Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

The population’s confidence in the child protection system

In the paper “The Population’s Confidence in the Child Protection System – A Survey Study of England, Finland, Norway and the United States (California)” written by Ida Juhasz and Marit Skivenes, we examined the confidence the population (N = 4,003) has in the child welfare system in four countries – England, Finland, Norway and the USA (California). We found that about half or less of the population reports having confidence in the system, which is slightly higher than the confidence in the civil servants in the same countries.

The Nordic countries displayed more confidence in the child welfare system compared to the Anglo-American countries. The similarity between the countries is, however, greater than anticipated. As for independent variables that can shed light on differences in confidence levels, we find three variables to be related to a higher confidence level, and these are a left wing political orientation, lower age, and higher education. This study contributes in filling a knowledge gap on studies about trust in the child welfare system, but we emphasize that we have studied an aspect of trust that rests on the population’s impressions of a system, and not their substantial knowledge about, or identification with, this system.

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