Child Protection: A Critical Introduction – Lecture series

These are the handouts for the overview lectures I provide on child protection: a critical introduction.  I cover the following issues:

  • Issue 1 – A historical introduction to child abuse and child protection;
  • Issue 2 – Key features and values of the current English approach to child protection  [handout for issues 1 and 2 here];
  • Issue 3 – General principles of child protection in the Children Act 1989;
  • Issue 4 – Part III of the Children Act 1989:  Local authority support for children and families  [handout for issues 3 and 4 here];
  • Issue 5 – Part V of the Children Act 1989:  Investigation and assessment  [handout here];
  • Issue 6 – Part IV of the Children Act 1989:  Compulsory intervention  [handouts here, here, here, and here, concluding handout combines with issue 7, below];
  • Issue 7 – Challenging the local authority  [handout for the last part of issue 6, as well as issue 7 here];
  • Issue 8 – Outcomes for children in care;
  • Issue 9 – Serious case reviews: findings over time  [handout for issues 8 and 9 here];
  • Issue 10 – Reports, inquiries, and reviews;
  • Issue 11 – Conclusion on the current approach;
  • Issue 12 – Academic criticisms of the present approach and ideas for reform  [handout for the final three issues here].

‘Families in All Their Subversive Variety’: Over-Representation, the Ethnic Child Protection Penalty, and Responding to Diversity Whilst Protecting Children

This article explores the neglected issue of the over-representation in the child protection system of children from ethnic, cultural, religious, racial, and linguistic minorities. It focuses on the accommodation of children’s diverse backgrounds within the s31(2) threshold and s1 “best interests” stages of intervention under the Children Act 1989. Firstly, it introduces the ethnic child protection penalty as a new tool for capturing the complex nature of over-representation of these children. Secondly, it proposes a framework for understanding the judicial approach in higher court decisions on the current extent and nature of accommodation. Thirdly, it employs the penalty concept to help explain why case law analysis reveals difficulties with the current factor-based approach, whereas empirical research suggests generally satisfactory accommodation in practice. It concludes by proposing a contextualised framework for decision-making in relation to child protection.

The paper is published in (2014) 63 Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 43-87, and available here.