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By using culturally, specific notions like direct eye contact’ (p. 61). He gives examples of cultures in which gaze is associated with disrespect and discouraged by mothers. In the Gusii (Kenya), it is suggested that child rearing practices are designed to lower competitiveness in mothers and children. This may lead children to appear under stimulated and more passive. Thus, one of the accepted indicators of neglect (lack of stimulation) is another possible area of difficulty; how much stimulation, of what kind and at what ages is it usually given in the minority groups represented in this country?

Less well understood has been the relevance of this model to the issue of ‘social exclusion’, the focus of extensive government effort since 1997 (Jack, 2000; Ghate & Hazel, 2002; Spencer & Baldwin, 2005). Acceptance of an ecological model, within which various other theories can sit quite comfortably, does not absolve us of a responsibility to consider the weight which we give to the various factors which contribute to serious child neglect. It is useless to see the problems in isolation, whether they be poverty, immature dysfunctional parenting or environmental stress.

But if they are rejected then neglect may be more serious and cannot be tolerated within our society. Thus, when children are culturally devalued, serious moral issues are posed for the workers. For the rest, Korbin points out that across all cultures particular children in a family may be scapegoated. The reasons given may differ but they are often associated with circumstances of birth. In addition to raised awareness of cultural variations in child rearing itself, there are important matters concerning the impact on families of the investigative and interventive processes which arise in cases of abuse and neglect.

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