PH.D.-Profil: Ida Benedicte Juhasz
The focus of my PH.D. project is decision-making in child welfare, and is a comparative study of the evidence and knowledge bases in child removal cases concerning newborns in Norway and England, and how the child's best interest is determined in these cases.
Through the child welfare system, the government is able to remove a child from its home, decide upon visitation and, at its outmost point, terminate parental rights. A child removal is a serious state intervention into family life and the private sphere, and becomes especially crucial when a newborn child is involved. The parents are not able to display care abilities for the child, and the decision is based on the parents prior history and predictions of the family future. The law is strict regarding this type of removal, but when less factors are involved it opens up a significant space for discretion. What then, impacts the assessment of the newborn child's best interests?
My PhD-project attempts to analyze the exercise of professional discretion in practice. Through a mixed methods approach using content analysis of judgments, a vignette, interviews with experts making assessments and a population survey, the goal is to provide knowledge about newborn removals in two different child welfare systems, and attempt to analyze the legitimacy of these decisions.