This article argues that the lack of a gender analysis in New Labour policy in relation to child welfare and protection has led to problematic gaps at the level of policy and service provision. It explores why the widespread mobilization of terms such as 'parent' and 'child' obscures important and persistent issues in relation to gender equity in care-giving, sexual violence and help-seeking. Whilst there is some attention being paid to the needs of fathers, including the need to involve them in service provision, this attention is tokenistic and inadequately grounded in practice realities. The valorization of the 'new', particularly in the context of a New Labour project grounded in using language in a very considered way, offers opportunities to consider the 'power of language' at the same time as it obscures the 'language of power'. Gender is a particular casualty in such a climate.