Contemporary developments in child protection in England: reform or reaction?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)



This chapter argues that a dangerous disconnect has become increasingly apparent since 2010 in England allowing successive governments to claim they are improving child protection while simultaneously promoting and implementing policies that increase the numbers of children living in poverty, reduce the support services available to them, and reinforce the inequalities that limit their potential.

Key developments in the current policy climate will be discussed, locating these in a historical canvas; and alternative understandings drawing from research on the relationship between poverty, inequality and the harms children and their families suffer will be provided. The chapter will explore why a social model of ‘child protection’ is needed, outline its main features, and address how it might offer progressive possibilities for families and those who work with them as well as wider society.

Contemporary visions

In 2016 the Department for Education (DfE) articulated its vision for child protection, identifying activity in relation to three areas: people and leadership; practice and systems; governance and accountability. It highlighted initiatives to bring the ‘best’ people into the profession, give them the ‘right’ knowledge and skills and develop leaders equipped to nurture practice excellence. It stressed the importance of creating the right environment for excellent practice and innovation to flourish, using data to show strengths and weaknesses in the system, and developing innovative organisational models with the potential to radically improve services.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhat is the Future of Social Work?
EditorsMichael Lavalette
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781447340973, 9781447340836
ISBN (Print)9781447340812, 9781447340829
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019


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