Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Literature update #1 2018

LITERATURE OVERVIEW: See our list of articles of interest from the last month.

Collectively 28 000 scholarly journals publish nearly 2 million articles a year. This means that there are a lot of literature being published rapidly, and navigating through this can be a bit overwhelming.

That is why we want to give you the opportunity to be updated on the research conducted in the fields of discretion, paternalism, children’s right and child welfare systems through our monthly literature overview.

Siri Hansen Pedersen is a research assistant at the Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, and responsible for the monthly overview of relevant literature.

– One of the many great things about working at a research centre is that it gives a unique opportunity to be updated on a research field that is of great interest.

Siri collect information about new publications by subscribtion to ‘Table of content’ alerts (TOC) that many publisher offers.

– The decision on which articles that are the most relevant can be a bit challenging. I have mainly focus on articles that are relevant to the projects at the Centre.

– It is usually a to stage selection. First, I look at the title and its relevance. Secondly, I read the abstract and skim through article to decide if this is something that will be of interest for my colleagues.

Both articles in English and Norwegian is included in the list of articles. You can subscribe to our newsletter if you want to receive regular updates on relevant literature and other news from the Centre.


How articles are selected

  • A full list of articles are collected based on TOC alerts from journals by the publishers; Taylor & Francis Online, SAGE Journals, Science Direct, Brill Publisher and Idunn.
  • The short list is selected based on an assessment of the articles theoretical, methodological and/or empirical relevance to the projects at the Centre.
  • Please note that the list of articles is not based on a qualitative assessment of the articles scientific contributions or level.

ILLUSTRATION: Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism / MGalloway, Wikimedia Commons


Here is the list of articles from March/April 2018, additionally you can read the abstracts of these articles at the end of this list.


Journal of Social Work


Child & Family Social Work


Tidsskrift for Familierett, Arverett og Barnevernsrettslige Spørsmål


Nordic Social Work Research


Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood


Children and Youth Service Review


Children’s Health Care


Research on Social Work Practice


Child Maltreatment


American Politics Research


Tidsskriftet Norges Barnevern


International Journal of Adolescence and Youth


Family Court Review


Refrances and Abstracts


  • Hermon, S, R. & Chahal, R (2018) A longitudinal study of stress and satisfaction among child welfare workers. Journal of Social Work, 1-24.

Summary: Stress and satisfaction have long been topics of research and interest in public child welfare, particularly in relation to their links with retention. Fewer studies have focused on specific facets of stress and satisfaction among public child welfare workers. In this sample of 160 retained specially-trained former students, sources of stress and satisfaction were examined three and five years after the conclusion of the students’ work obligation. Findings: With regard to stress, paired t-tests revealed that while workload stress increased from Year 3 to Year 5, child-related stress went down. The same downward movement was also noted for the work–life flexibility aspect of job satisfaction from Years 3 to 5. Additionally, regression analyses indicated that higher workload stress at Year 3 was predictive of diminished satisfaction with client relationships. Applications: The findings suggest that even among retained staff, workload stress can be caustic, diminishing job satisfaction with client relationships. Implications for public child welfare agencies, and the importance of going beyond retention as a final measure for worker success are explored.


  • Inchaurrondo, A. M., Fuentes-Pelàez, N., Vicente, C. P. & Bolòs, A. m. Good professional practices for promoting positive parenting and child participation in reunification processes. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.

Professional support of families that are under temporary protection, with the goal of reunification, is necessary for helping families re‐establish their family dynamics. Without this support, the conditions that contributed to child abuse and neglect will likely persist. In this context, the attitude of professionals towards positive parenting and child participation is a decisive factor. The quantitative study presented here contributes knowledge regarding these 2 variables. The study was conducted with 106 professionals who work in the child protection system. The results show a high degree of consensus among professionals regarding the following practices: (a) incorporating positive parenting into family reunification processes; (b) training the biological parents in parenting skills; and (c) promoting the active participation of children in foster care and reunification. Regarding the latter point, the study found that older and more experienced professionals are more open and inclined to promote participation in family reunification processes. The practical implications of the results invite us to review attitudinal competencies training for professionals working in child protection services, focusing on encouraging a positive attitude towards the parental competencies of the biological family and the active participation of children in foster care and reunification. These professionals’ attitudes are a key factor in mediating the process of family reunification.


