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Title: Protecting children and protecting family privacy : a study of child neglect
Author: Henry, Lorna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2712 0600
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2008
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Over the last 60 years, public attention to child deaths within families has indicated that there is a mandate for the state to work to prevent child maltreatment and that it will be held responsible in cases where it is thought to have neglected this duty. At the same time, 'the family' is awarded a special place as a cultural ideal in the UK; it is considered a haven from the public sphere and a site for freedom from state intervention. This thesis constructs these issues as a dilemma in a liberal state where policies must be seen to protect less powerful citizens within families, while maintaining an ideal of family life as private. The introduction of the child protection registration process in 1974 is viewed as a landmark policy for protecting children, shaping the ways that professionals might respond to cases of suspected maltreatment. By the close of the twentieth century, child neglect had emerged as the highest single category of maltreatment on English child protection registers. This study explores the process of registration. The empirical data focuses on relationships between social workers and parents in an English local authority. Using data from family files and interviews with social workers and parents, the thesis aims to clarify the ways in which child protection work fulfils contradictory responsibilities of upholding ideals of family privacy, while intervening in families to protect neglected children. The thesis outlines three ways that damage to the ideal of family privacy is minimised during attempts to protect children from harm: firstly, by working with an operational definition of neglect that responds to dramatic omissions of physical care, secondly, by (where possible) presenting parent behaviour as stemming from an inability to act differently, and thirdly by focussing on the consensual aspects of the state's relationships with parents.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available