America's Children offers a valuable overview of the dramatic transformations in American childhood over the past fifty years, a period of historic shifts that reduced the human and material resources available to our children. Alarmingly, one fifth of all U.S. children now grow up in poverty, many are without health insurance, and about 30 percent never graduate from high school. Despite such conditions, economic, family, and educational programs for children earn low national priority and must depend on inconsistent state and local management. Drawing upon both historical and recent data, including census information from 1940 to 1980, Donald J. Hernandez provides a vivid portrait of children in America and puts forth a forceful case for overhauling our national child welfare policies. Hernandez shows how important revolutions in household composition and income, parental education and employment, childcare, and levels of poverty have affected children's well-being. As working wives and single mothers increasingly replace the traditional homemaker, children spend greater portions of time in educational and daycare facilities outside the home, and those with single mothers stand the greatest chance of being welfare dependent. Wider changes in society have created even greater stress for children in certain groups as they age: out-of-wedlock births are on the rise for white teenagers, half of all Hispanic youths never graduate high school, and violence accounts for nearly 90 per cent of all black teenage deaths. America's Children explores the interaction of many trends in children's lives and the fundamental social, demographic, and economic processes that lie at their core. The book concludes with a thoughtful analysis of the ability of families and government to provide for a new age of children, with emphasis on reducing racial inequities and providing greater public support for families, comparable to the family policies of other developed countries. As the traditional "Ozzie and Harriet" family recedes into collective memory, the importance of creating strong national policies for children is amplified, particularly in the areas of financial assistance, health insurance, education, and daycare. America's Children provides a compelling guide for reassessing the forces that shape our children and the resources available to safeguard their future. "In this conceptually creative, methodologically rigorous, and empirically rich book, Hernandez uses census and survey data to describe several quite profound changes that have characterized the life courses of America's children and their families over the last 50 to 150 years....this erudite book is destined to be a classic." —Richard M. Lerner, Contemporary Psychology "America's Children goes a long way toward informing the debate on the causes of increasing poverty, and it challenges some widely held misperceptions....its study of resources available to children (and their families) lays a valuable foundation for surveying trends in family structure, education, and income sources....Anyone interested in the changing lives of children should read it; anyone interested in understanding the causes and patterns of poverty, and in designing a better welfare system, must read it." —Ellen B. Magenheim, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
Britain's War on Poverty
Jane Waldfogel Russell Sage Foundation, 2010 Library of Congress HV751.A6W34 2010 | Dewey Decimal 362.7
In 1999, one in four British children lived in poverty—the third highest child poverty rate among industrialized countries. Five years later, the child poverty rate in Britain had fallen by more than half in absolute terms. How did the British government accomplish this and what can the United States learn from the British experience? Jane Waldfogel offers a sharp analysis of the New Labour government's anti-poverty agenda, its dramatic early success and eventual stalled progress. Comparing Britain's anti-poverty initiative to U.S. welfare reform, the book shows how the policies of both countries have affected child poverty, living standards, and well-being in low-income families and suggests next steps for future reforms. Britain's War on Poverty evaluates the three-pronged anti-poverty strategy employed by the British government and what these efforts accomplished. British reforms sought to promote work and make work pay, to increase financial support for families with children, and to invest in the health, early-life development, and education of children. The latter two features set the British reforms apart from the work-oriented U.S. welfare reforms, which did not specifically target income or program supports for children. Plagued by premature initiatives and what some experts called an overly ambitious agenda, the British reforms fell short of their intended goal but nevertheless significantly increased single-parent employment, raised incomes for low-income families, and improved child outcomes. Poverty has fallen, and the pattern of low-income family expenditures on child enrichment and healthy food has begun to converge with higher-income families. As Waldfogel sees it, further success in reducing child poverty in Britain will rely on understanding who is poor and who is at highest risk. More than half of poor children live in families where at least one parent is working, followed by unemployed single- and two-parent homes, respectively. Poverty rates are also notably higher for children with disabled parents, large families, and for Pakistani and Bangladeshi children. Based on these demographics, Waldfogel argues that future reforms must, among other goals, raise working-family incomes, provide more work for single parents, and better engage high-risk racial and ethnic minority groups. What can the United States learn from the British example? Britain's War on Poverty is a primer in the triumphs and pitfalls of protracted policy. Notable differences distinguish the British and U.S. models, but Waldfogel asserts that a future U.S. poverty agenda must specifically address child poverty and the income inequality that helps create it. By any measurement and despite obstacles, Britain has significantly reduced child poverty. The book's key lesson is that it can be done.
In 1996, America abolished its long-standing welfare system in favor of a new and largely untried public assistance program. Welfare as we knew it arose in turn from a previous generation's rejection of an even earlier system of aid. That generation introduced welfare in order to eliminate orphanages.
This book examines the connection between the decline of the orphanage and the rise of welfare. Matthew Crenson argues that the prehistory of the welfare system was played out not on the stage of national politics or class conflict but in the micropolitics of institutional management. New arrangements for child welfare policy emerged gradually as superintendents, visiting agents, and charity officials responded to the difficulties that they encountered in running orphanages or creating systems that served as alternatives to institutional care.
Crenson also follows the decades-long debate about the relative merits of family care or institutional care for dependent children. Leaving poor children at home with their mothers emerged as the most generally acceptable alternative to the orphanage, along with an ambitious new conception of social reform. Instead of sheltering vulnerable children in institutions designed to transform them into virtuous citizens, the reformers of the Progressive era tried to integrate poor children into the larger society, while protecting them from its perils.
Influenced by news reports of young children brutalized by their parents, most of us see the role of child services as the prevention of severe physical abuse. But as Tina Lee shows in Catching a Case, most child welfare cases revolve around often ill-founded charges of neglect, and the parents swept into the system are generally struggling but loving, fighting to raise their children in the face of crushing poverty, violent crime, poor housing, lack of childcare, and failing schools.
