Law, Politics and Welfare

Ongoing research projects

The members of the research group are involved in a number of projects.

Main content


Child Protection Systems Across the World (2023-2029)

CPS-WORLD aims to conduct groundbreaking research by examining the empirical foundation of an emerging, global typology of child protection systems – systems imbued with the legal authority and responsibility to intervene into the private sphere of the family. The main objective of the project is to examine defining elements of child protection systems and their boundaries by analyzing public and judiciary perspectives across the world, enabling empirical advancements and theoretical innovations. This transdisciplinary endeavor will lay the foundation as a conceptual tool for comparative research on governments’ responsibilities to and for children in vulnerable situations. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and the University of Bergen. Principal investigator is professor Marit Skivenes. Read more

Children's Right to Participation (2021-2026)

Lack of participation from children is one of the main challenges in the Norwegian child protection system. The PARTICIPATION project will look at how children are involved and heard in child protection. What is the practice today, what can be done better, and what new tools can be used to ensure better participation from children in the future? The project will look at the practice of children's participation both in the municipalities, the county boards and in the courts. The project will also include international perspectives on children's participation, and look at how Norway implements children's right to participation compared to other countries. PARTICIPATION is funded by the Research Council of Norway and coordinated by the DIPA-center at the University of Bergen, in collaboration with Bergen Municipality, the Central Unit for the County Boards, the Norwegian Courts and their Administration, and the Change Factory. Principal investigator is professor Marit Skivenes. Read more

Discretion and the Child’s Best Interest in Child Protection (2017 - 2022)

DISCRETION aims to unlock the black box of discretionary decision-making in child protection cases, by doing a comparative empirical study in a number of European countries of how discretionary decisions are made and justified in the best interests of the child. The aim is to improve our understanding of how and why decisions based on discretion vary. The project is funded by the European Research Council. Principal investigator is professor Marit Skivenes. Read more

The Acceptability of Child Protection Interventions: A Cross-Country Analysis (2017 - 2022)

This project examines public values and interpretations of the child’s best interest principle, as well as legal justifications of best interest judgments, in Norway, England, Finland and Germany. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. Principal investigator is professor Marit Skivenes. Read more

Legitimacy challenges for children´s rights and the child protection system (2020 - 2025)

CHALLENGES aims to reveal conditions and mechanisms for sustaining legitimacy in societies in which there is a backlash on social and political right developments. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. Principal investigator is professor Marit Skivenes. Read more

Cosmopolitan Turn and Democratic Sentiments: The Case of Child Protection Services (2019 - 2023)

The CONSENT-project will study the children’s rights situation in Norway and Romania. The research project is coordinated by the Babeş-Bolyai University in Romania, with the University of Bergen (UiB) and Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) as Norwegian partners. Marit Skivenes is the team leader at UiB. Read more

Cross-national Experiences of Foster Care: Does the Welfare State Matter? (2020-2021)

This project explores the differences between Norwegian and US welfare state ideologies, focusing specifically on child welfare. Marit Skivenes (UiB) and Jill Berrick (UC Berkerley) are the pricipal investigators, and the project is funded by Peder Sather Grant Program. Read more

Multi-Sectoral Responses to Child Abuse and Neglect in Europe (2020-2024)

The project is a COST Action network project with participants from several European countries. The aim of the project is to adress knowlede gaps related to children who experience abuse or neglect at the hands of those who should care for them, specifically in terms of how many of these children get help, which services they receive by which agency, and knowledge on which maltreatment turns fatal. From the center Marit Skivenes and Hege Helland participate in the project, which is funded by COST – European Cooperation in Science and Technology (EU Horizon 2020). Read more


The Basis for Legitimate and Justified State Intervention in Families (2018 - 2019)

This project aims to study the basis for legitimate and justified state intervention, by examining citizens’ opinions and sentiments on the child´s best interests and thresholds for child protection intervention. The project is funded by the Peder Sather Grant Program. Principal investigator is Marit Skivenes. Read more

Adoption as a Child Protection Measure (2016 - 2018)

This project study how the Norwegian legislation on adoption, as a measure in child welfare service, is implemented and practiced in the frontline service and in the courts. The project is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs. Principal investigator is professor Marit Skivenes. Read more (*in Norwegian)

Legitimacy and fallibility in child welfare services (2012 - 2017)

This project study child welfare services in Norway, Finland, England and the United States. The aim is to identify decisive factors and mechanisms in different welfare state arrangements and child welfare systems that promote or hinder high quality decision-making in the best interest of children and families. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. Principal investigator is professor Marit Skivenes. Read more

The Norwegian Child Welfare System in a Comparative Perspective (2010 - 2018)

This research project conducts a comparative analysis of child welfare systems in Norway, England and the USA, focusing on knowledge, decision making and ethnicity. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. Principal investigator is professor Marit Skivenes. Read more

Building and reflecting on interdisciplinary PhD studies for higher education transformation (2013 - 2018)

This project is part of the larger NORHED programme. The programme seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity and performance of academic institutions in the South to deliver quality education and research. The project is funded by Norad. Project leader at UiB is Tor Halvorsen.