The story of <i>Cinderella</i>:

Ian Butler and Mark Drakeford

in Scandal, social policy and social welfare

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9781861347466
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303312 | DOI:
The story of Cinderella:

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It was through the case of Maria Colwell that child abuse became established as a ‘major social problem’ in Britain. The discursive consequences of Colwell extend well beyond the circumstances of one little girl's death at the hands of her carers. This chapter revisits some of the finer detail and contemporary significance of Colwell as a reminder that welfare scandals are founded on very particular events, inhabited by all-too-real people, and that the Public Inquiries which sometimes follow are very much products of their own time and place. The most easily discernible consequence of Colwell (and succeeding child-care tragedies throughout the 1980s) was the proliferation of guidance to regulate the conduct of child protection practice and to articulate the ground rules for the management of child-abuse cases. While this may have worked for the good of children and young people, other effects on social-work practice are more in doubt.

Keywords: Maria Colwell; child abuse; Britain; welfare; scandals; Public Inquiries; child protection; social work

Chapter.  11733 words. 

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