In 1994 a group of researchers and decision makers met to discuss the state of child welfare. Also present were a few practitioners and two youth in care. Six years later, when they met again, the number of practitioners and youth had grown considerably and were joined by a strong contingent of foster parents. Thus the findings and insights presented were affirmed or challenged by those most affected — those on the front line. It was an exciting event, worth capturing in book form.
Kathleen Kufeldt and Brad McKenzie have gathered the papers presented at the 2000 Symposium and have organized them under four themes: incidence and characteristics of child maltreatment; the continuum of care; policy and practice; and future directions. An analysis and synthesis of the work informs each of these themes, while an eight-point research agenda developed in an earlier symposium is used to assess developments to date and provide guidance for the future.
Contributors include many well-known researchers such as Claire Chamberland, Jim Anglin, Sally Palmer, Darlene Sykes, Cindy Blackstock, Nico Trocmé, Fay Martin, and Richard Budgell. The richness of the information will interest all helping professionals, researchers, and students. It will also appeal to those whose interest has been piqued by the highly publicized failures of the system.
"Child Welfare is an important contribution to the current debate on the difficulties in practice and service delivery in child welfare.... [The] collection of 34 essays will interest policy-makers, social workers, teachers, anyone working with children at risk, and those in the academic community. It will be useful to any person who wants a better understanding of the current crisis in child welfare."
"Considering the federal government's commitment to reducing child poverty, this [book] suggests some of the most positive ways to address the issue at a local level and identifies methods of tracking outcomes that will identify successes over time."
"A valuable resource for those involved in research into, advocacy for, and the practical application of knowledge relating to the care and treatment of children at risk....Among the most interesting features...is...that...many of the chpaters delve into the personal experiences of the children under care, the perspectives of those who have passed through the system, and the views of families of these individuals. This form of qualitative research not only gives those most involved in the system a voice but also provides the reader with a more personalized sense of understanding of the benefits and problems associated with child welfare services today."
"The editors have succeeded in bringing together a large collection of conference papers and turning these into very good chapters....it is an examplar of coherence, greatly assisted by the introductions to each of the four main parts....[It] deserves to be widely available to all those interested in child welfare and who are prepared to reflect upon the challenges and implications of high quality comparative material."