Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Grant awarded for global research on child protection systems

The Centre is delighted to share the news that the interdisciplinary research project “Child Protection Systems Across the World” (CPS-WORLD) has been granted funding. This groundbreaking research project is a collaboration between Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, Centre on Law and Social Transformation, Faculty of Law, at the University of Bergen, and School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, USA.

CPS-WORLD tackles a looming gap in welfare state research on how and the extent to which different child protection systems across the globe protect children from abuse, neglect, and maltreatment when parents or family are unable or unwilling to care for them.

Addressing the need for comparative research on child protection systems

The Research Council of Norway’s funding scheme, large interdisciplinary researcher project, offers the Centre a unique opportunity to explore the boundaries of child protection systems and how public and judiciary perspectives varies across the world. The funding scheme is highly competitive, requiring prospective projects to be theoretically, methodologically, and empirically cutting-edge, innovative, and impactful.


– This is indeed a unique opportunity to make a giant leap forward in comparative child protection research. These efforts are likely to improve our understandings about the typology of family caregiving, children’s safety and well-being, and state roles in supporting both, says Principal Investigator Marit Skivenes.

By developing a new, international, and innovative data set, combining survey experiments and legal and deliberative analysis, CPS-WORLD advances our understanding of the normative foundations of child protection systems.

Besides inspiring a new generation of research and researchers in the field, the project provides policymakers with benchmarks and a theoretical and empirical basis upon which to improve child protection interventions in different contexts.

The need for an interdisciplinary approach to child protection research

The grant scheme specifically aims to facilitate research on themes that would benefit from interdisciplinary perspectives. The CPS-WORLD research team reflects this ambition, including academics from the fields of political science, social work, law, and economics.

– Child protection is an interdisciplinary field necessitating the integration of various disciplinary perspectives to fully understand its complexities. With a research team consisting of academics spanning key disciplines and with experience in conducting interdisciplinary studies, we have the expertise and tools needed for breaking new ground on child protection research across the globe, stated Skivenes.

Engaging in this research project, the Centre also aims to contribute to several international objectives articulated in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. CPS-WORLD focuses on children at risk – an especially vulnerable group – seeking to reduce inequalities among children across countries (Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities), ensure proper access to care for children (Goal 4 – Quality Education), and strengthen the transparency and effectiveness of state institutions that ultimately make decisions in child protection cases (Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). It also contributes with important data on these objectives.

– There is a paucity of data to determine whether the Sustainable Development Goals for children have been realized. This is also something that we aim to address in this project, added Skivenes.

The grant is 25 million NOK over six years, split between the Research Council of Norway and the host institution (University of Bergen), from 2022-2028.

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