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The Future of Child Protection

The Future of Child Protection

How to Break the Cycle of Abuse and Neglect

Jane Waldfogel

ISBN 9780674007239

Publication date: 09/30/2001

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.


  • Through a carefully balanced analysis, The Future of Child Protection advances the policy debate beyond the 'child abuse as a problem of poverty' and the 'criminalization of child abuse' perspectives in the current literature. Waldfogel develops a powerful case for the reform of the CPS system through a differential response model--a compelling alternative that policy makers are well-advised to study. The book is clearly written and the scholarship first-rate.

    —Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley


  • Jane Waldfogel is Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Book Details

  • 296 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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