In recent years, the Brazilian government has revolutionised its legislation and policy-making to protect children from abuse and neglect. The extent that this has altered the reality on the ground is uncertain. Rural areas of Brazil''s poor northeastern states such as Bahia, where children are both vulnerable to abuse and far from the reach of child protection services, have been much neglected by researchers. Having witnessed at first hand some of the challenges facing professionals in Bahia, we designed a study to evaluate Brazil''s new child protection systems from the perspective of grass-roots professionals working in this very rural, very poor corner of Brazil. We used focus groups, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to explore the successes so far and the obstacles still faced. Here, we discuss the background to the study and its findings together with our recommendations for improvements. Although lack of resources inevitably hinders child protection efforts in Bahia, much could be achieved using those already available to make children''s rights a reality.