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Towards Positive Systems of Child and Family Welfare

Towards Positive Systems of Child and Family Welfare: International Comparisons of Child Protection, Family Service, and Community Caring Systems

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 340
  • Book Info
    Towards Positive Systems of Child and Family Welfare
    Book Description:

    The need for services that respond to the 'maltreatment' of children and to the struggles of families is at the core of social service systems in all developed nations. While these child and family welfare systems confront similar problems and incorporate common elements, there are substantial differences in philosophy, organization, and operation across international settings and models.

    In this new collection of essays, Nancy Freymond and Gary Cameron have brought together some of the finest international minds to provide an original and integrated discussion of child protection, family service, and community caring models of child and family welfare. The volume not only examines child protection and family service approaches within Western nations - including Canada, the United States, England, the Netherlands, France, and Sweden - it is also the first comparative study to give equal attention to Aboriginal community caring models in Canada and New Zealand.

    The comparisons made by the essays in this volume allow for a consideration of constructive and feasible innovations in child and family welfare and contribute to an enriched debate around each system. This book will be of great benefit to the field for many years to come.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8272-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)

    • 1 Understanding International Comparisons of Child Protection, Family Service, and Community Caring Systems of Child and Family Welfare
      (pp. 3-26)

      The policy and practice of protecting children living in unsafe environments and facilitating their proper development have limited common ground across international settings. There is no necessary line of reasoning that leads from the circumstances confronting children and their families to any one country’s particular configuration of community, service, and legal responses. The creation of the ‘problem of child maltreatment,’ and how we deal with it, are best understood as particular discourses, or frameworks for understanding, which grow out of specific histories and social configurations. Neutral determinations about best responses to child maltreatment and superior systems of child and family...

    • 2 Learning from Difference: Comparing Child Welfare Systems
      (pp. 27-50)

      Learning from difference is a complex process. This paper describes that process and considers the problems and benefits of working with intercountry comparisons. The author’s interest stemmed from the work of the Centre for Comparative Social Work Studies (CCSWS) at Brunei University in London.¹ Initial attempts to describe another child protection system led us, through the exploration of difference and similarity, to a new understanding of our child welfare system in England, and to a consideration of the role of the wider culture in determining these systems. Social workers and social work academics are familiar with working across the boundaries...


    • 3 Promoting Change from ‘Child Protection’ to ‘Child and Family Welfare’: The Problems of the English System
      (pp. 53-83)

      Child welfare systems are fundamentally shaped by earlier aspects of a country’s welfare systems and have a long and complex history. Parallel developments taking place in other aspects of welfare and in the support of people who are poor, disabled, and unemployed also affect them. Understanding the way the child welfare system functions now entails some consideration of how it used to function, and why changes have been made. After a brief historical introduction, this chapter will describe the framework of the present system formed by the Children Act of 1989 and the guidelines published by the Department of Health....

    • 4 Forming and Sustaining Partnerships in Child and Family Welfare: The American Experience
      (pp. 84-117)

      In the current child welfare environment in the United States, one of the more positive developments is the formation of partnerships at the community level to share the responsibility for child protection beyond the formal public child welfare agencies (U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1993). This development is closely aligned with a strengths-based approach to vulnerable families as well as a willingness to serve more children and families reported for child abuse and neglect in a less adversarial manner (Farrow & Executive Session, 1997). The convergence of these developments is changing the face of child welfare in...

    • 5 Problems and Potential of Canadian Child Welfare
      (pp. 118-148)

      Canadian child welfare has hit troubled times. The system has been widely and publicly criticized. Its processes have become highly litigious and, in many communities, rigidly managed. For many front-line workers, time spent on paperwork outstrips, by far, time spent working directly with families and children. Perhaps as a result, recruitment and retention of staff have become critical problems across the country. At the same time, caseload numbers are climbing steeply, while more and more children are being brought into already burdened alternate care arrangements. When things go wrong, individual parents and workers are blamed, while systemic problems are patched...


    • 6 The Plight of Paternalism in French Child Welfare and Protective Policies and Practices
      (pp. 151-170)

      In 1638, the first Charity Organization for Lost Children was founded by Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris, followed more than a century later by the Lost Children’s Hospital in 1761. Until the revolution of 1789, charity action focused on the consequences of poverty, and mostly on abandoned children. The well-known tower system was the only official form of state intervention (the tower was a state-sanctioned building where mothers could leave their children in a small enclosed room where they were cared for by nurses; confidentiality was preserved).

