Research And Reports

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The growing tendency of child-protection agencies to keep families together and to use foster care only as a last resort has resulted in an increased incidence of serious physical and mental abuse of children, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health has concluded.

According to Roger White,' associate professor of maternal and child health, the percentage of abused children among those entering foster-care programs has increased since 1980, even as the total number of children in foster care has declined--from more than 500,000 in 1980 to 260,000 today. In recent years, the researcher estimates, at least 60 percent of the children moved into foster homes have been mistreated.

"It takes more to get authorities to remove children from their homes than it has in the past," said Dr. White, whose research assessed the health status of foster children in Baltimore.

Yet the growing preference for keeping children in their own homes, he said, "means that today a child has to be more seriously abused and over a longer period of time to get into foster care than was the case four years ago."

Based on his findings, Dr. White recommends that welfare agencies provide comprehensive health assessments of children entering foster care, assure that those children continue to receive health care from pediatric professionals, and maintain records of the children's physical and emotional health.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has released a new volume of profiles of selected high schools. Studies of the schools served as part of the re8search base for Ernest L. Boyer's 1983 work, High School: A Report on Secondary Education in America.

Edited by Vito Perrone, dean of the education department at the University of North Dakota, with a forward by Mr. Boyer, the foundation's president, Portraits of High Schools contains the narrative accounts of educators who spent an average of 20 days at each of 13 schools, ranging from urban to rural settings and including alternative and vocational schools.

According to Mr. Boyer, the portraits--only samples of which were included in High School--illustrate what the debate over school reform is "all about."

"We hope that the complete portraits will demonstrate what able schoolteachers and administrators can accomplish when adequate conditions and encouragement are provided," he said.

"We also want to share evidence of how poor practices and performances distress and damage teachers and learners and impair education generally."

Copies of the report are available for $22.50 from the Princeton University Press, 3175 Princeton Pike, Lawrenceville, N.J. 08648; (609) 896-1344.

Vol. 05, Issue 17

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