LITERATURE OVERVIEW: See our list of articles of interest from October
Children’s voices in child protection.
With focus on the UK context the authors, Dixon, Ward and Blower, discusses the developments of methodologies for hearing and acting upon the voices of children’s and young people’s experiences from the care system. Reade the authors discussions in their article ‘“They sat and actually listened to what we think about the care system”: the use of participation, consolation, peer research and co-production to raise the voices of young people in and leaving care in England’.
Children’s and young people’s voice is also the focus in the newly published book, Barnas barnevern. Trygt, nyttig og samarbeidende for barn. Professor Marit Skivenes has contributed with a chapter, “Barneperspektiv i fokus”. Read more about the book in our previous post here.
Child protection decision-making systems in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
The authors of the article ‘Professionalized, hybrid, and layperson models in Nordic child protection – actors in decision-making in out of home placement’ analysis the differences and similarities in the decision-making process when deciding on out-of-home placements in the Nordic countries.
The authors focus on how the decision-making process in child protection is organized and the balance between actors (social workers, child experts and laypersons) involved in the process-
The authors argues that laypersons influence is diminishing, and that there is an expanding influence from external experts. The organization of the decision-making process is divided in to three different decision-making models; ‘a professionalized model (Finland), a hybrid model (Norway and Denmark) and layperson model (Sweden). One of the conclusions is that all the countries aims to involve the child, and in compliance with the rule flaw, but this is realized very defiantly when it comes to which actors should be given the authority to make the decisions.
|How articles are selected
ILLUSTRATION: Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism / MGalloway, Wikimedia Commons
Full list of new publications
- Conrad-Hiebner, A., Wallio, S., Schoemann, A. & Sprague-Jones, J. (2018) The impact of child and parental age on protective factors against child maltreatment. Child & Family Social Work.
Although young age for both the parent and child is implicated in incidences of maltreatment, little is known about the association between parent or child age and protective factors related to child maltreatment prevention. With a sample of parents receiving child maltreatment prevention services in Kansas (N = 1993), we used regression analyses to examine whether the interaction of child and parent age influences family‐level protective factors over time. We found mixed support for each hypothesis, indicating that the age of parents and children differentially impacts family‐level protective factors. Implications for the Strengthening Families approach and child maltreatment prevention are discussed.
- Dixon, J., Ward, J. & Blower, S. (2018) “They sat and actually listened to what we think about the care system”: the use of participation, consolation, peer research and co-production to raise the voices of young people in and leaving care in England. Child Care in Practice.
There has been increased recognition of the importance of hearing the views of children and young people in and from care about the services and decisions that affect their lives. The emphasis on young people’s voices aims to give weight to, and raise awareness of, their experiences and outcomes, and the need for policy and practice improvements. This paper discusses the development of methodologies for hearing and acting upon the voices of care-experienced children and young people. It charts the journey towards increased levels of active involvement, from research participation and consultation to peer research and co-production. Using examples from our own empirical studies, the paper outlines key features of these different techniques and the opportunities, challenges and impact they engender. It looks at the recent transition towards greater participation through co-production and peer research in which children and young people are active and equal agents in the production of services to address their needs, and in the design and production of research aiming to evaluate those services. Finally, we provide our reflections and those of some of the young people we have worked with on how to achieve meaningful and authentic engagement with care-experienced children and young people.
- Hultman, E., Forkby, T. & Höjer, S. (2018) Professionalized, hybrid, and layperson models in Nordic child protection – actors in decision-making in out of home placement. Nordic Social Work Research.
Decisions about child protection and interventions in families are one of the most difficult responsibilities of welfare states. The aim of this article is to describe and analyse the commonalities and differences in the child protection decision-making systems in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. We focus on the actors involved, especially the laypersons, and their role in the decision-making process when deciding on out-of-home placements, both on voluntary and coercive grounds.
The study is based on a comprehensive analysis of official documents, legislation, guidelines, and reports about child protection in each country together with a review of recent research in the area. This is complemented by 12 interviews with key informants with knowledge about the child protection systems in their respective countries.
We found that there is an expanding influence from external experts and dwindling influence from laypersons. We discuss the organisation in terms of three different decision-making models – a professionalised decision-making model in Finland, a hybrid decision-making model in Norway and Denmark, and a layperson decision-making model in Sweden. One conclusion is that all of the countries aim for children to be involved and for decisions to be made in compliance with the rule of law, but this is realised quite differently when it comes to which actors should be given the authority to make the decisions. Which model is the best would have different answers depending on which perspective the models are evaluated from. However, the consequences of decision-making models for children need to be studied further.
