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Welfare reform on the Web (February 2007): Child welfare - Overseas

Adoption dynamics and the Adoption and Safe Families Act

F.H. Wulczyn, L. Chen and K.B. Hislop

Social Service Review, vol.80, 2006, p.584-608

This article evaluates the effects of the US federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 on the adoption process. It studies 13 successive cohorts of children admitted to foster care in six states from 1990 to 2002. Results indicate that a significant increase in the probability of adoption occurs after the passage of the ASFA. However, the analyses find no firm evidence of a decrease in the average time required to complete adoptions in the mid-1990s, although the Act was originally designed to address this perceived problem.

Adoption in Korea: current status and future prospects

Bong Joo Lee

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.16, 2007, p.75-83

The nature of adoption has changed dramatically over the past 50 years in Korea. Modern adoption was initially concerned with finding homes for war orphans and children abandoned due to destitution. However the past 25 years have seen demands for adoption to function as part of a continuum of child welfare services, providing care for children who cannot be brought up by their birth parents. Nevertheless, the majority of children in the child welfare system are still placed in residential care. More than half of those adopted are placed abroad. Most domestic adoptions still involve healthy infants chosen to maintain family lines. At the present time adoption policy and practice in Korea need reform. The starting point for such reforms should be agreement that adoption should serve the best interests of the child.

Back to school for parents: implementing responsible parenting agreements and orders in Western Australia

J. Squelch

Education and the Law, vol.18, 2006, p.247-266

As primary educators and caregivers, parents are responsible for nurturing, disciplining and socialising their children. In the light of growing concerns about the apparent increase in anti-social behaviour inside and outside schools, the Government of Western Australia is planning to introduce responsible parenting agreements and orders, modelled on those in use in the UK. Their aim is to provide a statutory mechanism for directing parents to take responsibility for their children in order to reduce truancy, anti-social behaviour and juvenile crime and to improve school performance. The Children’s Court will be given powers to issue orders that impose certain requirements on parents regarding the upbringing and discipline of their children.

Co-operating and communicating: a European perspective on integrating services for children

I. Katz and R. Hetherington

Child Abuse Review, vol.15, 2006, p.429-439

Research suggests that although structural, technological and organisational factors can influence productive information sharing between practitioners, these factors are secondary to the more fundamental issue of whether the system is basically oriented towards child protection or family support. Where there is an underlying focus on child protection and risk of harm, it may be harder to create a culture which values time spent on communication and relationship building. Services that are successful in improving collaboration encourage the building of relationships between workers and families and workers in different agencies. European experience suggests that the provision of resources and time for both formal and informal communication between practitioners from different agencies and professions is crucial for making integration work.

Family foster care: development or decline?

A. Maluccio and F. Ainsworth

Adoption and Fostering, vol.30, Winter 2006, p.20-25

Foster family care for children is in crisis in Australia, the USA and the UK. Numerous studies and government reports question its effectiveness and urge consideration of other approaches to caring for children at risk, including placement in group homes or small residential settings. This article considers what family foster carers can and cannot be expected to do, the steps that agencies could take to reduce the stress they experience, and how policies and programmes dealing with the consequences of multiple placements, placement disruptions and problematic patterns of parental contact could be improved.

Making integration happen: the Families First policy experience

K. Valentine, K. Fisher and C. Thomson

Child Abuse Review, vol.15, 2006, p.414-428

Families First is a recent ambitious intervention in New South Wales that aims to improve the health and welfare of children from birth to eight years by supporting parents and carers. This is to be achieved by the development of a co-ordinated network of prevention and early intervention services that identifies children and families at risk and links them to appropriate support early, before difficulties become entrenched. Families requiring extra support are identified through universal services and referred on to targeted interventions. Families First is innovative internationally because it is supposed to involve the systemic reorganisation of existing services within existing resources with a focus on both early intervention and integration.

Teenage pregnancy and parenthood: global perspectives, issues and interventions

H. S. Holgate, R. Evans and F. K. O. Yuen (editors)

Abingdon: Routledge, 2006

Governments across the world demonstrate concern about teenage pregnancy figures, setting targets and sponsoring campaigns to lower them. This book explores a range of perspectives on pregnancy and parenting at a young age from a number of international and cultural contexts, and looks at interventions and examples of good practice. It discusses:

  • Sexual health and unwanted pregnancy among adolescents
  • Young mothers as peer educators in school-based sex education
  • Teenage pregnancy and social exclusion
  • The needs of young girls with emotional and behavioural problems
  • Teen fathers – deconstructing patriarchy and masculinity
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