building is a key goal for child protection
services. Child protection workers need to build
the capacity of parents to care for their
children, the capacity of communities to support
families, and the capacity of young people to
look after themselves. However, these aims are
often undermined by a range of factors. These
These projects draw on various theories of
responsive regulation, empowerment, restorative
justice, shame management and defiance, and hope
to explore how institutions can overcome these
challenges in order to build the capacity of
parents, communities and young people.
- Child protection intervention often
occurs in contexts where there is limited
knowledge about the extent of the
problem and where what is considered
acceptable parenting is contestable.
- Interventions are often perceived as
threatening by families and sometimes as
unjust, which can affect the degree to which
trust and cooperation are developed.
- Substantial increases in reporting rates
mean that services often struggle to identify
which cases require the most attention and
cope with mounting caseloads.
- Intense scrutiny and criticism often
means that child protection services need to
justify every decision they make, meaning that
risk assessment procedures and child
protection laws are often relied upon to
justify interventions rather than providing
frameworks for best practice.
This project is part of the Regulatory Institutions Network at the Australian National University. For more information contact Nathan Harris.
From the Perspective of Parents: Interviews Following a Child Protection Investigation (2012).This report
is based on interviews with 156 parents who had been investigated by a
statutory child protection agency following notifications that
concerned 219 children.
“Resetting the Relationship” in Indigenous Child Protection: Public Hope and Private Reality (2012).
qualitative study explored the private realities of forty-five
Australian Indigenous parents and carers who had experiences with child
protection authorities was published in Law and Society.
Does Responsive Regulation Offer an Alternative? Questioning the Role
of Formalistic Assessment in Child Protection Investigations (2011)
A paper published in British journal of Social Work
argues that more families would engaged positively with child
protection services if the principles of responsive regulation were
applied to assessment within investigation processes.