Child Protection in an Age of Uncertainty

Reinhart Wolff, Kay Biesel and Stefan Heinitz

in Child Protection Systems

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199793358
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895137 | DOI:

Series: International Policy Exchange Series

Child Protection in an Age of Uncertainty

Show Summary Details


The phase of a non-punitive and particapatory opening of the child and family welfare system in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in a new legislation for the German system in 1990. Today, the German child protection system is at a crossroads. Extensive media coverage of fatal cases of child abuse and neglect contributed to child protection being regarded as a “risky system”, and the actions of social workers became a matter of public interest and caused a child protection panic, which led to a stronger interventionist orientation. Child protection has become a central socio-political issue, reflecting the wider societal, political and cultural context of a “risk society”. The German response oscillates between a universal and integrated approach and a more interventionist, risk and worst-case-scenario oriented strategy. This contribution proposes a tri-polar concept of child protection, encompassing support for the child, the family and the community.

Keywords: child and family welfare; ambivalence; risk society; inverventionist approach; tri-polar approach; child protection

Chapter.  7815 words.  Illustrated.

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.