Document Type

Positive Systems of Child and Family Welfare International Conference (2002)

Publication Date



Faculty of Social Work


In England, the system for children and families in need of state intervention has developed in response to a series of political changes and to high profile and highly publicised child welfare ‘cases’. This has led over the past 20 years to a focus on child protection as the most important aspect of the work. For the last 5-8 years, attempts have been made at many levels to redress this imbalance and put more emphasis on family support. However, there are barriers to change, in the existing structures, in the distribution of resources and in anxieties about public responses to state intervention. Moving from child protection to a more supportive and interventionist approach is proving difficult. This paper will describe the English system and consider ways in which a more preventive and proactive approach to child and family welfare might be achieved.