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      Child Protection in Times of Crisis in Greece

      , *

      International Journal of Social Pedagogy

      UCL Press

      child poverty, foster care, crisis impact on children, social work

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          Children’s upbringing and wellbeing in Greece have been deeply affected by the bailout programme agreed between Greece and the IMF-EU-ECB, which has caused a dramatic increase in unemployment, poverty, inequality, racism and social disruption. Health insurance and welfare provision have collapsed under the acute pressure to reduce public cost, while the huge wave of youth immigration has weakened the existing ‘family based’ welfare.

          Uncertainty, insecurity, the sudden and complete overthrow of living conditions and prospects, and the loss of dignity have severely threatened daily social functioning and parents’ mental health, with obvious consequences on children’s wellbeing. Although Greek families are child oriented, the new conditions have affected inter-generational solidarity and led to a vicious circle of risks causing child neglect or maltreatment.

          Following an outline of the traditional welfare in Greece, this paper briefly discusses welfare issues under the crisis conditions and the ‘adjustment plan’ before raising questions about welfare services’ responsiveness to the needs of children and youth living in ‘new poor’ families and deprived communities.

          The paper emphasizes the continued shortage of ‘permissive factors for effective parenting’ ( Buchanan, 1996, p. 8) and of protective factors for children’s development in schools and communities as well as the rapid increase of out-home care provision.

          Drawing on a social work perspective, it traces the specific clinical-family crisis, foster care interventions, and community interventions in schools and neighbourhoods. Among the pressing priorities is to make sure that children’s vulnerabilities are visible on policy agendas, and both children and their families are included in policies targeted at combating poverty, educational and health inequalities.

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          Most cited references 10

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          Health effects of financial crisis: omens of a Greek tragedy.

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            Increased suicidality amid economic crisis in Greece.

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              Children's mental health in times of economic recession: replication and extension of the family economic stress model in Finland.

              This study evaluated the applicability of the family economic stress model (FESM) in understanding the influences of economic hardship on child mental health during a nationwide economic recession in Finland. The information was gathered from 527 triads of 12-year-olds and their mothers and fathers from a population sample. The structural equation models showed that the FESM fit the data well, indicating its generalizability in Finnish society. The results confirmed that a reduction in disposable family income constitutes a risk for child mental health through increased economic pressure and negative changes in parental mental health, marital interaction, and parenting quality. Controlling the children's prerecession mental health substantiated that economic hardship can lead to deterioration in children's mental health. Alternative models based on fully recursive analyses revealed reciprocal influences between parents and their children over time: Children's prerecession mental health problems predicted compromised parenting, which in turn contributed to children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms during the recession.

                Author and article information

                International Journal of Social Pedagogy
                UCL Press (UK )
                1 January 2015
                : 4
                : 1
                : 177-189
                Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Theano Kallinikaki, Democritus University of Thrace, 1 P. Tsaldari, Komotini 691 00, Greece. E-mail: thkallin@ .

                * Theano Kallinikaki is professor of Social Work at the Democritus University of Thrace . She has extensive clinical experience in the fields of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Child Protection and Juvenile Delinquency. Her main research interests are in anti-oppressive and crisis interventions in socially excluded families, as well as in the impact of the socio-economic crisis on social work practice with and for children. Her follow-up research focuses on individuals with developmental pervasive disorders and on those with experience of a psychotic episode during their adolescence. She was a partner in a TEMPUS programme on ‘Modernizing Russian Social Work Education and Teaching’ (2009-2012) and of projects funded by the Ministry of Education and the European Commission on ‘school inclusion of Muslim minority pupils with specific difficulties’ (2002-2004, 2005-2007, 2010-2015), implemented in seven deprived Muslim communities in Thrace. Her monographs include: ‘Introducing Social Work Theory and Practice’ (2011), ‘Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research’ (2010), ‘Multidimensional Assessment: theory and skills’ (2005), ‘Locality and Multiculturalism. Sapes Thrace’ (2004). She has also edited the books ‘Foster Care’ (2001), ‘Growing up in Institutions’ (1988) and ‘A therapeutic framework for incest survivors’ (1997).

                Copyright © 2015 The Author(s). [Special issue title, Social Pedagogy in Times of Crisis in Greece]

                This work is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-NC-SA) 3.0, which permits re-use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided any modifications of this material in anyway is distributed under this same license, is not used for commercial purposes, and the original author and source are credited

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