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Title: Child guidance centres in Japan : regional variation in policy implementation and the family-bond
Author: King, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 7123
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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In contemporary Japan, approximately 85 per cent of children in alternative care are placed in large institutions. This contrasts with global discourse, encapsulated in the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, and with practice in most OECD countries, which use foster care more extensively. Explanations for Japan's outlier status often focus on a homogenous national culture, yet there is significant regional variation between local authorities in how policy is implemented, most readily visible in the percentage of children in foster care. The title of this dissertation points to the three original contributions to knowledge of this work. The first is the rich ethnographic description of the child guidance centres and the decision-making process by which a child is removed from the family and placed into care. The second contribution is the explanation of regional variation in policy implementation. This is explained with reference to regional variation in resources, in norms, on the goals of care, the functions of different types of care, and the threshold until which a child is seen as being suitable for foster care, and in the organisational cultures of the child guidance centres. The final contribution to knowledge is the construction of the family-bond, between child and 'parent'. This is understood as singular and discrete, that is, that a child can only have one family-bond at any moment in time. Where foster care is constructed as anything other than professional or semi-professional care in a family setting it is seen as a threat to the child's family-bond with their natal parent. This dissertation argues that current attempts to increase the use of foster care by national and local authorities are likely to have limited impact unless they take this construction of the family-bond into account and focus on redefining the function of foster care.
Supervisor: Goodman, Roger ; Seeleib-Kaiser, Martin Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Policy ; Anthropology ; Modern Japanese Studies ; Japanese ; Child Abuse ; Social Work ; Japan ; Family ; Alternative Care ; Child Welfare ; Foster Care ; Adoption