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Child protection, morality and social justice

Kanga, Rustom H. (1992) Child protection, morality and social justice. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86121) (KAR id:86121)


This essay is based on the premise that some moral consensus is required in society for effective policies for the protection and care of children to flourish. The first part sets out perspectives on the notion of moral awareness, some aspects of Rawls' theory of justice and the concept of freedom; these are general arguments which lead to a defence of the notion of children's rights, and the role of the state in preserving and enforcing those rights. These arguemnts also seek to underpin the adequate resourcing of children's rights through the political process, and a critique of current inadequacies is offered in a later chapter.

The discussion specifically focuses on how parenting standards are assessed, and the assessment of parenting standards as a determinant of definable risk includes a survey of local authorities in England and Wales. A number of situations which might or might not trigger entry on the Child Protection Register are descrived, and each authority was asked to determine its own response. Views were also gathered on what the purpose of Child Protection Registers should be. A discussion of the rights of children in relation to the idea of dependency on the state is carried out with special reference to the Children Act 1989.

The essay concludes that the only universal way to offer children proper care and protection is to provide them with a bill of rights relevant to their lives. This should includes opportunities for children to remain with their parents if at all possible. Adult citizenship presupposes that citizens have sufficent self-respect to enjoy the rights and freedoms afforded to them as citizens; children, therefore, need rights to ensure that the development of their own self-respect is not sabotgaged.

Finally, a diary of one week's work I completed as a social services team manager is included as an Appendix. Although not part of the conceptual argument, it provides a view of the pressures on Child Protection services as they currently exist and supports the contention that children's rights are inadequately resourced.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86121
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: #ethos, Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:29 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2021 11:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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