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Rethinking residential child carePositive perspectives$
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Mark Smith

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781861349088

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861349088.001.0001

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Inquiries and their impact

Inquiries and their impact

(p.35) three Inquiries and their impact
Rethinking residential child care

Mark Smith

Policy Press

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

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