Partnership with Parents of Children in Care: A Study of Collective User Participation in Child Protection Services
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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This article presents the findings from a study of user participation in the Norwegian Child Protection services. Birth parents who have lost the custody of their children often feel disempowered by the authorities. The help offered to this group is often unsatisfactory. In this study, the parents were provided with the opportunity to form a group together with social workers and foster parents. The evaluation shows that the group offered the parents both the social support they needed and a forum to voice their opinions of the services. The group was mutually beneficial; it provided the social workers with useful knowledge, which resulted in organisational development, and the birth parents described their experiences as an empowering process. This study suggests that group strategies represent both a vital supplement to individual service provision and also a means to bring about organisational learning and change.