Children & Families Column

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The Loyola University Chicago School of Law has launched a program to train lawyers to represent abused and neglected children.

The interdisciplinary curriculum of the Civitas Childlaw Center taps experts in such fields as medicine, psychology, social work, and child violence.

Jeffrey D. Jacobs, a Loyola alumnus, funded the formation of the center as well as scholarships and externships for the 11 students now enrolled.

The program follows the recommendations of an American Bar Association report calling for judicial reforms and better training to meet the legal needs of at-risk children. (See Education Week, Sept. 8, 1993.)

Unpaid work by welfare recipients may reinforce their work ethic and offer some benefits to government and community agencies, but may not reduce welfare dependency, a study suggests.

The Clinton Administration is eyeing public-service jobs as part of a plan to reform the welfare system and limit benefits to two years. But critics question whether enough meaningful positions can be created, and are skeptical that unpaid work will move people into paying jobs.

The Manpower Development Research Corporation studied a number of welfare-to-work programs, but could isolate the effects of unpaid work from other benefits only in San Diego, Cook County, Ill., and West Virginia.

In those programs, it found "little evidence'' that unpaid work alone boosted employment and earnings or reduced reliance on welfare.

Still, the report says, clients found the work meaningful and the investment generally paid off for taxpayers even when administrative costs were factored in.

It also suggests that larger-scale efforts may be more effective.

Copies of "Unpaid Work Experience for Welfare Recipients: Findings and Lessons From M.D.R.C. Research'' are available for $5 each from the M.D.R.C., 3 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.

The Child Welfare League of America has issued a compendium of data on such topics as child poverty, abuse, health, education, adoption, and youth problems.

Copies of "The Child Welfare Stat Book 1993'' are available for $32.95 from the C.W.L.A., c/o C.S.S.C., P.O. Box 7816, 300 Raritan Center Parkway, Edison, N.J. 08818-7816; (908) 417-0482.--DEBORAH L. COHEN

Vol. 13, Issue 12

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