Social constructionism becomes simply concerned with issues of labelling, mis-labelling and operational practices. The notion of social construction is used as a metaphorical device for differentiating real cases of child maltreatment and the rest which are socially constructed. This chapter aims to reflect critically upon the ‘official’ adoption of social constructionism as a key perspective in opening up debates about the future direction, shape and balance of child welfare and child protection services in the United Kingdom. It considers some of the more immediate factors which informed the decision(s) to establish the research programme by the Department of Health and some of the issues it was anticipated such a programme could address. From the late nineteenth century, political economy gradually relinquished its earlier explicit interlinking of economic and moral laws, and formulated itself as a distinctively economic doctrine; at the same time, the domain of civil society became socialised.