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

Adoptive and foster parent screening: a professional guide for evaluations

J. Dickerson and M. Allen

London: Routledge, 2007

Few institutions of higher learning have curricula to prepare social workers for foster home-finding and adoption placement. This book fills the gap in specialized training needed to improve social workers’ effectiveness in placing children and working with prospective adoptive and foster parents. It offers information on evaluating unhealthy parenting attitudes, interview techniques and psychological testing. The book is divided into three parts:

  • Part I offers the theoretical and background information on how to become a good screener.
  • Part II offers step-by-step instruction on how to interview adoptive and foster parent applicants for the purpose of writing a comprehensive home study.
  • Part III provides options for dealing with problems that were unresolved during the interview process.

Child welfare and the civic minimum

C. Beem

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 29, 2007, p. 618-636

The Adoption and Safe Families Act 1997 (ASFA) and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act 1996 (PWORA) both reflect and reinforce the idea that there are minimum civic responsibilities that obtain for all Americans. Both acts expand the federal government’s ability to define those responsibilities and enforce acceptable behaviour through the mechanisms of the state. Both acts establish standards for personal behaviour, attenuate rights claims because of these standards, and impose sanctions if the standards are not met. The Welfare Reform Act lays down that engaging in paid work is one of a citizen’s basic responsibilities. ASFA creates an obligation to act as a good parent by providing a safe and decent upbringing for one’s children.

Early childhood professionals and children’s rights: tensions and possibilities around the United Nations General Comment No.7 on children’s rights

G. MacNaughton, P. Hughes and K. Smith

International Journal of Early Years Education, vol.15, 2007, p. 161-170

There is a growing belief that children have a right to be involved in decisions that affect them and that they can and should participate in public debate and policy formation. In 2005 the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child published General Comment No. 7, Implementing child rights in early childhood. Two recent developments in the international early childhood field have reinforced the ideas in General Comment No.7: the appearance of a new model of young children as social actors and an increasing interest among government agencies in creating child centred policies. This article describes these two developments and shows how they reinforce the arguments for children’s rights. It also explores how early childhood professionals’ traditional expertise can prevent them from supporting children’s rights.

Informing transitions in the early years: research, policy and practice

A-W. Dunlop and H. Fabian (editors)

Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2007

An increased emphasis on an early start in group day care and educational settings for young children means that by the time they enter statutory education, they may already have had several transitional experiences: each will have an impact. This book explores early transitions from a variety of international perspectives. Each chapter is informed by rigorous research and makes recommendations on how education professionals can better understand and support transitions in the early years. Among the issues examined are:

  • Parental involvement in the transition to school
  • Children’s voices on the transition to primary school
  • The construction of identity in the early years

Policy venture capital: foundations, government partnerships, and child care programs

J.H. Knott

Administration and Society, vol. 39, 2007, p. 319-353

Private foundations in the USA invest their funds in a variety of social programmes. This article seeks to understand how foundations decide to invest their funds in particular programmes and the role of government policy in that decision. It develops the concept of foundations as venture capitalists who invest in communities and government programmes with an expectation of a return. It analyses the risks and rewards of the investment decision, given the vagaries of the public policy decision process. The concept of foundations as policy venture capitalists is applied to child care programmes to illustrate these policy investment strategies in a concrete way. The findings show that, in seeking to achieve their policy agenda for children and families, only a few foundations have acted as policy venture capitalists to lead and innovate in childcare.

(Under)valuing care work: the case of childcare workers in small-town Quebec

P. Albanese

International Journal of Early Years Education, vol. 15, 2007, p. 125-139

In 1999 the province of Quebec introduced a universal subsidised childcare programme, charging families $5 per day. This article presents a case study of the impact of the programme on a deprived community. Mothers valued the programme because it freed them to do paid work, and helped the children develop social skills. However, the childcare workers often felt undervalued by parents who also took advantage of them. The childcare providers worked long hours doing energy-sapping and emotionally draining jobs for relatively low pay.

Unintended consequences of child care regulations

D.M. Blau

Labour Economics, vol.14, 2007, p. 513-518

A substantial proportion of childcare in the United States is asserted to be of low quality. Policymakers in US states have used tough regulation as a lever to drive up quality. This study shows that regulations are ineffective in improving the average quality of childcare. Moreover the higher costs they create appear to lead to reduced staff wages, as customers are unwilling to pay more for high quality care.

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