«Barnevernet vil de ha fullstendig fjernet» En studie av årsaker til mistillit til barnevernet
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This study examines what underlies critical attitudes towards the Norwegian child protection service (CPS) by using quantitative methods and survey data. The CPS`s mandate is to ensure that children in Norway who live under conditions that can harm their health and development get necessary help and care at the right time. The overall research question is: What can explain the lack of trust in the child protection service? Previous research on child welfare indicates that several socio-economic markers are correlated with being critical of the CPS such as low-education, low income, being a man, or an immigrant. These social groups also have low institutional trust more generally. My question is whether particular political, moral, or value-based attitudes are prevalent among those who are critical of child welfare. This is investigated though a survey with the Norwegian Citizen Panel. First and foremost, my findings indicate that there is a relatively high level of trust in child welfare in Norway. Those who are critical of the CPS have the socio-economic markers that are usually correlated with low institutional trust. Furthermore, some political and ideological markers have a significant effect. If I divide those who are critical to into two groups - those who think the CPS is too eager to take the kids away from their families, and those who think the CPS is too hesitant, the first group is clearly different from the second, and from the population generally. Those who agree with the statement that the CPS acts too fast, have some attributes in common, such as they often are men, low educated and vote at either the progress party, the agricultural party, or the communist party, while those who believe that the CPS is acting too late is more similar to the normal population. Furthermore, I find, to my surprise that that one in five responds agree strongly or somewhat with the statement that “the CPS and the private actors who run the foster home service, have a financial interest in separating children from the family”. This statement is somewhat ambiguous and to probe what this answer entails; it is tested again with data from Norstat. An experiment examines the original wording against a new wording omitting the private actors running the foster home services. Analyzes of these data find a small difference. Many still believe that the CPC makes decisions based on financial self-interest and not the child's best interests. I also test how bad or good media coverage affect trust in CPS and find that bad coverage does not affect trust in this study, but good coverage makes the respond trust CPS more.