LISTER, R., 2006. Children (but not women) first: New Labour, child welfare and gender. Critical Social Policy, 26(2), pp. 315-335
The paper’s starting point is an analysis of New Labour’s agenda for children in an emergent 'social investment state'. It provides an overview of policies for children, which simultaneously are investing in children and regulating children and their parents/mothers. Although children have moved to the heart of social policy, there is some disquiet about the way they are being positioned in this brave new world of social investment. This disquiet focuses in particular on: the construction of children as ‘becomings’ rather than ‘beings’; the paid work-focused and future-oriented model of citizenship; the relative neglect of groups of children who are not seen to represent such a good investment; and the eclipse of parents’, and in particular, mothers’ welfare. The final section sketches out how the social investment approach might be modified in the interests of children’s well-being and flourishing and with reference to principles of (gendered) social justice.