Child Welfare Inequalities Project: Project Outputs


‘Understanding social work care and protection decisions’ has been written by Professor Kate Morris, Dr Will Mason, Professor Paul Bywaters, Professor Brid Featherstone, Professor Brigid Daniels and Dr Nughmana Mirza for the Family Potential Research Centre. 

‘Do children’s services reflect, reinforce or reduce social inequalities?’ was written by Professor Paul Bywaters for Community Care. Click HERE to read the full article.

Bywaters, P. (2017) What the new looked-after children statistics don’t tell us. Community Care, October 3rd.

Is tackling poverty no longer ‘core business’ for social workers?

There is clear evidence that links deprivation, expenditure and quality in children's services by Paul Bywaters and Calum Webb.


  • 2019 Bywaters, P., Scourfield, J., Webb, C., Morris, K., Featherstone, B., Brady, G. Jones, C. and Sparks, T. Paradoxical evidence on ethnic inequities in child welfare: towards a research agenda. Child and Youth Services Review v.96, p.145-154, 2019.
  • 2018 Bywaters, P., Scourfield, J., Jones, C., Sparks, T., Elliott, M., Hooper, J., McCarten, C., Shapira, M., Bunting, L., Daniel, B. (2018). Child welfare inequalities in the four nations of the UK. Journal of Social Work online.
  • 2018 McCartan, C., Bunting, L., Bywaters, P., Davidson, G., Elliott, M., & Hooper, J.  A Four-Nation Comparison of Kinship Care in the UK: The Relationship between Formal Kinship Care and Deprivation. Social Policy and Society, 1-17. doi:10.1017/S1474746418000179
  • 2018 Webb, C. and Bywaters, P. Austerity, rationing and inequity: trends in children’s & young peoples’ services expenditure in England between 2010 and 2015. Local Government Studies Online 6.2.18 DOI: 10.1080/03003930.2018.1430028  
  • 2018 Bunting, L., Davidson, G., McCartan, C., Hanratty, J., Bywaters, P., Mason, W. and Steils, N. The Association between Child Maltreatment and Adult Poverty – A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Research. Child Abuse and Neglect Volume 77, March 2018, Pages 121-133
  • 2018 Morris, K., Mason, W., Bunting, L., Hooper, J., Mirza, N., Brady, G., Bunting, L., Hooper, J., Mirza, N., Scourfield, J. and Webb, C. Social work , poverty , and child welfare interventions, Child and Family Social Work, 1–9.Online access 17.1.2018
  • 2017 Bunting, L., McCartan, C., McGhee, J, Bywaters, P., Daniel, B., Featherstone, B. and Slater, T. Trends in Child Protection Across the UK: A Comparative Analysis, The British Journal of Social Work Volume 48, Issue 5, 1 July 2018, Pages 1154–1175, Published online 17 October 2017
  • 2017 McGhee, J., Bunting, L., McCartan, C., Elliott, M., Bywaters, P. and Featherstone, B. Looking After Children in the UK—Convergence or Divergence?, The British Journal of Social Work, Volume 48, Issue 5, 1 July 2018, Pages 1176–1198 Published online 17/10.2017
  • 2017 Davidson, G., Bunting, L., Bywaters, P., Featherstone, B., McCartan, C. Child Welfare as Justice: Why Are We Not Effectively Addressing Inequalities?, The British Journal of Social Work, Volume 47, Issue 6, 1 September 2017, Pages 1641–1651,
  • 2017 Bywaters, P. and Sparks, T. Child protection in England: an emerging inequalities perspective. Journal of Children’s Services. 12, 107–112
  • 2017 Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Bunting, L., Daniel, B., Featherstone, B., Jones, C., Morris, K, Scourfield, J., Sparks, T., Webb, C.  Inequalities in English child protection practice under austerity: a universal challenge? Child and Family Social Work online 7.7.2017 DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12383 
  • 2017 Featherstone, B., Morris, K., Daniel, B., Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Bunting, L., Mason, W. and Mirza, N.,  Poverty, inequality, child abuse and neglect: Changing the conversation in child protection? Children and Youth Services Review
  • 2016 Bywaters, P.,  Bunting, L. , Davidson, G. , Hanratty,J. , Mason, W. , McCartan, C. and Steils, N. (2016) The relationship between poverty, child abuse and neglect: an evidence review. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
  • 2016 Bywaters, P., Kwhali, J., Brady, G., Sparks, T. and Bos, E.  Out of sight, out of mind: ethnic inequalities in child protection and out-of-home care intervention rates. British Journal of Social Work Advance Access published December 10, 2016. Published subsequently as Volume 47, Issue 7, 1 October 2017, Pages 1884–1902,
  • 2016 Mason, W. and Bywaters, P.  Poverty, child abuse and neglect: patterns of cost and spending. Families, Relationships and Societies, volume 5 (1): 155-161
  • 2015 Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Sparks, T., Bos, E., Bunting, L.,Daniel, B., Featherstone, B., Morris, K. & Scourfield, J., Exploring inequities in child welfare and child protection services: explaining the ‘inverse intervention law’, Children and Youth Services Review (2015), v. 57, October, pp. 98-105 doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.07.017


This closely connected review funded by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation was published on 3rd March.

Following the creation of this report it is hoped that the outcome will help influence governments, service providers and practitioners to make addressing family poverty a central issue in child protection.

It is also hoped that the report will encourage policy-makers to commission further research into this complex relationship. This research has already been included in a written submission to the Select Committee on the reform of children’s services which focused on the link between spending and outcomes.

Read the full report.

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