  • Juhasz, I. B. (2018) Defending parenthood: A look at parents’ legal argumentation in Norwegian care order appeal proceedings. Child & Family Social Work.

This paper examines parents’ legal argumentation in 15 appealed care order (child removal) cases in one Norwegian district court, asking on what grounds parents appeal their case. I investigate the pragmatic, ethical, and moral bases in arguments by applying a discourse ethics framework, viewing argumentation as either justifications or excuses of the parenting in question. The analysis reveals complex reasons for appealing, displaying parents both justifying and excusing both specific situations and the totality of their parenthood. Parents primarily apply pragmatic and ethical adversarialism, followed by pragmatic blaming and claims of change, moral justifications about due process, and ethical excuses about age and own life histories. Interestingly, normalization emerges as a third strategy, where parents explicitly aim to widen the scope of parental normality and adequacy, challenging the common defense dichotomy. The study provides new insight into an important and sensitive field, and indicates that parents engage in similar concrete strategies when, most often unsuccessfully, defending their parenthood.


  • Heggdalsvik, I. K., Rød., P. A. & Heggen, K. (2018) Decision-making in Child Welfare Services: Professional discretion versus standardized templets. Child & Family Social Work.

The article explores differences in the assessment and decision‐making processes, in child welfare services where a standardized template is implemented and in services where it is not. Child welfare services in several countries use different approaches to assess children’s and families’ need for intervention. In Norway, as in other European countries, there is a shortage of knowledge about decision‐making strategies. The article examines how 36 child welfare caseworkers in 6 different teams in Norway investigate, assess, and make decisions at the phase of an incoming referral. The analysed data were collected by focus group interviews. We use decision theory as a theoretical frame of reference. The analysis shows variation in the assessment procedure at different points of the process, depending on which approach was used. Despite such differences, the final decisions made were almost identical. Even though the data has its limitations because of the small number of informants, the results indicate that choice of approach is not decisive for decision‐making in the child welfare services.


  • Lauritzen, C., Vis, S. A. & Fossum, S. (2018) Factors that determine decision making in child protection investigations: A review of literature. Child & Family Social Work, 1-13

The aim of the study was to conduct a systematic review of the literature on factors that determine decision making in child protection investigations. More specifically, to investigate the existing research on the 4 factors that are considered fundamental for child protection decision making: case characteristics, caseworker characteristics, organizational characteristics, and external factors. The results indicated that child welfare decisions to investigate a case and/or to implement services are influenced by characteristics of the case, the social worker, and the organization, in addition to external factors. These elements work together to determine the outcome of an investigation. There are some substantial differences between various countries connected to disparities in child welfare legislation, support apparatuses, culture, ideology, and socio‐economic factors. It is methodologically challenging to design studies that capture all possible variables associated with case factors, social workers, and organizational factors. However, multilevel analyses of the types of variables that are most significant to case outcome conclude that caseworker assessments corresponded to organizational factors. Furthermore, decisions are better explained by characteristics of the child welfare organization than by characteristics of the social worker.


  • Petersen, S. K. (2018) Parents’ Experiences of Child Protection Practice in Denmark. Child & Family Social Work, 1-8.

Not much research focuses on how parents perceive and experience child protection practice although the voices of service users are important in the development of social work within Child Welfare Services. This article contributes to a growing body of research that takes the user perspective as its point of departure when conducting research in social work. Drawing on a qualitative study, this article explores how 17 parents have experienced assessment processes in Denmark. Several studies indicate that parents who by themselves initiate child protection assessment have a greater chance of achieving positive experiences of assessment processes. As the large majority of the parents in this study by themselves initiated the assessment, it seems paradoxical that most of the parents report solely negative experiences. The article discusses different entries into child protection assessments (referral or the parents’ own initiative) and suggests that time (in the sense of progression in the assessment) is an important dimension to take into account particularly when it comes to parents who wish to engage in child protection assessments.


