Tender Years: Toward Developmentally Sensitive Child Welfare Services for Very Young Children / Edition 1

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The first few years of life are a time of unparalleled physical, intellectual, and emotional development. But they can also be a time of neglect and abuse: this is the period when children are most likely to suffer mistreatment by their parents, and most likely to be placed in foster care. Today most children entering the child welfare system are very young, and, in most large states, infants are the largest group of children entering foster care each year. Social service systems are typically not designed for very young children, however, and therefore fail to serve their special needs. This shortcoming is significant because protecting very young children from physical harm is not enough; they must also be protected from developmental harm.
The Tender Years is the first textbook to address this critical situation. Beginning with an overview of child development theory, it examines child abuse reporting patterns and discusses placement in foster care, reunification, and adoption. It also looks at public child welfare practice, featuring vivid examples of the children and families served by this system. The authors analyze the differences between the foster care experiences of very young children and those of older children, with special emphasis on the way the child welfare system deals with infants. Based on a significant body of evidence regarding young children's unique affective, physical, and cognitive development, this text illuminates the interrelationship of child welfare practice, child development outcomes, and public policy. The authors offer a fundamental framework for decision-making in child welfare when young children are involved, and recommend specific changes in policy and practice aimed at moving the system toward greater developmental sensitivity.
Timely and provocative, The Tender Years is essential reading for courses in child welfare, social work with children, and social work with the family, as well as a valuable resource for child welfare administrators and policy makers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Extremely insightful to policy-makers and judicial officers who promulgate laws and make decisions daily. Will be helpful in training new lawyers and judges on the child welfare system. Great intro. for paralegal students."—Penny Willrich, Phoenix College

"Needed research, great supplemental resource, not too long, well illustrated, attractively done."—Elizabeth Watson, Andrews University

"Does a remarkable job of bringing together the cold reality of statistics and the heart of compassion for small children. Its justification for developmentally sensitive child welfare policy and practice is compelling; must reading for those preparing to work in child services."—Jim Kreider, Kansas University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

all at University of California, Berkeley

Washington University

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Table of Contents

1. Child Development and Child Welfare
2. Child Abuse and Neglect of Very Young Children
3. From Child Maltreatment to Placement
4. Foster Care, Reunification, and Adoption
5. Group Care
6. Focus on Infants
7. Understanding Children and Families Served by the Child Welfare Systems
8. Public Child Welfare Practice
9. Reconceptualizing the Child Welfare System for Very Young Children
Appendix: Study Methods

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