Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Are Children Heard in the Child Protection System?

NEW PROJECT: The Centre has received funding to conduct a groundbreaking study of children’s participation.

– Lack of participation and involvement of children is a big challenge in the Norwegian child protection system, says Marit Skivenes.

The Research Council of Norway recently revealed the grant announcement for 2020. In strong competition, the DIPA-centre got funding for the collaboratory research project PARTICIPATION.

– Children’s right to participate in matters affecting them is a fundamental right in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Still, reports from children themselves and research shows that children are not sufficiently involved and do not participate as the law prescribe, explains professor Marit Skivenes.

Skivenes will be leading the project investigating how children can participate as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and how to fulfill the legal requirement and political ambition of children’s participation in the child protection system.

Collaboration project

The project is unique by its theoretical and empirical ambitions, and has a very strong group of collaborative partners that will ensure that we can take some big steps forward in this area, says Skivenes. We will work with Bergen municipality, the County Social Welfare Boards, the Court Administration and the Change Factory (experts-by-experience).

– By bringing together different perspectives, knowledge, and experiences, we believe it is possible to generate new insights and develop measures that enables society to address the challenge of children’s participation, Skivenes points out.

International perspective

The project will be launched in 2021, and run for four years. Although the project is situated in Norway, the research is oriented towards the international research frontier.

– We will collaborate with researchers specializing in children’s rights in Australia, Europe, and the U.S. I believe our research will be relevant for most child protection systems, says Skivenes.

PHOTO: Idun Økland

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