Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Child abuse, child protection and child welfare issues in families remain one of society's most challenging and complex issues. For the human service graduate, practitioners can operate in a range of practice and agency contexts where child abuse is a significant issue requiring difficult decisions focused on protective interventions. Understanding child abuse, child protection and child welfare and being able to effectively respond can be vital in dealing with a range of human service practitioner concerns.

As such, this course places child protection and child welfare issues in a social and political context and highlights the impact of class, gender and race to the process of policy development and implementation. The course aims to make critical perspectives available to students of child welfare policy and practice, to assist them to understand the context in which policy and practice occur.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2016.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an ability to critically analyse the various welfare interventions in the lives of children and families

2. Demonstrate an ability to identify and analyse the complex and multi-layered issues involved in defining child abuse and neglect

3. Demonstrate an ability to describe the social, political and cultural context of child abuse

4. Demonstrate an ability to critically explore the effects of child abuse

5. Demonstrate an ability to analyse the basic assumptions, values, decision making processes and individual experiences of human service interventions and related child welfare policy.


Historically, the child welfare system has functioned on the basis of the state as the authority on parental roles and responsibilities for children's upbringing, socialisation and well being. The system has been predicated on the view that children needed to be rescued from those parents who did not have the innate qualities, right values, correct attitudes and appropriate behaviours considered to be necessary for parents to act in a "socially acceptable" way.Child welfare interventions usually have been and continue to be, justified as being "in the best interests of the child". This expression has been constantly used as justification for intervention on behalf of the children, with the authority of the state. This rationale for state intervention raises the question about how interests and needs are perceived, and about the potential conflict between the needs and rights of children, the needs and rights of parents and the needs and rights of the state.This course will also examine the dynamics and impact of the major forms of child abuse on children and young people, including systems abuse and the effects of such abuse. For the most part such children and young people are from backgrounds of adversity and these backgrounds are examined in some detail.

Assumed knowledge

SPSW1001 or equivalent

Assessment items

Online Learning Activity: Online problem based tasks

Presentation: Tutorial Presentation

Essay: Major Essay