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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2006): Child welfare - Overseas

Child health in rural Mexico: has Progresa reduced children’s morbidity risks?

M. C. Huerta

Social Policy and Administration, vol.40, 2006, p.652-677

In developing countries, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections are the two leading causes of child mortality and remain among the most common childhood diseases. Isolated rural communities have restricted access to basic services, which increases the likelihood of children catching these diseases. Progresa, Mexico’s main anti-poverty programme, aims to improve the life chances of disadvantaged children by promoting and supporting parental investment in their education, health and nutrition. The research reported in this paper found some evidence that Progresa contributes to reducing morbidity rates.

Does it pay to participate? Neighborhood-based organizations and the social development of urban adolescents

J.M. Quane and B. H. Rankin

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.28, 2006, p.1229-1250

The recent proliferation of after-school activities and programmes in the USA is attributable to a shift in societal values away from preventing risky behaviour and towards promoting normative development. This article considers the impact of participation in local youth organisations on important predictors of school achievement and successful transition to adulthood, namely academic commitment, educational expectations and self-concept. Findings of a study of 546 African-American mothers and their children in Chicago suggest that young people’s participation in local youth organisations is greater in disadvantaged areas and that participation has a positive impact on self-concept as well as on their academic commitment and educational expectations.

Does the child welfare system serve the neediest kinship care families?

C.A. Swann and M.S. Sylvester

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.28, 2006, p.1213-1228

This study used US national data to compare the characteristics of kinship care families in public and private arrangements and found important similarities and differences between groups. It provides evidence that the most vulnerable children (those with disabilities, those with behavioural problems, and infants) are being served by the child welfare system and are more likely than their counterparts to be in public kinship care. Evidence was also found that the most vulnerable caregivers are involved in the child welfare system, at least in terms of demographic characteristics.

Early childhood education and care: politics, policies and possibilities

P. Gammage

Early Years, vol.26, 2006, p.235-248

Presents an overview of current knowledge about child development and effective early years provision. Continues with a survey of provision of early childhood education and care in OECD countries, a summary of research into its costs and benefits for the community, and a note about current thinking on professional training. Concludes with a brief summary of current South Australian policy.

Financial well-being of young children with disabilities and their families

S.L. Parish and J.M. Cloud

Social Work, vol.51, 2006, p.223-232

Young children with disabilities in the USA are significantly more likely to live in poverty than their peers without disabilities. This article identifies a number of factors which adversely influence families’ financial circumstances: 1) the increased costs of raising a disabled child; 2) inadequate social security benefits; 3) difficulty with balancing parental employment and caring responsibilities; 4) lack of affordable childcare; and 5) inflexible working practices which do not allow parents time off to deal with crises.

Recent changes in adoption and fostering in Spain

J. Palacios and P. Amorós

British Journal of Social Work, vol.36, 2006, p.921-935

This article presents a summary of the main changes that have occurred in recent years in adoption and foster care in Spain. Adoption of healthy Spanish babies has become exceptional in recent years, while special needs and inter-country adoptions have become more common. In fostering, there is a new emphasis on kinship foster care, training of foster parents, and innovative practices such as emergency diagnostic foster care and fostering with the object of reunification.

Residential education: examining a new approach for improving outcomes for foster youth

L. Jones and J. Lansdverk

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.28, 2006, p.1152-1168

This paper describes the design and implementation of a residential educational programme for young people in public care with no other viable placement options and who were unlikely to return to their birth families. The programme was intended to provide a stable home and a comprehensive educational programme in preparation for leaving care. This article presents preliminary outcomes for the first three graduating classes.

Social work and Nordic welfare policies for children: present challenges in the light of the past

G.B. Eydal and M. Satka

European Journal of Social Work, vol.9, 2006, p.305-322

This article explores the historical development of child welfare services in five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) from their origins in the nineteenth century to the present day. Policies and laws on child protection, social assistance, childcare provision, and children’s rights are analysed from a historical perspective. The authors conclude that social workers have a unique opportunity, based on their close contact with children as clients, to work for the realisation of children’s rights.

Welfare reform and child well-being

R. Dunifon, K. Hynes and H.E. Peters

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.28, 2006, p.1273-1292

This study uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) spanning the years 1994-1999 to examine whether changes in state welfare policies over this period influenced child well-being and parenting behaviours. Looking across all the policies, outcomes and models, the results do not provide evidence that changes in specific welfare policies are systematically associated with changes in the parenting behaviours or child outcomes observed in this study.

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