Cover image for The future of child protection : how to break the cycle of abuse and neglect
The future of child protection : how to break the cycle of abuse and neglect
Waldfogel, Jane.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001.

Physical Description:
viii, 285 pages ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV713 .W27 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Lisa Steinberg. Elisa Izquierdo. Lance Helms. These are just a few of the names drawn from recent headlines, revealing cases of horrendous child abuse and neglect. Such cases have led to a crisis of confidence in the current child protective services (CPS) system, and to frequent calls for reform.The public is right to be concerned, shows Jane Waldfogel, but many perceptions of the CPS system and the problems it is designed to alleviate are inaccurate. This book goes beyond the headlines, using historical, comparative, and specific case data to formulate a new approach to protecting children.Currently, Waldfogel argues, the CPS system is overwhelmed by referrals. As a result, neither high-risk nor low-risk families are adequately served.Waldfogel examines the underlying assumptions of CPS, compares the U.S. record with those of Britain, Canada, and Australia, and offers a "new paradigm" in which CPS joins with other public and private partners to provide a differential response to the broad range of children in need of protection. She highlights reforms underway in several states and in Britain.This book's analytical clarity and straightforward policy recommendations will make it mandatory reading for policymakers, practitioners, and others interested in the future of child protection.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Waldfogel (Columbia Univ.) presents a significant work in the area of child protective services. She analyzes the present CPS system in terms of three important issues: role of parents, scope of government intervention, and the nature of government intervention. Using discussions from the 1994 executive session at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, she moves the present debate from the child rescue and family preservation movements to a new level of synthesis. Analyzing the components of entry, i.e., reporting, screening, and investigating, she presents a new paradigm of differential response to the problem of child protection in American society. The model acknowledges the diversity of families, the need for a community approach, and the need for family support. It calls for a change in focus from state to local levels of services to deal with problem areas. She presents data from Britain and other countries to develop the concept of narrowing as a mechanism to increase efficiency and effectiveness in child protection. The proposed model is well thought out and worthy of serious consideration as an alternative to the present child protection system. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. S. Pierson; Idaho State University

Table of Contents

1 Child Abuse and Neglect Today
The Role of Child Protective Services
The Demographics of Children in Need of Protection Consequences of Reporting
2 A Comparative Perspective Operation of Child Protective Services
Sample Data
Criteria for Reporting
Procedures after Reporting
Differences in Outcome by Type of Reporter
Why Are U.S. Reporting Rates So High?
3 The Current Child Protective Services System Scope
A Brief History of CPS
Underlying Assumptions
A Critical View of the System
Implications for a New Paradigm
4 Entry into the System
History of the Reporting Laws
The Reporting, Screening, and Investigation System
Reforming the Intake System
5 Narrowing as a Strategy to Improve Child Protection
The Case for Narrowing
What Would "Narrowing" Mean?
Evaluating the Case for Narrowing
How "Narrowing Plus" Might Be Accomplished
Unresolved Issues
6 Differential Response: A New Paradigm for Child Protective Services
Paradigms for Child Protective Services
The Diversity and Complexity of Families Referred to CPS
Features of the Differential Response Paradigm
Moving to Differential Response
7 Working Together: Child Protection Reform in Britain
The Development of the British CPS System
The Impetus for Reform
The Children Act of 1989
Beyond the Children Act
8 Changing Frontline Practice Implications of the New Paradigm Lessons from Earlier Initiatives to Change Frontline Practice
How States and Localities Can Help
9 Reforming Child Protection
The Current Child Protective Services System
A New Paradigm for Child Protection
Moving toward a More Fully Differentiated System
Improving the Effectiveness of the CPS System's Response Increasing the Role of Community Partners in Child Protection
The Endpoint of the Reforms