Prof. Marit Skivenes
Marit Skivenes is a professor at the Department of Administration and Organization Theory and the director of Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, University of Bergen. Skivenes heads the commission for the Official Norwegian Report on improved quality and legal protection in child protection (2021-2023). She is recognised as a leading expert in the field of child protection systems, with numerous publications in well-regarded journals. She is also a popular lecturer and a widely used expert by the media.
Skivenes completed her PhD in Political Science at the University of Bergen in 2002. Post PhD, she worked two years as a researcher at the research institute “Fafo” in Oslo. Later she spent three years at the Centre for Child Welfare at the Faculty of Psychology (UiB), as associate professor and head of the Centre. She then continued to work three years at the Department of Social Education at Bergen University College, first as an associate professor and later as a professor.
In 2016, Skivenes received the prestigious Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council to conduct ground-breaking research on discretionary decision-making. Marit Skivenes and Katrin Kriz was awarded the ISW prize for best article published in 2015 with the article “Challenges for marginalized minority parents in different welfare systems: Child welfare workers’ perspectives“.
Open Access Publications
- Helland, H. S., Pedersen, S. H. & Skivenes, M. (2022) Comparing population view’s on state responsibility for children in vulnerable situations – the role of institutional context and socio-demographic characteristics. Journal of Public Child Welfare. AHEAD-OF-PRINT: 1-22.
- Berrick, J., Skivenes, M. & Roscoe, J. (2022) Parental freedom in the context of risk to the child: Citizens’ views of child protection and the state in the US and Norway. Journal of Social Policy: 1-22.
- Løvlie, A. & Skivenes, M. (2021). Justifying interventions in Norwegian child protection – an analysis of cases of violence in migrant and non-migrant families. Nordic Journal on Law and Society, 4(2): 1-41.
- Skivenes, M. (2021). Exploring populations view on thresholds and reasons for child protection intervention – comparing England, Norway, Poland and Romania. European Journal of Social Work, AHEAD-OF-PRINT: 1-16
- Burns, K., Helland, H. S., Križ, K., Sánchez-Cabezudo, S., Skivenes, M. & Strömpl, J. (2021) Corporal punishment and reporting to child protection authorities: An empirical study of population attitudes in five European countries. Children and Youth Services Review, 120 (2021) 105749: 1-10.
- Luhamaa, K., McEwan-Strand, A., Ruiken, B., Skivenes, M., & Wingens, F. (2021). Services and support for mothers and newborn babies in vulnerable situations: A study of eight European jurisdictions. Children and Youth Services Review, 120 (2021) 105762: 1-10.
- Breen, C., Krutzinna, J., Luhamaa, K., & Skivenes, M. (2020). Family Life for Children in State Care. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 28(4): 715-747.
- Helland, H. S., Pedersen, S. H. & Skivenes, M. (2020) Adopsjon eller offentlig omsorg? En studie av befolkningens syn på adopsjon som tiltak i barnevernet [Adoption or public care – Citizens’ views on adoption as a child protection measure]. Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning, 61 (2): 124–139.
- Krutzinna, J. & Skivenes, M. (2020). Judging parental competence: A cross-country analysis of judicial decision makers’ written assessment of mothers’ parenting capacities in newborn removal cases. Child & family social work, 26 (2021): 50-60.
- McEwan-Strand, A., & Skivenes, M. (2020). Children’s Capacities and Role in Matters of Great Significance for Them. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 28(3): 632-665.
- Burns, Kriz, Krutzinna, Luhamaa, Meysen, Pösö, Segado, Skivenes & Thoburn. 2019. The Hidden Proceedings – An Analysis of Accountability of Child Protection Adoption Proceedings in Eight European Jurisdictions. European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance, 6 (2019): 339-371.
- Skivenes, M. & Helland, H. S. (2019) Adopsjon som barneverntiltak. Bergen: Universitetet i Bergen
- Berrick, J.D., Dickens, J., Pösö, T. and Skivenes, M. (2018) ‘International Perspectives on Child-responsive Courts‘, International Journal of Children’s Rights. 26 (2018): 251-277.
