Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

The Oxford Handbook of Child Protection Systems

NEW BOOK: This handbook, edited by Jill Duerr Berrick, Neil Gilbert and Marit Skivenes, is the largest to date overview of child protection systems across the world. The book describes and analyzes the ways in which 50 countries from every continent, except Antarctica, have developed measures for the protection of children in need of protection against maltreatment prescribed in the UNCRC.

The United Nations developed the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) over 30 years ago, which highlighted the importance of protecting children from a range of human rights infractions. All children are entitled to these rights, including protection from abuse, neglect and maltreatment from parents, family, or other caregivers. If these rights are violated, it is the responsibility of the state to arrange a protective response. Yet, how nations conceptualize harm and how they define childhood varies considerably across the world.

The UNCRC is clear in highlighting children as individual rights-bearers, but the case studies in this book show the different ways rights can be interpreted and implemented. The book discusses the legislative responses, public administrative systems, and the social service networks that governments have put in place to secure the protection of children against maltreatment and exploitation. The case studies in this Handbook provide insights into the diverse factors that shape the efforts and accomplishments of child-protection systems around the world.

A Global typology

The authors propose a global typology of child protection systems, which aids in understanding the drivers and mechanisms in place to understand how child protection systems work, and why states approach protection of children differently. The case studies reveal five types of child protection systems identified principally by their risk orientation. This includes protection against child exploitation, protection against child deprivation, protection against child maltreatment, protection of child well-being, and protection of child rights.

The Handbook is an important and valuable resource for researchers, students, and policymakers attempting to craft thoughtful state responses to children’s needs.

About the authors

Jill Duerr Berrick

Jill Duerr Berrick is a distinguished Professor and the Zellerbach Family Foundation at the School of Social Welfare, US Berkeley. She also holds a position as a Professor II at the Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, University of Bergen. Her research focuses on the child welfare system and efforts to improve the experiences of children and families touched by foster care. For over three decades Dr. Berrick has conducted a range of studies examining child welfare services for vulnerable families. She has written or co-written 11 books and various articles on topics relating to family poverty, child maltreatment and child welfare.

More information here.

Neil Gilbert

Neil Gilbert is the Milton and Gertrude Chernin Professor of Social Welfare and Social Services. Dr. Gilbert is director of the Center for Comparative Family Welfare and Poverty Research and was the founding director of the Family Welfare Research Group. His numerous publications include 15 books, 18 edited volumes and over 145 articles that have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Public Interest, Society, Commentary, The American Interest, The Atlantic and leading academic journals.

More information here.

Marit Skivenes

Marit Skivenes is a professor at the Department of Government and the director of Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, University of Bergen. She is also the Principal Investigator of several international research projects. Skivenes is a popular lecturer and a widely used expert by the media. She is recognized as a leading expert in the field of child protection systems, with numerous publications in well-regarded journals. Skivenes also heads the commission for the Official Norwegian Report on improved quality and legal protection in child protection (2021-2023).

More information here.

The book was published on the 1st of March 2023 and is available for purchase here.  

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