The Welfare of Children

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Today the United States has more children living in poverty than any other industrialized nation. Some 2.1 million children are left undersupervised before and after school due to inadequate child care available to working parents. Furthermore, the U.S., a country which once pioneered strategies to prevent child abuse and which now spends more money fighting child abuse than any other industrialized country, has the world's highest rate of child abuse.
Against this background, ...

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Overview

Today the United States has more children living in poverty than any other industrialized nation. Some 2.1 million children are left undersupervised before and after school due to inadequate child care available to working parents. Furthermore, the U.S., a country which once pioneered strategies to prevent child abuse and which now spends more money fighting child abuse than any other industrialized country, has the world's highest rate of child abuse.
Against this background, Duncan Lindsey, a leading authority on child welfare, takes a critical look at the current child welfare system. He traces the transformation of child welfare into child protective services. The current focus on abuse has produced a system that is designed to protect children from physical and sexual abuse and therefore functions as a last resort for only the worst and most dramatic cases in child welfare. In a close analysis of the process of investigating and handling child abuse, Lindsey finds that there is no evidence that the transformation to protective services has reduced child abuse fatalities or provided a safer environment for children. He makes a compelling argument for the criminal justice system to assume responsibility for the problem of child abuse in order that the child welfare system can address the well- being of a much larger number of children.
The Welfare of Children is a compassionate blueprint for comprehensive reform of the child welfare system to one that administers to the economic security of the large number of disadvantaged and impoverished children. Concrete policy proposals such as a Child's Future Security Account, similar to the Social Security Program for older citizens, will spark serious debate on a major public policy issue facing our society.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A major contribution to current discussions on child welfare. It not only provides a thorough survey of the field, but offers an incisive critique of the way the system currently fails to meet its declared objective of enhancing the welfare of children."—Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

"In a challenging, clearly written work, Lindsey proposes specific programs that, he argues, would do much to ensure adequate support for the largest impoverished age group in the United States today: children in single-parent families....Like Marion Wright Edelman, Lindsey sees neglected children as potentially valuable human resources, if society will commit to investing in them. Strongly recommended for professionals, politicians, academics, and concerned lay readers."—Library Journal

"Proposes practical long-term measures to break the poverty cycle, such as modifying the federal income tax collection systems to ensure child-support payments, and the establishment of the child's future security account."—ALA Booklist

"An important book."—Children and Youth Services Review

"The Welfare of Children provides an engaging scholarly review of the public child welfare system, child welfare efforts, the changing nature of the child welfare system and families in North America. The title sets the stage for a comprehensive approach to nourishing the welfare of all children....This is an important book. It clearly describes the limitations of current child welfare programs and provides specific policy recommendations. Only through such a preventative-oriented focus can the welfare of all children be encouraged. Recommendations made are well-argued and suggest clear steps that can be taken."—Eileen Gambrill, University of California at Berkeley

Library Journal
In a challenging, clearly written work, Lindsey proposes specific programs that, he argues, would do much to ensure adequate support for the largest impoverished age group in the United States today: children in single-parent families. He advocates moving responsibility for child abuse cases to the criminal justice system, leaving social welfare to focus on child neglect. He would establish a Universal Child Support Collection aimed at noncustodial parents, an across-the-board Guaranteed Child Exemption (tax credit) and, to provide "escape velocity" from the poverty/welfare cycle, a Child's Future Security Account (comparable to funding for the elderly or disabled). Like Marion Wright Edelman (Families in Peril, LJ 3/1/87), Lindsey sees neglected children as potentially valuable human resources, if society will commit to investing in them. Strongly recommended for professionals, politicians, academics, and concerned lay readers.-Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
Brenda Grazis
Lindsey surveys U.S. and Canadian child-welfare systems, from the orphanages of the 1800s to recent legislation mandating child-abuse reporting, which resulted in a skyrocketing increase in the number of reports of suspected abuse. Since then, investigations of alleged abuse have consumed virtually all the resources of the child-welfare systems, transforming them into child-protection agencies. Funding cuts have further narrowed the focus of who receives services. However, Lindsey believes that responsibility for protecting criminally assaulted children must shift to the police and courts and that the child-welfare systems must be redirected to developing policies and programs to ameliorate the plight of disadvantaged and impoverished children. The second half of the book proposes practical long-term measures to break the poverty cycle, such as modifying the federal income tax collection systems to ensure child-support payments, and the establishment of the child's future security account.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195085181
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Duncan Lindsey is Associate Professor of Social Welfare at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Children and Youth Services Review.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Emergence of the Modern Child Welfare System 11
2 Child Welfare Research: The Effectiveness of Casework 43
3 Child Welfare Reform through Demonstration Research: Permanency Planning 67
4 The Changing Portrait of the American Family 91
5 The End of Child Welfare: The Transformation of Child Welfare into Child Protective Services 119
6 The Decision to Remove a Child 159
7 Dealing with Child Abuse, the Red Herring of Child Welfare 177
8 Wealth and Poverty in America: The Economic Condition of Children 205
9 The Rise and Fall of Welfare for Disadvantaged Children in America 243
10 The Fading Promise of Welfare Reform to End Child Poverty 277
11 Two Simple Programs for Ending Child Poverty 313
12 Child Future Savings Account: Social Security for Children 339
Closing 369
References 377
Author Index 423
Subject Index 437
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