Lee explored the child welfare system in New York City, observing family courts, interviewing parents and following them through the system, asking caseworkers for descriptions of their work and their decision-making processes, and discussing cases with attorneys on all sides. What she discovered about the system is troubling. Lee reveals that, in the face of draconian budget cuts and a political climate that blames the poor for their own poverty, child welfare practices have become punitive, focused on removing children from their families and on parental compliance with rules. Rather than provide needed help for families, case workers often hold parents to standards almost impossible for working-class and poor parents to meet. For instance, parents can be accused of neglect for providing inadequate childcare or housing even when they cannot afford anything better. In many cases, child welfare exacerbates family problems and sometimes drives parents further into poverty while the family court system does little to protect their rights.
Catching a Case is a much-needed wake-up call to improve the child welfare system, and to offer more comprehensive social services that will allow all children to thrive.
A Century of Juvenile Justice
Edited by Margaret K. Rosenheim, Franklin E. Zimring, David S. Tanenhaus, and Be University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress KF9779.C46 2002 | Dewey Decimal 345.7308
Since its inception in Illinois in 1899, the juvenile court has become a remarkable legal and social institution all over the developed world, one that plays a singular role in modern government. At its founding, the juvenile court was intended to reverse longstanding legal traditions, and place the child's interests first in areas of law ranging from dependency to delinquency. Yet in recent years legal responses to youths' offences have undergone striking changes, as more juveniles are being transferred to adult courts and serving adult sentences.
A Century of Juvenile Justice is the first standard, comprehensive and comparative reference work to span the history and current state of juvenile justice. An extraordinary assemblage of leading authorities have produced a accessible, illustrated document, designed as a reference for everyone from probation personnel and police to students, educators, lawyers, and social workers.
Editors' introductions place into context each of the book's five sections, which consider the history of the ideas around which the system was organized and the institutions and practices that resulted; the ways in which this set of institutions and practices interacts with other aspects of government policy toward children in the U.S. and in other nations; and also the ways in which changing social and legal meanings of childhood and youth have continued to influence juvenile justice. The doctrine and institutions of juvenile justice in Europe, Japan, England, and Scotland are profiled in depth to show the range of modern responses to youth crime and child endangerment. This comparative material provides a fresh basis for judging the direction of policy in the U.S.
Margaret K. Rosenheim is the Helen Ross professor Emerita in the School of Social Service Administration of the University of Chicago. Franklin Zimring is Professor of Law and Director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. David S. Tanenhaus is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bernardine Dohrn is Director of the Children and Family Justice Center of Northwestern University Law School.
Margaret K. Rosenheim
David S. Tanenhaus
Franklin E. Zimring
Why are there proportionally more African American children in foster care than white children? Why are white children often readily adoptable, while African American children are difficult to place? Are these imbalances an indication of institutional racism or merely a coincidence?
In this revised and expanded edition of the classic volume, Child Welfare, twenty-one educators call attention to racial disparities in the child welfare system by demonstrating how practices that are successful for white children are often not similarly successful for African American children. Moreover, contributors insist that policymakers and care providers look at African American family life and child-development from a culturally-based Africentric perspective. Such a perspective, the book argues, can serve as a catalyst for creativity and innovation in the formulation of policies and practices aimed at improving the welfare of African American children.
Child Welfare Revisited offers new chapters on the role of institutional racism and economics on child welfare; the effects of substance abuse, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence; and the internal strengths and challenges that are typical of African American families. Bringing together timely new developments and information, this book will continue to be essential reading for all child welfare policymakers and practitioners.
Sometimes the losses of childhood can be recovered only in the flight of the dragonfly.
Native American children have long been subject to removal from their homes for placement in residential schools and, more recently, in foster or adoptive homes. The governments of both the United States and Canada, having reduced Native nations to the legal status of dependent children, historically have asserted a surrogate parentalism over Native children themselves.
Children of the Dragonfly is the first anthology to document this struggle for cultural survival on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. Through autobiography and interviews, fiction and traditional tales, official transcripts and poetry, these voices— Seneca, Cherokee, Mohawk, Navajo, and many others— weave powerful accounts of struggle and loss into a moving testimony to perseverance and survival. Invoking the dragonfly spirit of Zuni legend who helps children restore a way of life that has been taken from them, the anthology explores the breadth of the conflict about Native childhood.
Included are works of contemporary authors Sherman Alexie, Joy Harjo, Luci Tapahonso, and others; classic writers Zitkala-Sa and E. Pauline Johnson; and contributions from twenty important new writers as well. They take readers from the boarding school movement of the 1870s to the Sixties Scoop in Canada and the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 in the United States. They also spotlight the tragic consequences of racist practices such as the suppression of Indian identity in government schools and the campaign against Indian childbearing through involuntary sterilization.
CONTENTS Part 1. Traditional Stories and Lives
Severt Young Bear (Lakota) and R. D. Theisz, To Say "Child"
Zitkala-Sa (Yankton Sioux), The Toad and the Boy
Delia Oshogay (Chippewa), Oshkikwe's Baby
Michele Dean Stock (Seneca), The Seven Dancers
Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey (Cherokee), Goldilocks Thereafter
Marietta Brady (Navajo), Two Stories Part 2. Boarding and Residential Schools
Embe (Marianna Burgess), from Stiya: or, a Carlisle Indian Girl at Home
Black Bear (Blackfeet), Who Am I?
