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Governing 'new social risks': The case of recent child policies in European welfare states.
Children and their welfare are an undoubted priority in both academic work and government policy within and across countries. One can observe similar debates on ‘new risks’ and the need for child-centred social investment across a wide range of countries, including the five countries studied as part of this comparative project (France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, UK).
The main aim of the research is to look behind child-centred investment approaches. As well as examining how they are functioning, the research project is especially interested in identifying the ambiguities in recent policies for children, eg, the tension between helping and controlling families and the possibility that new social divides between different kinds of families are being generated. Its cross-national comparative strategy is to take the themes we identify as common in the five countries and interrogate how they are being turned into practice in the national settings.
In the UK the project is focused empirically on an analysis of a number of child-centred and parenting programmes, with the intention of finding out what is going on in these interventions, subjecting them to a critical review and identifying the origins and drivers of the move to child-centred investment within and across countries.