- Skivenes, M. and Sørsdal, L. M. (2018) ‘The Child’s Best Interest Principle across Child Protection Jurisdictions‘, in Falch-Eriksen, A. & Backe-Hansen, E. (eds.) Human Rights in Child Protection – Implications for Professional Practice and Policy, 59-88. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Skivenes, M. and Thoburn, J. (2016) ‘Pathways to permanence in England and Norway: A critical analysis of documents and data‘, Children and Youth Services Review, 67 (2016): 152-160.
- Križ, K. and Skivenes, M. (2014) ‘Street-level policy aims of child welfare workers in England, Norway and the United States: An exploratory study’, Children and Youth Services Review, 40 (2014): 71-78.
- Skivenes, M. and Trygstad, S. C. (2013) ‘Is the type of misconduct decisive for the perceived legitimacy of whistleblowing? A study of municipal managers’ assessments of whistleblowing in cases of harassment and corruption’, E-Journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies, 2: 50-65.
- Helland & Skivenes (2021) Adoption from care in Norway. In Pösö, Skivenes & Thoburn (2021). Adoption from Care. International Perspectives on Children’s Rights, Family Preservation and State Intervention. Policy Press.
- Pösö, Skivenes & Thoburn (2021). Introducing the field of adoption from care. In Pösö, Skivenes & Thoburn (2021). Adoption from Care. International Perspectives on Children’s Rights, Family Preservation and State Intervention. Policy Press.
- Pösö, Skivenes & Thoburn (2021). Making sense of adoption from care in very different contexts. In Pösö, Skivenes & Thoburn (2021). Adoption from Care. International Perspectives on Children’s Rights, Family Preservation and State Intervention. Policy Press.
- Pösö T., Skivenes, M. & Thoburn J. (2021). Adoption from Care. International Perspectives on Children’s Rights, Family Preservation and State Intervention. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.
- Langford, M., Skivenes, M. & Søvig, K. H. (eds.) (2019) Child rights in Norway: Measuring Compliance. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
- Key note speaker at the 15th International EUSARF Conference “All Children, All Families. Promoting Excellence in Child Welfare Research, Policy and Practice”. 2018-10-03 – 2018-10-05. Porto, Portugal.
- Plenary speaker at the international conference “Decision Making in Child and Adult Protection: Discretion and Dialogue“. 2018-05-31 – 2018-06-02. Basel, Switzerland.
- Key note speaker at the 3rd Annual International ERCPAMM Seminar “Research, social policy and action with migrant minors”, Title: «Children across borders: Rights and policies». 2018-04-25 – 2018-04-27. Melilla, Spain.
- Keynote speaker at the 8th ESFR Conference “Changing Family Relations – Gender and Generations”; 2016-08-31 – 2016-09-03. Dortmund, Germany.
- Keynote speaker at the Nordic Congress on Child Welfare; 2015-08-26 – 2015-08-28. Turko, Finland.
- Keynote speaker at the 25th Anniversary Conference of UNs Child Convention – “Protection of children against violence and sexual abuse”; 2014-11-10. Oslo, Norway.
- Plenary lecture at the 13th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect; 2013-09-15 – 2013 09-18. Dublin, Ireland.
- Plenary lecture at the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs’ conference “Oppvekstkonferansen 2012”; 2012-10-24. Oslo, Norway.
- Plenary lecture at UNIFEC Conference: “A Better Way to Protect ALL Children: The theory and practice of child protection systems”; 2012-11-13 – 2012-11-16. New Delhi, India
Commentaries in Media
- Skivenes M. (2019). Child protection and child centrism – the Grand Chamber case of Strand Lobben and others v. Norway 2019. Strasbourg Observers, 11 October 2019.
- Skivenes, M. og Helland, H. (2019). Barns rett til familieliv (“Children’s right to family life”, in Norwegian). Dagbladet, 23 February 2019.
- Skivenes, M. (2018). Hvem har mest innflytelse – Solberg eller NAV-konsulenten? (“Who has the most influence – the Prime Minister or the welfare officer”, in Norwegian). Bergens Tidende, 5 June 2018.
- Skivenes M. og McEwan-Strand A. (2018). A Child-Centred Court of Human Rights? Strand Lobben v. Norway. Strasbourg Observers, 3 January 2018.
