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“Welfare versus Justice – Again!”

Smith, Roger
June 4, 2015

Source: (2005) Youth Justice. 5(1): 3-16.

This article reviews recent developments in government policy designed to provide an
integrated framework for children’s services, in the light of the continuing and
long-running debate between principles of welfare and justice. It is noted that at the level
of policy, it has repeatedly been argued that responding to the offences of children and
providing for their welfare are inseparable. However, this apparent consensus has resulted
in a range of different service structures and delivery systems over the years, characterised
by ‘turf wars’ amongst policy-makers and practitioners, and unintended consequences in
terms of damaging outcomes for children. The article suggests that the most recent policy
initiatives from government leave this tension unresolved; and it concludes that alternative
rationales need to be developed to inform interventions with children who offend.


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