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

CHANGING THE PARADIGM: FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY OR INVESTING IN CHILDREN

J. Jenson

Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.29, 2004, p.169-192

The article explores the paradigm shift in the ways of thinking about the role of families and the state that has taken place in Canada. It begins by describing the shift from a policy where parents have full responsibility for their children's wellbeing to one where this is shared between families and the broader community. It then goes on to explore reasons for the change, which, it is argued, is due not only to new social and economic risks, but also the to work of a social-learning network made up of advocates and experts from civil society and inside the state calling for investment in children.

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY PERSPECTIVES AND REFORM OF AUSTRALIAN LEGISLATION

A. Farrell

Child Abuse Review, Vol.13, 2004, p.234-245

The article examines child protection policy and legislation in Australia and looks at how children in "risky" environments are kept safe. Two extremes in the literature - child protection and child liberation - are explored and the article concludes that policy needs to represent these two extremes in order to address both vulnerability and competence in the protection of children.

CHILD WELFARE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: A COMPARISON OF THE USA AND JAPAN

U.A. Segal

International Social Work, Vol.47, 2004, p.370-390

The article compares child welfare programmes and services in the USA and Japan. It considers the two countries in turn, identifying the problems faced by children in each country and describing the services available to help. Services in both countries aim at prevention, development and remediation, but in Japan the focus is on prevention and development, whilst in the USA it is on development and intervention. The article concludes by discussing what the two countries can learn from one another.

DEVELOPING A NETWORK OF SUPPORT FOR RELATIVE CAREGIVERS.

A.L. Strozier and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.26, 2004, p.641-656

Study presents quantitative and qualitative data regarding the effectiveness of a computer training programme which was designed to benefit kin caregivers by improving self-efficacy, enhancing career skills, augmenting social support, and increasing confidence in their ability to help educate the children in their care. Results indicate that the intervention was effective and can be used with kinship caregivers to increase self-efficacy, teach computer skills, enhance social support and build common ground between children and caregivers.

FACTORS RELATED TO THE DISPROPORTIONATE INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN OF COLOR IN THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM: A REVIEW AND EMERGING THEMES

A.M. Hines and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.26, 2004, p.507-527

Rather than one primary cause, there appear to be numerous inter-related factors associated with the disproportionate rates of involvement of children of colour in the US child welfare system (CWS). The review focuses on four areas:

  • parent and family-related risk factors for CWS involvement;
  • social factors related to poverty, neighbourhood effects and other community-related predictors;
  • race and class biases in initial reporting and subsequent processing of children in the CWS;
  • the impact of recent child welfare policy initiatives on children of colour.

HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES FOR PREGNANT AND PARENTING HIGH RISK TEENS

R. Sarri and A. Phillips

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.26, 2004, p.537-560

Study of pregnant and parenting teens was conducted in Wayne County, Michigan in 2000 to assess the well-being of these young women following the implementation of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. The young women surveyed and interviewed lived chaotic lives and faced problems of poor mental health, difficult family relationships, financial strain, homelessness, substance abuse, and risky sexual behaviour. These young girls therefore had substantial needs for health and social services that in most cases were unmet except for basic provision of Medicaid, food stamps and WIC (Women's Infants' and Children's Program). Many had been rejected when applying for services because of their age or because their parents were technically responsible for them.

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN IN OVER 11 HOURS OF CENTRE-BASED CARE

T. Anme and U. A. Segal

Child, vol.30, 2004, p.345-352

The article examines whether being placed in extended childcare effects children's development and adaptation. Parents using 41 governmentally licensed child care facilities in Japan were surveyed on the child-rearing environment at home, their thoughts as to their self-efficacy in childcare, and childcare support. Childcare professionals also evaluated the development of their children. Two years later the process was repeated. Results showed that factors in the home environment, such as whether parents regularly took their children to the park or grocery shopping, and whether a parent received support from their spouse, impacted on developmental risks, rather than the length of centre-based care.