  • Raineri, M. L., Calcaterra, V. & Folgheraiter, F. (2018) “We Are Caregivers, too”: Foster Siblings’ Difficulties, Strengths and Needs for Support. Child & Family Social Work.

Children’s foster care is practised and studied in many parts of the world, but little attention is paid to foster parents’ birth children, despite their right to participate in a process that concerns their lives and despite the role they play in foster care. Drawing on qualitative data collected from 15 foster siblings and 14 foster parents, this paper presents birth children’s experiences with the beginning of foster care, their perceptions of the positive and negative aspects of living with a foster child, and their suggestions for foster parents, foster children, and professionals. The data reveal that birth children feel engaged in a caregiver role; therefore, they need guidance with regard to this role. However, social workers and other professionals do not appear to fully recognize this role. Implications for practice are discussed.


  • Riiber, R & Syse, A. (2018) Høyesteretts Sirkelgang i Jakob (HR-2017-2015): En kommentar. Tidsskrift for Familierett, Arverett og Barnevernsrettslige Spørsmål, 16(1), 96-99.

Høyesterett kom i Jakob (HR-2017-2015) til at det skal være ett samvær i året mellom foreldrene og gutten, til tross for at han seks uker gammel ble påført 19 ribbensbrudd av (en av) foreldrene, og tilknytningen mellom dem er minimal. Fra psykologfaglig hold er det reist betydelig kritikk mot domsresultatet.


  • Herz, M. & Lalander, P. (2018) An abstract and nameless, but powerful, bystander – ‘unaccompanied children’ talking about their social workers in Sweden. Nordic Social Work Research.

This article investigates how ‘unaccompanied children’ in Sweden experience one part of the reception system – the social workers – in the context of their everyday life. The aim is to describe and analyse how these young people view and experience social workers and their relation to them, as well as their perceptions regarding the social worker’s nature. The article is drawn from a research project where 20 ‘unaccompanied children’ participated for over two years. During this period, the researchers have met with the young people continuously doing interviews, observations and informal conversations once a month. The results indicate that the social worker tends to become something of a bystander, a representative of the authorities who has played no active role in the young people’s everyday life, except for when they ‘pop up’ to make a decision affecting their everyday life. The social worker becomes a bystander with power. This is discussed in relation to situational ethics and the importance of building relationships and trust to service users in general and to ‘unaccompanied children’ in particular.


  • Otherhold, I. & Paulsen, V. (2018). Young people and social workers’ experience of differences between child welfare services and social services. Nordic Social Work Research

This article focuses on support in transition to adulthood for young people who have been in the child welfare system in Norway. By drawing upon interviews with young people and social workers in child welfare services and social services for adults, we explore differences between the support offered by these two services and how this support is experienced by the young people themselves. The interviews are analysed using the theory of institutional logics as an analytical framework. Institutional logics guide the focus of attention to those who are subject to the logics. The findings are systematised in light of the issues that are given most attention in the social workers’ reasoning about aftercare. The foci of attention in child welfare and social services are compared to the experiences of the young people and how they perceived the support from the two services. We point out the following three dimensions, which seem to capture differences in foci in the services and the young people’s experiences: (1) the extent to which care leavers were recognised as a distinct responsibility; (2) the extent to which the care leavers were perceived as young people or as young adults; and (3) which aim was seen as most relevant – independence or a gradual transition. The findings are discussed in light of legislation and the mandate of the services, thus pointing at different institutional logics.


  • Fylkesnes, M. K., Taylor, J. & Iversen, A. C (2018). Precarious participation: Exploring ethnic minority youth’s narratives about out-of-home placement in Norway. Children and Youth Service Review, 88.