E. Pauline Johnson (Mohawk), As It Was in the Beginning
Lee Maracle (Stoh:lo), Black Robes
Gordon D. Henry, Jr. (White Earth Chippewa), The Prisoner of Haiku
Luci Tapahonso (Navajo), The Snakeman
Joy Harjo (Muskogee), The Woman Who Fell from the Sky Part 3. Child Welfare and Health Services
Problems That American Indian Families Face in Raising Their Children, United States Senate, April 8 and 9, 1974
Mary TallMountain (Athabaskan), Five Poems
Virginia Woolfclan, Missing Sister
Lela Northcross Wakely (Potawatomi/Kickapoo), Indian Health
Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene), from Indian Killer
Milton Lee (Cheyenne River Sioux) and Jamie Lee, The Search for Indian Part 4. Children of the Dragonfly
Peter Cuch (Ute), I Wonder What the Car Looked Like
S. L. Wilde (Anishnaabe), A Letter to My Grandmother
Eric Gansworth (Onondaga), It Goes Something Like This
Kimberly Roppolo (Cherokee/Choctaw/Creek), Breeds and Outlaws
Phil Young (Cherokee) and Robert Bensen, Wetumka
Lawrence Sampson (Delaware/Eastern Band Cherokee), The Long Road Home
Beverley McKiver (Ojibway), When the Heron Speaks
Joyce carlEtta Mandrake (White Earth Chippewa), Memory Lane Is the Next Street Over
Alan Michelson (Mohawk), Lost Tribe
Patricia Aqiimuk Paul (Inupiaq), The Connection
Terry Trevor (Cherokee/Delaware/Seneca), Pushing up the Sky
Annalee Lucia Bensen (Mohegan/Cherokee), Two Dragonfly Dream Songs
Many working families continue to struggle in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the deepest and longest economic downturn since the Great Depression. In Children of the Great Recession, a group of leading scholars draw from a unique study of nearly 5,000 economically and ethnically diverse families in twenty cities to analyze the effects of the Great Recession on parents and young children. By exploring the discrepancies in outcomes between these families—particularly between those headed by parents with college degrees and those without—this timely book shows how the most disadvantaged families have continued to suffer as a result of the Great Recession.
Several contributors examine the recession’s impact on the economic well-being of families, including changes to income, poverty levels, and economic insecurity. Irwin Garfinkel and Natasha Pilkauskas find that in cities with high unemployment rates during the recession, incomes for families with a college-educated mother fell by only about 5 percent, whereas families without college degrees experienced income losses three to four times greater. Garfinkel and Pilkauskas also show that the number of non-college-educated families enrolled in federal safety net programs—including Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or food stamps)—grew rapidly in response to the Great Recession.
Other researchers examine how parents’ physical and emotional health, relationship stability, and parenting behavior changed over the course of the recession. Janet Currie and Valentina Duque find that while mothers and fathers across all education groups experienced more health problems as a result of the downturn, health disparities by education widened. Daniel Schneider, Sara McLanahan and Kristin Harknett find decreases in marriage and cohabitation rates among less-educated families, and Ronald Mincy and Elia de la Cruz-Toledo show that as unemployment rates increased, nonresident fathers’ child support payments decreased. William Schneider, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and Jane Waldfogel show that fluctuations in unemployment rates negatively affected parenting quality and child well-being, particularly for families where the mother did not have a four-year college degree.
Although the recession affected most Americans, Children of the Great Recession reveals how vulnerable parents and children paid a higher price. The research in this volume suggests that policies that boost college access and reinforce the safety net could help protect disadvantaged families in times of economic crisis.
Jody Heymann Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress HV713.H49 2013 | Dewey Decimal 362.7
Children’s Chances urges a shift from focusing on survival to targeting children’s full and healthy development. Drawing on comparative data on policies in 190 countries designed to combat poverty, discrimination, child labor, illiteracy, and child marriage, Heymann and McNeill tell what works to ensure equal opportunities for all children.
American cities are constantly being built and rebuilt, resulting in ever-changing skylines and neighborhoods. While the dynamic urban landscapes of New York, Boston, and Chicago have been widely studied, there is much to be gleaned from west coast cities, especially in California, where the migration boom at the end of the nineteenth century permanently changed the urban fabric of these newly diverse, plural metropolises.
In A City for Children, Marta Gutman focuses on the use and adaptive reuse of everyday buildings in Oakland, California, to make the city a better place for children. She introduces us to the women who were determined to mitigate the burdens placed on working-class families by an indifferent industrial capitalist economy. Often without the financial means to build from scratch, women did not tend to conceive of urban land as a blank slate to be wiped clean for development. Instead, Gutman shows how, over and over, women turned private houses in Oakland into orphanages, kindergartens, settlement houses, and day care centers, and in the process built the charitable landscape—a network of places that was critical for the betterment of children, families, and public life. The industrial landscape of Oakland, riddled with the effects of social inequalities and racial prejudices, is not a neutral backdrop in Gutman’s story but an active player. Spanning one hundred years of history, A City for Children provides a compelling model for building urban institutions and demonstrates that children, women, charity, and incremental construction, renovations, alterations, additions, and repurposed structures are central to the understanding of modern cities.
Early care and education for many children in the United States is in crisis. The period between birth and kindergarten is a critical time for child development, and socioeconomic disparities that begin early in children’s lives contribute to starkly different long-term outcomes for adults. Yet, compared to other advanced economies, high-quality child care and preschool in the United States are scarce and prohibitively expensive for many middle-class and most disadvantaged families. To what extent can early-life interventions provide these children with the opportunities that their affluent peers enjoy and contribute to reduced social inequality in the long term? Cradle to Kindergarten offers a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy that diagnoses the obstacles to accessible early education and charts a path to opportunity for all children.
The U.S. government invests less in children under the age of five than do most other developed nations. Most working families must seek private childcare, which means that children from low-income households, who would benefit most from high-quality early education, are the least likely to attend them. Existing policies, such as pre-kindergarten in some states are only partial solutions. To address these deficiencies, the authors propose to overhaul the early care system, beginning with a federal paid parental leave policy that provides both mothers and fathers with time and financial support after the birth of a child. They also advocate increased public benefits, including an expansion of the child care tax credit, and a new child care assurance program that subsidizes the cost of early care for low- and moderate-income families. They also propose that universal, high-quality early education in the states should start by age three, and a reform of the Head Start program that would include more intensive services for families living in areas of concentrated poverty and experiencing multiple adversities from the earliest point in these most disadvantaged children’s lives. They conclude with an implementation plan and contend that these reforms are attainable within a ten-year timeline.
