Making an Issue of Child Abuse
University of Chicago Press, 1984 - 169 pages
In this absorbing story of how child abuse grew from a small, private-sector charity concern into a multimillion-dollar social welfare issue, Barbara Nelson provides important new perspectives on the process of public agenda setting. Using extensive personal interviews and detailed archival research, she reconstructs an invaluable history of child abuse policy in America. She shows how the mass media presented child abuse to the public, how government agencies acted and interacted, and how state and national legislatures were spurred to strong action on this issue. Nelson examines prevailing theories about agenda setting and introduces a new conceptual framework for understanding how a social issue becomes part of the public agenda. This issue of child abuse, she argues, clearly reveals the scope and limitations of social change initiated through interest-group politics. Unfortunately, the process that transforms an issue into a popular cause, Nelson concludes, brings about programs that ultimately address only the symptoms and not the roots of such social problems.
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abuse and neglect abuse reporting laws administration adoption agency agenda setting amendments American Humane Association Anthony Downs attention Battered-Child Syndrome became Biaggi bill budget CAPTA CAPTARA categorical CB's Charles Flato Chil child abuse legislation Child Abuse Prevention child abuse reporting child pornography child protection child welfare child welfare services Children's Bureau Committee concerns conflict Congress cruelty to children defined diffusion of innovation domestic violence Downs's dren's Bureau efforts encouraged federal fiscal funds House Ibid important Index initial institutional interest in child intervention issue-attention cycle Journal Labor legislatures liberal Mary Ellen mass media Maternal and Child medical deviance million model statute Mondale Mondale's newspapers officials organization organizational parents physical abuse Political Science problem of child professional programs promoted protective services public policy reform role Senate social problem Social Security Act social service stories Subcommittee tion U.S. Senate University Press valence issues