© 2004

Protecting Children in Time

Child Abuse, Child Protection and the Consequences of Modernity

  • Authors

About this book


Protecting Children in Time provides a highly original analysis of the origins and development of the taken-for-granted notion that it is possible through social intervention to protect children from avoidable harm and even death, to protect children in time . By using case-studies which span the past 120 years of 'modern' practices and drawing on the work of leading social theorists of modernity and risk society it provides a new way of thinking about constructions of child abuse as a social problem and child protection as a late-modern expert system and experience. It proposes new ways of conceptualizing relationships between professionals, children at risk and families and deepens our understanding of what effective interventions have to involve.


child abuse child sexual abuse children intervention

About the authors

Harry Ferguson is the author of several books and numerous articles, he has been working in the areas of social theory, social policy, social work and child protection for over thirty years.

Bibliographic information


'A wonderfully interesting examination of the temporal, spatial and sensuous complexities of 'child protection'. Ferguson demonstrates how relationships, officials, procedures and children are all 'on the move' and provides new insights into how this creates both opportunities and risks in protecting children from danger and death.' - John Urry, Professor of Sociology, University of Lancaster, UK

'A major work which both deepens and extends our understanding of those who maltreat, those who are maltreated and those who are asked to respond taking a long and original look at child protection from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The book finds a place for psychology and the emotions, for intimacy and relationships, for the unconscious and irrational. Ferguson elegantly celebrates the uplifting and unpredictable nature of the human condition, a state which if explored and embraced allows professionals and parents to meet, engage and understand so that children may not only survive physically but also thrive socially.' - David Howe, Dean of the School of Social Work and Psychosocial Studies, University of East Anglia, UK

'Protecting Children in Time is an analysis for our times. It effectively combines historical and present day case material with current social theorising to create cogent new ways of seeing current dilemmas. It succeeds in doing just what many analyses should seek to achieve but often do not - to be both intellectually satisfying and practically relevant.' - Jan Fook, Director of the Centre for Professional Development, LaTrobe University, Australia

'Never before has the issue of child protection been examined so thoroughly and so thoughtfully. In the last instance, Ferguson's analysis serves as an appeal to all those who are too quick to judge and condemn professional failings to celebrate instead the daily performance of social workers and other professionals whose job it is to translate into actions the ever evolving meaning of child protection in a context of increasing life scripts and ways of living that are the consequence of modernity.' - Journal of Social Policy

'...a splendidly rich tour de force' - Journal of Social Work