Why did child abuse become a less significant problem after 1910? This article focuses on frame contestation, and how child-protection organizations gradually lost control of the narrative about fragile families to a competing set of groups—those that emphasized "family saving." Like many interest groups, the SPCCs developed an "issue frame" in their efforts to publicize their mission, which sought to define a problem (child abuse), attribute blame for that situation (inadequate parents), propose a solution (the removal of children from parents), and encourage others to support their cause. After 1900, however, "family saving" groups identified a problem related to child abuse (fragile families), portrayed poverty as a cause of family instability, and supported policies that sought to preserve families. While advocating for policies that strengthened families, however, they undercut child protectors' most crucial weapon against child abuse, namely, the removal of affected children from inadequate parents.


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pp. 167-191
Launched on MUSE
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