- Maltby, L. E., Callahan, K., Friedlander, S. & Shetgiri, R. (2018) Infant temperament and behavioral problems: analysis of high-risk infants in child welfare. Journal of Public Child Welfare.
Researchers have demonstrated the association between difficult temperament in infancy and early childhood behavioral problems, but to date this has not been demonstrated in the child welfare population. This study utilized the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of children in the child-welfare system. The sample consisted of 1084 infants 0–12 months old at baseline who were investigated for suspected child abuse. The researchers used longitudinal, multivariable logistic regression to examine the association between difficult temperament score in infants 0–12 months who had child welfare involvement and clinical-range Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2000) score at 36-months-follow-up. Findings from this study suggest that among children with substantiated maltreatment, difficult temperament in infancy predicts early childhood behavioral problems. This relationship persists after adjusting for other risk factors, such as placement, caregiver depression, and family income. The study also discusses implications for child welfare practices.
- Sørensen, K. M. (2018) The impact of political guidelines on participation of children and families’ network in the risk assessment process. Nordic Social Work Research.
This paper studies the impact of political guidelines in social work. The paper is inspired by the literature on street-level bureaucracy and uses this perspective in the discussion of whether different risk assessment models regulate the participation of vulnerable children and families’ network in the risk assessment process. The empirical strategy applies mixed methods to the survey data and interviews with social workers. The data are collected in Denmark where the two risk assessment models, Integrated Children’s System (ICS) and Signs of Safety (SoS), have been implemented in most municipalities. These two models are discussed and analysed with a third way of assessing risks – the more traditional way, which in this paper will termed the municipality model (MM). The paper will answer the following research question: How do political guidelines such as risk assessment models regulate the participation of the child and families’ network in the risk assessment process? The discussion is framed from a social worker perspective. This discussion is important since participation of children and families’ network has been on the political and professional agenda. Furthermore, one of the main reasons for implementing the new risk assessment models is more participation and inclusion of the families’ network in the process. However, this study will show that it is mainly the social workers using the newer models who are challenged by the participation of children and families’ network. The study contributes to the discussion about the extent to which political guidelines regulate social work practice.
- Bruno, L. (2018) National self-image as an obstacle to ensuring children’s rights in the context of domestic violence and family law – the case of Sweden. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 40(4), 426-440.
The aim of this paper is to highlight and discuss contradictions and challenges in the current policy and practice regarding fathers’ violence towards mothers and children in the Swedish welfare state. In particular, professional discourses and understandings of domestic violence in disputes about contact, custody, residence and maintenance, following parental separation, are analysed. My research suggests that abusers find ways to manipulate professionals and get them unwittingly to enable their continued control of victimised mothers and children. One conclusion is that oppression is maintained through processes of familialisation and selective repression. These discursive practices reproduce intersectional inequalities and, in doing so, in many cases result in the administration rather than prevention of further violence.
- Jeffe, P. G., Crooks, C. V., Reid, M., White, J., Pugh-Markie, D. & Baker, L. (2018) Enhancing judicial skills in domestic violence cases: the development, implementation and preliminary evaluation of a model US programme. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 40(4), 496-514.
The overwhelming number and complexity of domestic violence cases in criminal and family courts has resulted in the development of education programmes to assist judges. There is limited research on judicial education in this area. This paper reviews one such initiative entitled ‘Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases’ (EJS) that has been developed and implemented over the last 20 years by the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence, a partnership of the US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Futures Without Violence. We present findings of a preliminary evaluation of the programme based on the self-reports of 480 judges who had taken the four-day workshop between 2006 and 2010. Overall, judges reported the programme to be engaging and effective. At a six-month follow‐up, most of the judges identified specific benefits and behavior changes in the areas of access to justice, judicial leadership, victim safety, and abuser accountability as a result of participating in the programme. Critical issues in judicial education are highlighted based on the authors’ experiences in the development and implementation of this programme.
- Münger, A-C. & Mattsson, T. (2018) ‘The needs of the child have been meet’: preliminary assessments regarding domestic violence in Swedish Child Protection Systems. Nordic Social Work Research.