- Skivenes, M. (2016). Rettigheter som utfordrer. (“Rights that challenge”, in Norwegian). Bergens Tidende, December 1 2016
Marit Skivenes does also regularly publish blog posts at discretion.uib.no
- Erfaren forsker skal lede ny barnevernsutredning. Interview / news article in Kommunal rapport. Punlished 30.03.2021.
- Barnevernet ber sjeldnere om å ta over omsorgen for barn med tvang. Interview / news article in Bergens Tidende. Published 16. 10.2020.
- Ny forskning: Avslører nye lovbrudd. Interview / news article in Dagbladet. Published 15.09.2020.
- Advarer mot inspirasjon fra Norge. Interview / news article in Dagen. Published 23.05.2020.
- Professor: – Norsk barnevern er i front med barns rettigheter. Det kan virke som om vi har fått svi for det. Interview in Aftenposten / Bergens Tidende. Published 25.11.2019
- Adopsjon gir bedre levekår. Interview / news article at Forskning.no. Published 09.02.2019.
- Rundt 50 barn i året adopteres av fosterforeldre. Det er altfor få, ifølge ny rapport. Interview / news article in Aftenposten. Published 05.02.2019.
- Norwegian mother wins asylum in Poland. Interview / news article in The Times. Published 18.12.2018.
- Her er boka som skal forandre barnevernet. Interview / news article in FriFagbevegelse. Published 01.10.2018.
- “Hatet mot barnevernet” (The hatred against child protection services, in Norwegian). Bergens Tidende, 3. juni 2017.
- “Statens rolle overfor familien” (The governments role in family life, in Norwegian). Dagen, 16. mai 2017.
- “Forsker på omsorgsovertakelser” (Researching on child protection care orders, in Norwegian). Fontene, 15. februar 2017.
- “Fikk 18 millioner kroner i stipend” (Received 18 million norwegian kroner in scholarship, in Norwegian). Bergens Tidende, December 15th 2016.
- Head of the Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism
- Chair of the research group DIPA (Discretion and Paternalism
- Research leader of Child Rights Unit at Centre on Law and Social Transformation
- Representative in the Faculty Board, 2017-2021 (as well as 2013-2017).
- Member of the Departments Council, 2017-2021 (as well as 2013-2017).
- Steering Committee member of Centre on Law and Social Transformation
- Steering Committee member of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Implementing Project (CRC-IP)
- Steering Committee member of the Inter-disciplinary Network for Research on Child Welfare Proceedings and Decision-Making
- Co-director of CEIPAMM (Centro Europeo de Investigación. Políticas y Acción Para Los Menores y La Migración)
- Head of commission for the Official Norwegian Report on improved quality and legal protection in child protection 2021-2023 for the Ministry of Children and Families
- Elected member of The European Academy of Sciences
- Member of the working group for the Quality in Research Strategy at UiB
- Leader of the working group for research in the Government’s Barnunge21 strategy
- Organizer of the fourth “Colloquium on the United Nations Covention on the Rights of the Child Implementation Project (CRC-IP)” together with Karl Harald Søvig. Funded by the Norwegian Research Council (VAM). April 2017.
- Deputy Chair for the research group “Politics, Governance and Innovation”, Dept. of Administration and Organization Theory, UiB. (2013 – 2015)
- Member of the Committee for Education, Dept. of Administration and Organization Theory, UiB. (2012 – 2013)
- Board member, Research Group “Productive Disruptions”, Bergen University College (2010 – 2018)
- Board member of the Department Board, Dept. of Education and Health, UiB. (2006 – 2007)
- Member of reference group for the thematic paper, “Protecting Children from Violence”, to be presented to Governments of Asia-Pacific at the Third High Level Meeting for Cooperation on Child Rights. 2016. Engaged by the “Child protection section”, for Regional Office for South Asia, UNICEF.
- Member of the evaluation committee on the “The Norwegian Center for Child Behavioral Development”, engaged by the Norwegian Governments, Ministry of children, equality and social inclusion.
- Member of the reference group for the paper “Towards a Typology for Child Protection Systems”, 2013-2014, engaged by the “Child Protection Section”, NY, UNICEF.
Marit Skivenes was awarded the prestigous ERC Consolidator Grant in 2016 for her research project DISCRETION. Read more about this here.
