The balance between children, parents, and the state shifts in its nature over time and indeed is not necessarily consistent in, nor across, policy arenas. This paper examines one such shift, where the introduction of antisocial behaviour legislation has clashed with that of children's welfare services. The Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 reifies distinctions between deserving and undeserving children, between good and bad parents, and between troubled and troublesome children. It demonstrates certain continuities in constructions of childhood and parenthood - i.e. children as the responsibility of their parents - but also much change - i.e. the 'competent child' largely replaces the 'needy child'. The state, in its various forms, must be able to intervene over an increased breadth of behaviour and to patrol public space. The 'community' gains a legal place, through new appeals to the state to control public space and to control the behaviour of children.
- public space