Reports and Projects

The Child Youth and Family Review: A Commentary on Prevention

BY Emily Keddell

In this report, social work academic Dr. Emily Keddell critiques one aspect of the recent child protection services reforms: the prevention of child abuse and neglect. She highlights the points of tension between the way that child abuse is defined throughout the review process, the details of the proposed reforms, and the design of child protection systems. She draws attention to the way that policies for the prevention of child abuse and neglect are informed by the government’s new social investment approach, which in some cases could create perverse incentives for service deliverers in the non-governmental sector. Dr. Keddell recommends a more holistic approach to prevention, which shifts the emphasis ‘away from treating problem individuals or families, and a narrow focus on the prevention of child abuse, to the provision of a broad policy landscape that promotes wellbeing.’

Two extracts from Emily Keddell’s report have been published as Briefing Papers, covering the topics of how outcomes can be measured and the need to consider social context when understanding and preventing child abuse and neglect:


Radio Waatea, 19 June 2017, “Oranga Tamariki policy ignores poverty and whanau”.

John Gibb, Otago Daily Times, 20 June 2017. “Call for ‘holistic’ protection.

Emily Keddell, 3 April 2017, “Can the Ministry for Vulnerable Children succeed where CYF failed?”

The Child Youth and Family Review: A Commentary on Prevention