This chapter describes and critically assesses the procedural model underlying childcare assessments and child protection interventions and considers how definitions of abusive behaviour reflect current dominant social constructions of childhood, family and caring. It discusses wider concepts of childhood misery, especially bullying, and the bottom line issue of child deaths. It introduces the complex areas of practice with families where there is domestic violence or where parents have drug or alcohol problems as examples of what is meant by ‘good enough parenting’, and of assessing the best interests of a child. Marxist and feminist perspectives are used to discuss how child protection systems reflect underlying power imbalances within modern society.
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