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Child Protection SystemsInternational Trends and Orientations$
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Neil Gilbert, Nigel Parton, and Marit Skivenes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199793358

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199793358.001.0001

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Child Protection in an Age of Uncertainty

Child Protection in an Age of Uncertainty

Germany’s Response

Chapter:
(p.183) 9 Child Protection in an Age of Uncertainty
Source:
Child Protection Systems
Author(s):

Reinhart Wolff

Kay Biesel

Stefan Heinitz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199793358.003.0009

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

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