Policing parents: a deconstructive examination of schematic state interference into private life with special reference to assessment of families deriving from the state's duty to 'safeguard' children under the provisions of the Children Acts 1989 and 2004

Devine, Lauren (2012). Policing parents: a deconstructive examination of schematic state interference into private life with special reference to assessment of families deriving from the state's duty to 'safeguard' children under the provisions of the Children Acts 1989 and 2004. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

The relationship between the state and citizens can give rise to legal and moral tension when the state interferes into private life in order to fulfil its statutory duties. An important statutory area where the state has such powers occurs in the Children Acts 1989 and 2004. These Acts inter alia confer powers on local authorities to undertake surveillance and assessment of private family life in order to identify and assess children who may be ‘in need’ of services, ‘at risk’, or suffering significant harm. The thesis argues that these powers enable the state to police private family life in order to ensure parents' compliance with prevailing child welfare ideology. Child welfare discourse dominates and mediated debate over the measures used by local authorities to police parents, claiming these state powers are necessary to protect children from harm. The thesis challenges these claims. The justification for 'child protection' and 'safeguarding' is critically examined from post-modem theoretical, statistical and doctrinal law perspectives. Areas of imbalance in current law and practice are identified and these are linked in the conclusion to focus upon the fundamental flaws in the current position. This offers the possibility of more integrated debate that challenges the orthodoxy and suggests fundamental revision of the current policy.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Supervisor(s):
Supervisor(s)EmailORCID
Harris-Short, SoniaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence:
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Birmingham Law School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
K Law > K Law (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3915

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