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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2004): Child Welfare - Overseas

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES NEED A HEAD START TOO!

M. A. Beauchesne, A. Barnes and C. Patsdaughter

Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 8, 2004, p.41-55

Head Start is a US national programme which provides developmental services for low-income pre-school children and their families. Federal legislation has mandated Head Start programmes to enrol children with disabilities as at least 10% of their population. However a survey of directors of Head Start programmes in New England has shown the service to be underused by children with more than mild disabilities.

A CONFUCIAN WAR OVER CHILDCARE? PRACTICE AND POLICY IN CHILDCARE AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE KOREAN GENDER REGIME

S.-Y. Won and G. Pascal

Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 38, 2004, p.270-289

In Korea, mothers are increasingly involved in paid work. The state has superficially supported this through the introduction of paid maternity and childcare leave and promotion of the development of daycare services. However, there is a gap between policy rhetoric and reality. Legislation is commonly not implemented and there is a continuing assumption that childcare is primarily the responsibility of the mother. Policy is still rooted in Confucian ideas which place responsibility for childcare on the family, leading to minimal state involvement in childcare provision, funding and regulation.

HEARING THE VOICES OF CHILDREN: SOCIAL POLICY FOR A NEW CENTURY

C. Hallett and A. Prout

London: Routledge, 2004

At the heart of this book is the emergence of 'children's voices' and the implications of this for social policy. The authors argue that children's voices should be heard much more strongly in the process of policy formation at all levels. This idea is not without opposition, and the authors themselves make many critical points about current attempts to put it into practice. Childhood experts from the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and Australia examine how assumptions and models about childhood interact with social policy. They challenge conventional ideas about childhood and discuss ways in which children's voices might be more influential in shaping policy.

IMPACT OF INTENSIVE FAMILY SUPPORT PROGRAMS: A SYNTHESIS OF EVALUATION STUDIES

C. Dagenais

Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 26, 2004, p.249-263

The review used meta-analysis to calculate the mean effect of programmes designed for families whose children are at risk of being taken into care. Results show that children who received programme services were removed from their families almost as often as children in control groups. Programmes that targeted a specific clientele, however, obtained more positive results. Results also showed that the programmes improved family functioning and family support networks although the size of the effects could not be calculated.

MATCHING FAMILY PROBLEMS WITH SPECIFIC FAMILY PRESERVATION SERVICES: A STUDY OF SERVICE EFFECTIVENESS

J.P. Ryan and J.R. Schuerman

Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 26, 2004, p.347-372

Family preservation programmes comprise a broad menu of clinical and social interventions. Researchers evaluating these programmes generally explore the impact of social interventions on the entire client population. The current study investigates the effectiveness of specific services targeted on a particular problem. It also explores the impact of these specific services on family functioning, child maltreatment and substitute care placement. Results indicate that few services are related to changes in family functioning. However, several problem specific services were related to decreased risk of child maltreatment and substitute care placement.

OPENNESS IN ADOPTION: RETROSPECTIVE LESSONS AND PROSPECTIVE CHOICES

R. Sullivan and E. Lathrop

Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 26, 2004, p.393-411

In Canada an adoptees-rights movement has pushed for access to information about origins; birth parents increasingly seek a voice in selecting their children's new families; and adoptive parents have responded to policy changes through their own organisations. The paper reports on a study of 1007 participants in reunions (birth parents and adoptees), and outlines their views on openness, information access and reunion. Participants agreed that reunion services should be available to all, and over 90% reported that a reunion had been a positive experience.

THE ORIGIN AND FUNCTIONING OF THE FAMILY ADVOCATE SYSTEM

R. Scherrer and D.A. Louw

International Journal of the Sociology of Law, vol.31, 2003 p.343-358

The article examines the responsibilities of the Office of the Family Advocate in South Africa as the protector of the interests of children in divorce cases. The Advocates' role throughout the divorce proceedings is detailed, from the initial assessment of whether arrangements made by parents are the best possible for their children, to any investigations the Office might undertake in order to secure the children's best interests. Flaws within the system are highlighted before the article concludes with a call for further research to be carried out in this area.

TEAMING UP: COLLABORATION BETWEEN WELFARE AND CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES SINCE WELFARE REFORM

J. Ehrle, C.A. Scarcella and R. Geen

Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 26, 2004, p.265-285

Poverty and child abuse or neglect often co-occur. As a result, welfare and child welfare agencies have a large set of clients in common. Using data from a survey of state welfare directors and in-depth case studies in 12 states, this article finds that 1996 welfare reforms provided a flexible environment to improve collaborative efforts between welfare and child welfare agencies. These efforts have focused on families receiving welfare and involved in child protection, sanctioned families, relative caregivers receiving child-only payments, domestic violence victims, teenagers that cannot live at home due to parental abuse, and clients with complex needs.

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