Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Professor Skivenes’ keynote on the legitimacy of child protection on the 26th National Conference in Finland

The 26th National Social Work Research Conference in Tampere University, Finland, has gathered scholars, researchers, government representatives, as well as representatives of civil society organisations working in the field of social work and welfare systems. In the period between 15.-16.2.2024, the conference aimed to create a platform for discussing  contemporary challenges that will address both institutional and policy restraints, but also global threats such as climate change, pandemics, and armed conflicts.

Centred around the theme: “Effective social work in changing environments”, the conference attracted over 430 attendees interested in the most recent research and policy on the evolving landscape of social work and social security amidst structural and social changes, within the context of Finland and beyond. The conference has produced fruitful discussions, by implementing various formats and events, including keynote speeches, panels, workshops, and networking events. There are 3 main topical questions that were addressed: on the effectiveness of social work in different environments and situations; different approaches within social work that can enhance social equality; and on social work as advocacy work in evolving environments.

Centre for Discretion and Paternalism (DIPA) has participated in the conference, with Professor Marit Skivenes holding a keynote speech on Friday, 16.2.2024, on the topic of “The legitimacy of child protection in times of changing environments”. The presentations and events on Friday have gathered over 400 participants and attendees, who took interest in Professor Marit Skivenes’ research on child welfare and protection, which provided a thought-provoking insight into modern dilemmas in regards of the legitimation of child social services, particularly if different legal systems and cultural norms are taken into consideration. The presentation has laid particular emphasis on the evolution and reforms in Norwegian child protection systems, tackling topics such as adoption, foster care, children’s participation and deliberation, and others.

Besides the topics presented by Professor Marit Skivenes, the conference has tackled various issues on the future of social work in connection with policy development, education, working conditions, and workers’ rights. The Social Work Research Conference provided an excellent opportunity for the Centre for Discretion and Paternalism to effectively communicate and promote its research and projects, while also contributing to the conference’s main goals of sharing ideas and knowledge on some of the most significant challenges social work and social welfare systems are facing today.

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