Soc. Sci.2014, 3(4), 785-808; doi:10.3390/socsci3040785 (registering DOI) - published 21 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper will provide an overview and analysis of developments in child protection and out of home care in Australia. It will outline early responses to perceived inadequate parenting to provide the historical and policy contexts of contemporary debates on, and responses to, the care and protection of children and young people. Child maltreatment affects a large number of children across Australia. The statistics of reported maltreatment reflect striking increases over time. Over the last decade, several public inquiries into the operation of child protection have been undertaken in a number of state jurisdictions following which some states have embarked on large scale reform of legislation and policy, to either strengthen the child protection mandate, or refocus services. Some exemplars of significant reform in selected states will be cited. Some of the themes that will be explored in the paper will include the impact of major state based public inquiries, overseas reviews and research on child protection policy and practice; the changing balance between orientations to child protection and family support, the parameters of out of home care, the high levels of governmental intervention experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, and a critical appraisal of major transformations in protective care.
Abstract: Children at risk of abuse are more likely to be hospitalized and utilize health services according to international research. In a large metropolitan health region in New South Wales, Australia, there was little known of the clinical burden of child physical abuse and/or neglect (PAN), or of systems for clinical assessment of children presenting with abuse/neglect. We aimed to identify the number of children presenting with suspected PAN to emergency departments (EDs) and paediatric services in this region, to determine enablers and barriers to assessment for children with PAN presenting to frontline services, and to identify best practices to address gaps. We collated available data on children presenting to EDs and paediatric services with suspected PAN in 2007. We interviewed 36 health professionals from nine hospitals and 12 statutory child protection professionals, across the region before undertaking relevant document analysis. Of 64,700 paediatric ED presentations, a quarter were due to injury; 2%–5% of these were due to maltreatment. Clinician estimates and assessments of PAN varied widely; health and welfare workers identified major practice gaps, as well as good local practice. We identified feasible minimum standards for improving clinical assessment and follow-up for children presenting with PAN, given the right organizational support.
Abstract: The rhetoric of risk has become a prominent issue in the field of child and family social work. As a consequence, an emerging politics of fear has re-oriented this field towards managing, controlling, and securing social work practice against risk, rather than responding meaningfully to the needs and concerns of children and families. In the available body of research, it is argued that this general tendency creates “anxious” professionals. As a response, different scholars refer to the need to “speak back to fear”. In this article, we analyze this claim in the context of a currently ongoing large-scale policy reform, named Integrated Youth Care (IYC), in the field of child welfare and protection in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium). The debate on dealing with risk is often limited to an organizational and methodological discussion. We assert that we should reorient this debate and make a plea for a radical approach of applying a welfare perspective in child welfare and protection.
Abstract: With the broadening of focus on child maltreatment beyond intra-familial settings, there is growing awareness of occurrences of maltreatment within the sport context. Millions of children participate in organized sport annually, and despite a tendency to view sport as a context by which to enhance the overall health and development of children, it is also a context in which children are vulnerable to experiences of maltreatment. The well-documented power ascribed to coaches, the unregulated nature of sport and a “win-at-all-costs” approach contribute to a setting that many propose is conducive to maltreatment. A number of high profile cases of sexual abuse of athletes across several countries in the 1990s prompted sport organizations to respond with the development of child protection measures. This study examined seven child protection in sport initiatives in terms of the extent to which they originated from research, had content that was consistent with scholarly work and were evaluated empirically. The findings indicated that these initiatives were not empirically derived nor evaluated. Recommendations are made to more closely align research with these initiatives in order to protect children and to promote a safe and growth-enhancing experience for young participants in sport.
Abstract: The Dutch child protection system has been the target of harsh criticism in recent decades. The legitimacy of child protection services seems to have eroded. In this article, we analyze this changing legitimacy of child protection against the background of declining parental authority and in relation to the disappearance of positive pedagogical ideologies and the mainly bureaucratic response of child protection agencies. Two recent inquiries in the Netherlands on child sexual abuse within child protection-related services have emphasized the position of children as vulnerable victims of negative pedagogical practices, mirroring a general trend of “victimization”. It is concluded that reinforcement of the professional role of child protection workers may be a start towards building new trust in child protection and establishing a newfound legitimacy.
Abstract: This article analyzes the advocacy efforts of civil societal actors in Uruguay who have sought to promote the rights of children. I discuss the strategies that members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) used to achieve a greater presence in debates leading to significant policy changes in the area of child protection. Child advocates achieved relatively high levels of political mobilization and influence throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. The analysis focuses on their multi-year campaign to reform the Children’s Code of 1934, which culminated in the adoption of a new Code of Childhood and Adolescence in 2004. I argue that two variables help explain their participation in policy making: effective issue framing and successful alliance building.