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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(6), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7060089

Inequalities and Child Protection System Contact in Aotearoa New Zealand: Developing a Conceptual Framework and Research Agenda

1
Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, Aotearoa, New Zealand
2
Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, Aotearoa, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 25 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Protection and Social Inequality)
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Abstract

There is a growing movement to integrate conceptual tools from the health inequalities field into research that examines the relationship between inequalities and chances of child protection system contact. This article outlines the key concepts of an inequalities perspective, and discusses how these apply to inequalities in child protection in the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Drawing on existing research, this article shows that while there is evidence of links between deprivation, ethnicity, location and system contact, a more systematic research agenda shaped by an inequalities perspective would contribute to understanding more fully the social determinants of contact with the child protection system. An inequalities perspective provides balance to the current ‘social investment’ policy approach that targets individuals and families for service provision, with little attention to how structural inequalities impact on system contact. Directions for research are discussed, with some specific questions suggested. These include questions relating to the relationships between social inequalities and various decision points in the child protection system; if a social gradient exists and how steep it is; the inter-relationship between ethnicity, deprivation and patterns of system contact; and how similarly deprived children in different locations compare with each other in relation to child protection system contact, that is, is there an ‘inverse intervention law’ operating? View Full-Text
Keywords: child protection; deprivation; ethnicity; poverty; social investment child protection; deprivation; ethnicity; poverty; social investment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Keddell, E.; Davie, G. Inequalities and Child Protection System Contact in Aotearoa New Zealand: Developing a Conceptual Framework and Research Agenda. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 89.

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