The Tender Years: Toward Developmentally Sensitive Child Welfare Services for Very Young Children

Paperback | January 1, 1998

byJill Duerr Berrick, Barbara Needell, Richard P. Barth

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The first few years of life are a time of unparalleled physical, intellectual, and emotional development. But they can also be a time of neglect and abuse: this is the period when children are most likely to suffer mistreatment by their parents, and most likely to be placed in foster care.Today most children entering the child welfare system are very young, and, in most large states, infants are the largest group of children entering foster care each year. Social service systems are typically not designed for very young children, however, and therefore fail to serve their specialneeds. This shortcoming is significant because protecting very young children from physical harm is not enough; they must also be protected from developmental harm. The Tender Years is the first textbook to address this critical situation. Beginning with an overview of child development theory, it examines child abuse reporting patterns and discusses placement in foster care, reunification, and adoption. It also looks at public child welfare practice,featuring vivid examples of the children and families served by this system. The authors analyze the differences between the foster care experiences of very young children and those of older children, with special emphasis on the way the child welfare system deals with infants. Based on asignificant body of evidence regarding young children's unique affective, physical, and cognitive development, this text illuminates the interrelationship of child welfare practice, child development outcomes, and public policy. The authors offer a fundamental framework for decision-making in childwelfare when young children are involved, and recommend specific changes in policy and practice aimed at moving the system toward greater developmental sensitivity. Timely and provocative, The Tender Years is essential reading for courses in child welfare, social work with children, and social work with the family, as well as a valuable resource for child welfare administrators and policy makers.

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From the Publisher

The first few years of life are a time of unparalleled physical, intellectual, and emotional development. But they can also be a time of neglect and abuse: this is the period when children are most likely to suffer mistreatment by their parents, and most likely to be placed in foster care.Today most children entering the child welfar...

Jill Duerr Berrick is at University of California, Berkeley. Barbara Needell is at University of California, Berkeley.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 0.59 inPublished:January 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195114531

ISBN - 13:9780195114539

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Child Development and Child Welfare2. Child Abuse and Neglect of Very Young Children3. From Child Maltreatment to Placement4. Foster Care, Reunification, and Adoption5. Group Care6. Focus on Infants7. Understanding Children and Families Served by the Child Welfare Systems8. Public Child Welfare Practice9. Reconceptualizing the Child Welfare System for Very Young ChildrenAppendix: Study MethodsReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Does a remarkable job of bringing together the cold reality of statistics and the heart of compassion for small children. Its justification for developmentally sensitive child welfare policy and practice is compelling; must reading for those preparing to work in child services."--Jim Kreider,Kansas University