OF THE CHILDREN'S OMBUDSPERSON: CHILDREN'S RIGHTS AND SOCIAL POLICY INNOVATION

B. Gran and D. Aliberti

International Journal of the Sociology of Law, Vol. 31, No. 2, June 2003, p.89-106

Although children often possess civil rights per se, they must rely on their parents to enforce such rights. Cases such as that of Deshaney in the USA and Victoria Climbié in the UK highlight the fact that children's guardians cannot always be relied upon to act in the best interests of their charges. Norway appointed a children's ombudsperson in 1981 to champion the rights of the child but since then only eight other countries have followed suit. This article explores the need for, and role of, the children's ombudsperson, before going on to investigate why so many countries do not have one. Qualitative Comparative Analysis, based on Boolean algebra, is used. Results show that the office of children's ombudsperson arises when a need is perceived and wealth is available to fill that need. Countries that do not have a children's ombudsperson can be categorised in three ways: as not having large populations of children, as having low levels of wealth, or as having low levels of civil rights. However as this is the first cross-national study of the formation of national offices of children's ombudspersons, the article ends by calling for further research.

REMOVING CHILDREN FROM THE CARE OF ADULTS WITH DIAGNOSED MENTAL ILLNESSES: A CLASH OF HUMAN RIGHTS?

P. M. Prior

European Journal of Social Work, Vol. 6, 2003, p.179-190

Paper presents an analysis of European Court of Human Rights cases related to breaches of human rights that occurred when children were taken into care from families in which one or both parents had a diagnosed mental illness. Issues raised by these cases include:

  • how to ensure that the right to family life is protected for adults with mental illnesses;
  • how to ensure access and opportunities for parents to continue bonding with children in care;
  • how to avoid damaging children while giving time for a proper assessment of the care situation.

SCHOOL-BASED FAMILY SUPPORT: EVIDENCE FROM AN EXPLORATORY FIELD STUDY

R. L. Fischer

Families in Society, vol.84, 2003, p.339-347

The use of family support interventions to aid at-risk families and children has proliferated over the last two decades. In particular, family support has been used to strengthen parental involvement in their child's school life as a means of preventing academic failure and problem behaviours such as drug use. Paper presents empirical data from a field study of one leading family support model, Families and Schools Together (FAST), based on 427 families who graduated from the programme over four years in Atlanta, Georgia. Child participants showed statistically significant declines in problem behaviours, and their families showed improved adaptability and cohesion.

SOCIAL, CULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON CHILD ACTIVITY AND EATING IN AUSTRALIAN MIGRANT COMMUNITIES

J. Green and others

Child: Care, Health and Development, Vol. 29, Nov. 2003, p.441-448

The article examines social and cultural influences on the food habits and physical activities of young people from families with backgrounds of migration. The research took the form of semi-structured interviews with 3 generations of families from the Turkish, Greek, Indian and Chinese communities. Results show that traditional and modern eating habits are intermingled and that healthy eating habits and lifestyles are encouraged. The article concludes that there must be greater collaboration with diverse groups and communities when tackling problems of childhood obesity, and that a multi-generational approach is more effective than just targeting parents and children.

WORKING PARENTS WITH YOUNG CHILDREN: CROSS-NATIONAL COMPARISONS OF POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES IN THREE COUNTRIES

S. F. Allen

International Journal of Social Welfare, Vol. 12, 2003 p.261-273

The study examines policies regarding parental leave and provision of childcare for parents of children under three in the United States, Sweden and Japan. Each country is analysed individually, with data collected on the type and duration of parental leave and wage replacement as well as the use, regulation and subsidisation of childcare programmes. Cross-national comparisons show that countries are influenced by their own socio-political contexts in dealing with early childhood education and care. The study concludes that there is a need for unified programmes and policies as well as continuing global debate in order support parents and their young children to the full.

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