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“Families in all their subversive variety”:

Re B (2008), L’Hale: [20].

Overrepresentation, the ethnic child protection penalty, and responding to diversity while protecting children

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society

ISBN: 978-1-78350-785-6, eISBN: 978-1-78350-786-3

Publication date: 1 January 2014

Abstract

This article explores the neglected issue of the overrepresentation in the child protection system of children from ethnic, cultural, religious, racial, and linguistic minorities. It focuses on the accommodation of children’s diverse backgrounds within the s 31(2) threshold and s1 “best interests” stages of intervention under the Children Act 1989. First, it introduces the ethnic child protection penalty as a new tool for capturing the complex nature of overrepresentation of these children. Second, it proposes a framework for understanding the judicial approach in higher court decisions on the current extent and nature of accommodation. Third, it employs the penalty concept to help explain why case law analysis reveals difficulties with the current factor-based approach, whereas empirical research suggests generally satisfactory accommodation in practice. It concludes by proposing a contextualized framework for decision-making in relation to child protection.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

Some of the ideas in this article were presented at the British Association for Canadian Studies 2009 Conference, “Being, Becoming and Belonging: Multiculturalism, Diversity and Social Inclusion in Modern Canada” held at St Anne’s College, Oxford, March 28–30, 2009. I am grateful to both conference participants and anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments.

Citation

Ferguson, L. (2014), "“Families in all their subversive variety”:

Re B (2008), L’Hale: [20].

Overrepresentation, the ethnic child protection penalty, and responding to diversity while protecting children", Studies in Law, Politics, and Society (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 63), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 43-87. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1059-4337(2014)0000063009

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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