Children’s right to express their views and influence decisions that affect their lives is a strong legal and moral value in social work and beyond. What participation entails and how children’s right to participate can be ensured in different contexts is, however, richly debated. In this study, we critically explore the narratives of six youth with ethnic minority backgrounds who had experienced out-of-home placements in Norway. We were interested in how youth narrated their agency (motives and strategies) as well as how structural arrangements enabled and limited their participation, before and during placement. Nancy Fraser’s conceptualization of parity in participation and social justice directed our gaze towards the interplay between normative and economic structures in the child welfare service (CWS) context. We identified a pattern along three narrative themes: a) narrating participation, b) narrating ambiguous participation and c) narrating non-participation. The analysis unpacked how informants negotiated both normative and economic structures encountering CWS. Successful negotiation entailed constructing a credible story through striking a balance between maturity and vulnerability and thus performing as “a competent child”. Subsequently, informants who did not succeed in articulating their experiences and wishes in a credible way risked being marginalized as participants. Participation in decisionmaking during placement was constructed as particularly precarious. Embedded cultural ideas of how “a competent child” should perform could be at odds with informants’ identities. Ethnic minority youth might therefore struggle particularly hard to make themselves accountable within the normative structures of CWS. Youth participation also hinged on adults’ ability and willingness to listen, and to take into account as well as act upon youths’ concerns. However, case trajectories, bureaucratic characterizations and limited resources could hamper both the continuity and quality of such relationships. A key implication is an urgent need for theory and practice models that allow for how social categories such as ethnicity influence youth’s participatory opportunities.


  • McCare, J. S., Bender, K., Brown, S., Phillips, J. & Rienks, S. (2018). Adverse childhood experiences and complex health concerns among child welfare-involved children. Children’s Health Care

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) contribute to public health concerns, as they have been linked to chronic diseases in adulthood. From the seminal ACEs study in the mid-1990s (Felitti et al., 1998) to today, the Centers for Disease Control (2016) reports well over 50 studies that link ACEs to adult health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and mental illness. This preponderance of evidence has prompted widespread attention to the possibility that preventing and successfully treating ACE-associated traumatic stress would greatly reduce our country’s incidence of chronic disease and the associated public health burden and cost (Danese et al., 2009). To illustrate, one study suggests that child abuse and neglect alone costs the United States $124 billion annually, with individual lifetime costs that are higher than or equal to the economic burden of diabetes and stroke (Fang, Brown, Florence, & Mercy, 2012). That child maltreatment is just one category of 10 total ACEs suggests that the total financial impact of ACEs in the United States is likely much greater and that some populations, such as children involved in childwelfare, may be disproportionately affected by the negative effects of adverse childhood experiences.


  • Nouman, H., Enosh, G. & Jarjouea, A. (2018). Between Professional Norms and Professionalism: Risk Assessment and Decision-Making of Arab Social Workers Regarding Children at Risk. Research on Social Work Practice.

Purpose: Four factors might bias child risk assessment and recommendation of treatment for children at high risk among Arab social workers in Israel: collaboration of parents and social workers; improvement in child conditions; and child’s gender; as well as the social worker’s personal, cultural, and professional characteristics. Methods: An experimental survey design, using case descriptions manipulating cooperation, improvement and child’s gender, in addition to a questionnaire regarding the social workers’ personal and professional characteristics. The case descriptions were drawn from actual welfare files and adapted. Data were collected from 130 Arab social workers. Results: Risk assessment and recommendation were not influenced by child’s gender and social workers’ personal, cultural, or professional characteristics. Cooperative families and child’s improvement increased chances for recommending continuation in current treatment. Cooperation influenced only choice of community treatments and not out-of-home placements. Improvement influenced all options. Conclusions: Personal, cultural, and professional-training differences did not affect workers’ recommendations. The role of professional socialization, professional norms, and professionalism seems to outweigh all other factors.


