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Conflating risks: implications for accurate risk prediction in child welfare services

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Improving outcomes for children is a major concern in developed countries. This article examines the Every Child Matters (ECM) policy in England that seeks to integrate strategies for tackling a range of risks in relation to children, both risks of harm to themselves and harm they may pose to society. The emphasis is on early identification and intervention to reduce the numbers who go on to experience serious problems. The government cites research as providing the evidence to permit screening and targeting of 'at risk' children. However, 'at risk' refers to a range of adverse outcomes with different, though overlapping, causations. This article questions whether the research base permits an acceptable level of screening for individual children at risk in some general sense and raises concerns about potential harmful consequences.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/32582/

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