The participation of children in Dutch child protection investigations: A case file analysis

Helen Bouma, Hans Grietens, Mónica López López, Erik J. Knorth, Susanne Witte

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Objectives - In scientific research there is growing attention for the importance of children’s participation in decision-making in the child protection system (CPS). In the Dutch Youth Act (2015), the importance of participation of children is highlighted as well. However, research in different countries shows that the implementation of children’s participation in child protection practice still needs to be enhanced.
Method - This presentation draws on an ongoing study analysing 400 case files regarding reports of child maltreatment. Data on the contacts with children are analysed quantitatively as well as qualitatively by a model based on article 12 of the UNCRC. This model includes the following dimensions: informing children, giving children the possibility to express their views, and involvement of children’s views in decision-making. Furthermore, we also analysed when there had been contact with the child.
Results - We found that the case files give useful information on some of the dimensions of children’s participation. Most is described about the second dimension: information gathered from the child. In the cases that professionals talk with children, the topics vary from ‘small-talk’ about school and hobbies to discussions on family problems and possible interventions. Therefore, this presentation is focused on the ways information is gathered from the child during the child protection investigations.
Conclusions - Giving children the possibility to express their views before decisions are made is an important prerequisite for meaningful participation; only then the view of the child can be considered in decision-making. This study shows that children do not always get the possibility to give their opinion about the report, the investigation and support needed. In-depth analyses of the data will give insight in the ways children are (not) involved in Dutch child protection investigations and help to formulate recommendations to improve the participation of children.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2-Oct-2017
Event15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference - World Forum, Den Haag, Netherlands
Duration: 1-Oct-20174-Oct-2017
Conference number: 15


Conference15th ISPCAN European Regional Conference
Abbreviated titleISPCAN European Conference
CityDen Haag
Internet address

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