The "Good Enough" Parent: Implications for Child Protection

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Child Care in Practice, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp. 368-382

Child protection workers must determine under what conditions a child should be sustained within the family system. A standard that is often referred to is “good enough” parenting or minimal parenting competence. Research and clinical literature fails to offer workers guidance on the practical application of this terminology. Such ambiguity leaves families with the probability that the standard against which they will be judged will vary from worker to worker and from community to community. The authors argue that this leaves case management open to inconsistencies that can include systemic biases which can work against rather than for the best interests of the child. Courts are accepting this term as a significant factor in determining the need for intervention and whether or not to sustain or terminate parental rights.

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