Many child protection cases involve care-experienced mothers, which reveals a continuous cycle of mothers who lose their children to social services after having been in state care themselves as children. While the importance of protecting children requires little explanation and forms the justificatory basis for child protection interventions, it is important to remember that care-experienced mothers were once children entrusted to the state’s care, and who arguably have been failed by the state in that their parenting opportunities are significantly reduced. This paper aims to address this underexplored dilemma between protecting children and safeguarding mothering opportunities for care-experienced mothers. Appealing to the concept of solidarity, I argue that the state has an obligation to increase its compensatory efforts to secure the right of care-experienced women to not only become parents but to be able to be parents, with the aim of breaking the cycle of care experience.
Keywords: solidarity, welfare state, child protection, mothers, parenting capacities, children’s rights, equalising opportunities