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Purpose – Young people exhibiting serious behavior problems represent an enormous challenge for municipal child welfare services in Norway. In working with these…
Purpose – Young people exhibiting serious behavior problems represent an enormous challenge for municipal child welfare services in Norway. In working with these youngsters, it is vital to create opportunities for them to participate in the decisions affecting their lives. The study aims to explore the dilemmas involving issues of participation on the one side and protection on the other: it is one where the child welfare worker is being required, on the one hand, to provide youths with an opportunity to participate in decisions affecting them while at the same time being required to protect those youths in their care from harming themselves in various ways. These two concerns of participation and protection are spelled out specifically in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children of which Norway is a signatory.
Methodology – This study draws from a qualitative reanalysis of interview data from a 15-year longitudinal study of 85 child welfare clients in Norway. They were followed up at three points in time: first when they became clients (age 14–15), next when they were young adults (age 20), and finally when they were 30 years old. All of these 85 informants had initially come to the attention of child protection authorities owing to the severity of their behavior problems.
Findings – The chapter describes how these young people experienced both participation and protection of the child welfare services at the time they were provided and later on when they had become adults. One important finding of the study is that, as adults, their opinions had changed and they then believed that the protection usually in the form of guardianship earlier provided to them as youngsters had been beneficial to them.
David A. Kinney is professor of sociology at Central Michigan University. He obtained his Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University at Bloomington, completed postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago and worked as a research development specialist for the U.S. Department of Education in Philadelphia. His primary research areas are sociology of adolescence and sociology of education. He has published articles and chapters on children's time use, adolescent peer cultures, and education in venues such as Sociology of Education, Youth and Society, American Behavioral Research Scientist, and The Praeger Handbook of American High Schools. He is past president of the Michigan Sociological Association and elected council member of the American Sociological Association sections on Sociology of Children and Youth and Sociology of Education. He became series editor of this volume in 1999 and has been series co-editor with Katherine Brown Rosier since 2004.