Article excerpt

Issue 28 has a very strong focus on children, covering issues of care and protection, benefit support and education. In particular, we are very pleased to include in this issue several papers based on presentations to the 10th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (ACCAN), held in Wellington, and hosted by the Ministry of Social Development, the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, and the Children's Commissioner.

Three papers are the work of international authorities on child protection, based on their keynote addresses to ACCAN. Their ideas work well together, looking to a way forward from their different perspectives. Canadian Joan Durrant's paper presents the Swedish model of child protection, shown as both preventive in its orientation and effective in its outcomes. Sue Gordon, a magistrate in the Children's Court, provides an Aboriginal perspective on child abuse, and outlines a range of Australian initiatives addressing child abuse, particularly with respect to indigenous communities. Robbie Gilligan speaks to the individual level of humane social work practice and illustrates his points with "therapeutic tales", Irish poetry and drama.

James Mansell focuses on the problem of surging notifications to the New Zealand child protection agency. Using the tools of systems thinking, his research paper on this serious instability identifies drivers that are central to a child protection dilemma facing many countries. In a companion paper that he describes as a "thought piece", James Mansell suggests a way toward stability in child protection systems. Eileen Munro of the London School of Economics responds to his proposals, and the author replies, opening a very useful debate.

Willem Adema, from the OECD's Social Policy Division, explores the way New Zealand public policy supports families in their linked aims to participate in the labour market and provide for their children. …