Reducing educational and economic inequalities requires that all children have robust opportunities to learn, fully develop their capacities, and have a fair shot at success. Cradle to Kindergarten presents a blueprint for fulfilling this promise by expanding access to educational and financial resources at a critical stage of child development.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa has defined the childhoods of an entire generation. Over the past twenty years, international NGOs and charities have devoted immense attention to the millions of African children orphaned by the disease. But in Crying for Our Elders, anthropologist Kristen E. Cheney argues that these humanitarian groups have misread the ‘orphan crisis’. She explains how the global humanitarian focus on orphanhood often elides the social and political circumstances that actually present the greatest adversity to vulnerable children—in effect deepening the crisis and thereby affecting children’s lives as irrevocably as HIV/AIDS itself.
Through ethnographic fieldwork and collaborative research with children in Uganda, Cheney traces how the “best interest” principle that governs children’s’ rights can stigmatize orphans and leave children in the post-antiretroviral era even more vulnerable to exploitation. She details the dramatic effects this has on traditional family support and child protection and stresses child empowerment over pity. Crying for Our Elders advances current discussions on humanitarianism, children’s studies, orphanhood, and kinship. By exploring the unique experience of AIDS orphanhood through the eyes of children, caregivers, and policymakers, Cheney shows that despite the extreme challenges of growing up in the era of HIV/AIDS, the post-ARV generation still holds out hope for the future.
Joe Garagiola remembers playing baseball with stolen balls and bats while growing up on the Hill. Chuck Berry had run-ins with police before channeling his energy into rock and roll. But not all the boys growing up on the rough streets of St. Louis had loving families or managed to find success. This book reviews a century of history to tell the story of the “lost” boys who struggled to survive on the city’s streets as it evolved from a booming late-nineteenth-century industrial center to a troubled mid-twentieth-century metropolis.
To the eyes of impressionable boys without parents to shield them, St. Louis presented an ever-changing spectacle of violence. Small, loosely organized bands from the tenement districts wandered the city looking for trouble, and they often found it. The geology of St. Louis also provided for unique accommodations—sometimes gangs of boys found shelter in the extensive system of interconnected caves underneath the city. Boys could hide in these secret lairs for weeks or even months at a stretch.
Bonnie Stepenoff gives voice to the harrowing experiences of destitute and homeless boys and young men who struggled to grow up, with little or no adult supervision, on streets filled with excitement but also teeming with sharpsters ready to teach these youngsters things they would never learn in school. Well-intentioned efforts of private philanthropists and public officials sometimes went cruelly astray, and sometimes were ineffective, but sometimes had positive effects on young lives.
Stepenoff traces the history of several efforts aimed at assisting the city’s homeless boys. She discusses the prison-like St. Louis House of Refuge, where more than 80 percent of the resident children were boys, and Father Dunne's News Boys' Home and Protectorate, which stressed education and training for more than a century after its founding. She charts the growth of Skid Row and details how historical events such as industrialization, economic depression, and wars affected this vulnerable urban population.
Most of these boys grew up and lived decent, unheralded lives, but that doesn’t mean that their childhood experiences left them unscathed. Their lives offer a compelling glimpse into old St. Louis while reinforcing the idea that society has an obligation to create cities that will nurture and not endanger the young.
In this new volume, two distinguished professors of social work debate the question of whether family preservation or adoption serves the best interests of abused and neglected children.
Arguing the merits of keeping families together whenever possible, Ruth G. McRoy examines the background, theory, and effectiveness of family preservation programs. She provides practical recommendations and pays particular attention to the concerns of African American children.
Claiming that there is insufficient evidence that family preservation actually works, Howard Altstein counters that children from truly dysfunctional families should be given the chance for stable lives through adoption rather than left in limbo.
Childhood faces humanity with its own deepest and most perplexing questions. An ethics that truly includes the world’s childhoods would transcend pre-modern traditional communities and modern rational autonomy with a postmodern aim of growing responsibility. It would understand human relations in a poetic rather than universalistic sense as openly and interdependently creative. As a consequence, it would produce new understandings of moral being, time, and otherness, as well as of religion, rights, narrative, families, obligation, and power.
Ethics in Light of Childhood fundamentally reimagines ethical thought and practice in light of the experiences of the third of humanity who are children. Much like humanism, feminism, womanism, and environmentalism, Wall argues, a new childism is required that transforms moral thinking, relations, and societies in fundamental ways. Wall explores childhood’s varied impacts on ethical thinking throughout history, advances the emerging interdisciplinary field of childhood studies, and reexamines basic assumptions in contemporary moral theory and practice.
In the process, he does not just apply ethics to childhood but applies childhood to ethics—in order to imagine a more expansive humanity.
One of the most challenging goals for welfare reformers has been improving the collection of child support payments from noncustodial parents, usually fathers. Often vilified as deadbeats who have dropped out of their children's lives, these fathers have been the target of largely punitive enforcement policies that give little consideration to the complex circumstances of these men's lives. Fathers' Fair Share presents an alternative to these measures with an in-depth study of the Parents Fair Share Program. A multi-state intervention run by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, the program was designed to better the life skills of nonpaying fathers with children on public assistance, in the belief that this would encourage them to improve their level of child support. The men chosen for the program frequently lived on the margins of society. Chronically unemployed or underemployed, undereducated, and often earning their money on the streets, they bore the scars of drug or alcohol abuse, troubled family lives, and arrest records. Among those of African American and Hispanic descent, many felt a deep-rooted distrust of the mainstream economy. The Parents Fair Share Program offered these men the chance not only to learn the social skills needed for stable employment but to participate in discussions about personal difficulties, racism, and problems in their relationships with their children and families. Fathers' Fair Share details the program's mix of employment training services, peer support groups, and formal mediation of disputes between custodial and noncustodial parents. Equally important, the authors explore the effect of the participating fathers' expectations and doubts about the program, which were colored by their often negative views about the child support and family law system. The voices heard in Fathers' Fair Share provides a rare look into the lives of low-income fathers and how they think about their struggles and prospects, their experiences in the workplace, and their responsibilities toward their families. Parents Fair Share demonstrated that, in spite of their limited resources, these men are more likely to make stronger efforts to improve support payments and to become greater participants in their children's lives if they encounter a less adversarial and arbitrary enforcement system. Fathers' Fair Share offers a valuable resource to the design of social welfare programs seeking to reach out to this little-understood population, and addresses issues of tremendous importance for those concerned about welfare reform, child support enforcement, family law, and employment policy.