KINSHIP CARE IN AUSTRALIA

N. Spence

Child Abuse Review, vol.13, 2004, p.263-276

Although kinship care (children in child welfare placements who are looked after by relatives) is rapidly increasing, it remains the least understood from of child welfare placement. The article reports findings from a New South Wales study of the experience of kinship carers, children and workers. All parties cited the psychological benefits of kinship care, with the majority of carers feeling that it was their duty to provide care for their "own flesh and blood". However, the study also identified high levels of stress amongst carers, who, amongst other things, had to cope with a change in their relationship with the child and managing the children's special needs. The lack of monitoring of children placed in kinship care was also highlighted. The article concludes that although an increased use of formal kinship care is endorsed by children, carers and child welfare workers, it comes at an enormous personal cost to relative carers and the long-term outcome for children is, as yet, unknown.

KINSHIP FAMILY FOSTER CARE: A METHODOLOGICAL AND SUBSTANTIVE SYNTHESIS OF RESEARCH

G.S. Cuddeback

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.26, 2004, p.623-639

Article reviews the research literature on children in kinship care in the USA. There is evidence that kinship caregivers have fewer resources and receive less training and support than professional foster carers. However, it is unclear if the differences seen in the health and functioning of kinship caregivers and children in kinship care are due to economic disadvantage, lack of services or other unknown factors. Indeed there is little evidence that kinship caregivers are less qualified to foster than professionals from the findings of the available research into outcomes for children in kinship and non-kinship care. Calls for future research to more rigorously explore these issues.

MULTIPLE FORMS OF VIOLENCE AND OTHER CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AS AN INDICATOR OF SEVERE CHILD MALTREATMENT

J. Stanley and C. Goddard

Child Abuse Review, vol.13, 2004, p.246-262

The article investigates the links between child maltreatment, family violence and criminal activity. The case files of 50 severely abused children were randomly selected from offices around Victoria, Australia, and examined to identify family violence and other criminal activity. Results showed that children who suffered severe maltreatment were more likely to come from families who engage in criminal activity and also participate in this activity themselves. Violence within the families was also common, with 82% of families suffering verbal aggression between child carers. The article concludes that it is important for practitioners to consider the extent of multiple forms of criminal activity as an indicator of past, present and future child maltreatment.

RANDOMIZED TRIAL OF A STATEWIDE HOME VISITING PROGRAM: IMPACT IN PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

A. Duggan and others

Child Abuse and Neglect, vol.28, 2004, p.597-622

Experimental study assesses the impact of a home visiting programme aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect in families deemed at risk. Results indicate that the programme had little impact on recognizing or preventing abuse and neglect. Impact was negligible for a range of behaviours, from severe physical abuse to non-violent discipline and acceptance of child behaviour.

RANDOMIZED TRIAL OF A STATEWIDE HOME VISITING PROGRAM: IMPACT IN REDUCING PARENTAL RISK FACTORS

A. Duggan and others

Child Abuse and Neglect, vol.28, 2004, p.623-643

The Hawaii Healthy Start Program targeted families identified as at risk for child abuse and neglect based on screening for parental risk factors. Over three years, the programme had little impact in addressing key risk factors such as maternal mental health, maternal substance abuse and partner violence. The study identifies ambiguities in the programme model and inadequacies in its implementation system that compromised its impact.

REMOVING BARRIERS TO SERVICE DELIVERY: AN OUTCOME EVALUATION OF A "REMODELLED" FOSTER CARE PROGRAMME

Y. Unrau, M. Wells, and M.A. Hartnett

Adoption and Fostering, vol.28, no.2, 2004, p.20-30

The Promise model was established by remodelling part of one Midwestern agency's foster care service. Promise workers were given authority to modify standard service packages to meet client needs. A comparison group design was used to evaluate the effects of the Promise model compared with the conventional model of foster care on three outcomes:

  • placement stability,
  • caseworker stability
  • permanency.

The evaluation showed that, compared to the conventional model of foster care service delivery, the Promise model was more successful in maintaining caseworker stability, and to a smaller degree, placement stability but showed no effect for achieving permanency.

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