The Critique of Child Protection and Children’s Rights

Date: Friday 24 August
Time: 12:30-13:30
Place: Bergen Resource Centre for International Development, Jekteviksbakken 31, Bergen

The Norwegian child protection system is once again under the scrutiny of international mass media. This time it is the BBC that August 3, 2018 published an article titled Norway´s hidden scandal, portraying parents that feel mistreated by the system. These types of articles, exposing the mistakes and brutal consequences of a system that always stands on the balancing verge of doing too much or too little – damned if you do and damned if you don’t – are common in many countries and raises a wide range of questions in relation to the rights of children and the legitimacy of the child protection system. This session discusses the many consequences of mass media exposure of child protection workers, judiciary decision makers, children, foster parents and birth parents. How do parental rights challenge children´s rights, and does mass media exposure create a mistrust in the system that poses a risk to children? Transparency and accountability are necessary in a democratic society; even more so, for a system that can remove children from their families. How does the government handle and respond to critique without disclosing private and confidential information about the individuals concerned? We will discuss the implications of critical exposure of child protection systems, examining the experiences from various systems and countries.

Moderator: Hege Helland (University of Bergen).

Participants: June Thoburn (East Anglia University); Tarja Pösö (Tampere University); University of Bergen); Svanhild Alver (Bergen Municipality)(tbc);  Geir Kjell Andersland (Hordaland Social County Board)(tbc); Kenneth Burns (Cork Univerisity College); Thomas Meysen (the International Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (SOCLES)); Marit Skivenes (University of Bergen).