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Welfare reform on the Web (April 2007): Child welfare - overseas

Caring about poverty: alternatives to institutional care for children in poverty

A. Bilson and P. Cox

Journal of Children and Poverty, vol. 13, 2007, p. 37-55

In this paper, the practice of using institutional care for children in poverty is examined, drawing on case studies from Sri Lanka, Bulgaria and Moldova. Research findings reveal that poverty is a major underlying cause of children being received into institutional care and that such reception into care is a costly, inappropriate and often harmful response to adverse economic circumstances. The authors suggest that alternatives to care may be funded from resources currently committed to institutions by developing a policy of gatekeeping.

Good kids from bad neighbourhoods

D. S. Elliott and others

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006

The book reports findings from a study of successful youth development in poor, disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Denver and Chicago. It discusses how children living in the worst neighbourhoods develop or fail to develop the values, competencies, and commitments that lead to a productive, healthy, and responsible adult life. It also takes into account the combined influence of the neighbourhood, family, school, peer group, and individual attributes on developmental success. It concludes that the view that growing up in a poor, disadvantaged neighbourhood condemns one to a life of repeated failure and personal pathology is a myth, as most youth in these neighbourhoods are completing the developmental tasks of adolescence successfully.

Improving health services for foster youth: multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder perspectives and recommendations

J.U. Schneiderman and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 29, 2007, p. 313-328

Children in foster care in the US exhibit significantly more health problems than children in the general population. Even when they have entered the child welfare system, foster children frequently go without adequate and timely health services. To better understand the complex health needs of foster children and barriers to delivery of health services, the authors use a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder lens to review available literature on health services for foster children. They also report on a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder summit on health services for foster youth held in Los Angeles in 2005. Participants in the summit identified three barriers to health care delivery: 1) lack of stakeholder involvement; 2) poor collaboration between child welfare and health services; and 3) poor communication of health information among service providers.

Less access, worse quality: new evidence about poor children and regulated child care in Canada

S. Prentice

Journal of Children and Poverty, vol.13, 2007, p. 57-73

Despite national political commitments to the reduction of child poverty and the development of an early childhood care and intervention system for all children, low-income children in Canada have less access to good quality out-of-home care. The pattern holds across all provinces, manifesting itself on the West coast, on the prairies, and in Quebec. The explanation lies in Canada's policy architecture, which delivers childcare primarily through the voluntary sector.

Public funding and enrolment in formal child care in the 1990s

K.A. Magnuson, M.K. Meyers, and J. Waldfogel

Social Service Review, vol.81, 2007, p. 47-83

Although the percentage of US preschool children enrolled in centre-based childcare and early education has grown steadily in recent decades, rates of enrolment for children from low-income families still lag behind those of their higher-income counterparts. During the 1990s, growing public funding for compensatory preschool education and means-tested assistance with childcare costs had the potential to boost access to formal care for low-income families. This article analyses repeated cross-sectional data on formal childcare attendance from the October Current Population Survey as well as data on state level funding. Results show that increases in public funding are positively associated with the probability of low-income children attending formal care.

When children become parents: welfare state responses to teenage pregnancy

A. Daguerre and C. Nativel (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2006

Teenage parenthood is recognised as a significant disadvantage in western industrialised nations. It has been found to increase the likelihood of poverty and to reinforce inequalities. The book explores the links between welfare state provision and teenage reproductive behaviour across a range of countries with differing welfare regimes. The book:

  • Compares public policy responses to teenage parenthood in each 'family' of welfare regime: Nordic, Liberal and Continental (Western European)
  • Analyses the different socio-political contexts in which teenage pregnancy is constructed as a social problem
  • Identifies best practice in Europe and the USA

The comparative study detailed in this volume shows that teenage pregnancy rates and policy responses to the phenomenon vary tremendously depending on a variety of complex factors such as the existence of gender-equality and family-friendly policies, the integration of young people in family networks, the influence of religion and the pre-eminence of liberal or conservative attitudes to sex.

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