Children’s and parents’ involvement in care order proceedings: a cross-national comparison of judicial decision-makers’ views and experiences

Jill Berrick, Jonathan Dickens, Tarja Pösö, Marit Skivenes

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This paper presents the views of judicial decision-makers (n= 1794) in four child protection jurisdictions (England, Finland, Norway, and the USA (California)), about whether parents and children are provided with appropriate opportunities to participate in proceedings in their countries. Overall, the study found a high degree of agreement within and between the countries as regards the important conditions for parents and children´s involvement, although the four systems themselves are very different. There was less agreement about children’s involvement than parents’, and the court decision-makers from Norway and Finland were more likely to express doubts about this. Nevertheless, the main message from the judicial decision-makers is that they are relatively satisfied as to how parents and children´s involvement is handled in their countries. Whether or not this confidence is justified, the emphasis on achieving effective involvement of children and parents in court proceedings is likely to grow, with major implications for the workers, decision-makers and agencies involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-204
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number2
Early online date19 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • children and parents participation
  • cross-country study
  • judicial decision-makers

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