Inequalities in child welfare intervention rates: The intersection of deprivation and identity

Paul Bywaters, Geraldine M. Brady, Tim Sparks, Elizabeth Bos

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    30 Citations (Scopus)
    100 Downloads (Pure)


    Child welfare systems internationally exhibit very large inequalities in a variety of dimensions of practice, for example, in rates of child protection plans or registrations and out-of-home care. Previous research in the midlands region of England (Bywaters; Bywaters etal.) has detailed key aspects of the relationship between levels of neighbourhood deprivation and intervention rates. This paper reports further evidence from the study examining the intersection of deprivation with aspects of identity: gender, disability, ethnicity and age. Key findings include a decreasing gender gap and a decreasing proportion of children in need reported to be disabled as deprivation increases. The data challenge the perception that black children are more likely than white to be in out-of-home care, a finding that only holds if the much higher level of deprivation among black children is not taken into account. Similarly, after controlling for deprivation and age, Asian children were found to be up to six times less likely to be in out-of-home care. The study requires replication and extension in order that observed inequalities are tested and explained. Urgent ethical, research, policy and practice issues are raised about child welfare systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)452-463
    JournalChild and Family Social Work
    Issue number4
    Early online date21 Jul 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bywaters, P. , Brady, G.M. , Sparks, T. and Bos, E. (2016) Inequalities in child welfare intervention rates: The intersection of deprivation and identity. Child and Family Social Work, volume 21 issue 4, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving (


    • age
    • child protection
    • child welfare
    • deprivation
    • disability
    • ethnicity
    • gender
    • inequalities

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Inequalities in child welfare intervention rates: The intersection of deprivation and identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Research Output

    • 30 Citations
    • 1 Article

    Poverty, inequality, child abuse and neglect: Changing the conversation across the UK in child protection?

    Featherstone, B., Morris, K., Daniel, B., Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Bunting, L., Mason, W. & Mirza, N., Feb 2019, In : Children and Youth Services Review. 97, p. 127-133 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 12 Citations (Scopus)
    103 Downloads (Pure)

    Cite this