      The French revolution introduced a completely new concept: the primacy of paternal...

    • 7 Child and Family Welfare in Sweden
      (pp. 171-190)

      Sweden is a relatively large country in northern Europe, with a population of not quite nine million inhabitants. The king, who is head of state, does not have political power. There is a parliamentary form of government, and the dominant political ideology is social democratic. Sweden is a member of the European Union, though not a member of the European Monetary Union, and there are intense discussions among individuals and political parties for and against membership in the EMU.

      Reports on conditions for children in Sweden typically describe a high standard of living compared to many other countries, and suggest...

    • 8 When One Door Shuts, Another Opens: Turning Disadvantages into Opportunities in Child and Family Welfare in the Netherlands
      (pp. 191-208)

      The child and family welfare and child protection systems in the Netherlands have been under heavy criticism for many years. Numerous experts in these fields have advocated more co-operation and greater coherence between the systems (Bisschops, 1998; Doek, 1991; Van der Linden, 1992; Van Nijnatten & Van Montfoort, 1992; Veldkamp, 1997b). The connection between the two fields seems to be a never-ending issue for political and public discussion, one that has filled many bookshelves in recent decades (Doek, 1991). In spite of this, the relationship has not fundamentally changed until now.

      In the first part of this chapter, the characteristics...


    • 9 From Child Welfare to Child, Family, and Community Welfare: The Agenda of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples
      (pp. 211-234)

      Child welfare is an issue of critical importance in the evolving relationship between Canada and its Aboriginal peoples.² The education and care of Aboriginal children embody much of the painful history between First Nations and the Canadian government. Elsewhere, we have considered the major historical and contemporary issues in Canadian Aboriginal child welfare in a review and synthesis of current theory and research (see Mandell, Clouston Carlson, Fine, & Blackstock, 2003). In this chapter, we focus primarily on the current context, recognizing that some familiarity with the historical and cultural background is a sine qua non for understanding the relevant...

    • 10 Maori Perspectives on Collaboration and Colonization in Contemporary Aotearoa / New Zealand Child and Family Welfare Policies and Practices
      (pp. 235-268)

      Let me expand on the meanings beneath the lines of these statements for Maori.

      ‘Ko Taranaki toku maunga: My mountain is Taranaki’

      This indicates that I descend from the shared ancestors of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, the sky father and earth mother. You would know that I am a living face of the ancestors who lived and died around Mount Taranaki, and who are buried within the richly prized and fertile lands of Taranaki province.

      ‘Ko Tokomaru toku waka: My canoe is Tokomaru’

      These words tell you that my mettle is that of the people who traveled the Pacific Ocean in...

    • 11 First Nations Child and Family Services and Indigenous Knowledge as a Framework for Research, Policy, and Practice
      (pp. 269-286)

      Children of the First Nations were best cared for prior to colonization. True since the beginning, Indigenous knowledge informed the values, beliefs, and practices of caring for children, youth, and families. Although the specifics varied with the significant diversity of Aboriginal peoples in Canada,² care was generally provided according to a holistic world view in which children held a place as important and respected members of an interdependent community and ecosystem. The holistic world view is the antithesis of the individual rights basis on which Canadian child welfare legislation and practice are premised.

      First Nations child and family service agencies...


    • 12 Learning from International Comparisons of Child Protection, Family Service, and Community Caring Systems of Child and Family Welfare
      (pp. 289-318)

      Creating systems of child and family welfare that respond effectively to children and families is a daunting undertaking in all developed nations. For the purpose of understanding these challenges, systems of child and family welfare in different countries can be grouped in terms of their understanding of family difficulties, ideas about helping others, and beliefs about partnerships among families, communities, and the state in caring for children. In this volume, three broad generic approaches to child and family welfare have been examined – family service, community care, and child protection.

      These systems of child and family welfare reflect deeply held and...

  8. Appendix A: Partners in Child Protection and Well-Being
    (pp. 319-320)
  9. Appendix B: Guiding Principles for Building Partnerships
    (pp. 321-322)
  10. Appendix C: Timeline of the Evolution of the French Child Protection System
    (pp. 323-326)
  11. Glossary
    (pp. 327-330)
  12. References
    (pp. 331-356)
  13. List of Contributors
    (pp. 357-360)