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

Children, changing families and welfare states

J. Lewis (editor)

Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2006

The nature of the relationship between children, parents and the state has been central to the growth of the modern welfare state and has long been a problem for western liberal democracies. Welfare states have undergone profound restructuring over the past two decades and families also have changed, in terms of their form and the nature of the contributions that men and women make to them. More attention is being paid to children by policymakers, but often because of their importance as future ‘citizen workers’. The book explores the implications of changes to the welfare state for children in a range of countries. Part I of the book details the key policies that have been developed to promote investment in children alongside more regulatory policies designed to encourage and enforce responsibility among children and their parents. Part II compares child benefit packages in 15 OECD countries and reviews the cross-national policy trends. Part III focuses on childcare showing both the extent to which the boundaries between formal and informal childcare have become blurred, and the way in which parents have made a double claim to time to care on one hand, and to childcare services on the other. Finally, Part IV: Children and the Search for a Work–Life Balance explores the tension between longer and/or more flexible hours in the labour market, which may lift more children out of poverty, but may also deprive children of ordinary family time.

Effects of WIC and Food Stamp Program participation on child outcomes

B. J. Lee and L. Mackey-Bilaver

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 29, 2007, p. 501-517

This study examines the effect of participation in two federally funded nutrition assistance programmes on young children’s health and maltreatment outcomes. It uses a unique state-level longitudinal database that links administrative datasets on WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) and FSP (Food Stamp Program) participation, Medicaid enrolment and claims, and child abuse reports in Illinois. The data show that any of the three programme participation types (joint WIC and FSP, WIC only and FSP only) is associated with a lower risk of abuse and neglect reports, and of diagnosis of several nutrition related health problems.

Foster parents in multidimensional treatment foster care: how do they deal with implementing standardized treatment components?

P.K. Westermark, K. Hansson and B. Vinnerljung

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 29, 2007, p. 442-459

This study explores what happens when foster parents in Sweden have their private family lives formalised and controlled by participation in a prescribed treatment model that is manualised. It examines how Swedish foster families experience Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MFTC), a manual-based treatment method. Quantitative and qualitative analyses both showed that foster parents had an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards the MTFC programme manual. It appears that round-the-clock access to “treatment tools” and a treatment team creates satisfied foster parents.

Global perspectives on children’s unpaid care giving in the family: research and policy on “young carers” in the UK, Australia, the USA and Sub-Saharan Africa

S. Becker

Global Social Policy, vol. 7, 2007, p.23-50

This article provides the first cross-national review and synthesis of available statistical and research evidence from three developed countries and Sub-Saharan Africa on children who provide regular, significant substantial unpaid care to other family members. It examines the extent of children’s informal caregiving in each country, how young carers differ from other children, and social policy and research developments at the national level.

Working with children in care: European perspectives

P. Petrie and others

Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2006

The book compares European policy and approaches – from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands – to the “children in care” system in England. Drawing on research from all six countries, the book analyses how different policies and practice can affect young people in residential homes. It compares young people’s own experiences and appraisals of living in a residential home, and the extent to which residential care compounds social exclusion. Based upon theoretical and empirical evidence, it offers solutions for current dilemmas concerning looked-after children in the United Kingdom, in terms of lessons learned from policy and practice elsewhere, including training and staffing issues.

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