Care order templates as institutional scripts in child protection: A cross-system analysis

Jill Duerr Berrick, Jonathan Dickens, Tarja Poso, Marit Skivenes

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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This article compares blank care order application templates used in four countries (England, Finland, Norway, and USA (California)), treating them as a vital part of the ‘institutional scripts’ that shape practice, and embody state principles of child protection. The templates are used when child protection agencies apply to court for a care order, usually to remove a child from the family home. The templates prescribe and shape the type of information and analysis that is required justify such an extreme level of state intervention in family life. They are a mechanism and a manifestation of the principles and the legislation of each child welfare system, and are able to cast light on issues that might otherwise remain unseen or unnoticed in cross-country comparisons. The analysis of the documents compares the language and form of the four blank templates, their inter-textuality, their readership, and authors. The analysis highlights the discretionary space allocated to social workers across countries and the state frameworks within which child protection efforts are embedded.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Early online date13 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • child welfare
  • care order preparations
  • institutional scripts
  • discretion
  • cross-country comparisons

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