CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LOS ANGELES
School of Social Work

Child Welfare
SW585

Fall 2004

Salazar Hall C240

Tuesdays
4:20PM – 6:00 PM

Nayiri Nahabedian, MSW

Office hours:
Tuesdays 2:00 - 3:30 PM
and by appointment

(323) 343-3350
nnahabe@calstatela.edu

Course Overview and Purpose

The focus of this class is on the broader perspectives that have guided and shaped policy in the area of families and children in the United States. Beginning with an historical view of the development of child welfare services, we will look at the emergence of the modern child welfare system in a multicultural society. The particular focus of this course will be the development of social policy as it affects families and children from different cultural backgrounds and as it is given form in the public child welfare system. We will pay particular attention to the development of an infrastructure to support the needs of children and families. The course will include an examination of the development of programs and policies affecting children and youth in a multicultural society, with particular attention to poverty, foster care and child abuse.

Objectives

The student 1) will be able to critically examine the public child welfare system in the United States with particular attention to its impact on children from diverse cultural backgrounds, 2) will become familiar with what is known from empirical research regarding the public child welfare system, and 3) will be able to identify the major value issues that confront the child welfare professional.

Course Structure

This is a graduate course which requires active participation from all members. During the first part of each meeting the instructor will make a presentation and lead the discussion on the scheduled topic. Course participants will be responsible for completing the scheduled reading assignment.

The second part of each meeting will be a seminar discussion coordinated by two groups of students who will lead a review and debate on issues in child welfare policy. At the next class meeting, the student will submit a paper (approximately 5 to 10 pages) with a short analysis and evaluation of the presentation appended. The instructor will base her evaluation primarily on the student's presentation and coordination of the second part of the class meeting. The format of the second part of each meeting will be a debate on a particular policy question. One student team will present the affirmative (15 minutes). Another will present the opposing view (15 minutes). Then, each student will follow with a five-minute rebuttal. The floor will be open for questions. Presenters may allow questions during their initial presentations and rebuttal period.

Course Requirements

To determine the student's qualitative grade in the course, the instructor will evaluate two general assignments. The assignments include: the seminar presentation and paper (35 percent) and a final examination on the material covered in the course (55 percent). The seminar paper should be prepared in APA format. Ten percent of the grade will be determined by the instructor's judgment of student's course involvement, attendance and participation.

Course Outline

This syllabus is online at http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/nnahabe/.  You will find the online links of the course outline, and additional readings and resources at the web address. 

Week 1 - September 28

Introduction and Discussion of the Course

Delineating and Defining the Problems Children Face

Week 2– October 5

Thinking about Child Welfare

Organization of Debates

Readings: Duncan Lindsey, “Introduction” and “The Emergence of the Modern Child Welfare System,” (Chapter 1) in The Welfare of Children.

Week 3 – October 12

The Current State of Knowledge in Child Welfare

The Effectiveness of Institutional Care

The Effectiveness of Family Preservation

Readings: Duncan Lindsey, "Child Welfare Research: The Effectiveness of Casework" and “Child Welfare Reform through Demonstration Research: Permanency Planning,” (Chapters 2 and 3) in The Welfare of Children.

The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children
Rob Geen, Shelley Waters Boots, Karen C. Tumlin (The Urban Institute)

Child Protection at the Crossroads: Child Abuse, Child Protection, and Recommendations for Reform
By Susan Orr, Ph.D.

Debate 1

Does Abuse as a Child Result in Irreparable Harm in Adulthood?

Yes: Julie Crouch in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.29.

No: Susan Zuravin and Robert Weinbach in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.29.

Week 4 – October 19

Continuation of Discussion from Week 3

Readings: Duncan Lindsey, "The Changing Portrait of the American Family," (Chapter 4) in The Welfare of Children.

Averting Unnecessary Placements

Foster Care Statistics

Debate 2

Do Services to Preserve the Family Place Children at Unnecessary Risk?

Yes: Mary Beth Seader in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.59.

No: Kristine E. Nelson in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.59.

 

Week 5  – October 26

Child Abuse and Neglect

Readings: Duncan Lindsey, “The End of Child Welfare: The Transformation of Public Child Welfare into Children's Protective Services" and “The Decision to Remove a Child,” (Chapter 5 and 6) in The Welfare of Children.

The Costs of Child Protection in the Context of Welfare Reform
Mark E. Courtney (from The Future of Children)

Commentary on Child Protective Services
by Douglas J. Besharov (from The Future of Children)

Debate 3

Are Intensive Family Preservation Services Effective?

Yes: Peter J. Pecora in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.290.

A Synthesis of Research on Family Preservation and Family Reunification Programs
by Julia H. Littell and John R. Schuerman (University of Chicago)
A Review of Family Preservation and Family Reunification Programs
By Westat, Inc. in association with James Bell Associates, Inc., and The Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago

No: Tina L. Rznepniki in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.290.

Week 6 – November 2

Dealing with Child Abuse

Reading: Duncan Lindsey, "Dealing with Child Abuse, the Red Herring of Child Welfare," (Chapter 7) in The Welfare of Children.

Debate 4

Should Police Have Greater Authority in Investigating Cases of Suspected Child Abuse?

Yes: Duncan Lindsey and Wesley E. Hawkins in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.73.

No: Thomas P. McDonald and Nico Trocme in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.73.

Week 7 – November 9

Veteran's Day Holiday

Reading: Duncan Lindsey, "Wealth and Poverty in America: The Economic Condition of Children," (Chapter 8) in The Welfare of Children.

Week 8 – November 16

The Economic Situation of Children

Readings:  Duncan Lindsey, “The Rise and Fall of Welfare for Disadvantaged Children in America” and “The Fading Promise of Welfare Reform to End Child Poverty," (Chapters 9 and 10) in The Welfare of Children.

Welfare as we know it
by Douglas Besharov

How We Can Better Protect Children from Abuse and Neglect: Four Commentaries
Douglas J. Besharov, Marcia Robinson Lowry, Leroy H. Pelton, Michael W. Weber (from The Future of Children)

Debate 5

Is Poverty a Key Contributor to Child Maltreatment?

Yes: Leroy H. Pelton in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.16.

No: Joel S. Milner in Controversial Issues in Child Welfare, Eileen Gambrill and Theodore Stein, (Eds.), p.16.

Week 9 – November 23

Economic Security and Child Welfare

Readings: Duncan Lindsey, "Two Simple Programs for Ending Poverty," (Chapter 11) in The Welfare of Children

Children and Welfare Reform 
from The Future of Children

Delivering for Young Families: The Resonance of the GI Bill
by Theda Skocpol, The American Prospect

Debate 6

Income Inequality: Are Things Getting Better?

Yes: How Have Blacks Been Doing in the United States? By Julian Simon
The Declining Importance of Class (April 1997)
By Daniel P. McMurrer and Isabel V. Sawhill

No: Growing Income Inequality: Roots and Remedies
by Edward M. Gramlich and Mark Long abstract

An Analysis of New IRS Income Data
by Isaac Shapiro, Robert Greenstein, and Wendell Primus

State Income Inequality Continued to Grow in Most States in the 1990s,
Despite Economic Growth and Tight Labor Markets

by The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

New IRS Data Show Dramatic Income Gains at the Top
That Far Outstrip Income Gains for the Rest of the Population

by The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Rich, the Right, and the Facts
by Paul Krugman

Week 10 – November 30

Review of Course and Review of Final Exam

Closing in the Welfare of Children

Readings: Duncan Lindsey, "Child Future Savings Account: Social Security for Children," (Chapter 12) in The Welfare of Children

Final Examination – December 7

                                   4:30 – 7:00 PM