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Home > Arhiva > 2018 > Numar: 3 > Emergency Out-Of-Home Placements, a Comparison Between Child Welfare Practice in Germany and Norway

 Emergency Out-Of-Home Placements, a Comparison Between Child Welfare Practice in Germany and Norway

  • Arve Lerum (niversity of Stavanger Norway, Institute of social work. E-mail:

Participation of children and parents in child welfare matters is a complex area. Emergency out of home placements bring this theme to the fore. In this small-scale qualitative study I explore and compare how frontline child welfare workers in Germany and Norway discuss/negotiate with parents and children when an emergent out-of-home placement is deemed necessary. My main question is whether there is a main difference in the Norwegian and German approach. Data was collected from semi-structured interviews with frontline child welfare workers in Germany and Norway. The interviews were transcribed verbatim in each language. Thematic analysis was carried out with the assistance of NVivo. Findings indicate that the German child welfare service, compared with the Norwegian service, explores opportunities for empowering families to a higher degree both before and after an emergency out-of-home placement. The child welfare service in Norway seems to be more occupied with protecting the child and keeping it away from family, whereas the child welfare service in Germany (Jugendamt), to a larger degree, introduces measures to reunite the child and family. The study highlights the complexity of service user perspective in emergency out-of-home placements and discusses implications for social work and frontline child welfare workers

Keywords: user participation, child welfare practice, emergency out-of-home placements, comparison Germany-Norway