European historians have noted the prominent role of the maternal ethic -- the idea that woman's role as mother extends into society as a whole -- in the theory and practice of German feminism from 1840 to 1914. This body of ideas, however, has seldom been taken seriously. German feminism has been interpreted as a political strategy, not as an intellectual tradition. Historians have portrayed German feminists as conservative, in contrast to their liberal counterparts in other countries who were more likely to campaign for equal rights. Ann Allen revises these views by analyzing German feminism as an attempt to create a symbolic framework for understanding the world rather than simply to attain practical results. She examines the relationship between the experiences of individual female activists and the evolving intellectual traditions of German culture and of international feminism.
Women thought their maternal role led to empowerment and ethical authority. The role gave them the legitimacy to give speeches, to organize reform movements, and to build feminist institutions. They campaigned for infant welfare and the expansion of state responsibility for the welfare of mothers and children. German feminists responded to central public issues, including revolution, national unification, and urbanization. They worked to transform both public and private worlds by extending their ethical values, developed in the family, to political and social issues.
To make her argument, Allen examines the lives and work of the women who were important to the history of German feminism. They centered their careers on issues relating to motherhood and childcare. Allen relates their stories to a broader theme: the relationship of women's experience, under specific historical conditions, to the development of feminist ideology and practice.
Allen assesses the historical significance of German feminism in the context of German history and of similar feminist movements in other countries, particularly the U.S. Allen calls for the ideas of German feminists to be judged with reference to the specific, local conditions under which they developed, rather than to essentialist notions of feminism. Some historians have identified equal rights ideologies as progressive and maternalist ones as conservative. But the women themselves did not perceive the antithesis between these two forms of ideology.
The 1996 welfare reform bill marked the beginning of a new era in public assistance. Although the new law has reduced welfare rolls, falling caseloads do not necessarily mean a better standard of living for families. In For Better and For Worse, editors Greg J. Duncan and P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and a roster of distinguished experts examine the evidence and evaluate whether welfare reform has met one of its chief goals-improving the well-being of the nation's poor children. For Better and For Worse opens with a lively political history of the welfare reform legislation, which demonstrates how conservative politicians capitalize on public concern over such social problems as single parenthood to win support for the radical reforms. Part I reviews how individual states redesigned, implemented, and are managing their welfare systems. These chapters show that most states appear to view maternal employment, rather that income enhancement and marriage, as key to improving child well-being. Part II focuses on national and multistate evaluations of the changes in welfare to examine how families and children are actually faring under the new system. These chapters suggest that work-focused reforms have not hurt children, and that reforms that provide financial support for working families can actually enhance children's development. Part III presents a variety of perspectives on policy options for the future. Remarkable here is the common ground for both liberals and conservatives on the need to support work and at the same time strengthen safety-net programs such as Food Stamps. Although welfare reform-along with the Earned Income Tax Credit and the booming economy of the nineties-has helped bring mothers into the labor force and some children out of poverty, the nation still faces daunting challenges in helping single parents become permanent members of the workforce. For Better and For Worse gathers the most recent data on the effects of welfare reform in one timely volume focused on improving the life chances of poor children.
The Future of the Family
Daniel Patrick Moynihan Russell Sage Foundation, 2004 Library of Congress HQ536.F98 2004 | Dewey Decimal 306.850973
High rates of divorce, single-parenthood, and nonmarital cohabitation are forcing Americans to reexamine their definition of family. This evolving social reality requires public policy to evolve as well. The Future of the Family brings together the top scholars of family policy—headlined by editors Lee Rainwater, Tim Smeeding, and, in his last published work, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan—to take stock of the state of the family in the United States today and address the ways in which public policy affects the family and vice versa. The volume opens with an assessment of new forms of family, discussing how reduced family income and lower parental involvement can disadvantage children who grow up outside of two-parent households. The book then presents three vastly dissimilar recommendations—each representing a different segment of the political spectrum—for how family policy should adapt to these changes. Child psychologist Wade Horn argues the case of political conservatives that healthy two-parent families are the best way to raise children and therefore should be actively promoted by government initiatives. Conversely, economist Nancy Folbre argues that government's role lies not in prescribing family arrangements but rather in recognizing and fostering the importance of caregivers within all families, conventional or otherwise. Will Marshall and Isabel Sawhill borrow policy prescriptions from the left and the right, arguing for more initiatives that demand personal responsibility from parents, as well as for an increase in workplace flexibility and the establishment of universal preschool programs. The book follows with commentary by leading policy analysts Samuel Preston, Frank Furstenberg Jr., and Irwin Garfinkel on the merits of the conservative and liberal arguments. Each suggests that marriage promotion alone is not enough to ensure a happy, healthy, and prosperous future for American children who are caught up in the vortex of family change. They agree that government investments in children, however, can promote superior developmental outcomes and even potentially encourage traditional families by enlarging the pool of "marriageable" individuals for the next generation. No government action can reverse trends in family formation or return America to the historic nuclear family model. But understanding social change is an essential step in fashioning effective policy for today's families. With authoritative insight, The Future of the Family broadens and updates our knowledge of how public policy and demography shape one another.
With his dirty, tattered clothes and hollowed-out face, Oliver Twist is the enduring symbol of the young indigent spilling out of orphanages and haunting the streets of late-nineteenth-century London. Although poor children were often portrayed as real-life Oliver Twists—either orphaned or abandoned by unworthy parents—they in fact frequently maintained contact and were eventually reunited with their families.
