This article is a commentary on the Green Paper for children's services in England: Every Child Matters. The focus of the discussion is the lack of gender analysis in the document. The article highlights the gendered character of contemporary parenting, and the failure of some of the proposals in the Green Paper to address this. There is also discussion of the need to appreciate the gendered character of childhood, and the implications of this for children's services. The authors also argue the importance of using a gendered perspective to engage adequately with the causes and consequences of child maltreatment. The article ends with some recommendations for strengthening the gender analysis in the Green Paper.