Deprivation and child protection involvement

How child protection’s ‘investigative turn’ impacts on poor and deprived communities

Levels of contact with children’s services in a class of 30 from deprived community

This paper used the information from my study of children followed to the age of five in 2014-15 and from Paul Bywaters’ studies of inequality in child protection to estimate levels of involvement of children in the most deprived communities in children’s services before their fifth birthday.

The diagram shows the level of involvement in children’s social care before their 5th birthday in an average class of 30 in the most deprived 10% in England. My later research shows that for children born just two years later the rate of children investigated before their 5th birthday had risen by 19% which would mean a rise to 4 children in a class of 30 in the most deprived communities would have been investigated!

The legal threshold of significant harm was intended to ensure that intrusive interventions would be regulated. The current wide interpretation of ‘risk’ of significant harm has led to the investigative turn and an increasingly intrusive and out of control system