In Imagined Orphans, Lydia Murdoch focuses on this discrepancy between the representation and the reality of children’s experiences within welfare institutions—a discrepancy that she argues stems from conflicts over middle- and working-class notions of citizenship that arose in the 1870s and persisted until the First World War. Reformers’ efforts to depict poor children as either orphaned or endangered by abusive or “no-good” parents fed upon the poor’s increasing exclusion from the Victorian social body. Reformers used the public’s growing distrust and pitiless attitude toward poor adults to increase charity and state aid to the children.
With a critical eye to social issues of the period, Murdoch urges readers to reconsider the complex situations of families living in poverty. While reformers’ motivations seem well intentioned, she shows how their methods solidified the public’s antipoor sentiment and justified a minimalist welfare state that engendered a cycle of poverty. As they worked to fashion model citizens, reformers’ efforts to protect and care for children took on an increasingly imperial cast that would continue into the twentieth century.
The search for reliable information on the well-being of America's young is vital to designing programs to improve their lives. Yet social scientists are concerned that many measurements of children's physical and emotional health are inadequate, misleading, or outdated, leaving policymakers ill-informed. Indicators of Children's Well-Being is an ambitious inquiry into current efforts to monitor children from the prenatal period through adolescence. Working with the most up-to-date statistical sources, experts from multiple disciplines assess how data on physical development, education, economic security, family and neighborhood conditions, and social behavior are collected and analyzed, what findings they reveal, and what improvements are needed to create a more comprehensive and policy-relevant system of measurement. Today's climate of welfare reform has opened new possibilities for program innovation and experimentation, but it has also intensified the need for a clearly defined and wide-ranging empirical framework to pinpoint where help is needed and what interventions will succeed. Indicators of Children's Well-Being emphasizes the importance of accurate studies that address real problems. Essays on children's material well-being show why income data must be supplemented with assessments of housing, medical care, household expenditure, food consumption, and education. Other contributors urge refinements to existing survey instruments such as the Census and the Current Population Survey. The usefulness of records from human service agencies, child welfare records, and juvenile court statistics is also evaluated.
In The Kindness of Strangers, John Boswell argues persuasively that child abandonment was a common and morally acceptable practice from antiquity until the Renaissance. Using a wide variety of sources, including drama and mythological-literary texts as well as demographics, Boswell examines the evidence that parents of all classes gave up unwanted children, "exposing" them in public places, donating them to the church, or delivering them in later centuries to foundling hospitals. The Kindness of Strangers presents a startling history of the abandoned child that helps to illustrate the changing meaning of family.
Life on the Malecón is a narrative ethnography of the lives of street children and youth living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and the non-governmental organizations that provide social services for them. Writing from the perspective of an anthropologist working as a street educator with a child welfare organization, Jon M. Wolseth follows the intersecting lives of children, the institutions they come into contact with, and the relationships they have with each other, their families, and organization workers.
Often socioeconomic conditions push these children to move from their homes to the streets, but sometimes they themselves may choose the allure of the perceived freedoms and opportunities that street life has to offer. What they find, instead, is violence, disease, and exploitation—the daily reality through which they learn to maneuver and survive. Wolseth describes the stresses, rewards, and failures of the organizations and educators who devote their resources to working with this population.
The portrait of Santo Domingo’s street children and youth population that emerges is of a diverse community with variations that may be partly related to skin color, gender, and class. The conditions for these youth are changing as the economy of the Dominican Republic changes. Although the children at the core of this book live and sleep on avenues and plazas and in abandoned city buildings, they are not necessarily glue- and solvent-sniffing beggars or petty thieves on the margins of society. Instead, they hold a key position in the service sector of an economy centered on tourism.
Life on the Malecón offers a window into the complex relationships children and youth construct in the course of mapping out their social environment. Using a child-centered approach, Wolseth focuses on the social lives of the children by relating the stories that they themselves tell as well as the activities he observes.
Early in the twentieth century, maternal and child welfare evolved from a private family responsibility into a matter of national policy. In Mother-Work, Molly Ladd-Taylor explores both the private and public aspects of child-rearing, using the relationship between them to cast new light on the histories of motherhood, the welfare state, and women's activism in the United States.
She argues that mother-work, "women's unpaid work of reproduction
and caregiving," motivated women's public activism and "maternalist"
ideology. Mothering experiences led women to become active in the development of public health, education, and welfare services. In turn, the advent of these services altered mothering in many ways, including by reducing the infant mortality rate.
Drawing on national, state, and local data, the Urban Child Institute partnered with RAND to explore the social and emotional well-being of children in Memphis and Shelby County, Tenn. The book highlights the importance of factors in the home, child care setting, and community that contribute to social and emotional development.
Focusing on a class action lawsuit against the Illinois child welfare system (B. H. v. Johnson), Pitiful Plaintiffs examines the role of the federal courts in the child welfare policymaking process and the extent to which litigation can achieve the goal of reforming child welfare systems.
Beginning in the 1970s, children’s advocates asked the federal courts to intervene in the child welfare policymaking process. Their weapons were, for the most part, class action suits that sought widespread reform of child welfare systems. This book is about the tens of thousands of abused and neglected children in the United States who enlisted the help of the federal courts to compel state and local governments to fulfill their obligations to them. Based on a variety of sources, the core of the research consists of in-depth, open-ended interviews with individuals involved in the Illinois child welfare system, particularly those engaged in the litigation process, including attorneys, public officials, members of children’s advocacy groups, and federal court judges. The interviews were supplemented with information from legal documents, government reports and publications, national and local news reports, and scholarly writings. Despite the proliferation of child welfare lawsuits and the increasingly important role of the federal judiciary in child welfare policymaking, structural reform litigation against child welfare systems has received scant scholarly attention from a political science or public policy perspective. Mezey’s comprehensive study will be of interest to political scientists and public policy analysts, as well as anyone involved in social justice and child welfare.