  • Combs, K. M., Begun, S., Rinehart, D. J. & Taussig, H. (2018) Pregnancy and Childbearing Among Adults who experienced Foster Care. Child Maltreatment, 23(2).

This study explores rates of early pregnancy and parenthood among a sample of young adults (N ¼ 215), ages 18–22, with a history of foster care. The study also compares the educational attainment, financial resources, and homelessness experiences of young adults who became parents to those who did not. By age 21, 49% of the young women became pregnant, and 33% of young men reported getting someone pregnant. Over a quarter of participants experienced parenthood, which was associated with lower educational attainment, less employment, not having a checking or savings account, and a history of homelessness. Gender moderated the association between parenthood and employment such that males who were parents were more likely than female parents to be employed. Given that these young adults were at risk of early pregnancy and parenthood regardless of emancipation status and across several racial/ethnic groups, the results suggest a need for early pregnancy prevention efforts for all youth with child welfare involvement as well as improving resources and support for those who become young parents.


  • Hershkowitz, I., Nelkman, E. P. & Zur, R. (2018) When Is a Child’s Forensic Statement Deemed Credible? A Comparison of Physical and Sexual Abuse Cases. Child Maltreatment, 23(2).

A large national sample of 4,775 reports of child physical and sexual abuse made in Israel in 2014 was analyzed in order to examine whether assessments of credibility would vary according to abuse type, physical or sexual, and whether child and event characteristics contributing to the probability that reports of abuse would be determined as credible would be similar or different in child physical abuse (CPA) and child sexual abuse (CSA) cases. Results revealed that CPA reports were less likely to be viewed as credible (41.9%) compared to CSA reports (56.7%). Multigroup path analysis, however, indicated equivalence in predicting factors. In a unified model for both types of abuse, salient predictors of a credible judgment were older age, lack of a cognitive delay, and the alleged abusive event being a onetime less severe act. Over and beyond the effects of these factors, abuse type significantly contributed to the prediction of credibility judgments.


  • Ansolabehere, S. D. & White, A. (2018) Policy, Politics and Public Attitudes toward the Supreme Court. American Politics Research.

We assess the importance of the public’s policy agreement with the Supreme Court on public approval of the court. Using survey data on a range of recent court cases, we measure respondents’ perceived ideological closeness to the court. Then, we test various theories of court approval (doctrinal, functional, attitudinal). People who believe the court has decided recent cases as they themselves would have done, or that judges share their partisanship, report higher court approval than those who perceive the court as ideologically distant from them. We compare these findings with similar effects of policy agreement on Congressional and Presidential approval.


  • Follesø, R. (2018) Er tre år nok? Tidsskriftet Norges Barnevern, 01.

BARNEVERNET FÅTT MYE oppmerksomhet i løpet av de senere år. Både nasjonal og internasjonal presse har rettet kritisk søkelys mot virksomheten, og offentlige tilsyn har avdekket alvorlige mangler. Det siste kan vi blant annet lese av rapporten Bekymring i skuffen, der Statens Helsetilsyn oppsummerer funn fra landsomfattende tilsyn i 2015 og 2016.


  • Haugen, G. M. D., Paulsen, V. & Caspersen, J. (2018) Barnevernets forebyggende arbeid mot vold i minoritetsfamilier. Tidsskriftet Norges Barnevern, 01.

Denne artikkelen bygger på funn fra prosjektet «Barnevernets arbeid med vold i minoritetsfamilier» som NTNU Samfunnsforskning har gjennomført på oppdrag fra Barne-, ungdoms- og familiedirektoratet. Artikkelen handler om barnevernets forebyggende arbeid mot vold i minoritetsfamilier. Sentrale spørsmål er for det første i hvilken grad barnevernstjenestene arbeider med forebyggende tiltak rettet mot denne gruppen, for det andre i hvor stor grad dette arbeidet innebærer samarbeid med andre etater, og for det tredje på hvilken måte barnevernstjenestene jobber for å forebygge mistillit og frykt for barnevernet. Studien viser at barns medvirkning er viktig i denne typen arbeid, og videre at ulike typer dialogarbeid og erfaringsutveksling kan være lovende tilnærminger i det forebyggende arbeidet rettet mot denne gruppen.


