LITERATURE OVERVIEW: See our list of recently published articles of interest.
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ILLUSTRATION: Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism / MGalloway, Wikimedia Commons
Age limits for participation in child protection court proceedings in Sweden
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Swedish legislation, children have the right to participate in child protection proceedings. The aim of this paper is to describe and analyse the notion of age and maturity in child protection proceedings in order to elucidate how these aspects could influence children’s rights to participate. We focus on the view of three groups of actors involved in child protection proceedings in Sweden—social workers, lawyers, and laypersons in social welfare boards and administrative courts—and on how children’s age and maturity should be taken into consideration in decisions on their participation in court. The analysis is based on survey data. The study found that social workers, laypersons, and lawyers have different views on when children are old enough to have the right to litigate in court. Additionally, there is no consensus on how the maturity of the child can be assessed to inform the decision about participation. More discussion is needed about what competences a child needs to participate in court and to what extent this right should be limited by their age. Importantly, courts and decision‐making proceedings can be made more child friendly.
Hultman E, Höjer S, Larsson M. Age limits for participation in child protection court proceedings in Sweden. Child & Family Social Work. 2019;1–9. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12686
The impact of political guidelines on participation of children and families’ network in the risk assessment process
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.
Kresta M. Sørensen (2019) The impact of political guidelines on participation of children and families’ network in the risk assessment process, Nordic Social Work Research, 9:3, 250-261, https://doi.org/10.1080/2156857X.2018.1518814