Child Protection in an Age of Uncertainty
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.
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