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Child’s Best Interests in Child Protection: Learnings from a Cross-country Comparison.

Awarded: NOK 0.65 mill.

"Discretion and the child's best interest in child protection" (DISCRETION) is a pioneering research project funded by the European Research Council, which study the child protection system and the exercise of discretion in different countries. The aim is to examine the quality of discretionary decisions made when the child protection system removes children from their parents, and to bring forward new knowledge about various European child welfare systems. This reinforcement project supports the dissemination of findings from the DISCRETION project towards a Norwegian audience. The project has made available research results from DISCRETION through blog posts on the blog Stat & Individ ( and website of the Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism ( The blog entries are accessible popular science publications focusing on some of DISCRETION's most important results. The project has also facilitated the establishment of the digital dissemination initiative Barnevernfrokost in collaboration with Bergen municipality and the Centre on Law and Social Transformation (UiB). This initiative offers research-based insight into topics related to child protection, the exercise of discretion and children's rights in Norway and internationally. Barnevernfrokost has professionals and students in the child protection field as its target audience and video recordings from all webinars are available for educational purposes ( Researchers associated with the project have also presented research findings during the Bergen Exchanges Conference in 2021 and 2022 on topics such as global typologies of child protection systems and practices related to children's participation in child protection cases. The project has also facilitated research exchanges and the Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism has had two visiting researchers during 2022, Dr. Rami Benbenishty (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Dr. Zalman Rothschild (Stanford Constitutional Law Center).

Prosjektet har resultert i at forskning som er presentert i engelskspråklige tidsskrifter, er tilgjengeliggjort på norsk, både skriftlig og digitalt, for allmenheten og for praktikere på ulike nivå i forvaltningen og i domstolene. Det har videre vært konferanser (Bergen Exchanges) som er en møteplass for forskere og praktikere, fra Norge og fra andre land, hvor resultater er presentert i generalisert form. Det har vært publisert blogposter og videoer som er offentlige og tilgjengelig for de som er interessert.

The ERC-funded H2020 project "Discretion and the Child’s Best Interests in Child Protection" (DISCRETION) conducts the most comprehensive cross-country comparison of child protection systems to date and aims to unlock the black box of discretionary decision-making in child protection cases. The project is at the research frontier of interdisciplinary studies of decision-making and the welfare state. This additional project, titled "Child’s Best Interests in Child Protection: Learnings from a Cross-country Comparison, seeks to bring knowledge and insights from DISCRETION to a Norwegian audience, in order to impact research and society in Norway. The ambition is to involve Norwegian researchers in the frontier research conducted in the project and to open up new platforms for research on the Norwegian child protection system. Further, the ambition is to communicate findings from DISCRETION to professionals, policy makers and the general public to establish a knowledge base for the political debate and policy development on Norwegian child protection. These ambitions will be achieved through a wide range of activities, including: Preparing accessible research summaries in Norwegian (video, text and audio), operate a Visiting scholar program, and hosting an Academic seminar, PhD course, Policy seminar and a Public event.

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