Soc. Sci.2014, 3(4), 841-853; doi:10.3390/socsci3040841 (registering DOI) - published 24 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Online social spaces, where users can exchange information, opinions and resources, have achieved wide popularity and are gaining attention in many research fields, including education. Their actual potential support to learning, however, still requires investigation, especially because portals can widely differ as concerns purpose and internal structure. This paper aims to contribute in this respect, by concentrating on question answering, a kind of social space not yet widely discussed in education. We analyzed a small corpus of posts from the Languages section of Yahoo! Answers Italy, checking if the questions reveal some inclination to learning or just the desire to obtain a service and if the answers provided by the community members can be considered as reliable sources of knowledge. Our analysis highlights the presence of a variety of question/answer types, from mere information exchange or help for task completion, up to language-related questions prompting valuable short lessons. The quality of answers may widely vary as concerns pertinence, correctness and richness of supporting elements. We found a high number of purely task-oriented questions and answers, but also a higher number of learning-oriented questions and correct, informative answers. This suggests that this kind of social space actually has valuable potential for informal learning.
Abstract: Bullying is relatively common and is considered to be a public health problem among adolescents worldwide. The present study examined the risk factors associated with bullying behavior among adolescents in a lower-middle-income country setting. Data on 6235 adolescents aged 11–16 years, derived from the Republic of Ghana’s contribution to the Global School-based Health Survey, were analyzed using bivariate and multinomial logistic regression analysis. A high prevalence of bullying was found among Ghanaian adolescents. Alcohol-related health compromising behaviors (alcohol use, alcohol misuse and getting into trouble as a result of alcohol) increased the risk of being bullied. In addition, substance use, being physically attacked, being seriously injured, hunger and truancy were also found to increase the risk of being bullied. However, having understanding parents and having classmates who were kind and helpful reduced the likelihood of being bullied. These findings suggest that school-based intervention programs aimed at reducing rates of peer victimization should simultaneously target multiple risk behaviors. Teachers can also reduce peer victimization by introducing programs that enhance adolescents’ acceptance of each other in the classroom.
Abstract: In Spain, an average of 480 children per 100,000 is receiving some type of temporary care, and the reunification process is typically lengthy. Providing the biological family with specific training as part of the reunification process is key to solving this problem. Although previous research and social policy have emphasized the importance of such training to reunification, the training has not been fully implemented in Spain. This study investigates the specific training needs during the transition phase of the reunification process in which the child prepares to return home. The data were obtained from focus groups and through semi-structured interviews with 135 participants: 63 professionals from the Child Protection System and 42 parents and 30 children who have undergone or are currently undergoing reunification. A qualitative methodology and Atlas.ti software were used to analyze the interview content. The results indicate three specific training needs: (a) understanding the reasons for reunification and the reunification phases; (b) empowerment strategies; and (c) social support. These findings suggest the best practices for formulating specific support programs for this population during the reunification transition period.
Abstract: This paper will provide an overview and analysis of developments in child protection and out of home care in Australia. It will outline early responses to perceived inadequate parenting to provide the historical and policy contexts of contemporary debates on, and responses to, the care and protection of children and young people. Child maltreatment affects a large number of children across Australia. The statistics of reported maltreatment reflect striking increases over time. Over the last decade, several public inquiries into the operation of child protection have been undertaken in a number of state jurisdictions following which some states have embarked on large scale reform of legislation and policy, to either strengthen the child protection mandate, or refocus services. Some exemplars of significant reform in selected states will be cited. Some of the themes that will be explored in the paper will include the impact of major state based public inquiries, overseas reviews and research on child protection policy and practice; the changing balance between orientations to child protection and family support, the parameters of out of home care, the high levels of governmental intervention experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, and a critical appraisal of major transformations in protective care.
Abstract: Children at risk of abuse are more likely to be hospitalized and utilize health services according to international research. In a large metropolitan health region in New South Wales, Australia, there was little known of the clinical burden of child physical abuse and/or neglect (PAN), or of systems for clinical assessment of children presenting with abuse/neglect. We aimed to identify the number of children presenting with suspected PAN to emergency departments (EDs) and paediatric services in this region, to determine enablers and barriers to assessment for children with PAN presenting to frontline services, and to identify best practices to address gaps. We collated available data on children presenting to EDs and paediatric services with suspected PAN in 2007. We interviewed 36 health professionals from nine hospitals and 12 statutory child protection professionals, across the region before undertaking relevant document analysis. Of 64,700 paediatric ED presentations, a quarter were due to injury; 2%–5% of these were due to maltreatment. Clinician estimates and assessments of PAN varied widely; health and welfare workers identified major practice gaps, as well as good local practice. We identified feasible minimum standards for improving clinical assessment and follow-up for children presenting with PAN, given the right organizational support.
Abstract: The rhetoric of risk has become a prominent issue in the field of child and family social work. As a consequence, an emerging politics of fear has re-oriented this field towards managing, controlling, and securing social work practice against risk, rather than responding meaningfully to the needs and concerns of children and families. In the available body of research, it is argued that this general tendency creates “anxious” professionals. As a response, different scholars refer to the need to “speak back to fear”. In this article, we analyze this claim in the context of a currently ongoing large-scale policy reform, named Integrated Youth Care (IYC), in the field of child welfare and protection in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium). The debate on dealing with risk is often limited to an organizational and methodological discussion. We assert that we should reorient this debate and make a plea for a radical approach of applying a welfare perspective in child welfare and protection.