Investigative Turn

Internationally in many English speaking countries there are growing numbers of child protection investigations.

In England there has been a huge increase in the number of child protection investigations with higher and higher proportions of children referred being formally investigated and more investigations not leading to a child protection plan.

This increase is not about finding more children who have been physically or sexually abused. The number of these children has changed little since 2010. It relates to neglect and emotional abuse which are more likely to be associated with the increasing inequality and growing poverty in society.

This leads to high proportions of children investigated during their childhood:

  • USA: 37.4% investigated before age of 18 & 53.0% African Americans (Kim et al 2017)
  • South Australia: 1 in 4 reported to child protection by age 16 and “between 57 and 76 per cent” of Aboriginals Delfabbro et al. (2010)
  • New Zealand: 1in 4 reported to child protection before age 17, 9.7% substantiated: 3.1% in care
  • England: children born 2009-10 before age of 5:
    1 in 5 referred; 5.4% investigated; 3.5% CP plan
  • England: children born 2011-12 before age of 5
    6.3% investigated; 3.8% CP plan’, that’s a 17% higher chance of being investigated than for those born just 2 years later