Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Ida Benedicte Juhasz

Ida Benedicte Juhasz

PhD Student


Ida Juhasz is a PhD student at the Department for Administration and Organization Theory (University of Bergen), affiliated with the Center for Research on Discretion and Paternalism. She holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology. Her research interests are child welfare decision-making, parents and newborns in the child welfare system.

Ida has contributed with research on parents’ involvement in care order cases, cross country levels of trust in child protection systems and obstacles in care order case preparation. She has previously worked as a research assistant and researcher for the Legitimacy and Fallibility in Child Welfare Services research project. She will be engaged in her PhD project about child welfare removals of newborns until 2021.

PhD project focusing on decision-making in child welfare; a comparative study of the empirical and normative bases in child removal cases concerning newborns in Norway and England, and how parenthood is assessed and evaluated in these cases.

Through the child welfare system, the government is able to remove a child from its home, decide upon visitation and, at its outmost point, terminate parental rights. A child removal is a serious state intervention into family life and the private sphere, and becomes especially crucial when a newborn child is involved. The parents are not able to display care abilities for the child, and the decision to remove (or not remove) the child is based on the parents prior history and predictions of the family future. The law is strict regarding this type of removal, but when less factors are involved it opens up a significant space for discretion. What then, impacts the assessment of the newborn child’s best interests?

This PhD-project attempts to analyze the exercise of professional discretion in practice. Through a multi methods approach using content analysis of judgments, a vignette, interviews with experts making assessments and a population survey, the goal is to provide knowledge about newborn removals in two different child welfare systems, and attempt to analyze the legitimacy of these decisions.


List of publications in national current research information system (CRIStin)

Master of Sociology, University of Bergen

Get to know Ida

What are you working on right now?

I am just about to complete the second paper for my dissertation. It has taken some time, but now I feel I am getting somewhere. I am also preparing lectures for an introductory course in political theory that I will be teaching this semester.


Is there a book you’d recommend within your field?

Unequal Childhoods by Annette Lareau really left its mark on me, because of the captivating way it is written and led by the stories of specific children and their families, and because it describes how children from different social classes are raised differently and provided different tools to cope as adults. I also have to recommend Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage by Edin and Kefalas. Written in that same qualitative and narrative style, the book provides great insight into the social lives of marginalized women, and what lies behind important crossroads they face or choices they make.

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about my job is how I get the chance to really delve into topics I find interesting, and that I am surrounded by people with so much knowledge and expertise. I also appreciate how, as a PhD student, I have a lot of flexibility in how I choose to structure my days.

And what do you like the least?

Flexibility can be a blessing and a curse, and you can easily find yourself in situations where you wish you had structured your day better or planned it differently.

Is there a TV-show you are binging this autumn?

I just finished Watchmen and His Dark Materials, so am between shows. Next up is the Expanse on Amazon Prime.

And what are you listening to these days?

There’s a lot of good Norwegian music coming out these days – I really like Arif’s latest album Arif i Waanderland and Highasakite’s most recent EP.

If you were prime minister for a day, what would you do?

As I study many cases concerning newborn babies born to parents with a drug addiction, I am often made to reflect on the everyday lives of heavy drug users in Bergen, and how tough this must be. The first thing I would do as prime minister is to change the legal regulations to allow for drug consumption facilities. After that, I would allocate a lot of money to ensure a real improvement in how drug users are treated, and their everyday lives.

And finally; your friend sets you up on a blind date with someone famous – who do you hope it is?

I know this is a little cliché, but I just miss him so much: Barack Obama.