A group of three researchers (Hans Grietens, Mónica López López & Erik Knorth) from the Faculty of Behavioural and Social sciences have been awarded a European grant for a new study into child welfare. The European Union’s “New Opportunities for Research Funding Co-operation”(NORFACE) will grant €730,619 for a project running until January 2018. The official name of the project is: ‘Policies and responses with regard to child abuse and neglect in England, Germany and the Netherlands’.
The study will consist of three parts, and include an analysis of: (1) policies concerning child abuse and neglect, (2) administrative data of cases reported to child protective services, and (3) the views of children’s biological parents. Different approaches per country obviously lead to different outcomes. The aim of this study is to compare these approaches and practices and create opportunities for improvement.
One remarkable (partly unforeseen) aspect of the project is that it will be one of the first studies to look at the current policy changes in the Dutch child welfare system. The Dutch system is subject to many changes from January 2015 and it will be interesting to find what the implications are for professionals, children and families. Due to the duration of the study the researchers have the chance to study changes and developments over time.
Though country specific issues are interesting, the main focus of the project will be on a global comparison. Its aim is not to estimate the number of child abuse cases in different countries but to address and solve an important societal issue. The comparison of practices in a global (European) context will help to steer policy in the right direction.
Working on the project will be scholars from three different countries being: The Netherlands, Germany and The United Kingdom. The Dutch team, at the University of Groningen, will be led by Hans Grietens, who is the main applicant of the project. The team will also employ a PhD student with the grant.
The first results will be presented at a symposium in 2017. However, special attention is also given to communication of the findings via social media.
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