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Inequalities and child protection system contact in Aotearoa New Zealand : developing a conceptual framework and research agenda Emily Keddell and Gabrielle Davie

By: Keddell, Emily.
Contributor(s): Davie, Gabrielle.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleSeries: Social Sciences.Publisher: MDPI, 2018Subject(s): CHILD PROTECTION | CHILD WELFARE | ETHNICITY | POVERTY | RISK ASSESSMENT | SOCIAL POLICY | SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE | SOCIOECONOMIC FACTORS | SOCIAL SERVICES | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: Click here to access online | Special issue In: Social Sciences, 2018, 7(6), 89Summary: There is a growing movement to integrate conceptual tools from the health inequalities field into research that examines the relationship between inequalities and chances of child protection system contact. This article outlines the key concepts of an inequalities perspective, and discusses how these apply to inequalities in child protection in the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Drawing on existing research, this article shows that while there is evidence of links between deprivation, ethnicity, location and system contact, a more systematic research agenda shaped by an inequalities perspective would contribute to understanding more fully the social determinants of contact with the child protection system. An inequalities perspective provides balance to the current ‘social investment’ policy approach that targets individuals and families for service provision, with little attention to how structural inequalities impact on system contact. Directions for research are discussed, with some specific questions suggested. These include questions relating to the relationships between social inequalities and various decision points in the child protection system; if a social gradient exists and how steep it is; the inter-relationship between ethnicity, deprivation and patterns of system contact; and how similarly deprived children in different locations compare with each other in relation to child protection system contact, that is, is there an ‘inverse intervention law’ operating? (Authors' abstract). This article appears in a Special issue on Child Protection and Social Inequality - follow the link for other articles. All articles are open access. Record #6019
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Social Sciences, 2018, 7(6), 89

There is a growing movement to integrate conceptual tools from the health inequalities field into research that examines the relationship between inequalities and chances of child protection system contact. This article outlines the key concepts of an inequalities perspective, and discusses how these apply to inequalities in child protection in the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Drawing on existing research, this article shows that while there is evidence of links between deprivation, ethnicity, location and system contact, a more systematic research agenda shaped by an inequalities perspective would contribute to understanding more fully the social determinants of contact with the child protection system. An inequalities perspective provides balance to the current ‘social investment’ policy approach that targets individuals and families for service provision, with little attention to how structural inequalities impact on system contact. Directions for research are discussed, with some specific questions suggested. These include questions relating to the relationships between social inequalities and various decision points in the child protection system; if a social gradient exists and how steep it is; the inter-relationship between ethnicity, deprivation and patterns of system contact; and how similarly deprived children in different locations compare with each other in relation to child protection system contact, that is, is there an ‘inverse intervention law’ operating? (Authors' abstract). This article appears in a Special issue on Child Protection and Social Inequality - follow the link for other articles. All articles are open access. Record #6019