The Swedish Child Protection Services (CPS) are responsible for providing support and protection to children experiencing domestic violence, but in a high proportion of cases where there is a suspicion that children are experiencing violence, no investigation is opened.The aim of this article is to explore on what grounds decisions were made not to open an investigation in cases initiated due to concerns that a child might have been experiencing domestic violence.The analysis is based on qualitative data consisting of 116 preliminary assessments that resulted in the cases being closed without further action. The analysis uses a theoretical model in which the CPS sorting process is understood as a way of describing a case in such a way that it fits into the organisation’s problem categories, rules and procedures.The analysis shows that a set of institutional assumptions and presuppositions affect the decision to screen out cases involving this form of child abuse. The legal requirement for voluntary parental cooperation has a profound impact on the outcome of a case. Cases are also screened out when the case workers find that parental cooperation is limited. Nor are there procedures for dealing with (psychological) violence that is not aimed directly at the child, but occurs between the parents. The outcome in these cases is that the parents’ interpretation is given precedence, while the needs of the child are seen as of less importance and become deprioritised.
- David, L. (2018) Human Rights as an Ideology? Obstacles and Benefits. Critical Sociology, 1-14.
Sociology has an important part to play in understanding human rights. In this article, I trace obstacles within sociology to theoretically conceptualize human rights as an ideology. These impediments, I suggest, demonstrate the need to recognize the blind spots within sociological research. However, instead of trying to persuade readers why human rights qualifies as an ideology, I attempt to demonstrate why it is beneficial for sociological inquiry to conceptualize human rights as an ideology. Instead of following the widely accepted practice of understanding human rights as a desirable set of values designed to promote a liberal peace, I propose conceptualizing human rights as an ideology which, through its institutionalization, produces coercive organizational and doctrine power. The question of whether its organizational and doctrine power is capable of value penetration in micro-solidarity groups opens up a new prism through which sociologists can assess the successes and failures of human rights ideology on the ground.
- Mander, M., Scotto, T. J., Reifler, J., Greis, P. H., Isernia, P. and Schoen, H. (2018) How political are national identities? A comparison of the United States, United Kingdom and Germany in the 2010s. Research & Politics, 1-9.
Research demonstrates the multi-dimensional nature of American identity arguing that the normative content of American identity relates to political ideologies in the United States, but the sense of belonging to the nation does not. This paper replicates that analysis and extends it to the German and British cases. Exploratory structural equation modeling attests to cross-cultural validity of measures of the sense of belonging and norms of uncritical loyalty and engagement for positive change. In the 2010s, we find partisanship and ideology in all three nations explains levels of belonging and the two content dimensions. Interestingly, those identifying with major parties of the left and right in all three countries have a higher sense of belonging and uncritical loyalty than their moderate counterparts. The relationship between partisanship, ideology, and national identity seems to wax and wane over time, presumably because elite political discourse linking party or ideology to identity varies from one political moment to the next.
Courts and statistiscs
- Terran, B. (2018) Judge, jury and statistician (Editorial). Significance, 15(05),1.
- Thime, N. (2018) Statistics at court. Significance, 15(05),15-17.
Judges and jurors are often asked to make sense of statistics. But data, probabilities and uncertainties are easily misunderstood or misused by those not trained to deal with them. Is education the answer? Or is greater oversight required? Nick Thieme considers the options.
- Kalton, G. (2018) Developments in survey research over the past 60 years: a personal perspective. International Statistical Review, 1-31.
Many developments have occurred in the practice of survey sampling and survey methodology in the past 60 years or so. These developments have been partly driven by the emergence of computers and the continuous growth in computer power over the years and partly by the increasingly sophisticated demands from the users of survey data. The paper reviews these developments with a main emphasis on survey sampling issues for the design and analysis of social surveys. Design‐based inference based on probability samples was the predominant approach in the early years, but over time, that predominance has been eroded by the need to employ model‐dependent methods to deal with missing data and to satisfy analysts’ demands for survey estimates that cannot be met with design‐based methods. With the continuous decline in response rates that has occurred in recent years, much current research has focused on the use of non‐probability samples and data collected from administrative records and web surveys.
- Dettlaff, A. J. (2018) The impossible imperative: navigating the competing principles of child protection. Journal of Public Child Welfare.
- Pierce, A. (2018) Globalizing Human Rights, Transforming Global Capitalism. A Review of David Ingram’s World Crisis and Underdevelopment: A Critical Theory of Poverty, Agency, and Coercion. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 1-8.
- Alexander, (Proff), Glorija, (Proff), Steinrem, I. & Toresen, G. (eds.) (2018) Barnas barnevern. Trygt, nyttig og samarbeidende for barn. Universitetsforlaget.
- Featherstone, B., Gupta, A., Morris, K. & White, S. (eds.) (2018). Protecting Children. A social model. Policy Press.