In Poor Kids in a Rich Country, Lee Rainwater and Timothy Smeeding ask what it means to be poor in a prosperous nation - especially for any country's most vulnerable citizens, its children. In comparing the situation of American children in low-income families with their counterparts in fourteen other countries—including Western Europe, Australia, and Canada—they provide a powerful perspective on the dynamics of child poverty in the United States. Based on the rich data available from the transnational Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), Poor Kids in a Rich Country puts child poverty in the United States in an international context. Rainwater and Smeeding find that while the child poverty rate in most countries has been relatively stable over the past 30 years, child poverty has increased markedly in the United States and Britain—two of the world's wealthiest countries. The book delves into the underlying reasons for this difference, examining the mix of earnings and government transfers, such as child allowances, sickness and maternity benefits, unemployment insurance, and other social assistance programs that go into the income packages available to both single- and dual-parent families in each country. Rainwater and Smeeding call for policies to make it easier for working parents to earn a decent living while raising their children—policies such as parental leave, childcare support, increased income supports for working poor families, and a more socially oriented education policy. They make a convincing argument that our definition of poverty should not be based solely on the official poverty line—that is, the minimum income needed to provide a certain level of consumption—but on the social and economic resources necessary for full participation in society. Combining a wealth of empirical data on international poverty levels with a thoughtful new analysis of how best to use that data, Poor Kids in a Rich Country will provide an essential tool for researchers and policymakers who make decisions about child and family policy.
This comprehensive history traces the care of dependent, delinquent,
and disabled children in Illinois from the early nineteenth century to
current times, focusing on the dilemmas raised by both public intervention
and the lack of it. Joan Gittens explores the inadequacies of a system
that has allowed problems in the public care of children to recur regularly
but at the same time insists that the state's own history makes it clear
that the potential for improvements exists.
This far-reaching study of maternal societies in post-revolutionary France focuses on the philanthropic work of the Society for Maternal Charity, the most prominent organization of its kind. Administered by middle-class and elite women and financed by powerful families and the government, the Society offered support to poor mothers, helping them to nurse and encouraging them not to abandon their children. In Poverty, Charity, and Motherhood, Christine Adams traces the Society's key role in shaping notions of maternity and in shifting the care of poor families from the hands of charitable volunteers with religious-tinged social visions to paid welfare workers with secular goals such as population growth and patriotism.
Adams plumbs the origin and ideology of the Society and its branches, showing how elite women in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Rouen, Marseille, Dijon, and Limoges tried to influence the maternal behavior of women and families with lesser financial means and social status. A deft analysis of the philosophy and goals of the Society details the members' own notions of good mothering, family solidarity, and legitimate marriages that structured official, elite, and popular attitudes concerning gender and poverty in France. These personal attitudes, Adams argues, greatly influenced public policy and shaped the country's burgeoning social welfare system.
Raising the World
Sara Fieldston Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress HV881.F52 2015 | Dewey Decimal 362.7
Sara Fieldston shows how humanitarian child welfare agencies sponsored by Americans filtered political power through the prism of familial love after World War II. These well-meaning institutions shaped perceptions of the United States as the benevolent parent in a family of nations, and helped to expand American hegemony around the globe.
Warring factions in the United States like to use children as weapons
for their political agendas as Americans try to determine the role--if
any--of the federal government in the lives of children. But what is the
history of child welfare policy in the United States? What can we learn
from the efforts to found the U.S. Children's bureau in 1903 and its eventual
dismemberment in 1946?
This is the first history of the Children's Bureau and the first in-depth
examination of federal child welfare policy from the perspective of that
agency. Its goal was to promote "a right to childhood," and
Kriste Lindenmeyer unflinchingly examines the successes--and the failures--of
the Bureau. She analyzes infant and maternal mortality, the promotion
of child health care, child labor reform, and the protection of children
with "special needs" from the Bureau's inception through the
Depression, and through all the legislation that impacted on its work
for children. The meaningful accomplishments and the demise of the Children's
Bureau have much to tell parents, politicians, and policy-makers everywhere.
In 1877, the American Humane Society was formed as the national organization for animal and child protection. Thirty years later, there were 354 anticruelty organizations chartered in the United States, nearly 200 of which were similarly invested in the welfare of both humans and animals. In The Rights of the Defenseless, Susan J. Pearson seeks to understand the institutional, cultural, legal, and political significance of the perceived bond between these two kinds of helpless creatures, and the attempts made to protect them.
Unlike many of today’s humane organizations, those Pearson follows were delegated police powers to make arrests and bring cases of cruelty to animals and children before local magistrates. Those whom they prosecuted were subject to fines, jail time, and the removal of either animal or child from their possession. Pearson explores the limits of and motivation behind this power and argues that while these reformers claimed nothing more than sympathy with the helpless and a desire to protect their rights, they turned “cruelty” into a social problem, stretched government resources, and expanded the state through private associations. The first book to explore these dual organizations and their storied history, The Rights of the Defenseless will appeal broadly to reform-minded historians and social theorists alike.
More than one in five American children live below the poverty line, a proportion that exceeds that of any other advanced nation. Although large numbers of Western European children live with single or unemployed parents, or belong to disadvantaged minorities, they are better shielded from severe deprivation by carefully designed public assistance programs. Saving Our Children from Poverty describes one of the most successful European systems of assistance for families, that of France, and through comparison with American programs offers a valuable guide to improving our own safety net for children and reforming our dysfunctional welfare system. Saving Our Children from Poverty details the array of benefits available to both high- and low-income families in France. Government-run nursery schools provide free, high-quality care for almost all children between the ages of three and six. Children also receive guaranteed medical care under a national health insurance plan. The French system offers married couples most of the same benefits as single parents, and creates strong incentives to seek and hold jobs rather than remain on welfare. A French single mother who chooses to work still receives substantial income supplements, housing assistance, subsidized health care, and access to public child care facilities. In stark contrast, her American counterpart loses most of her cash benefits if she takes a job and receives no government assistance with child care. Because American policies focus disproportionately on aiding the poorest non-working families, parents forced to rely on low-wage jobs are frequently left without the resources to provide their children with an adequate standard of living. As the public debate on welfare reform continues to rage, ever more American children fall into poverty. Why does the nation remain so unresponsive to their plight? Saving Our Children from Poverty probes the American aversion to national assistance programs, citing the negative attitudes that have seeped into the current political discourse. A lack of faith in the federal government's administrative abilities has bolstered a trend toward decentralization of programs, as well as a growing resistance to taxation. Racial antipathies and a belief that financial support encourages irresponsibility further undermine the development of programs for those in need. Saving Our Children from Poverty illustrates what a nation no wealthier than ours can realistically accomplish and afford, and concludes with a viable blueprint for successfully applying aspects of France's system to the United States.