  • Studsrød, I. (2018) Utføre oppreisning: Saksbehandle søknader, støtte overlevende og konfrontere en samfunnsmessig skamplett. Tidsskriftet Norges Barnevern, 01.

De senere årene har det blitt avdekket graverende tilfeller av omsorgssvikt og overgrep begått mot barn og unge under offentlig omsorg i hele den vestlige verden. Mange land har utviklet, eller holder på å utvikle, oppreisningsordninger for de utsatte barna som nå er blitt voksne. I Norge har de fleste fylkeskommuner og kommuner opprettet oppreisningsordninger og betalt ut millioner til voksne barnevernsbarn. Men utover den økonomiske siden; hva innebærer oppgjøret? Det mangler forskning på dette området. Denne artikkelen bygger på en kvalitativ studie der elleve saksbehandlere i oppreisningsordningene er intervjuet. Spørsmålene i studien var: Hvordan utføres lokalt oppreisningsarbeid? Hvilken tilnærming har saksbehandlerne i dette arbeidet? Resultatene viste at lokalt oppreisningsarbeid varierer, og at saksbehandlerne har tre separate, men sammenvevde tilnærminger: å saksbehandle søknader, å støtte overlevende og å gjennomføre et lokalt samfunnsmessig oppgjør med institusjonelle overgrep av barn under offentlig omsorg. Analysene viste at oppreisningsarbeid omhandler flere ulike og motstridende rettferdighetsforståelser.


  • Aamodt, H. A (2018) Barneverntjenesten – en polyfon organisasjon. Tidsskriftet Norges Barnevern, 01.

I artikkelen sees barnevernets undersøkelse i et systemteoretisk perspektiv. Analysen viser hvordan barnevernet som organisasjon benytter seg av flere ulike kommunikasjonssystemer der det sosialfaglige system ikke er det dominerende. Den enkelte saksbehandler må dermed håndtere en organisasjon hvor det ikke er gitt fra hvilket system en beslutning skal tas. Gjennom de ulike måtene det kommuniseres på, trer barnevernundersøkelsen frem og med den et bestemt blikk på hvordan undersøkelsen og klientene skal forstås. Det er altså barnevernundersøkelsens tilknytning til et bestemt kommunikasjonssystem som blir bestemmende for hvordan saksbehandlerne forstår seg selv og sitt oppdrag, men også hvem familiene blir for dem. Dermed trer barnevernet frem som en mangestemmet eller polyfon organisasjon. Artikkelens empiriske datagrunnlag er ti samtaler mellom foreldre og saksbehandlere i deres første møte i en barnevernundersøkelse. Samtalene er videofilmet.


  • Halvorsen, T. (2018) Glimt fra tilknytningsteoriens historie. Tidsskriftet Norges Barnevern, 01

Det er snart 60 år siden den engelske psykiateren John Bowlby lanserte teorien som i norsk oversettelse har fått navnet tilknytningsteori. Her beskrives det at barnet har en medfødt tilbøyelighet til å søke mot personer som kan gi trygghet. Omsorgspersonens reaksjoner på barnets tilknytningsatferd de tre–fire første leveårene er avgjørende for hvilken indre arbeidsmodell som etableres hos barnet. Dette er en kognitiv størrelse som barnet anvender for å predikere omsorgspersonens handlemåter og planlegge hvordan det selv skal respondere. Når barnet er fire–fem år gammelt, blir arbeidsmodellen i økende grad generalisert til andre relasjoner. På denne måten blir arbeidsmodellen avgjørende for barnets sosiale utvikling. I sin levetid høstet Bowlby både kritikk og anerkjennelse, kanskje mest av det første. De tre siste tiårene har tilknytningsteorien fått stor anvendelse innen barnepsykiatri og barnevern, også i vårt land. Psykoanalysen var Bowlbys faglige startsted. Han beveget seg imidlertid tidlig utenfor grensene til dette paradigmet. Bowlby hadde et faglig vidsyn og hentet inspirasjon fra mange hold. Flere som har arbeidet i tradisjonen etter Bowlby, har gjort viktige innsatser med å videreutvikle tilknytningsteorien. Også disse etterfølgerne har vært eklektikere og formulert synteser. Å følge tilknytningsteoriens historie er en spennende oppdagelsesreise som går innom en rekke teorier om barns utvikling, og hvor en stadig krysser grenser mellom fag. Første del av denne artikkelen rommer en kortfattet presentasjon av Bowlbys livshistorie. I del to beskrives hendelser, personer og paradigmer som har vært særlig viktige i tilknytningsteoriens historie.


