Learning from parents: A qualitative interview study on how parents experience their journey through the Dutch child protection system

Helen Bouma*, Hans Grietens, Mónica López López, Erik J. Knorth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The quality of parents' experiences with the child protection system (CPS) is related to the outcomes of their family's process in the system. The importance of collaboration with parents in child protection is underpinned by human and children's rights conventions addressing the right for family life and parents being first responsible in fulfilling children's rights. We interviewed 20 parents about their experiences with the Dutch CPS. Our thematic analysis shows that a CPS serving the best interests of their children is most important to parents. To realize this, professionals should (1) “not let it happen but do something,” (2) “get a clear picture of the family's situation,” and (3) “take parents seriously.” Parents emphasize that a system providing sufficient “money, time, and knowledge” is needed to facilitate professionals. Their experiences seem to influence their trust in the system and their attitude towards it. This study shows new insights in parents' experiences, such as their advice to professionals to determine the truth and to be decisive. This deepened knowledge about parents' experiences is essential for evaluating and improving the CPS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)116-125
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue numberS1
Early online date23-Dec-2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2020


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