Little work has been done to systematically analyze how high-profile incidents of child neglect and abuse shape child welfare policymaking in the United States. In Scandalous Politics, Juliet Gainsborough presents quantitative analysis of all fifty states and qualitative case studies of three states (Florida, Colorado, and New Jersey) that reveal how well-publicized child welfare scandals result in adoption of new legislation and new administrative procedures.
Gainsborough’s quantitative analysis suggests that child welfare policymaking is frequently reactive, while the case studies provide more detail about variations and the legislative process. For example, the case studies illustrate how the nature and extent of the policy response varies according to particular characteristics of the political environment in the state and the administrative structure of the child welfare system.
Scandalous Politics increases our understanding of the politics of child welfare at both the state and federal level and provides new insights into existing theories of agenda-setting and the policy process. It will be of interest to everyone involved with child welfare policymaking and especially public policy and public administration scholars.
More than ever, the economic health of a country depends upon the skills, knowledge, and capacities of its people. How does a person acquire these human assets and how can we promote their development? Securing the Future assembles an interdisciplinary team of scholars to investigate the full range of factors—pediatric, psychological, social, and economic—that bear on a child's development into a well-adjusted, economically productive member of society. A central purpose of the volume is to identify sound interventions that will boost human assets, particularly among the disadvantaged. The book provides a comprehensive evaluation of current initiatives and offers a wealth of new suggestions for effective public and private investments in child development. While children from affluent, highly educated families have good quality child care and an expensive education provided for them, children from poor families make do with informal child care and a public school system that does not always meet their needs. How might we best redress this growing imbalance? The contributors to this volume recommend policies that treat academic attainment together with psychological development and social adjustment. Mentoring programs, for example, promote better school performance by first fostering a young person's motivation to learn. Investments made early in life, such as preschool education, are shown to have the greatest impact on later learning for the least cost. In their focus upon children, however, the authors do not neglect the important links between generations. Poverty and inequality harm the development of parents and children alike. Interventions that empower parents to fight for better services and better schools are also of great benefit to their children. Securing the Future shows how investments in child development are both a means to an end and an end in themselves. They benefit the child directly and they also help that child contribute to the well-being of society. This book points us toward more effective strategies for promoting the economic success and the social cohesion of future generations. A Volume in the Ford Foundation Series on Asset Building
In Somebody's Children, Laura Briggs examines the social and cultural forces—poverty, racism, economic inequality, and political violence—that have shaped transracial and transnational adoption in the United States during the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first. Focusing particularly on the experiences of those who have lost their children to adoption, Briggs analyzes the circumstances under which African American and Native mothers in the United States and indigenous and poor women in Latin America have felt pressed to give up their children for adoption or have lost them involuntarily.
The dramatic expansion of transracial and transnational adoption since the 1950s, Briggs argues, was the result of specific and profound political and social changes, including the large-scale removal of Native children from their parents, the condemnation of single African American mothers in the context of the civil rights struggle, and the largely invented "crack babies" scare that inaugurated the dramatic withdrawal of benefits to poor mothers in the United States. In Guatemala, El Salvador, and Argentina, governments disappeared children during the Cold War and then imposed neoliberal economic regimes with U.S. support, making the circulation of children across national borders easy and often profitable. Concluding with an assessment of present-day controversies surrounding gay and lesbian adoptions and the struggles of immigrants fearful of losing their children to foster care, Briggs challenges celebratory or otherwise simplistic accounts of transracial and transnational adoption by revealing some of their unacknowledged causes and costs.
A substantial number of American children experience poverty: about 17 percent of those under the age of eighteen meet the government’s definition, and the proportion is even greater within minority groups. Childhood poverty can have lifelong effects, resulting in poor educational, labor market, and physical and mental health outcomes for adults. These problems have long been recognized, and there are numerous programs designed to alleviate or even eliminate poverty; as these programs compete for scarce resources, it is important to develop a clear view of their impact as tools for poverty alleviation.
Targeting Investments in Children tackles the problem of evaluating these programs by examining them using a common metric: their impact on earnings in adulthood. The volume’s contributors explore a variety of issues, such as the effect of interventions targeted at children of different ages, and study a range of programs, including child care, after-school care, and drug prevention. The results will be invaluable to educational leaders and researchers as well as policy makers.
Like the majority of children living in the global South today, a large number of Vietnamese youths work to help support their families. International human rights organizations have focused on these children, seeking to bring their lives into line with an understanding of childhood that is generally accepted in the developed world.
In this ethnographic study, Rachel Burr draws on her daily observations of working children in Hanoi and argues that these youngsters are misunderstood by the majority of agencies that seek to help them. Most aid programs embrace a model of childhood that is based on Western notions of individualism and bountiful resources. They further assume that this model is universally applicable even in cultures that advocate a collective sense of self and in countries that do not share the same economic advantages.
Burr presents the voices and experiences of Vietnamese children in the streets, in a reform school, and in an orphanage to show that workable solutions have become lost within the rhetoric propagated by aid organizations. The reality of providing primary education or adequate healthcare for all children, for instance, does not stand a chance of being achieved until adequate resources are put in place. Yet, organizations preoccupied with the child rights agenda are failing to acknowledge the distorted global distribution of wealth in favor of Western nations.
Offering a unique, firsthand look at the experiences of children in contemporary Vietnam, this book also provides a broad analysis of how internationally led human rights agendas are often received at the local level.