The Successes and Limitations of Contemporary Approaches to Child Protection

Daryl Higgins, Bob Lonne, Todd I. Herronkohl, Deborah Anne Scott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


This chapter acknowledges the successes in child protection as well as the weaknesses and limitations that need to be addressed through the development of public health approaches. The child protection intervention framework is problematized as not delivering well enough the aims it has espoused. Global perspectives and historical developments are explored, including the similarities and differences found among approaches around the globe. We explore the difficulties experienced by contemporary systems such as: institutional and system processes and responses; dealing with poverty and neglect; the stigma associated with statutory interventions; the negative impacts of child abuse and neglect upon children, families and communities; the increasing system costs; the changing social constructions of childhood and maltreatment; the challenges of evaluating systemic outcomes and efficacy; and reform processes in child protection. This chapter challenges the philosophical underpinnings of child protection approaches and argues for reform of them through public health approaches that promote earlier intervention and prevention strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRevisioning Public Health Approaches for Protecting Children
EditorsBob Lonne, Debbie Scott, Daryl HIggins, Todd Herronkohl
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783030058586
ISBN (Print)9783030058579
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameChild Maltreatment: Contemporary Issues in Research and Policy
ISSN (Print)2211-9701
ISSN (Electronic)2211-971X


  • child protection
  • child welfare
  • policy failures
  • public health
  • reform

Cite this