Marit Skivenes and Katrin Kriz were awarded the ISW prize for best article published in 2015 with the article “Challenges for marginalized minority parents in different welfare systems: Child welfare workers’ perspectives“.
Prof. Skivenes giving a short presentation on the Norwegian child welfare system (in Norwegian)
Get to know Marit
What are you working on at the moment?
We just completed a possible over-ambitious project with an International Handbook on Child Protection Systems with contributors from over 50 countries! Madness, but thanks to fantastic co-editors, Jill Berrick and Neil Gilbert, it has been super-fun. We are also in the midst of analysing over 350 judgments form eight countries, which showing some very promising results.
Where are you best able to think?
Many places. I like variation, and I have some favorite cafes in which I can have coffee and work very concentrated. But, my office at the university is a good spot and likewise my workspace at home – although, due to the Covid-19 its been too much home office.
What does your workspace look like?
Right now, I am working from home, switching between my desk and my youngest´s home-schooling desk. My workplace often is a big mess. Always too many things going on, and I do not put things back in its place (which is hard to admit, as I would really like to be an orderly person).
How does a typical day at work look like for you?
In these times, up early, get some hours work before my boys are up. My youngest still have 50% home-schooling, so depending on which day it is: either a) after the 7th grader is out of the door, we start studying and after a short time its basket and gardening. Or, b) a full day of writing and reading, and the occasional zoom with my team (who I miss sooooo much).
What is the best thing about your job?
Supervising students and teaching classes, working with smart and energetic research colleagues, developing new ideas and finding solutions to problems.
… and the worst?
Ha, ha, I will not go there.
Is there a specific book within your field you’d recommend?
Yes, Communicative Action by Jürgen Habermas. For me, that was a turning point in my research career.
If you had to choose a different field, what would it be?
Hmm, difficult – clearly there are many very interesting jobs. Maybe an investigative journalist, or an Ombudsman for Children, or lead the charity work of a really, really wealthy organization.
Is there a TV-show you are binging?
Yes, our favorite is Ted Lasso. Super-fun, warm and a show for the whole family. We all love it!!
Which podcast are you listening to right now and why?
Well, here I am in between. The Daily from New York times is good. “Politisk kvarter” keeps me oriented on the Norwegian stuff, together with Aftenpodden. And, not as often as before, I listen to Real Time with Bill Maher, WTF with Marc Maron and Here is the Thing with Alec Baldwin.
Who would you take with you on a desert island?
Actually, some years back I did end up at a deserted island, at Cuba – we were diving and were taken to an Island. Beautiful, and totally empty – not a single person – only rows of empty beach beds. Very strange, we were told that this place was only allowed for cruise boat tourists (and the occasional diver boat as us that sneaked in).
But, returning to the question, for a deserted island I would be selfish and bring all my boys, including the cats. Make it a family happening, and an opportunity for us all to build character.
Your friend sets you up on a date with someone famous – who do you hope turns up?
Clearly, there are many: I used to say that number one would be Ricky Gervais, as he is extremely funny and has an exceptional ability to observe people’s peculiarities. But, after being at his show in Spectrum, Oslo, which was not smart and funny, he has been pushed down on the list.
Now, I would hope for Trevor Noah, the host of the Daily Show – enormously funny and smart, and then its Jerry Seinfeld of course, and John Oliver, and Samantha Bee, and John Stewart and, not to forget my longtime favorite Stephen Colbert.
Finally: What’s on your nightstand?
Just one book, in Norwegian, Abid Raja’s “Min Skyld” (ENG: “My Fault”). Raja is a well-known politician in Norway, and also the Minister of Culture and Equality (2021), and in this book he describes how he was raised in a family that neglected his congenital injury, parents that were not expressing love and care, and a father that beat him regularly. It was a childhood of maltreatment and much misery, and at age 15 the child protection system got involved. It is brave to write this book, and huge kudos to Raja for sharing his life experiences and with the hope that increased knowledge about childhood experiences will make all people aware that child abuse is not acceptable.
Updated Summer 2021
- Child protection and child welfare systems
- Children’s rights
- Deliberative Democracy
- Welfare state
- Political Theory
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