Birth parents and the collateral consequences of child removal:towards a comprehensive framework

Broadhurst, Karen Elizabeth and Mason, Claire Suzanne (2017) Birth parents and the collateral consequences of child removal:towards a comprehensive framework. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 31 (1). pp. 41-59. ISSN 1464-3707

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This article aims to capture the full range of consequences that birth parents face, following court-ordered removal of their children on account of child protection concerns. With references to legislative and policy responses in England, the USA, and Australia, we argue that states reinforce parents’ exclusion, where the full gamut of challenges these parents face is poorly understood. Drawing on a wealth of criminological research concerned with the collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement we adapt conceptual ideas and vocabularies to describe the combination of informal and formal penalties that parents face at this juncture. Discussion extends previous published studies concerned with loss and social stigma following child removal but charts new theoretical ground regarding legal stigmatization and welfare disqualifications. The article is timely given the continued high volume of children entering state care in a number of international jurisdictions and recent empirical evidence from England that a sizeable population of birth parents who appear as respondents in the family court are repeat clients. Making the case for a fundamental re-appraisal of state responses following court-ordered removal, the article concludes with a call for a more comprehensive family justice response, attuned to the additive burden of child removal on parents whose lives are already blighted by histories of disadvantage.

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Journal Article
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International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
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Deposited On:
13 Feb 2017 10:10
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 01:42