Inquiries and their impact

Mark Smith

in Rethinking residential child care

Published by Policy Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9781861349088
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303268 | DOI:
Inquiries and their impact

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The whole twentieth century can be presented as something of a dark age for residential child care. Indeed, the period from the turn of the twenty-first century has been represented as one of recovery from the various scandals that came to light in the 1990s. Yet, the increasing public concern for residential child care that emerged over the course of the 1990s is a recent phenomenon. What is behind this upsurge in public concern about residential child care? This chapter considers the findings of some of the main reports and inquiries, and then takes an avowedly critical look at the evidence on which such concerns are based and the implications of the resultant inquiry culture for residential child care. It begins with a discussion of the emergence of child abuse into public consciousness and then discusses the social construction of child abuse, the growth of child protection, the role of public inquiries as a source of most of the information currently available on abuse in care settings, and the regulation of residential child care in Britain.

Keywords: Britain; residential child care; scandals; child abuse; public inquiries; child protection; regulation

Chapter.  6525 words. 

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