Seeking to Clarify Child Protection’s Regulatory Principles
V. Braithwaite, N. Harris, & M. Ivec, COMMUNITIES, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES AUSTRALIA, Forthcoming
43 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2009 Last revised: 25 Apr 2013
Date Written: January 14, 2009
Child protection systems are expected to scrutinize the care offered to children and to coordinate the provision of improved quality of care. They are under stress in many developed countries with burgeoning caseloads and a mixture of positive and negative outcomes. Because child protection systems seek to change the course of parenting, they can be thought of as highly formalised regulatory systems that cut across one of our most entrenched informal systems, how parents raise children. This paper asks whether the stress experienced by child protection workers, support agencies and families alike is associated in part with failures to satisfactorily address three basic regulatory principles: identifying the purposes of the intervention; justifying the intervention in a way that is respectful of broader principles of democratic governance; and understanding how the informal regulatory system intersects with the formal child protection system. Child protection interventions are plagued by multiple purposes that are not necessarily compatible; non-transparent processes; and high risk of counter-productive outcomes.
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