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Child care law and policy issues generate very strong emotions and some crucial questions concerning the role of the state. For instance, under what circumstances should the state be able to intervene and use the force of the law to protect children? Do children have similar rights to adults? Such questions are matters of controversial debate and, in the light of well publicised child abuse cases, official inquiries and a government review led to the passing of the Children Act in 1989. Perspectives in Child Care Policy presents four different value perspectives on child care policy - laissez-faire; state paternalism; defence of the birth family and children's rights. These perspectives differ in their underlying values, concepts and assumptions concerning children, families, the rights and powers of parents and the role of the state.