Child Welfare

child welfare, services provided for the care of disadvantaged children. Foundling institutions for orphans and abandoned children were the earliest attempts at child care, usually under religious auspices. At first the goal was to provide minimum physical subsistence, but services have been expanded to include social and psychological help. In the late 18th cent., a movement developed around the idea that children should not simply be regarded as small adults, and such educators as Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and Froebel were discussing children's special needs at the same time that the Industrial Revolution intensified the nonagricultural exploitation of child labor. In the 19th cent. many religious and private institutions were organized to take care of children who were orphaned, destitute, or handicapped. In child-welfare legislation, the British Children's Charter Act of 1908 and the Ohio Children's Code Commission of 1911 marked a new era. The idea that it was the responsibility of the community to provide children with the advantages that their parents could not supply is a 20th-century development. In this category are free school lunches; medical, dental, and psychiatric services and child guidance clinics in schools; playgrounds; children's courts; special schools for handicapped children; and care in foster families for children of broken homes. Infant and child clinics are often provided by municipalities. Many social welfare agencies finance summer camps for both healthy and handicapped children. In the United States child welfare services are administered through the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. A series of new child welfare programs were passed by Congress in the 1960s. These included the Child Nutrition Act, the Head Start Program, and the Foster Grandparent Program. The International Union for Child Welfare (1920) organized relief for child victims of major international and national disasters. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF, 1946) targets malnutrition and helps reestablish children's services destroyed in war. Current child welfare concerns include child abuse and child care (see day nursery).

See J. Packman, Child Care Needs and Numbers (1968); D. Zietz, Child Welfare (2d ed. 1969); L. Costin, Child Welfare (new ed. 1972); A. Kahn and S. Kamerman, Social Services in International Perspective (1980), Helping America's Families (1982), and Child Support (1987); V. Zelizer, Pricing the Priceless Child (1985); A. Kadushin and J. A. Martin, Child Welfare Services (4th ed. 1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Child Welfare Services
Alfred Kadushin.
Macmillan, 1980 (3rd edition)
Kids Raised by the Government
Ira M. Schwartz; Gideon Fishman.
Praeger, 1999
Balancing Family-Centered Services and Child Well-Being: Exploring Issues in Policy, Practice, Theory, and Research
Elaine Walton; Patricia Sandau-Beckler; Marc Mannes.
Columbia University Press, 2001
Safeguarding and Promoting the Well Being of Children, Families, and Their Communities
Jane Scott; Harriet Ward.
Jessica Kingsley, 2005
Youth Justice and Child Protection
Malcolm Hill; Andrew Lockyer; Fred Stone.
Jessica Kingsley, 2007
The Children of Neglect: When No One Cares
Margaret G. Smith; Rowena Fong.
Brunner-Routledge, 2004
Poor Children and Welfare Reform
Olivia Golden.
Auburn House, 1992
Child Welfare Involvement among Children in Homeless Families
Park, Jung Min; Metraux, Stephen; Brodbar, Gabriel; Culhane, Dennis P.
Child Welfare, Vol. 83, No. 5, September/October 2004
Immigrant Families and Public Child Welfare: Barriers to Services and Approaches for Change
Earner, Ilze.
Child Welfare, Vol. 86, No. 4, July/August 2007
Building the Invisible Orphanage: A Prehistory of the American Welfare System
Matthew A. Crenson.
Harvard University Press, 1998
Effective Child Welfare Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Children and Their Families
Pine, Barbara A.; Drachman, Diane.
Child Welfare, Vol. 84, No. 5, September/October 2005
Improving Child Welfare Performance: Retrospective and Prospective Approaches
Zeller, Dennis E.; Gamble, Thomas J.
Child Welfare, Vol. 86, No. 1, January/February 2007
Child Welfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: International Perspectives
Jon Lawrence; Pat Starkey.
Liverpool University Press, 2001
We Don't Exactly Get the Welcome Wagon: The Experiences of Gay and Lesbian Adolescents in Child Welfare Systems
Gerald P. Mallon.
Columbia University Press, 1998
Search for more books and articles on child welfare