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    An alert on social issues from international newspapers & journals

    13-15 APRIL 2016




    Japan ranked 34th out of 41 developed nations in UNICEF child poverty index

    Tomohiro Osaki. The Japan Times. 14 Apr 2016.



    [Japan] Japan has some of the worst wealth inequality and highest rates of child poverty among the world’s developed nations, according to a UNICEF report, which ranked the nation 34th out of 41. Norway was ranked first, followed by Iceland and Finland. The survey compared the incomes of the bottom 10% of households with children to the average income of 41 countries who are members of the OECD or the European Union.


    The income gap in Japan was found to be 60.21%, meaning the household income of the nation’s most underprivileged families with children was less than 40% of the average. Japan has experienced widening income disparity over the past few decades. The lower ranges of poverty can inflict a wide range of adverse effects on the development of children, including ill health, poor academic performance and low self-esteem, underlining the need to boost support for such children, said Aya Abe, a professor of social security and poverty studies at Tokyo Metropolitan University, who analyzed the report.


    Foster carers warn cuts threaten children's welfare

    Hannah Richardson. BBC. 13 Apr 2016.



    [U.K.] The wellbeing of thousands of children in care is under threat because of budget cuts in England, a charity says. The Fostering Network says children in care are finding it harder to access social worker support as a result. Town hall bosses says the number of children receiving intensive support through child protection plans has risen 60% in the past eight years. Cuts to early intervention budgets left councils with very difficult decisions, they added.


    The Fostering Network carried out a snapshot survey of foster carers, and about 600 replied. Of these, about 70% said their allowances had been negatively affected by local authority cuts, and about the same proportion said they felt cuts were limiting access to their child's social worker. A government spokesperson said: "We greatly value the vital contribution that foster carers make to children's lives, and are committed to ensuring they receive the recognition and support they need. "We are giving councils almost £200 bn to spend on local services by 2020, and we know that the vast majority are protecting frontline children's social care budgets."




    ACT to reap economic benefits of NDIS, report finds

    Alexandra Back. The Canberra Times. 13 Apr 2016.



    [Australia] The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will create an "employment boom" in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and add up to $367 million to the local economy, a report has found. The report is based on modelling by Dr Brendan Long, a senior research fellow at Charles Sturt University and director of consulting firm Agape Economics, and was commissioned by National Disability Services, Australia's peak body for non-government disability service organisations, and the NDIS campaign body Every Australian Counts.


    It found the NDIS in the ACT will support up to 800 people with a disability to find work, support about 660 carers to return to the workforce, create an "employment boom" of more than 1100 jobs, create extra jobs in the disability service sector and add up to $367 million to the territory's gross state product. Minister for disability Chris Bourke said in a statement the NDIS would bring about "unprecedented government investment" in disability services. "But more importantly, and as this report shows, it will also enable greater economic participation by people with disability and their carers in Canberra.




    How the new domestic violence background check works

    Liz Burke. news.com.au. 15 Apr 2016.



    [Australia] An increased focus on domestic violence has highlighted how common attacks are, and how unsuspicious perpetrators can be. Now people fearing for their safety will be able to safely find out whether their current or former partner has a history of domestic violence, under an Australia-first pilot program in New South Wales (NSW). The NSW Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, launched at 4 sites across the state this week, has been put in place to “prevent people from being kept in the dark about a partner’s violent past”, the state’s minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Pru Goward said.


    “(The information) gives them the support to make informed decisions about their relationship,” she said. As of this week, people at the districts trialling the program who are concerned for their safety, or concerned third parties such as families and friends, will be able to walk into a police station and request information about their partner’s convictions and breaches of domestic violence orders. Though the goal of the scheme is to empower potential victims, critics are concerned information could be used improperly or that a disclosure could put someone in danger.



    Family and domestic violence among homeless youth 'significantly higher' than previously thought, survey finds

    Leesha McKenny. The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 Apr 2016.





    Homeless numbers up by 49% in February

    Colin Gleeson. The Irish Times. 13 Apr 2016.



    [Ireland] The number of people accessing emergency shelters across the State was up by almost 50% in February, compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures on homelessness. The figures, from the Department of the Environment, show there were 5,881 people in emergency accommodation in February, which represents a year-on-year increase of 49%. Among them were 1,881 children, which represents an increase of 101%. Simon Communities of Ireland spokeswoman Niamh Randall said the figures were shocking and demonstrate that existing measures to tackle homelessness are failing. “Preventing homelessness by supporting people to stay in the homes they have, and ensuring the provision of affordable housing with support, are the proven ways to end this crisis.


    Pat Doyle, chief executive of the Peter McVerry Trust, said, “we need to realise now that the solution to the homeless emergency must involve multiple government departments whose policies influence the homeless situation. It makes little sense for the Department of the Environment to hold standalone forums, when finance, social protection, health, justice, children and youth affairs, and public expenditure all have a role to play."




    Working moms less satisfied with work-life balance than dads: StatsCan

    Christina Commisso. CTVNews. 14 Apr 2016.



    [Canada] Working moms are less satisfied with their work-life balance than working dads, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. The results show that the majority of Canadian parents who work full-time are happy with the amount of time they have with their families, versus the time they spend at work. A whopping 75% of working parents said they are either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their work-life balance, while 15% were "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied," 8% were "dissatisfied" and 1% was "very dissatisfied."


    The results shows that parents’ satisfaction with work-life balance changes depending on their children's ages, whether parents are also responsible for taking care of other family members, and whether employers offer flexible hours. Despite men taking on greater roles raising children and doing household chores, women continue to devote more time to both of these tasks.  The survey showed 78% of working dads are satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life-balance, compared to 72% of working moms. Of the parents who said they were not satisfied, the most common reason was not having enough time for their family.


    Barriers still exist for women to lead in key research

    Cheng Yingqi. China Daily. 13 Apr 2016.



    [China] Women's numbers may have sharply increased on university campuses and in graduate schools in recent years, but they are yet to become a force when it comes to higher studies in science and large government-sponsored research projects. While their growing base number as science students does help, they still have to overcome the 2,000-year-old social bias against women and make smart choices for themselves and their families.


    The winning solution for women still seems to be in "getting either a good husband or a good assistant", says Li Peng, a woman professor at the School of Life Sciences of Tsinghua University. since that is not covered by government grants or the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), the change has to be brought about by women themselves. The number of women applying for higher science and technology courses has been continuously increasing since the early years of reform and opening-up. In fact, more women than men have been enrolled in general colleges since 2009, according to Ceiea.com, an information website affiliated to Ministry of Education.



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