Child Welfare Removals by the State – A Cross-Country Analysis of Decision-Making Systems

Edited by Kenneth Burns, Tarja Pösö, and Marit Skivenes (2016)
Oxford University Press

Child Welfare Removals by the State addresses a most important and underresearched legal proceeding: when the State intervenes in the private family sphere to remove children at risk to a place of safety, adoption, or other form of out-of-home care. An approach that is intrusive, contested, and very much a last resort, states’ interventions in the family are decided within legal and political orders and traditions that constitute a country’s policies, welfare state model, child protection system, and children’s position in a society. However, the literature has lacked a cross-country analysis of the different models of decision-making in a European context. This text presents new research at the intersection of social work, law, and social policy concerning child protection proceedings for children in need of alternative care. It explores the role of court-based and voluntary decisionmaking systems in child protection proceedings, its effects, dynamics, and meanings in seven European countries and the United States, and analyses the tensions and dilemmas between children, parents, and socio-legal professionals. Covering a range of territories including the social democratic Nordic countries (Finland, Norway, and Sweden), the conservative corporatist regimes (Germany and Switzerland), the neo-liberal (England, Ireland, and the United States), and related child welfare systems, Child Welfare Removals by the State is a text that appeals to students, practitioners, teachers, and policy-makers alike.