  • Jabbar, S. & Betawi, A. (2018) Children express: war and peace themes in the drawings of Iraqi refugee children in Jordan. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth.

The current study focuses on data collected from Iraqi refugee children in Jordan who fled the Islamic State Group (IS) after capturing the city of Qaraqosh overnight in 2014. 16 children, 9 males and 7 females between the ages of (4–12) participated in the study. Two major themes were identified from the qualitative analysis of children’s peace drawings and their verbal statements: ‘peace as religion, contentment and serenity’ and peace as a negative space, while two other common themes were identified in the children’s war drawings: ‘war as activity and conflict; and death, as, a result, of war’. Findings indicate that developmental differences between children were evident via their drawings and their knowledge of peace and war, confirming that children’s understanding of war precedes their understanding of peace.


  • Spinak, J. M. (2018) They Persist: Parents and Youth Voice in the Age of Trump. Family Court Review, 2, (56).

In recent decades, parents and youth involved in the child welfare and foster care systems have created myriad ways to have their voices heard and their concerns appreciated, including through collective self‐advocacy efforts. New forms of individual and communal advocacy have emerged, including with supportive professionals, that acknowledge the centrality of parents and youth in every decision being made about their lives and about the systems that control their lives. Nevertheless, studies of youth and parent engagement identify the numerous individual and systemic barriers to meaningful participation and self‐advocacy efforts and the challenges to overcoming those barriers. This essay explores how empowered parents and youth can surmount those barriers with the assistance of their professional allies. Ultimately, this individual and communal engagement will strengthen a family‐oriented child welfare system and a more responsive government in these uncertain times.


  • Todres, J. (2018) The Trump effect, Children, and the value of Human Rights Education. Family Court Review, 2, (56).

Since launching his presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s rhetoric has often been divisive as well as demeaning of selected groups. This article examines the impact of Trump’s rhetoric on children and their communities and explores the role that human rights education can play in responding to Trump and forging broader support for human rights. The article reviews the research on human rights education and considers how human rights education can be embedded in broader efforts to educate children. Using children’s literature as a case study, the article argues for the importance of mainstreaming human rights education and meeting children where they are, in order to foster greater recognition of and respect for the rights of all individuals.


  • Woodhouse, B. B. & Woodhouse, C. F. (2018) Children’s rights and the politics of food: Big Food versus Little People. Family Court Review, 2, (56).

This article traces the battle in the United States during the Obama administration, continuing into the Trump administration, to protect children’s rights to food. It explores barriers to development of sound, science-based food policies, including the refusal to recognize food as a human right, anti-science denialism, hostility toward government regulation, and relative power-lessness of children. It points to the role of a “Big Food Pyramid” composed of powerful food industry and large scale distribution and marketing interests in blocking sound policies in prenatal and infant nutrition, school lunches, SNAP and WIC, the marketing to children of high fat and fructose-laden products, and campaigns to increase youth fitness. While predicting a continuing assault at the federal level on children’s rights to safe and healthy foods, the article highlights the positive role of consumer demand in shaping marketing, labeling and production of food and opportunities for leaders in the food industry and in government at local, municipal and state levels to continue the battle for sound food policies.



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