Improving Child Well-Being? Restructuring Child Welfare Programs in the Liberal Welfare States

Maureen Baker


For over a century, the ‘liberal’ welfare states have shared ideas about social provision and faced similar socioeconomic and political pressures to restructure their social programs. This paper discusses some of the historic and current pressures on these states to develop and restructure child welfare services. I argue that international ideas about children’s rights and ‘best practices’ have always influenced the development of these programs but current restructuring is more often shaped by concerns about public spending and the role of the state in family life. Despite the potential for governments in these ‘rich’ nations to enhance the wellbeing of children, unhealthy practices are permitted to continue.

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Canadian Journal of Family and Youth / Le Journal Canadien de Famille et de la Jeunesse
2008-2014 | ISSN 1718-9748