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

CHILD CARE AS FAMILY SUPPORT: CARE GIVING PRACTICES ACROSS CHILD CARE PROVIDERS

J. Bromer and J.R. Henry

Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 26, 2004, p.941-964

Childcare providers are increasingly considered sources of family support beyond the direct care of children. The paper presents a conceptual framework for explaining the care giving and family support practices of childcare providers, with particular attention to providers serving low income families and communities. It discusses three factors presumed to shape the childcare and family support roles of providers: the childcare setting, the provider's level of professionalism and the provider's motivations and values concerning the work.

CHILD CARE SERVICES IN THE JOBS PROGRAM

J.L. Hagen

Children and Youth Services Review, Vol.26, 2004, p.697-710

The Family Support Act 1988 sought to increase the economic self-sufficiency of welfare dependent families through the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills training program (JOBS). The legislation also provided childcare (if needed) for children of mothers participating in the JOBS program. In implementing the JOBS program, states fulfilled their obligations to ensure childcare was available and provided to at least enough participants to meet federal requirements. However, such childcare issues as funding, access and transportation were insufficiently addressed during implementation. Additionally, little attention was paid to the quality of childcare services for the children of JOBS participants.

EMPOWERMENT IN DIFFICULTY: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION IN CHILD WELFARE IN ROMANIA

J. Dickens and V. Groza

International Social Work, Vol.47, 2004, p.469-487

Since 1989 there has been massive international input to help Romania develop an effective child welfare system. Despite this input, the system remained in deep crisis in 2000. The article calls for an empowerment approach to be implemented in such interventions in situations of economic, political and social difficulty.

FOR REASONS OF POVERTY: COURT CHALLENGES TO CHILD WELFARE PRACTICES AND MANDATED PROGRAMS

M.K. Eamon and S. Kopels

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.26, 2004, p.821-836

Presents evidence from court decisions in the US which indicate that child welfare agencies have removed children from their families and have failed to reunite them "for reasons of poverty". The cases reviewed in the paper also indicate that economic hardship constrains parents' ability to afford safe and adequate housing and to provide stable living environments for their children, resulting in initial and continued placement in substitute care. Analyses reported in this paper suggest that providing cash assistance to families can prevent or shorten expensive out-of-home placements, leading to cost savings for child welfare agencies.

THE ROLE OF CONTRACT DESIGN IN PRIVATIZATION OF CHILD WELFARE SERVICES: THE KANSAS EXPERIENCE

J.K. Unruh and D. Hodgkin

Children and Youth Services Review, Vol.26, 2004, p.771-783

In July 1996 the State of Kansas contracted out its family preservation, foster care and adoption services to separate private providers. Contractors were paid fixed rates per case regardless of costs and performance standards were specified for each of the three services. These choices proved problematic given that the various contractors' performances were somewhat interdependent. While contractor performance in relation to specific measures of child-wellbeing indicates some improvement in child welfare services took place, contractors experienced significant financial hardship under the new system. Subsequent reforms reduced the contractors' exposure to financial risks via the payment rates, but retained the separate contracting approach.

WELFARE REFORM AND THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

J. Waldfogel

Children and Youth Services Review, Vol.26, 2004, p.919-939

Contrary to what most analysts predicted, US welfare reform has not led to large increases in numbers of children being reported to the child welfare system or substantiated for maltreatment. There is however some evidence of adverse effects of welfare reform on child protection system involvement. The strongest evidence concerns links between welfare reform and children placed in out-of-home care, but researchers are hampered in analysing these links by the few years of data available post-welfare reform.

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